Old World Charm of Jodhpur

Trip Start Dec 18, 2013
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Trip End Jan 03, 2014


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Where I stayed
Discovery Inn

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Thursday, December 26, 2013

Outdoor Toilet Commando Style
I was promised last night that I will have no problem finding a rickshaw at 6am. Ha, bloody liars! The streets of Pushkar in this ghostly morning managed not even a single cow, lest a rickshaw. Anyway, I hauled my bags to the main road and thought I arrived at my bus stand but desperately had to do an emergency toilet run. Shopkeeper looked amused when I asked to use his facilities. He mumbled "Open toilet!" and pointed to a bend from the main road. Abandoned my backpack and ducked around the corner to a quiet street. 

Under the fading moonlight, I did what I have never imagined I would do - outdoor toilet commando style. Behind some concrete rubble and backed by a high wall, I nervously carried out my ritual. The street lights flickered and some poor souls strolled past but without any suspicions. I held my breath and pretended to be a gargoyle statue with my head hung low. 

As the sky increasingly turned dark blue, I finished my mission with great relief, only to realise that the high wall is part of a Hindu temple! What have I effing done!!?? I could be executed for blasphemy! 

(You readers are probably thinking that I may have sensationalised this incident. Maybe. Maybe not. You decide! -Ed)

En route to Jodhpur
I hurried back to the bus only to be told that my bus stand is actually 3 kilometres away, in place called Marwar bus stand. Frantically, I hailed a passing autorickshaw and dashed to my waiting bus. Almost missed the bus by a mere 5 mins but still managed to grab a bunch of bananas on the go for breakfast. 

The bus left on the dot, navigating through landscapes that had since changed dramatically en route to Jodhpur. This region features nothing but arid desert. Miraculously, dotted in this dry sandy wasteland are many villages, which the bus would do a quick entry and exit stop to pick up any passengers. Sometimes, the bus would sound distinctive blows of horns that went toot toot-toot toot! toot toot-toot toot! and we would see a man wrapped in turban and shawl racing out of a hut and frantically chasing down the bus before the bus driver took notice.
 
Mighty Mehrangarh Fort 
It took another 150 Rs on autorickshaw to bring me into the Old City of Jodhpur, locally known as the blue city, blue signifying the home of a Brahmin family. My choice of Pushp Guesthouse is located deep in the bowels of the old city. 

We drove to a point where the alleyways are no longer wide enough for an autorickshaw, so we had to dismount and navigate the final 100 metres of backstreets and manure minefields to reach the guesthouse. But alas, no room available! The owner tried calling countless guesthouses and in the end the owner from Discovery guesthouse came and led me to my room 10 mins away. 

These establishments are a joy to stay in - traditional Jodhpur home residences with extra rooms for foreign visitors. Almost surely, each would have a rooftop restaurant with terrific views to the grandiose Mehrangarh Fort towering over Jodhpur. A spectacularly brilliant structure of historical Rajasthan, the mere sight of Mehrangarh Fort was enough to send my heart racing.  

(Trivia: The background scene where Bruce Wayne emerges from the prison well in Dark Knight Rises film is Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur)
 
Sardar Market 
The rest of the day was well spent exploring the charming Sardar Market which I regard as simply stunning. An afternoon of multi-sensory treats that continually unveiled layers and layers of colours and sounds, that were the rites of this old city. This old world charm of Sardar Market is second to none.
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