Colours of India- blue Jodhpur
Making our way from the highway to the hotel, we soon realized that Jodhpur is a dirty, dusty and noisy city. On reaching our hotel, Jodhpur signaled, royalty and resplendence. A pluralism am well familiar with.
The Mehrangar Fort, clearly is the main attraction in Jodhpur. Masses of red sandstone used in construction in the hey days, transported via donkey drawn carts, not human labour (as was in building the pyramids of Egypt and the TajMahal in Agra). To minimize human effort, yet achieving precision, the blocks of sandstone were fixed, using a remarkable technique of placing ice between the blocks. The ice melted, the blocks were moved or turned into position and interlocked with each other, so that there was no need for a binding material, such as cement. What do you call this method? Sheer Genius!
We climbed to the top of the fort and whoa! the entire expanse below was blue in colour – awesomeness. It is thought that Brahmins – members of the priestly class – first took to coloring their houses blue (indigo?) to signify their domicile and to set them apart from the rest of the population. In addition they did the house doors in pink, and shutters in green. It’s like walking through a painting:) However, soon, the rest of Jodhpurs population followed suit and coloured their homes blue too. History does not tell us which brave non-Brahmin was the first to do it, yet it happened and since that day the people of Jodhpur have steadfastly maintained this tradition.
The fort is stunning. Within the fort there are little temples and museums. We walked around the area getting lost in the labyrinth of climbing alleyways and twisting side streets, catching glimpses of everyday life. Even stopped at a local chai shop to have fruit bun maska and adrak wali chai, given coffee is alien to this land:)
Did you know Jodhpur is the land of cotton? A variety of handmade fabrics, quilts, bandhini, leheriya to spulrge on. In addition every hue, shade,colour bangles you can imagine. And jootis so many in colour and design- everything vied for the purse.
What marred Jodhpur for us, were the narrow streets of old town filled with dirt, dust and garbage that cluttered every inch of the way. Crowded lanes too narrow for even a small car. Wiser to hail an autorickshaw here. Cows, excreta, human unhygienic’s, all left us gasping for oxygen!
The silver lining literally -:) seeing a small shop hand craft ornamental silver elephants. A couple of men would take scraps of silver, and thru the handmade assembly line, turn the scraps of silver into beautiful jeweled elephants. I watched this thru the confines of my car and lost track of time, waiting for the driver to get back from his meeting with a relative with whom he had to exchange some goods.
Jodhpur has numerous ‘pols’(large gates) - Loha pol, Jai pol, Chand pol - The walls close to these gates have battle scars created by cannon balls. On one of the gates are a set of numerous small handprints which belonged to the wives of one of the Rajput leaders who was killed in battle. So many stories to dig out, so many anecdotes to narrate...
Jaswant Thada, is the traditional cremation grounds of the Jodhpur royal families. Sheer beauty in marble. The main memorial is built to resemble a temple. Its walls are made of intricately carved sheets of marble. The marble slabs have been polished till they have become extremely thin and translucent. This makes the monument glow from within when the sunrays fall on its surface
On speaking to a couple of foreigners, I realized the locals, were jostling for income. By conning tourists into submission to get henna (mehndi) for their hands, by selling them pre-packed stuff like a bed-sheet - which they later realized was torn and scruffy (when they returned to their rooms), By pre-reserving one kind of room online, at one rate, and on arrival of the tourists, downgrading them to another, on the pretext that the hotel is full due to priority wedding bookings or some such lameness. This short changing cannot be good for Jodhpur in the long run.
Some big differences between Maximum city and Jodhpur: non-existent skyline, easygoing attitude of the people, rickshaws don't have meters! Enjoy the colours of Jodhpur, albeit, with a wee bit of grimace, get Blue'd:P
Posted by Mee at 06:27