Forts and Textiles and Dogs
31.01.2016 - 16.02.2016 80 °F
Those military jets must be Indian since I am still here to tell the story. They aren’t flying tonight, thank heaven. But the wedding party is still going on. These things go on for days, I guess. Thankfully my room is on the other end of the hotel so I can’t hear anything. Well, I spoke too soon. One just flew over.
Jodhpur is located in a rather arid area of India. It is nicknamed “Sun City” because they see the sun every day. It doesn’t look like desert but it is certainly not lush. Jodhpur is also called the “Blue City” because so many of the homes are painted blue. The legend is that the Brahmin caste (the highest, priestly class) painted their houses blue to set them apart and others followed suite. Who knows?
Newsflash! I saw my first dog on a leash today!! The dogs in this country roam free and there are dozens of them on the streets wherever you go. But today was a first. I doubt that it will become a fad anytime soon.
I take back what I said about being tired of forts. We visited the most amazing fort today, Mehrangarh, “Citadel of the Sun”. Built around 1460, it is one of the largest forts in India and contains beautiful palaces and courtyards. We wandered around there for a couple of hours and thoroughly enjoyed that tour. Here is a picture of the outside of one of the palaces.
From there we went shopping in the strangest, most disorganized, huge storeroom/showroom of textiles, curios, antiques, and jewelry you can imagine. Some of it appears to be almost “in its place” but the scarves, linens, woven goods, are just stacked everywhere. The owner knows where everything is and he showed us some beautiful things. The prices were very low. My luggage is getting very full.
After a very nice lunch in a courtyard café, we went on a “safari” to visit a religious group called the Bishnoi. We piled into three jeeps and headed off down poorly maintained roads that turned into dirt roads that finally led to the Bishnoi village. These people are devoted to animal and plant life and will not kill an animal or a tree. They lead simple primitive lives but are comparatively well off compared to other nearby villages. They make some crafts and sell them, so of course we were shown their wares. We also got to participate in a daily ritual usually reserved for only the elder men – the opium ceremony. Unfortunately, the potion we got to taste was very watered down.
On the way home from the village we saw some wildlife, mostly antelopes but we did see peacocks. The peacock is the national bird of India and they are beautiful when they are in their rightful home. We also ran into a little family crossing the road.
Dinner this evening was in a residence on the estate owned by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, who is one of those royals who no longer is really royal and who no longer gets a princely stipend from the Indian government. So, part of the actual royal palace is used for commercial purposes as is the small palace where we dined. It was rooftop dining with a view of the city and the royal palace at night. Lovely.