The Blue City

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, November 23, 2012

There were more heated negotiations over the cost of our ride to the railway station in the middle of the night. After several head wobbles we got in and made it in time for our 03:15 train.  We still managed a few winks despite the surrounding snoring symphony.

Devinder guided us through a friendly and efficient check-in at Jagat Villas, our first homegrown guesthouse experience in India.  The family matriarch watched over her well-trained boys in the kitchen while they made us breakfast.  As we dined, our bags were taken to our room in a lovely courtyard.

We ventured out and after two unreasonable asks, the third rickshaw driver's price was just right so we made way for Umaid Bhawan Palace.  Currently serving as both the home to India's royal incumbent and an outrageously expensive hotel, it was built during the art deco period and thus incorporates some of its architectural themes.

The maharaja's collection of vintage cars was on display out front, including several stately old Rolls Royces and Cadillacs.  The property also housed a small museum.  In the cafe outside, Sylvia sampled kulfi, pistachio ice cream, for the first time and was impressed.

We rickshawed over to lunch at On The Rocks, a delightful restaurant with tables sitting on small stones and shaded under beautiful trees.  We braved the butter chicken with rice and naan and it was very good.

We decided to stay in for a home-cooked vegetarian dinner at the guesthouse.  The amount of food was overwhelming but it was tasty so we did our best.

The load from all of our travels weighed heavy on us at times.  The Avett Brothers fit the mood because nothing cheers one up like a sad song.

Train horns from the nearby station woke Jason up early the next morning.  After breakfast it was sightseeing time again.

Since Makesh had been so honest with us the day before, we hired him for another half day.  We started at Jaswant Thada, a memorial to one of the late maharajas.  The marble mausoleum was built beside a very small lake, in which it partially reflected.

Then it was on to Mehrangarh (Jodhpur Fort), another huge fortress built on a rocky hilltop.  Since it was included in the steep ticket price, we took our first audio tour.  There were walls with cannon ball injuries, impressive gates with angles and spikes to deter elephant charges and haunting handprints of the women who, at the cremation of their husband, sacrificed themselves on the same funeral pyre.

Inside there was a variety of rooms, some beautifully and some curiously decorated.  Strolling between them we had views out beyond the cannon-clad ramparts and over the hazy landscape.  The blue Brahman buildings that give the city its distinctive colour were painted with indigo, also a natural insect repellent.

We had lunch at Indique Restaurant overlooking a rectangular lake in the city.  Then we stopped at the clock tower, located in the middle of a large, bustling market area.  After he dropped us off, we were content with Makesh's service so we paid him a little extra, which he was also quite happy with.

Jason's energy level and queasiness waivered throughout the day.  He slept on and off all afternoon and could only eat two bananas for dinner.

Sylvia, on the other hand, had a fine time with the host family.  It was Mrs. Singh's birthday so they all had chocolate cake for dessert.
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