INDIA, Jan. 2009

= JODHPUR =

Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Our very first visit to India... At the airport of New Delhi we were met by a chauffeur and he drove us through Rajasthan. After visits to Jaipur, Pushkar and Udaipur, we arrived at our next detsination: Jodhpur. This would be for one night only again. Main points of interest for this brief visit was the Sardar Market and the Mehrangarh Fort.

Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan. It is called the Gateway to Thar, as it is literally on the edge of the Thar desert. It is also called the Sun City as the sun shines (very bright and hot!) almost every day of the year.

Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger image

Pal Haveli
Pal Haveli, Jodhpur

It had been a long drive with a visit en route at Ranakpur, so it was 15:30 when we checked in at the picturesque Pal Haveli.
Pal Haveli is set around a courtyard and built by the thakus of Pal in 1847. This is the only original haveli in the old city. It has only 12 wonderfully decorated rooms.

 

Pal Haveli
Our room was large and exquisitely decorated.

 

Pal Haveli
Consider the size of our room: on the right all 3 windows belonged to our room plus a large bathroom!

Haveli is the term used for a private mansion in Pakistan and North India. The word haveli is of Persian origin, meaning 'an enclosed place'. Obviously, the upkeep of such a mansion is costly and many of them have been made into a hotel. They are beautiful places to stay as not two are the same.

Between 1830 and 1930, Marwaris (the people from Rajasthan in India; although Marwar refers to the region around Jodhpur, most marwari merchants are actually from Shekhawati) erected buildings in their homeland, Shekhawati and Marwar. These buildings were called havelis. The Marwaris commissioned artists to paint those buildings which were heavily influenced by the Mughal architecture.
The havelis were status symbols for the Marwaris as well as homes for their extended families, providing security and comfort in seclusion from the outside world. The havelis were to be closed from all sides with one large main gate.
The typical havelis in Shekhawati consisted of two courtyards an outer one for the men which serves as an extended threshold, and the inner one, the domain of the women. The largest havelis could have up to three or four courtyards and were two to three stories high. Most of the havelis are empty nowadays or are maintained by a watchman (typically an old man). These havelis are major attraction for tourists in Rajasthan. [Wikipedia]

The photo shows the inner courtyard, we had a large beer in the outer courtyard (with many memorabilia related to horses) to recuperate from the long drive, Only then did we venture outside

Sardarmarket
The sun was setting low by the time we hit the streets of Jodhpur. Fortunately we did not need to go far for where we wanted to go: Sardar Market was opposite our hotel.

Sardar Market
Sardarmarket is an enclosed, lively market place. It is a landmark because it features a clocktower, as can be seen on the other photos.
We bargained for a few large pashmina shawls; they are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fiber (we probably did not get the original, but we didn't care, they were fine). I like bargaining but don't play it hard, as for me a few rupees more or less make little difference.

Sardar Market
And of course the ubiquitous cows, omnipresent...

Sardar Market
Sardar Market

Sardar Market - Jodhpur
No lack of vegetables. We stuck to a vegetarian diet and we enjoyed the variety on offer. I might have lost weight if I hadn't drunk all that beer..


Sardar Market
Some of the food on the tables I did not know, like what is he working at?
Danielle Aird, seasoned India traveller, explained: "the small mountain of white cubes is candy and when you go to the temple, they will give you some when you come out. People also buy them for themselves; they love sickly sweet stuff!" Visit 'Danie on the Go', Danielle's blog with many India anecdotes.
Sardar Market
The cuisine of India is characterized by its use of locally available resources, including spices and vegetables grown across India and in some parts of India for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across its society.
Each family of Indian cuisine is characterised by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques.

 

Jodhpur
We did not venture beyond the immediate area of Sardar Market. Here are a few images outside the market, to show how busy the streets are. You'll have to imagine the 'wall of sound' that is Indian traffic yourself: there is raucous honking, people shouting and a blaring fanfare of engine noises from accelerating auto rickshaws, motorcycles, etc.

Jodhpur


Jodhpur We found we could deal better now with these crowds, it didn't alarm us as much as during the first few days.

 

We return to Sardar market..
Sardar Market
Sardar Market

 

Shoe repair
Shoe repair
Shoe repair
Shoe repair
Neatly sitting in a row: shoemakers

 

sardar market
Towering over the city and the market is the Mehrangarh Fort.
Sardar Market - Jodhpur

 

Sardar Market - Jodhpur
Besides beer & ordinary tea, I also tried Indian tea.. and quite liked it! While I tried the Ayurvedic tea, Ada tried the Ayurvedic massage; we both were well pleased.

 

Tourist stop - all essentials
Everything the traveller may need...
But I could find no secondhand bookshop here.
Jodhpur streets
A glimpse in the street our hotel was on. A tuktuk gets a fare.

Biblical times

Sometimes I felt myself stepping outside a timemachine and into medieval times, while travelling through these parts of India. But here I found myself in biblical times... The cows have returned home and have settled down for the night, while the family has retreated for dinner. Cows roam the streets during daytime and return by nightfall to their homes, just like pets do at home!
Only when I edited this photo I noticed the person waving, in the back of the room. I hope he wasn't offended I didn't return his greeting.

 

jodhpur by night
The gate of Sardarmarket after sunset from the rooftop restaurant of our haveli.

The clocktower shows quite well in this nightshot.

jodhpur by night - Sardar market

 

jodhpur streets
The next morning the streets were flooded, to clean them up I suppose.
We had an 09:00 pick up to check out and visit the Fort.
jodhpur streets

 

The Fort

View on the Fort from our rooftop restaurant after we had finished our breakfast.

Our morning routine included showering and applying anti-mosquito repellant (to be repeated a few times; we also used handgel frequently). We then reported at the restaurant (a fairly steep climb here at the Pal Haveli, with huge steps) for breakfast: toast with omelet, jam, fruit (bananas), tea or coffee and juice. Most of the hotels offered a version of this. Only our hotel in Varanasi at the end of our vacation failed dismally in this respect.

 

 

Cremation

While climbing towards the Fort, we passed a milky white marble memorial, the Jaswant Thada. This memorial in dedication to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is an array of whimsical domes... says the Lonely Planet guidebook. It is indeed a peaceful place but to be enjoyed outside as the interior is much less interesting in my opinion.
These smaller structures are used to cremate the diseased.

 

Jaswant Thada

The Jaswant Thada is a 19th century royal cenotaph built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. The son of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, Maharaja Sardar Singh, in the memory of his father, built the Jaswant Thada. The cenotaph has two more tombs within it.
Near to this are the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs.

www.jodhpurindia.net/forts-and-monuments/jaswant-thada.html

Jaswant Thada

The cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh displays portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur.
The main memorial has been built like a temple.
Jaswant Thada

Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada

 

Castle curtain  wall

No fort without defense works. In the distance one can see a curtain wall that seems to surround the entire countryside.

Various canons decorate the castle walls.


Canon

 


On the way out we are face by a few streetartists. A few seconds of string music while the wife & son graciously move their limbs, followed by outstretched hands for a few rupees. Oh well, they did dress up for it and it is quite a walk from the town up the mountainroad.

 

jodhpur - Blue City
Jodhpur is known as the Sun City for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred as the Blue City due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.

In 1458, Rao Jodha (1438-1488), one of Ranmal's 24 sons became the fifteenth Rathore ruler. One year after his accession to the throne, Jodha decided to move his capital to the safer location of Jodhpur as the one thousand years old Mandore fort was no longer considered to provide sufficient security.

The foundation of the fort was laid in 1459 by Jodha on a rocky hill 9 kilometers to the south of Mandore. This hill was known as Bhaurcheeria, the mountain of birds. According to legend to build the fort he had to displace the hill's sole human occupant, a hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the lord of birds. Upset at being forced to move Cheeria Nathji cursed Rao Jodha with "Jodha! May your citadel ever suffer a scarcity of water!". Rao Jodha managed to appease the hermit by building a house and a temple in the fort very near the cave the hermit had used for meditation, though only to the extent that even today the area is plagued by a drought every 3 to 4 years...

 


Huge castle walls; one can only try to imagine what engineering feat it was for the 15th century. The number of people labouring here, while erecting this fort, must have been gigantic.
Last look up those walls

 

The Mehrangarh Fort
Frescoes of Mehrangarh Fort.
We probably should have entered here and walked through the palace, but we didn't and as such we did not see all there was to see. But we didn't mind, the decadent luxuries of the Maharajas bore quickly.

 

The armoury was interesting.
Armoury
Armoury
Armoury
Armoury

 

Palanquin
There were a series of Palanquins on display, varying from gold-plated luxury models to very simple ones.
Information
Palanquin
Palanquin
These 'vehicles' are known by different names, including jiao (China), sedan chairs (England), palanquin (also known as palki, India), and gama (Korea).

Portuguese and Spanish navigators and colonists encountered litters of various sorts in India, Mexico, and Peru and were brought home. In Europe, Henry VIII of England was carried around in a sedan chair; it took four strong chairmen to carry him towards the end of his life!
In various colonies, litters of various types were not only maintained under native traditions, but often adopted by the white colonials as a new ruling and/or socio-economic elite, either for practical reasons (often comfortable modern transport was unavailable, e.g. for lack of decent roads) and/or as a status symbol. (Wikipedia)

 

 

Old man in Mehrangarh

 

Mother and child
The women is obviously eyeing me closely and not for my good looks, I imagine. The child wasn't playing music at that moment, but if she had seen me taking a photo (I was shooting from the hip) she would have demanded money, I am sure. It isn't that I don't begrudge them a few rupees, but I don't want to promote child labour... Confusing!

 

Canon on the city
The fort follows the lines of the hill.
It has 7 gates, including the Jayapol which was 'built by' the Maharaja Man Singh in 1806, following his victory over Jaipur and Bikaner. Fatehpol (Victory Gate) was erected after defeating the Mughals.

 

Battle scars of canon ball hits, by the attacking armies of Jaipur, can still be seen on the second gate.
Canon blasts
Canon blasts
Information
Ancient door
Ancient door

 

By 11:00 we were in the car again, heading for Jaisalmer!
On the road again..

 

UDAIPUR TO JODHPUR BACK

NEXT JAISALMER

 

Helpful links:
Indiaonline.nl (Dutch)
www.suncityjodhpur.com/jodhpur
www.india-tourism.com
www.bharatonline.com
Lonely Planet
Wikipedia