Four Countries in 2 Weeks: Turkey, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India
India Day 8 and 9 – Taking a long bus ride to Jodhpur and exploring the blue city with visits to Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, and Ghanta Ghar.
The main objective of the day was to arrive in Jodhpur and then spend the next morning exploring the city.
After a quick breakfast and a delicious masala tea, I checked out of the Trident and bid farewell to my friends. The driver took me to the bus station where I planned to soak in the local Indian culture.
On the drive over we passed a group of gypsies and the driver blurted out:
“All they do is have many babies, begging, sex on the road, more babies. Baby every year!”
He obviously was not very fond of them.
A moment later a police officer waves us to the side of the road. Apparently I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. So now the officer is leaning in my window holding up three fingers. I understood he wanted 300 rupees, but Arif the driver handed him a 100 rupee note which the officer quickly pocketed and we were off.
I put on my seatbelt.
I thanked the driver and cautiously walked into the large chaotic bus station. I asked for Jodhpur several times and found the booth that sells the ticket for the route. Apparently I couldn’t buy it yet because the bus wasn’t there. When I asked if it was direct and he burst out laughing, The bus stops! You need the break and you need to do the *points to his crotch*
I guess he didn’t understand my question.
I purchased what I thought was a deluxe class ticket, but found on my ticket that it was only a semi-deluxe. The 7.5 hour journey was a total of 276 rupees.
The bus was quite filthy and the windows were streaked with vomit, but better than a lot of the other ones. I secured a good seat in the front and we were soon on the way.
The ride was interesting in terms of culture. I sat next to a Rajasthani with a large mustache and later a man with a sack of fresh peanuts, who kindly offered me some. Unfortunately I couldn’t converse with either one.
We made two major stops at different cities to get passengers on. I only got off once to use the bathroom and the guy next to me watched my stuff. He was friendly and pulled out a handful of peanuts to share.
Besides two stops in Ajmer and Beawar, the bus went directly to Jodhpur and we arrived just before sunset around 5:30 p.m.
I got out an immediately hopped into an auto rickshaw to my hotel.
That evening I relaxed at the hotel with dinner and a show. They have Manganiar folk performers and a puppet show every night. The small troupe’s singing and dancing echoed in the hotel’s courtyard.
The next day I visited the sites of the city. After a quick buffet breakfast, I did a tour of the hotel and then hired a car to take me around for a couple of hours.
My first stop was to the imposing fort overlooking the entire city. The fort’s construction started in 1459.
On entering I found that almost the entire fort has been transformed into a large museum. It had an impressive collection of original artworks, clothing, weaponry and decorated rooms.
I walked through Fattehpol or “victory gate” where red palm imprints marked the wall. There were cannonball markings that can still be seen today during the battle against the Jaipur enemy.
Making my way through the maze of a museum, I found myself on the ramparts of the fort. There were many antique cannons facing the blue city below.
From the fortifications I could also see Umaid Bhawan Palace in the distance. It is one of the world’s largest private residences.
Further along the wall, I saw Chamunda Devi temple. This was the site where 249 people were killed during a Hindu festival.
One interesting factoid is that the fort is a filming location for the prison in the movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Near the fort is the white marble memorial built for the Maharaja Jaswant Singh II in 1899.
The most interesting part of this cenotaph is the symmetry in its architecture and details of the carvings throughout the building.
Finally we went to see the clock tower in the center of town. The driver dropped me off and I walked through Sadar Market, a chaotic and busy local market.
Back at the hotel, I checked out and found that the car from Suryagarh had already arrived. I thanked the manager and said goodbye to Jodhpur.
Next stop, Jaisalmer!