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Mighty Meherangarh; Contrasting cityscapes

Jodhpur Travel Blog

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Pokaran Fort

20/9 We travelled in some style in an air con car with tinted windows from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur. We stopped at the fort at Pokaran, and went round the dusty museum. It was busy with pilgrims from nearby Ramdevra. People in from the country - many women barefoot, in saris of amazing colours, with bangles up their arms and jewellery round their faces. To our embarrassment, the guide whistled and pushed them out of the way so we could see better. He knew he'd get a tip from us!

On to Ossian, famous for its ancient temples. Shoes off - we burnt our feet on the white marble. Then arrival at the Devi Bhawan Hotel, Jodhpur, with our room with bouganvillia trailing over the balcony and candlelit dinner in the beautiful garden.

Mighty Meherangarh

21/9 In the morning, we set off for the great fort of the Maharajahs of Jodhpur, the Meherangarh. It stands on a rock outcrop, dominating the old town below. The main road up was closed to traffic because of a broken water main, so we had to walk up the last kilometre. It gave us exercise and amazing views. We could see the 10km ancient walls surrounding the city, and down into the cube like houses below - mostly painted blue, the brahmin colour and to ward off insects. The Meherangarh has been well restored by Bapji, the current Eton Oxford educated maharajah, who succeeded to the title in 1952, aged 4. It's made mainly of red sandstone, with latticed balconies, and reeks of Rajput history. The coronation chair, the durbar room, the zenana for the women. When Bapji's mother married his father at age 16, she went into purdah, only to leave as the political tempo of the new Indian state demanded.

The blue city
On the Lohapol gate are the handprints - a shrine - of the 15 widows of Maharajah Man Singh who committed sati on his funeral pyre in 1843. The Meherangarh, another amazing sight.

Our return rickshaw took the back streets down narrow, sometimes cobbled streets, with open drains, past tiny shops and cows snuffling in rubbish - back to the delightful garden of our hotel.

22/9 Contrasting cityscapes.

We hired an autorickshaw for the day. He took us to the local post office, open but temporarily abandoned by the postmaster. People hung around aimlessly, so we went on to the GPO.

Then to the Clocktower, the town centre, and a walk through the old town markets. Open drains, cows**t - and cows - a menace, hundreds of shops selling everything you'd want. The driver was then booked to take us the the Umaid Bhawan, the vast maharajahs' palace, built in the 1930s, allegedly for job creation.

In the old town
It's now 3/4 really flash hotel, and 1/4 Bapji's family residence. We were aiming for upmarket lunch overlooking the lawns. We passed the Sparkling Girls School, two camel carts and a few bullock carts. We also passed a tank regiment barracks. Most Indian barracks proclaim the nickname of the regiment. This one was The Mighty Mediums. We swept (as much as you can in an autorickshaw) up the lovely Umaid Bhawan driveway. The hotel was closed for the day - it had been taken over for a Vogue function! We returned to our hotel and had an omelette.

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Pokaran Fort
Pokaran Fort
Mighty Meherangarh
Mighty Meherangarh
The blue city
The blue city
In the old town
In the old town
The Lohapol Gate
The Lohapol Gate
Locked out of the Umaid Bhawan
Locked out of the Umaid Bhawan
Jodhpur
photo by: lrecht