Every building is blue, but there’s smiles all around! Located in the heart of Rajasthan, India, the blue city of Jodhpur welcomed us warmly and once again our time was made so special by the glowing personalities of the locals we stayed with.
Our temporary residence, Tanu’s Guest House, was run by the amazingly friendly Marrakesh. The guesthouse gets its name from his beautiful niece, Tanu. We first met Tanu on the rooftop on our first night. As we ate a nourishing home cooked meal beneath the constellation of Orion, this light filled five year old confidently joined us and showed us the toys she was playing with. Over the following days, Tanu joined us at every meal and enchanted us with her imagination and genuine kindness. She shared her sweets with us and proudly presented her school work. Tanu’s rooftop also gave us the best view of Marangarh Fort and the surrounding city. We enjoyed this view for six days.
After taking some advice from a Canadian who has spent a lot of time in India, I decided to drink some local water, thinking I could ease myself onto it. I was sick throwing up for a day and a half; this wasn’t fun for either of us but Chantal got sick for a day, so we inconvenienced each other evenly.
Once we were both feeling better, we enjoyed walking, but mostly sweating up the hill to see Marangarh Fort, another Mugal era stronghold housing cannons and breathtaking views of the blue city. We spent a couple hours hiking through the trails of Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, a cacti filled gully beneath the fort. This was probably my favourite part of the day; it breifly reminded me of hiking through Canada’s national and provincial parks. After this, we hydrated ourselves and walked to the Rao Jodha Ji Statue, an impressive tribute to the man who founded the city in 1459. After this, we headed towards the marvellous, white marble, hilltop mausoleum of Jaswant Thada. (see our Facebook page for photos)
We also walked through the city where we were overwhelmed with large groups of children who wanted to talk to us and touch us, regardless of how many others they had to trample over. You can read more about that particular encounter here.
Jodhpur also home to what is known as “the clock tower of Rajasthan”, Ghanta Ghar. Pictured below, the clocktower is at the centre of the old city where shops and vegetable markets span out from it in every direction. Though we didn’t buy a lot, it was nice to walk around and watch India race by. For Christmas I received beautiful material from my friend KP which I took to a tailor in Jodhpur. He charged me 450 rupees ($9CAD) to tailor me a dress shirt and pair of dress pants. I also got a shave and a hair cut for 80 rupees ($1.60CAD).
Aside from some great starlit conversation with a solo traveller from Greece, we spent our last day walking 12 kilometres of the city and were turned away from the Bawar Palace, one of the largest private residences in the world. It is home to the royal family. To our displeasure, it is closed to the public on Mondays. We ate lunch at a delectable local restraunt and tried Pista Kulfi (pistachio ice cream) for the first time. It was honestly the best cold, sweet dish I’ve ever had. Another great meal made it on our Top Ten Indian Eats, Marrakesh made me the best eggs and beans for breakfast. Our last night at Tanu’s was spent playing guitar on the rooftop and playing with Tanu (she liked the guitar).
The next day gave Tanu some gifts and she made us lovely bracelets that she tied on our wrists before we left. Again, it was difficult to leave a place where our hearts felt so at home, but there is a lot more of India to see and over a billion more smiling faces to meet. We left Jodhpur on a night train bound west for Jaisalmer.