Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jodhpur, India January 12, 2011

Well, still no pictures to share. I have given up trying to find an adapter and will just wait to get home and load some up! Jodhpur has turned out to be quite different than we imagined. First, our hotel reservation was quite mixed up.

When we arrived, the heritage hotel we booked in was full and they tried to switch us to a downgraded property that would put make a Motel 6 look like paradise. Devika, however, was having none of that. She held her ground and we ended up in a much nicer hotel than we originally booked for the same price. It is also what they refer to as a heritage hotel. It has beautiful wide columns, colorful tiled floors and is built of sandstone, concrete and wood, rich with a dark patina. We soon realized that Jodhpur is a dirty, dusty and noisy city.

The palace fort is certainly worth a visit and the museum shops the best we have been in so far on this trip. The new palace, constructed during the great depression and the beginnings of WWI, is a magnificent structure. It took 15 years to build and was the ruler’s idea of putting his subjects to work so they could eat. It is opulence to the highest degree. An interesting wall marker tells the story of how all the new furniture for the palace was sunk by a German U-Boat so the ruler has to settle for reproductions made in India. It described the loss of the furniture as devastating. It seems a strange way to describe the loss of furniture in light of the chaos that was happening worldwide at the time.

The narrow winding streets of old town here are some of the worst I have ever seen. Any charm is offset but the dirt, dust and garbage that clutters every inch. The shopkeepers have only wares that seem worn and torn. We did spy some cottage industry shops when we were fleeing the area. One was a silver making operation for elephants. Three men take scraps of silver and with their own short assembly line turn them into small ornamented elephants. It was a wondrous site.

Devika and I were so discouraged at the state of Jodhpur we decided to cut our stay here short. The city boasts a large sandstone mining operation and most f the buildings, including the new palace and the old fort, are made of sandstone. Unfortunately, the dust from all the new construction has created a huge cloud of dust that hovers everywhere when it is not being stirred up by traffic and street cleaners. We both came here with a slight cough and managed to get quite sick here trying to breathe.

We did manage in all this to find a few souvenirs. The area is known for camels (lots of camel hide leather products), and cottage textiles. Devika picked up a block print silk quilt that is very soft and reminds me of the beautiful work I saw in the silk area of China.
Anyway, we saw all there was to see in Jodhpur in one day and have decided to take a day trip by car to Jaisalmel to see the sights there. An interesting sight on the streets here is the use of black on the eyes and faces to ward off evil spirits. Seeing a little baby with mascara applied quite thick is a little disconcerting to the American traveler!

The highlight of Jodhpur is our hotel cook. It is the best food I have had in India. So tasty, so warm and wonderful without being hot hot hot and he cooks all from scratch. Each day he takes our order and does the shopping and cooks the special dish for us. I can see why people like having househelp. He is soooo acoomodating and attuned to our wants and needs. He makes the best Indian tea I have had as well.

I am on a week without a coffee!. Although, I am sure my consuption of tea more than makes up for th eloss of caffeine.

No comments:

Post a Comment