Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Maharajas & Me - Jodphur

Jodphur, founded in 1459, is known as the Blue City, for its many blue-painted houses.  Jodphur turned out to be one of my favorite Rajasthan cities: our hotel was a cool old haveli in the middle of the very walkable city, the fort boasted the best tourist infrastructure of any we'd visited, and we did some really good shopping.  Highlights below.

The Blue City
Mehrangarh Fort
(Read more about it in wikipedia and the Mehrangarh Museum Trust website).

The Mehrangarh Fort was by far the best fort we visited in Rajasthan, if only for the commitment of its Maharaja in making the Fort and its museum into a truly excellent tourist destination.  The audio tour was exceptional and everything was well-marked and clearly-signed.  There was even a video about the Maharaja and his quest to preserve the family fort, complete with 1970s footage of him in a leisure suit and mutton chops, poring over the family ledgers in a desperate attempt to avoid financial ruin.

Mehrangarh Fort
A view of the fort walls from inside the palace
A palanquin, used to carry royal ladies about
Yet another palanquin, fully enclosed for protection from the elements
Details from an elephant howdah (a seat attached to an elephant's back)

A goofy, yet endearing, lion on the side of a palanquin.

The opium-smoking room
Adorable signage that we could really get behind
An ivory dumbbell used for toning royal lady biceps
Sheesha Mahal, the Hall of Mirrors, used for meditation and reflection (har har)
Just another palace room
A group of girls dance in the courtyard of the women's section of the palace
Recessed alcoves, often with screens, allowed women in purdah to observe court proceedings
Decorative door
The future Maharaja and Maharani of Jodphur
Jaswant Thada
(Read more about it in wikipedia)

What is it with the Maharajas and their marble mausoleums?  This one was built in 1899.

I'm also not sure what's going on with the scarf on my head here
A guard hard at work - the scarf looks much better on his head
This sitar player entertained us on our walk to and from the mausoleum. 
He stopped playing the second we dropped some coins into his collection cup.

Undead Jodphur:

Spices for sale...
...Including a special blend created exclusively for zombies

All of our Jodphur photos (including photos of our very cool hotel) are available here.

2 comments:

  1. errr. I juts wrote you a long email and clicked the wrong button, thus loosing it! :(

    Ok, round 2!

    I just found your site off a comment you left on JohnnyVagabound site with the sex wood carvings. Really dig your blog and love your photography work (and sorry for the long comment as I didn't see a way to email you or anything).

    I'm currently in Jaipur now. Been here a few days and got some really great night shots a few days ago but last night I got ran off by the police because I was using a tripod next to the road and they said i can't do that. Oh the joys of make-no-sense-laws in India. I leave tomorrow for Johdpur, spend a few days there and basically do a circle through the state like you guys did.

    The reason I noticed your comment is that it said you just finished Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. I'm going to Kathmandu on 16June and my whole reason for Nepal was to do that hike but everyone is telling it won't be possible then because of rains. Breaks my heart because it's a dream hike for me and just wondering your thoughts on it. Do you think it's doable then? Any tips on hiring someone as a porter (as i planned to have one carry a camera bag for me and my gear)? If i can't do the hike I'm just going to wing it I guess and suck it up. Just wondering what advise you guys might have on it.

    Chao,

    T-roy :)
    you can contact back at my travel blog: www.foggodyssey.com or at my email foggtour (at) yahoo.com

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  2. Hi T-roy. Thanks for reading, glad you like the blog! Definitely take the audio tour at Mehrangarh Fort - it was great.

    I'm not sure if anyone does the Annapurna Circuit during monsoon season, but I think many parts of the trail would be pretty difficult in rainy, muddy conditions. If you're interested in speaking with the (terrific) guide we used I can put you in touch and I'm sure he'll answer your questions about weather conditions - you can email us at jdmesh [at] gmail [dot] com. It's easy to hire a porter and anything else you might need once you get to Nepal.

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