Birthday splurge in the blue city

Trip Start Dec 02, 2004
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Trip End May 30, 2005


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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Just about done in Jodhpur after a day at the Maharaja's palace, Umaid Bhawan, indulging in some colonial splendor. Absolutly fantastic place, worlds away from anything we have experienced before. As honoured guests we were even invited to the Maharaja's Polo match... oh how "terribly terribly what what". Started with an aperitif in the Trophey room, filled with elephants feet, stuffed tiger and buffalo heads, elephants tusks and the like, had a lovely lunch and finished with a nice G 'n' T on the grand terrace overlooking the gardens and marble centrepiece as the sun went down. Absolutly horrible!

Previously we had been to the Meherangarh fort, which was also spectacular, brought to life by the film cast that were on site, waving coloured flags and the like out of dozens of windows set in a 30m high pink sandstone wall. There was a magnificent view of the blue city - and everything is very very blue! Headed back in search of a beer via a friendly chap who knocked up a nice saffron lassi and special Indian sweet rice pudding. We paid with some loose english change as this chap was into his collection of foreign currencies. Said goodbye and ran into Nandu. What a guy! He knew everyone in the town (obviously used to off loading tourists to various stalls and shops), but found us a beer for 'Indian price' and took us into the middle of a network of dark narrow alleyways promising a wonderful rooftop from where we could enjoy our drinks. Hmmm.. Mother would not have been amused, and it was all getting a bit on the dodgey side, but Nandu came good, and we had a lovely chat on a terrace overlooking the lit fort with the muslim prayers as background music. All he was after was a 30Rs fee for sitting on his roof (which it turned out was his mates who was running a guest house, and would we like to see the rooms? etc etc). Still was all good fun and I said I'd reccommend him to the Lonley planet, so he could become rich and famous.

All in all a great 4 days, now off for a bit more luxury at the Mandir Palace (thank you Kraton!) but have to endure another night trip on the trains, this time, with the added challenge of seeing how fast I can run the length of the carriage to get to the loo!

All the best, Ant & Annabelle.
P.s thanks for all the e-mails. Keep 'em coming!

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C'est donc notre dernier jour a Jodhpur, et sans doute le plus agreable (anniversaire oblige, il fallait que j'essaie d'oublier mon grand age avec quelques cocktails et une pointe de luxe colonial! - et merci pour les e-mails). On a donc passe une bonne partie de la journee a Umaid Bhawan, l'immense palais de gres rose du Maharadja de Jodhpur. Il habite avec sa famille dans une partie du palais et a converti le reste en un hotel de luxe, restaurants et musee - une affaire probablement lucrative vu le nombre de serviteurs et gardes (?) en turbans presents dans tous les coins. Apres un apero dans le Trophy Bar, decore de tetes de tigres et buffalos, pieds d'elephants (mmm...) et autres photos de safaris datant d'une autre epoque, un dejeuner copieux et une visite eclair du musee, on s'est installes sur la terrasse surplombant l'immense jardin pour un dernier Gin 'n' tonic avant de retourner a notre hotel en attendant notre train pour Jaisalmer. Un autre train de nuit, en compartiment couchette a partager potentiellement avec 4 autres voyageurs, et qui arrive a 5:15... On compte sur la non-ponctualite des trains Indiens pour arriver a une heure plus convenable - ils ne nous ont pas decus jusqu'a present!

A Jodhpur on a aussi pu visite le Fort de Meherangarh qui surplombe la ville - c'est la meilleure facon de se rendre compte d'ou vient le nom de ville bleue, on ne s'en rend pas vraiment compte depuis le bas quand on se concentre pour eviter de deraper dans une pile de detritus ou une bouse de vache... Le fort est extrement bien restaure et limite touristique (audio-guide et tarif exhorbitant compare aux autres sites qu'on a visite) mais la visite en vaut la peine. Les 'jallis', fenetres de gres ajoure derriere lesquelles les femmes pouvaient voir sans etre vues, sont impressionnants. Les choses n'on pas vraiment change il semblerait puisque les hommes ne peuvent toujours pas s'empecher de devisager tout ce qui bouge avec paire de nenes...

Sur ce, on va aller se prendre un petit bol de soupe avec des toasts, pour essayer d'eviter une nuit tumultueuse interrompue de courses au bout du wagon!

A bientot, grosses bises a tous,

Annabelle et Antony
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