To go to our next destination Jodhpur – the blue city of Rajashtan – we had booked a bus. It was 250 Rs per person for something like 5 hour drive (7h in reality). The ride was almost exactly what one would expect from a bus ride in India. First there was a big confusion about the seats. We had booked real seats, not sleeper compartment. But the bus “manager” wanted us to sit in other seats and was trying to make us take the sleeper compartment. We just found our real seats that fortunately were not taken and placed our selves there. There was a loud discussion going on in Hindi, the manager was telling us to move to sleeper, but we would not move. The bus was crowded already and who wants a sleeper compartment on a day trip? He gave up. For a while.
In the next stop we repeated the same scenario again. This time there was an older lady involved who was giving me signs that I must move and that is her seat. But we had our ticket with seat number on (next time we book a bus, we will ask to write it clearly down that those are seats no sleeper). She was trying for few times more and afterwards giving me angry looks, but you have to learn to ignore here. She got off after an hour, so I did not understand why she had to have our seats anyway…
The bus was full. There were people squeezed in sleeper compartments and people were sitting in the passage. After few hours on the road we watched the shadow of the bus a bit more carefully and we realised that there were people also sitting on the roof of the bus. Welcome to India! I was sitting on the side of the passage. Few of the people tried to sit next to me on my seat or at least put their elbows and bags on my seat where I was sitting. The did not try that with other Indians also sitting in the seats… That felt strange.
We arrived in Jodhpur in the afternoon. We felt spoiled after Udaipur. Jodhpur felt so dirty and very unorganised. We went to Guest house that we had reserved via phone. Don’t do that! You might end up with no room as we did. Luckily our friend from Udaipur had recommended us another place Sarvar Guest house. Same price, better conditions, better view and very, very lovely family running the place.
Jodhpur is called the blue city because of the houses of the old part of the city that are pained blue. Historically the blue houses indicated a Brhamn familly (upper cast) living in the house, but nowadays everyone can paint their house blue, if they wish.
Our main activity of the day was to visit the Mehrangarh Fort and Palace. It was worth it! The entrance fee is 500 Rs per person + camera fee. There is an audio guide included in the price. It was one of the first times I really enjoyed an audio guide. The exposition of the museum is filled with many beautiful objects, as well as rooms and views to see. It is nor too long, nor too short. The perfect amount for my brain. My big discovery was the Mewar style paintings. The quality of them were much higher than of the paintings of Udaipur. The artists of Jodhpur had much more imagination and courage to step out of the conservative lines of miniature painting. The colours are richer too, that makes me think that the royal commissioner of Jodhpur had greater wealth than those of Udaipur.
The only disturbing factor of the fort and palace were the Indians who wanted to make selfies with us. Parents wanted us to pose with their kids, but then the parents wanted to be in the photo too. Young and old were pointing their cameras to us making us feel like some sort of celebrities. But know I know how tiring it is. It was just impossible to see the exhibition in one go. Every 5 minutes there would be some people tapping on my shoulder for another photo. And one photo means 15 more with other curious visitors who did not dare to ask before… So we ended up posing for some 200 selfies… We sometimes asked money as a joke, but they did not seem to get it. One guy actually was about to give us money, but we refused.
We did not know what to do in Jodhpur in our second day, so we just we to see the Jaswant Thada mausoleum. It was a very nice suprise. You have to do the whole climb to the fort again, but you get rewarded by a peaceful site with green garden, beautiful architecture and few tourists. And extra joy is the small entrance fee. We spent quite some time there, just enjoying the site. So far we have had quite some luck with mausoleums. They seem to be less of an attraction for tourists and locals, but the sites have been great and peaceful. Something that we long for after the busy, noisy streets of city.
We had a feeling that there is not too much to do in Jodhpur. As we were not in a rush, we stayed for 2 nights, but one might cover the main sites in one day.
We left the city by afternoon train that would take us to the desert city Jaisalmer. The train was late for about an hour, luckily we met a lovely Canadian couple: Kay and Josh. We could kill time by sharing our experience in India and by watching a live show “how to get a free seat in and on the train”. Yes, we finally saw it! The famous Indian trains with people squeezing/hanging out of the doors of the train and placing them selves for a “comfy rooftop view” on the train! It was fascinating but very scary at the same time. The try t squeeze them selves in the train like one would try to stuff things in an overloaded bag. Those on the roof were even worse. It seemed like they are sitting on top of each other. I do not want to know how the keep them selves on the train in a tunnel.