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Happy New Year 😀 Guys, I hope you all enjoyed my previous post  Regal Rajasthan Travelogue (Part I) : Jaipur 

This second part of my travelogue is about my wonderful time in Rajasthan’s second largest city – Jodhpur, once the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Marwar.

The Marwar region includes the present-day districts of Barmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, Nagaur, and Pali. The people of this region are commonly known as Marwaris, as also the rare breed of horses which are only found in Jodhpur.

For those of you who are my first-time visitors, I visited the colourful western Indian state of Rajasthan in November and December of 2015. My trip started in Jaipur, from where I went to Jodhpur in the Marwar region; then to the desert city of Jaisalmer, taking in the beauty of Thar – the Great Indian Desert, travelling right up to the border with Pakistan; before going down south to Udaipur in the Mewar region; and back to Jaipur.

 

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Read my post: Rajasthan – The Incredible State of India 

Do read my previous post on Jaipur, and also these earlier posts of mine for a better understanding of Jodhpur’s rich and colourful history:

Regal Rajasthan:  Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

Regal Rajasthan:  Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur

 

And now, a short introduction to Jodhpur…

Founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha, the chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs, after whom the city is named, Jodhpur grew around Mehrangarh Fort – the residence of the Rathore rulers. The massive 15th century fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 metres high above the plains.

Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Thar’. It is also popularly called the ‘Sun City’ for the bright and sunny weather it enjoys all the year round.  Another title for this city is ‘Blue City’ because the houses in the old city around the towering Mehrangarh Fort are painted in blue. The old city is bounded by a wall with several gates, but Jodhpur has expanded greatly outside the wall over the past centuries.

Flanked on its western side by the fort, and on the eastern side by the stately, sandstone royal palace of Umaid Bhavan, Jodhpur is home to many grand heritage havelis (heritage), monuments, temples and gardens.

Jodhpur’s location near the geographic centre of Rajasthan, makes it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists. From here, Jaipur is at a road distance of 340 KM, while Jaisalmer and Udaipur are 290 KM and 265 KM respectively.

Along with Bikaner and Jaisalmer, Jodhpur too is situated on the ancient silk route that linked Central Asia and Northern India with the seaports of Gujarat. As a result, it became a major trading centre in the 16th century. Reminiscent of the bygone years is the fact that Jodhpur is still the leading centre for cattle, camels, wood, salt and agricultural crops.

Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination, not only because of its palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert, but also for its handicrafts, folk dances and folk music.

 

Local handicrafts…

Popular local handicrafts include tie & dye textiles, hand block-printed textiles, camel bone and leather items, lacquerware, bangles, embroidered leather shoes, antiques, Rajasthani furniture and artefacts, puppets, rugs, carpets, miniature camels and elephants, clay figurines, marble inlay work and silver jewellery. And of course, Jodhpurs – the well-known classic breeches. These internationally popular type of trousers, that are loose around the thigh and tight at the calf, and mainly designed for horseback riding and playing polo, were first designed and made in Jodhpur. Invented in 1887 for personal use by Maharaja Pratap Singh, these trousers caught the fancy of the British aristocracy and soon became immensely popular.

Jodhpur is regarded as one of the most famous hub for wholesale export operations in India and attracts significant number of international dealers looking for everything from scarves to rugs and everything in between. The popular city markets are Sojati Gate (for tie & dye saris), Station Road (for leather, embroidered shoes and utensils), Tripolia Bazaar (for local handicrafts and textiles), Mochi Bazaar (for the famous lac works like lac bangles), Nai Sarak (for tie & dye dresses, leather items and handlooms), Clock Tower (for spices, handicrafts and textiles).

 

Fairs and festivals…

The vibrant fairs and festivals of Jodhpur are a huge draw for visitors from across the country and world. The famous ones are the eight-day colourful Nagaur Fair, the country’s second biggest fair, held in January – February; two-day Marwar Festival held every year in the month of Ashwin (between September and October) and for one night in Ossian town in the Thar Desert, in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan; the three-day Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival celebrated in January; and Rajasthan International Folk Festival (or Jodhpur RIFF) in October.

The Marwar Festival is a centre of authentic folk music, culture and lifestyle of Rajasthan’s rulers. Additionally, other attractions comprise of camel tattoo show and polo. The festival is held at famous venues like the Umaid Bhavan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh Fort.

Goddess Chamunda was the favourite goddess of Rao Jodha – the founder of Jodhpur and Mehrangarh – so he brought her idol from Mandore, his previous capital  to Mehrangarh. The fort became a place of worship with the construction of the Chamunda Mata Temple. Since then, locals have followed the culture of worshipping Chamunda Mata, who has remained the Istha Devi (the adopted goddess) of the royal family. Crowds throng Mehrangarh during Dussehra celebrations.

 

Local delights…

Jodhpur is famed for its sweets and savouries. Samosas, mawa kachori, pyaaz ki kachori and mirchi vada are synonymous with Jodhpur. Mawa kachori, ghewar, makhaniya lassi, doodh phirni, gulab jamuns, laddoos and a variety of mawa sweets are equally popular. Gatte ki subji, Rajasthani kadi, Mangori, Pakodi and Ker Sangri are traditional vegetarian dishes.

 

Sightseeing in Jodhpur…

Places to visit in Jodhpur include Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower), Rai-ka-Bagh Palace, Umaid Garden, Government Museum, Mandore Gardens, Masuria Garden, Siddhanath Shiva Temple, Ganesh Temple, Mandaleshwar Mahadev, and Mahamandir.

 

Places to visit around Jodhpur…

Around Jodhpur are some beautiful destinations like Sardar Samand Lake, Balsamand Lake, Rohetgarh and the beautiful ancient temples of Ossian, Khejarla Fort, Kalayana Lake, Machiya Safari Park, Jaswant Sagar Dam, and the cities of Nagaur, Pali, Sojat and  Nimaj.

No trip to Jodhpur is complete without a visit to Bishnoi Village, a rural area 22 KM south of Jodhpur, offering guests peek into Bishnoi craft villages, their lifestyle and cultural traditions. A popular evening excursion and traditional dinner option. It’s the usual fare: lifestyle of the village folk, demonstration of the various means of livelihood, taste-a-snack item, etc.

The Bishnois are staunch believers in the sanctity of plant and animal life. At the craft villages, you can watch potters and weavers at work. At Salawas village, residents use materials such as cotton, silk, goat and camel hair, jute and wool to weave beautiful natural, vegetable dye dhurries (rugs) on a loom. Guda village is ideal for spotting exotic wildlife including antelopes and black bucks. Kakani is a potters’ and block printers’ village, while Singhasni is a potters’ village. There is a shepherd’s village too.

 

Activities to do…

A popular must-do activity of Jodhpur is zip-lining over Mehrangarh. As Jodhpur lies on the fringe of the Thar Desert, it offers tourist attractions like camel safaris, desert camps and luxury stays in sandstone forts.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

 

The Jaipur-Jodhpur bus started its journey at 6:45 AM. After a fleeting glimpse of the ‘Pink City’, I was going to discover the ‘Blue City’ Jodhpur.

The bus briefly halted at the ancient, pilgrimage town of Ajmer, 140 KM from Jaipur. It was 9:00 AM. The second brief halt was at Beawar (or Byawahr) at 10:30 AM.  And then, at 11:00 AM, it was a 30-minute brunch halt at Barr. Some of the passengers had skipped breakfast and were very hungry. I, on the other hand, was extremely relieved at not having to arrive in Jodhpur and look around for good hotel with a full bladder. Barr was a picturesque village. And the highway RTDC motel was good too.

I was in Jodhpur by 12:45 PM. The dusty and crowded bus stand area put me off for a few seconds, as I expected something more out of a popular tourist destination. But then, the Jaipur outstation bus stand had been bad too. I dragged my trolley bag along the rough road and got into the first waiting auto-rickshaw that came into sight. After going through online reviews, I had planned on staying at a nice haveli-type hotel in the old city at the foothills of Mehrangarh Fort. The main attraction was, of course, the night illumination of the mighty fortress. But the driver, a young and friendly chap, strongly opposed my choice. “You are our guest, a first-time visitor to our city, so we have to take good care of you…. The old city is not a place for you to stay, it’s very crowded… You deserve a nice hotel… You can visit the old city in the evening for a look at the fortress…” Blah blah blah, he went on. Strange, I had read that the old city had many old houses and havelis and was extremely popular among foreign backpackers and budget travellers. Instead, the driver offered to take me to a good hotel or home-stay in a nice area. I refused to listen until he said something about drain water and rats running down the narrow alleys of the old city. I took his word and let him search for a nice hotel to fit in my budget of 1500 rupees. He expected my budget to be twice as much, but I told him that I had other places to visit in the state and didn’t want to spend much on hotels. A nice and clean place with good surroundings would suffice. Being a tourist season, most of the nice budget hotels were full, so he suggested a home-stay.

The home-stay was in a quiet, residential area. It was a single-storeyed building adjacent to the owner’s bungalow with a front lawn. They had a vacant AC room on the upper floor with an open terrace alongside. It was a nice, clean room. A bit of bargaining with the owner, a Sindhi lady, and I got it at 2500 rupees for two nights including breakfast.

I paid the rickshaw fare along with a tip and retired to my room. After a good rest, I set off on my sightseeing tour at around 3:30 PM. Umaid Bhavan Palace, Ganesh Temple and Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) by auto-rickshaw at 350 rupees.

It was an uphill ride to Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is the Jodhpur’s second most important tourist attraction, after the architectural masterpiece – Mehrangarh Fort.

The resplendent Umaid Bhavan Palace…

 

Watch my videos:

Umaid Bhavan Palace 

Welcome ceremony for the hotel guests 

 

Counted among the most opulent homes ever built, this magnificent edifice is divided into three parts – the residence of the royal family, a fascinating royal family museum and the Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace Hotel, run by the Taj Group of Hotels. The luxury five-star Taj heritage hotel was voted as the ‘Best Hotel in the World’, the ‘Best Hotel in Asia’ and the ‘Best Hotel in India’ at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016. Read more about Umaid Bhavan Palace in my post:

Regal Rajasthan: Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur

After an hours’ stay at the splendorous palace and its wonderful museum, I stopped for a while outside to enjoy the surrounding views.

Jodhpur is about 250 KM from the border with Pakistan, so the city is an important base for Army, Air Force and Border Security Force (BSF). The thunderous sound of a fighter jet whizzing across the sky quickly had me focusing on the fast-moving small object. It was way too fast to capture on my camera, but I was ready with the zoom when the next one came up.

Watch my video: Fighter jet flying overhead the Umaid Bhavan Palace area

Chittar Hill, once the private property of the erstwhile Jodhpur royals, now houses many plush, residential complexes…

 

My next stop was the Ganesha Temple in Ratanada area. It was an uphill ride and then, a long flight of steps led up to the temple. The temple is revered by the locals, and on festive days, it attracts a large number of devotees. But at that time, it was quiet and peaceful with just a few people including a just-married couple, who had come to seek blessings of the Lord.

The Ganesh Temple…

Watch my video: City view from Ganesha Temple

Because of its height, the temple it is also a good observation point of the city offering views of Mehrangarh and other hills as well as the Umaid Bhavan Palace. And it makes for an amazing sunset viewpoint.

Around 5:30 PM, I started for the Ghanta Ghar (or Clock Tower), located in the old city main market with Mehrangarh as the backdrop. I left off the rickshaw, as I wanted to see the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort under night illumination.

Ghanta Ghar, also known as Clock Tower of Rajasthan, is an old city landmark which stands in the middle of one of the busiest areas of Jodhpur – the Sardar Bazaar, which is very popular among tourists. The colourful but hectic bazaar consists of many narrow lanes lined with tiny shops selling local handicrafts that range from leheriyas to jootis and all kinds of spices. Bargaining is a must.

The clock tower was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh (1880-1911) after whom the market is named.

An elderly man was in charge of maintaining the clock tower. His eyes were shining with pride when he told me that his father used to maintain the clock tower earlier. Upon his father’s death, he took over the job. Being old, his son helps him too. To show me the working of the clock, he invited me to the topmost level restricted to public. I was delighted!

The clock-keeper…

Watch my video: Inside Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower)

The clock was made in 1911 in Bombay (now called Mumbai). Two hours of winding lasts for a week, said the keeper of the 114-year-old clock tower.

Evening view of Mehrangarh Fort, the most prominent and visited monument in the city…

Watch my video: View of Mehrangarh from Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) 

Sardar Market…

Sardar Market is marked by triple gateways at its northern and southern ends. The narrow, winding lanes of the old city spread out in all directions from here.

Full moon night view…

The clock tower’s closing hour was 6:00 PM, so I had to climb down. The market structures partly obstructed the view of the illuminated fort.

Mehrangarh illuminated with bright golden lights …

The fortress looked spectacular despite the bright fluorescent lighting of the marketplace. Its sheer high walls looked more like a gigantic protector rock of Jodhpur than a hillfort. A one of its kind fortress! I was already looking forward to exploring it the next morning.

Illuminated Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower)…

Watch my video: Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) at night

As I walked back to the new city, I saw myriad food stalls selling an incredible variety of fast food. Further down, the busy road was lined on both sides by shops and restaurants of all kinds. I entered a shop selling pickles, sauces, jams, preserves, sherbets, etc. They had a large variety of local pickles prepared in Marwari-style, which I probably wouldn’t find in other cities. But I had to proceed to Jaisalmer and didn’t want to end up with an oily mess in my bag.  So I bought only two of them, Ker Sangri and Marwari Green Chilli.

I had read that Janta Sweets was a popular place for local delicacies, especially mawa ki kachori. The place was bustling with customers, when I walked in. Despite being averse to green chillies, I bought a mirchi vada (15 rupees).

Mirchi vada (or green chilli fritter)…

I managed to eat half of it, but a bite further down burned my tongue. Hot tears started rolling down my cheeks and I wasn’t able to mouth words.  Using sign language, I asked for a glass of makhaniya lassi, another local specialty (35 rupees). I downed the thick, buttery contents of the glass within a minute. It soothed my burning mouth, and I felt slightly better. Above all, I regained my speech. Thereafter, I bought an ice-cream soda (55 rupees).

Ice-cream soda…

It was 7:30 PM when I returned to my accommodation.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

 

I was up by 6:30 AM. The fresh, morning air and the chirping of birds in the otherwise quiet environs felt refreshing. Breakfast was served at 9:00 AM despite having informed the caretaker-cum-cook that I wanted it at 7:30 AM. My last proper meal had been dinner in Jaipur two days ago, so I was naturally hungry. Delay notwithstanding, the piping hot gobi paratha was delicious.

Half an hour later, I started out for the second day of my sightseeing tour. The auto-rickshaw was waiting at the gate. It was going to be Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada and Mandore Gardens for 750 rupees.

I couldn’t wait to discover Mehrangarh…

The mighty fortress, seen from all corners of the city, is so well built into the hill that it is difficult to fathom where the hill ends and the walls begin.

I took a guided tour of Mehrangarh at a fixed cost of 300 rupees.

This view from Mehrangarh explains why Jodhpur is called ‘The Blue City’…

It is believed that blue colour repels heat and mosquitoes. Hence, many portions of the fort are painted in blue too. In olden times, only brahmins (or priest caste) were allowed to paint their homes blue.

Watch my video: View of blue-painted houses from Mehrangarh 

The guide suggested a zip-line tour of the fortress, a popular adventure tourism activity which involves going diagonally with speed through a pulley suspended on a stainless steel cable. It is designed to enable the user propelled by gravity to travel from one end to another by holding on to the freely-moving pulley.

The Mehrangarh zip-lining tour has six zip lines going over walls, bastions and lakes on the northern side of the fort. Depending on the group size, the entire tour takes around 90 minutes. The guide encouraged me to try it out, he was ready to wait for my return. So I said, why not?

The tour was operated by Flying Fox who had a ticketing counter next to Chokelao Bagh, a 200-year-old beautiful garden …

Watch my video: Chokelao Bagh in Mehrangarh 

The tour cost was 1900 rupees. As with adventure tourism activities, there was a liability waiver form that had to be signed at the time of registration for the tour. It was compulsory to tie hair with a rubber band to avoid any mishap. The first zip-line tour for the day started at 10:30 AM, and I was bang on time for it.

I joined a small group of seven like-minded adventure enthusiasts in the garden: a young, white couple in their late 20s and a family comprising of a 50-plus man, a girl and three boys in their late 20s.  Two young instructors gave us a short brief and demonstration on how to glide along the zip line. We were told to raise our knees and tilt the head lightly towards the left. Brief over, we trooped over to the first zip-line, the Chokelao Challenge (115m), which goes above a boundary wall of the fortress. Remember, the fort’s walls are 120 feet high….

Excited, I volunteered to be the first to cross the zip line. I was in ready position at the take-off plank, and the instructor went “3…2…1…” When I heard the word “GO”, my immediate reaction was a silent “What? Are you nuts?” Clearly, I wasn’t ready. I stepped back and let the others take off till there were just three of us remaining…myself, the white guy and one of the two instructors. It was sweet of the white guy to stay behind for moral support, even though I didn’t ask for it… and he also took the two photos below.

Take-off for the first zip…

To the right is Chokelao Bagh, and to the left, the blue carpet of Jodhpur houses…

Dangling in the middle of the zip line in the above photo is yours truly 😀

I don’t know how it all happened. One moment, I was zooming off at full speed and the next moment, my hand moved in to put the brakes on. The moment I placed my hand on the zip line, I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. My mind went blank for a minute. But when the instructor came over to get me to the other side, I was happily enjoying the views on both sides.

Disappointed at my hesitation on the first zip, I volunteered to be the first for the second zip. Ranisar Rollercoaster (170m) was high over Ranisar Lake. I zipped across in no time, which was as much fun as going down a slide. But it all happened so quickly that I didn’t get to admire the view as my attention was focused at the other end.

The third zip, Chhota Wallah (70m), was a short zip crossing a deep rocky ravine at the head of the lake. It went off well too, as did the fourth zip.

The fourth zip, Jai Jodha (270m), buzzes the ridges and flies deep into the heart of Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park which contains distinctive volcanic rock formations such as rhyolite, with welded tuff, and breccia, sandstone formations.

Watch my videos:

My Zip-lining experience in Mehrangarh – I

Zip-lining in Mehrangarh – I 

Zip-lining in Mehrangarh – II 

Watch my video: Scenery around zip lining points in Mehrangarh

Spread over 72 hectares, Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was created in 2006 to restore the natural ecology of a large, rocky wasteland adjoining Mehrangarh and to create a suitable home for native rock-loving plants.

We trekked through the rocky park to the fifth zip, Rajputs’ Revenge (160m), which starts from a rocky mountain top with glorious views of Mehrangarh.

The sixth and the final zip, The Magnificent Marwar (300m),  one of Flying Fox’s most spectacular and iconic zip lines, flies over not one but two lakes and lands on the tip of a fortified tower rearing 30 metres out of Ranisar Lake.

As luck would have it, I ended up dangling from the cable in the middle of this spectacular zip line! Gliding high over the lakes, I was enjoying the views instead of looking straight ahead, so….

Watch my videos:

My Zip-lining experience in Mehrangarh – II             

Zip-lining in Mehrangarh – III 

Zip-lining in Mehrangarh – IV 

We were back at the lush green Chokelao Bagh. It was an absolutely exhilarating experience! I highly recommend this zip-line tour, the best to-do thing in Jodhpur, though not for the faint-hearted…

I stopped at a nearby café for a delicious ginger ale (40 rupees). It was 11: 45 AM, and there was lots to see around the fort.

Mehrangarh is a warehouse of history, myths and legends. Each of its numerous palaces with exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, elaborately adorned windows and walls narrates its own story of beauty and grandeur. The Fort Museum has a vast and expensive collection of royal antiques which go about describing the history, art and culture of Marwar.

Read all about Mehrangarh in this earlier post of mine:

Regal Rajasthan: Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

At the fort gates, folk musicians welcome visitors with their talent…

Watch my video: Talented folk singers 

It would probably take around 5-6 hours to see the entire fort. Mine was a quick tour of a little more than an hour, after which I went to the Museum souvenir shop. I spent 490 rupees on a black cap with the logo of Jodhpur Royals. And 750 rupees on local spices at the bazaar just outside. Back at the café, I had another ginger ale, and bought a kachori (40 rupees) and a packet of cookies (40 rupees).

It was 1:30 PM, when I returned to the rickshaw. The next stop was close to the fort complex and there was no small-place eatery around for the driver. So I gave him the carry bag with the big, hot kachori, before alighting.

Built in 1899, the shining white Jaswant Thada is a shrine to Maharaja Jaswant Singh who ruled from 1873 to 1895…

Watch my video: Jaswant Thada 

All the wives and concubines of Jaswant Singh commited sati on his funeral pyre and their memorials stand nearby. The complex serves as the royal cremation grounds, so chattris (or cenotaphs) of the subsequent rulers and their queens are also found here. Prior to this, all the rulers were cremated at Mandore, the previous capital of Marwar.

A quiet and well-maintained place, it also offers excellent views of the fort, its surroundings and the city below.

View of Mehrangarh…

Watch my video: View of Mehrangarh and Jodhpur city from Jaswant Thada 

Yours truly…

Half an hour later, I was at Mandore Gardens, 9 KM from the city. The sprawling gardens are home to dark-red sandstone cenotaphs of Jodhpur’s rulers, who were cremated here until the construction of Jaswant Thada. It also houses an eighteenth-century palace and a small government museum.

A bit of info on Mandore…

A revered temple…

The Janana Palace…

The sandstone palace was commissioned by Maharaja Ajit Singh (1707 – 1724) as a summer residence for his queens. The palace is closed to public, except for a few rooms used to house the museum.

Watch my video: Mandore Palace 

The museum fee was 20 rupees. Photography was prohibited. The collection included inscriptions, decorative objects and sculptures dating as far back as 9th century AD. I was surprised to find an erotic sculpture of a couple engaged in doggy-style sex. The description read: ‘Kiradu, 9th century AD’.

Some of the ancient royal chhatris (cenotaphs) looked like temples with beautifully carved exteriors. Being cenotaphs, they didn’t have any idols inside.

The chhatri of Maharaja Ajit Singh had a tall shikhara (spire) and fine sculptures including carved elephants and lions…

Opposite it stood the chhatri of Maharaja Jaswant Singh I, with a large pavilion and a vast dome on an octagonal base. The remaining cenotaphs belonged to the 17th century.

The lush green gardens were full of monkeys, so I didn’t spend much time there. Nevertheless, I was hungry. The rickshaw driver had kept the kachori for home and lunched at one of the many small stalls around. I was eager to have a traditional Rajasthani thali, and he knew just the place for me. But before that I had to buy dried ker berry and sangri beans to make Ker Sangri, a popular winter dish, available only in Jodhpur. At the grocery shop, I found some local spices that I had never seen nor heard of before. They also had the bright-red Mathania chillies used in the local cuisine. I bought the ker and sangri for 120 rupees.

At around 4:00 PM, I was at Royal Tarka on Mandore Road. Despite the late hour, the owner offered to serve me the desired meal. 250 rupees

The Rajasthani thali

Roti, ker sangri, gatte ki sabzi, Rajasthani curry, lassi and churma. They had rice too, but I didn’t have it as my tummy was full. An absolutely delicious meal at 250 rupees only! I highly recommend Royal Tarka…

When I returned to my accommodation around 5:00 PM, the home-stay owner was relaxing on the swing in the front lawn. I was going to leave for Jaisalmer by bus at 6:30 AM, so I decided to settle the dues right away. I had already paid 1000 rupees advance for the stay, so I made the balance payment of 1500 rupees. She asked about having dinner, to try a few Sindhi dishes. But I had to decline. I grabbed the chance to tell her about the late breakfast. She said something about someone in the family falling sick at night. The caretaker-cum-cook had to look after everything till late at night. So he overslept.

An hour later, I was back in my room. I had tea in the terrace and spent some time there until dusk, when mosquitoes took over the place. By 9:00 PM, I was off to sleep.

 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

 

At 6:00 AM, I was ready with my bag. The early morning breeze felt wonderful. The auto-rickshaw came after half an hour. Buses to Jaisalmer start from Bombay Motor Circle. The driver charged 100 rupees for the early morning trip.

The bus ticket for the five-hour journey was 200 rupees. I got a front row seat. A little later, while the city was yet asleep, I was on my way to the ‘Golden City’ Jaisalmer, 290 KM away.

 

***

 

 

So, that was my Jodhpur experience 😀 By the way,  the old city is a wonderful place to stay with some lovely hotels (and very expensive too!) and an incredible view of Mehrangarh. Don’t skip it at all…even if you stay in the new area of the city! It’s an amazing place 😀

On my return from Jodhpur, I made this Ker Sangri dish…

my ker sangri

It was absolutely YUM 😀

My next post is on Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert. I visited Longewala, a border town in the Thar Desert, which was one of the first major engagements in the western sector during the India-Pakistan War of 1971, in which 120 men of Indian Army crushed an attack by over 2000 Pakistani soldiers with a tank squadron. And I also visited the temple of Tanot Mata, the deity who protected a small contingent of Indian soldiers from more than 3000 Pakistani bombs which were dropped around the temple during the India-Pakistan War of 1965. None of the bombs exploded.

Oh…and I also visited the India-Pakistan Border 😉 Well, I cannot share the photos and videos of the border, but wait for my story 😀

 

Coming next # Regal Rajasthan Travelogue (Part – III): Jaisalmer 

 

 

 

 

 

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