The trip from Delhi to Jodhpur is about 625 Km in length with most of the travel in the overnight hours. The first night of sleep on board the train was interesting. Like a lullaby played at a rock concert, the train made its way through the night to Jodhpur. There was quite a bit of rocking as we sped along. Sue and I had the giggles as we held on for dear life. Maybe not quite that bad, but it sure wasn’t the gentle rocking we were expecting. We didn’t sleep well, but as we would find out later, nor did many others.
After showering and dressing, we headed to the dining car for breakfast. That’s where we heard others laughing about the rocking and rolling last night. The good news is that everyone was smiling and not worried about it.
Breakfast was very good. Lots of choices – all freshly prepared. Sue was able to get her tea in quantity, so she’s raring to go. Just relaxed a bit as we are nearing Jodhpur. We’re a bit behind schedule due to the overnight train traffic. Since we are just a tourist train, the other trains that run on a schedule get top priority so we had to wait at times for them to go by. We were scheduled to arrive in Jodhpur about 9:15, but actually arrived around 10:30.
Once we did arrive, we were met by a reception of live music, marigold garlands, and more dots on our foreheads before loading on to a bus for our excursion.
We started with a visit to the Umaid Bhawan Palace, home to the reigning Maharaja Gaj Singh. It is a beautiful combination palace and museum that was built in 1929 by British architect Henry Lanchester for Maharaja Umaid Singh.
Our next stop was a neighboring location – Jaswant Thada. It is a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It was a very peaceful and beautiful setting with all around views from the hilltop location.
Our final visit was to the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. The fort was built back in 1459 by Rao Jodha. It is built of red sandstone with high walls – some of which were actually carved out of the rocky cliff it stands on. It has been open for tourists since the 1970’s.
From the top of the walls, you can see why Jodhpur is called the ‘Blue City”.
The reason for the blue colorization is two-fold. It started out as a way to identify the religious priests or Brahmin during the war times. The later on, it was adopted by the non-Brahmins and Muslim community. The Muslims believe that the devil fears the color blue.
Our next stop was a luxury hotel in Jodhpur for lunch.It was a nice buffet in beautiful surroundings. The doorman there was a really cool guy. With his uniform and bushy mustache, he reminded me of the characters often seen in the movies. He also didn’t outwardly seem annoyed by all the people pushing cameras in his face.
Afterwards, we made a stop at a market for some shopping. While I understand the reason, the shopping part we could do without. On the other hand, there are members of the group that absolutely love the shopping. Anybody need a flying carpet?
Our guide for the day was very informative and really tried to provide insightful information about the places we visited. He was also funny, throwing in a couple of anecdotes along the way.
Like the three things you need to drive in India – a car, a horn and luck.
But he also explained a bit about cremations, religion and chakra’s for you yoga folks, as well as history about the area and surroundings.
Jodhpur was an excellent way to start out our exploration of Rajasthan.