Jodhpur – day 29

Woke up without alarm clocks this morning and headed out straight away to Mehrangarh Fort. The walls of the fort soar overhead as we climbed up to the fort and the curves of the fort hug the curves of the hill, demonstrating the skills of the builders! There are seven gates into the fort, one of which is still scarred with cannonball hits. Another gate is set at a right angle to the path so that attackers didn’t have a clear run up at the gate which is one of the reason why the fort has never been taken by force. The final gate has numerous tiny hand prints next to it – from the Maharaja Man Singh’s widows, who all threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843.    The fort has been beautifully restored and the museum was really interesting. The audio guide was included in cost of the admission ticket so we were geeks listening to the mix of history, information and narrated anecdotes. The displays holding the royal howdahs (elephant seats), miniature paintings, armoury and other palace items was really well presented. The camel-bone carpet weights were a particular favourite! There was also a turban museum which was quite interesting, mostly on how turbans will be sized and tied differently about every 25km.  

After the fort, we headed down to the flying fox (zip wire) that went around the outer fort grounds. After a quick practise go, we were off! First zip line went straight over the moat from one of the fort walls. We then had 5 more zip lines going across the fort walls, moat and grounds. The longest zip line was 350 metres – it was scary but fantastic! It took about an hour and a half to complete all the lines (there was 9 of us and 2 instructors) but the view was so amazing that it didn’t feel like we were waiting very long!!

 Once we’d finished, we watched the sun set over the blue city and we walked along the main road back towards the main square. Just walked around until we decided that we needed a sit down and some food. Had some more traditional Rajasthan dishes – amazing but bit more spicy tonight… Lips were on fire! Went to have a shower only to find out that the guest house has run out of water?!? Apparently, more will be delivered tomorrow so we’re going to bed slightly stinky but, after today, with big smiles on our faces!!

Travelling & Jodhpur – day 28

Another early-ish start to the day, heading to the bus station for our 7am bus to Jodhpur. Met a traveller on the same bus, who in one week had managed to spend the same amount as the two of us have spent for the month! Made me feel so much better about my budgeting skills!! The five-and-a-half hour bus journey was pretty uneventful. We’re slowly getting used to be squashed onto seats clearly designed for children – although, hopefully soon, we’ll be able to squeeze both butt cheeks onto the seat! Had the most amazing street food passed through the bus window – it was a whole green chilli, surrounded by curried mashed potato and deep fat fried! A little drop of heaven in a heart attack inducing wrapper! Arrived in Jodhpur and had the usual gaggle of TukTuk drivers waiting to pounce!! They were particularly bad today (think because the above traveller paid full asking price rather than haggling). Ended up walking down the road (past a dead cow ready to burst from built up body gases – it was quite a sight but didn’t want to linger too long!) for a bit before getting one at a fifth of the price quoted by the previous guys. Got to our hotel and had a drink on the rooftop looking at Mehrangarh Fort. Went for a walk to the train and bus stations to organise our onward travel plans over the next few days (especially with Diwali coming up!). Managed to find a way to and from where we want/need to be. Headed back to the old city via the clock tower. An old city landmark of a rather small clock tower which is surrounded by the bustling Sardar Market – another town that totally bombards the senses with sounds, sights and smells! Was nice to see that the bazaars actually catered for the Indian markets, rather than in Pushkar where it was just tourist tat!   Came back to the hotel for a little rest (it was incredibly hot today!) before having dinner. Opted for traditional Rajasthan cuisine – it was absolutely amazing although we have no idea what we ate!! Treated ourselves to a beer whilst watching bats and fireworks over the city.