The age of thali

Trip Start Aug 18, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jodhpur is the 'blue city'. Back in the day the old town was inhabited by the priestly 'Brahmin' caste, who painted their houses in their traditional colour. Since it's now a tourist draw, many people in the new town have followed suit. Jodhpur is also the location of one the most famous and impressive forts in India. Situated on a bluff overlooking the town, the fort looks as impregnable as it has proved to be, holding out against numerous invasions. The airflows around the fort have a curious effect, bringing the sounds of the city undistorted to the bastions of the fort high above, so you can almost eavesdrop on the gossip in the market. My favourite feature, however, was the entrance. Two giant iron doors bar the main gate, which is at an angle to the approachway. The area between about 6feet and 10feet high on the doors is adorned with huge iron spikes, whose purpose I couldn't figure out, until I learned the reason for the dog-leg approach, at which point all became clear. Rajput warfare included the use of war-elephants. Setting the gate at an angle meant the attacker's pachiderms couldn't pick up any momentum and batter the door, and if they tried... spikes. For some reason architechture that has to take rampaging elephants into consideration really captures my imagination.

The morning after we arrived we were overtaken by a carnival while wandering the town. Floats with people dressed as hindu gods, marching bands and parading horses swept past. I tried asking people what was the occasion but my hindi really hasn't progressed very far in two months. However, I came accross almost identical parades in Jaipur and Delhi, so I guess it's a pretty popular festival. 

Despite it's undeniable advantages, Jodhpur had two flaws that made us happy to leave after three days. The narrow alleyways between high buildings held pollution in the air, and kept even the slightest breath of wind from dispersing it or providing cool relief. This discomfort was compounded by a total absence of convivial, economical, or hygenic places to eat or drink.
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