No “blues” in Jodhpur

December 15, 2015

This was supposed to be the city that we wouldn’t like.  Described by some other blog posts as pushy and polluted, we were not looking forward to heavy sell tactics. Thankfully, our experience was completely opposite from these accounts, except for some pollution, which we haven’t been able to avoid much in the stagnant air of Rajasthan.  Jodhpur is known as the blue city, for housing an inordinate amount of buildings in this shade, which used to signify the home of a Brahmin (a person of the highest Indian caste of priests/scholars).  Blue is also considered to be a color that acts as a natural mosquito repellant.  Once again, we had booked an accommodation in a neighborhood (Navchokiya) that is unreachable by car.  It is part of the old Medieval city that was built long before vehicles were invented and now has very narrow, windy, and sometimes steep roads that are best suited for scooters, motorcycles, and auto-rickshaws.  I personally wish there were more bicycles and pedestrian-only lanes.

We stayed in a lovely renovated haveli (Singhvi’s), where we met our first fellow American family from the Northern California bay area, traveling with two girls the same age as Stella and Gabriel.  Our kids would have been happy to just play in our guesthouse all day with their new friends, but our time together was limited to one evening.

What I really liked about our stay in Jodhpur were the following things:

1) Besides the comfort of Singhvi’s Haveli, it was also located in a fun-to-explore neighborhood, which felt less touristy.  We were greeted by many locals, who stopped to ask questions, specifically directed to Stella and Gabriel.  We never felt cheated when we made small purchases, and felt a genuine friendliness from the people on the streets.

2) We had obviously visited our share of forts by this time, but I can now look back and put our experience at Mehrangarh Fort, on the top.  We did an audio-guided tour, which was incredibly informative, teaching us much about this particular fort as well as Rajasthan history, and the palace also a museum and live exhibitions, explaining opium use, henna, and a meditative musical performance featuring the santoor.

3) Here we visited our first Indian garden/nature preserve.  Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park is a large area that is dedicated to the flora and fauna of the desert landscape. It is a clean oasis of little streams, desert foliage and birds, ensconced within the extended walls of the fort.  We witnessed women maintaining the paths by cutting back overgrowth and no sights of rubbish anywhere.

4) When we did venture into the bazaar area near the Clock Tower monument, an area that probably illicited some of the negative feelings from other travelers, we had nothing but fun, witnessing the crazy buying-frenzy of the last days before Diwali.  The Sardar Market was bright with tinsel, lights and peacock feathers, and the crowds and energy reminded me of going shopping for Christmas on December 23-24, X’s one hundred.

5) Our stay was peppered with other sights, including the Jaswant Thada, a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, and Umaid Bhawan Palace:

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  • Reply Poppy December 15, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Once again, you share awesome sights…exquisite commentary and gorgeous pictures. We’re pleased to see that you are finding your continued travels to be educational, uplifting and exciting in every place you discover. The market place reminds me when I was visiting Fez and Marrakesh in Morocco 40 years ago. Fortunately, so many things remain the same after centuries of time gone by. I’m glad Stella and Gabriel found some new friends their age to play with albeit for only a short time. We miss and love you all (particularly this time of year….)

    Travel safe and hug and kiss each other for us!

  • Reply Janet Storton December 15, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Your Bazaar Market experience reminds me of my shopping forays into the heart of Kampala, Uganda. Amidst the throngs of people and humanity from all over the globe I purchase fabrics and supplies. Such a different experience from our day to day shopping in the U.S. Arms loaded with amazing fabrics, bargains, dodging traffic and people, I leave feeling as if I have gone back in time a hundred years! Very exhilarating. I will put shopping in India on my “to do list.”

  • Reply Patricia Andersson December 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Hello Sarah, Daniel, Stella and Gabriel!

    Although I’ve not commented before, I want you to know that I’ve read every single post you’ve written (and I know Mollie has too as we talk about them), and feel so fortunate to be able to follow along with your great adventures. Your writing is compelling, Sarah, and I’ve enjoyed both reading the stories and seeing all the amazing pictures. So happy to hear what great and flexible travelers Stella and Gabriel are! I’m heading off to Senegal (!) next month, and hope I can capture my journey as well as you’re capturing yours. Please keep up your blog — I know how much work it is, but I’m sure there’s tons of people out here like me who read all your posts avidly but just haven’t posted any comments yet.

    We miss you in the neighborhood, but really nothing much new to report. The new house across the street is about 3/4 done now, already sold. To who, we don’t know. Your renters are great, but we miss YOU! Sending love to each one of you — and big wishes for continued safe travels!

  • Reply Uncle David December 15, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Stella and Gabriel,
    I just had a fantastic idea. What do you think about a surprise for Poppy and Grammy for Christmas? I was thinking of a two or three page journal that describes the best parts of your trip so far. If you want to make it longer than 3 pages, then include some drawings of your favorite things you’ve seen.
    I just left their house and we were talking about you guys and I know they’d love something like that. If I don’t chat with you (I don’t have Face Time), have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday! Love you more.

  • Reply Uncle David December 15, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I’ll bet your mom and dad would give you an “A” for Art, Geography, English, and Grandparents.

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