Continuing from where I left off in the previous blog entry, we took a morning bus to Mount Abu from Udaipur, a three hour journey that cut across a lot of barren looking terrain and ended up in a ‘hill station’ that was searing hot. As soon as we reached, we were swarmed by a lot of guys asking if we wanted rooms or a cab. We realised we were in the beginning of the off season, and decided to bargain hard for a room to keep our luggage for the day, and continued the good work and hired two scooters for the day for ₹150 each.
We roamed as much as we could around the small hill station, stopping often for juices, shakes and water to keep us hydrated and settled down into the major tourist attraction in the place: pedal boating on the Nakki lake while the sun set between two hills in the background.
Jodhpur at first sight gave the vibes of being in a very dirty and cramped city. And trust me, when an Indian calls a place dirty, he means really dirty, because Indians are mostly immune to dirt. We had booked our stay in a really cool backpacking hostel called BedPool, which had a common room with a lot of board games, and an AC room with four bunk beds. The walls were decorated with fun trivia of Jodhpur in pop culture caricatures.
Jodhpur was filled with colours. Everything starting from the walls of houses to the food to the clothes people wore were colourful. The men wear bright kurtas and turbans while women wear ghagras, a wrap around their heads called Odhni, which is very similar to a pardah, and lots of bangles and jhumkis.
We hit the Mehrangarh Fort first thing in the afternoon after a short nap. There, we took the audio guides, which helped us understand the history behind the Rathore dynasty of the Rajput clan, who ruled Marwar (yes, Marwadis are from here). The fort in itself was a thing of beauty. Impenetrable and majestic, we could see the whole of the walled city of Jodhpur, including the old blue city resulting from the blue-washed walls of almost every house in that region.
After the fort, we embarked on a trail to find the well where scenes from The Dark Knight Rises were shot but inadvertently stumbled into the heart of the blue city, where a song from the Tamil movie Yennai Arindhal was shot. Here, I’ve to admit to the fact that visuals from this song partly inspired us to pick Jodhpur as one of our holiday destinations. Calling it merely picturesque wouldn’t be doing justice, so I’ll post a couple of pictures.
We found a beautiful restaurant in the middle of the blue city, where we had some scrumptious thali, and decided to walk all the way back. In the process, we discovered that the well doesn’t exist here, and only the portion where Bruce Wayne gets out of the well and sees the Fort in the background does.
The next day, we went to the Umaid Bhawan palace, which is where the current Rajput royals live. A portion of the palace was open to the public in the form of a museum, and gave us a glimpse of the lifestyle the royal family lived in the past and continues to experience. We even saw the vintage cars they owned, including the Rolls Royce Phantom I.
Evening was spent around the Ghanta Ghar, the heartbeat of the city surrounded by a chaotic market having shops serving makhania lassi, shahi samosa and mirchi bada that make you drool by just looking at them. My personal favourite was the dahi bada, which completely floored me, with the right mix of sweet, salt, spice and sourness.
After doing some shopping for the ladies back home, we took the train to Jaisalmer in the night.
To be continued..