I decided to only spend one day in Jodhpur. And by decided, I mean that I only had one day left before I had to make my way to Delhi for my flight. So I spent the day in the blue city of Jodhpur! Jodhpur has the biggest and baddest fort of them all. High on a 400ft hill, the Mehrangarh Fort is nearly unmissable from anywhere in town.
I decided for my last day to be lazy and when my first auto rickshaw driver asked me if I wanted a tour of all of the sights, I just said fine. As it turns out, Jodhpur is the perfect place to do that! None of the main attractions are within walking distance of anything else and they are on the opposite side of the fairly large town! My first stop was the underwhelming Umaid Bhavan Palace. The palace itself is a gorgeous vision in sandstone, but much of it has been converted into an ultra luxury hotel. Non guests are only welcome to the tiny museum that has a few swords, a couple maps, and a fairly well stocked steam punk clock collection.
We crossed town and then started climbing the hill to the fort when we took a sudden hard right to visit the Jaswant Thada Mausoleum. The humble temple was built by one of the wives of the maharajahs for her late husband. The white marble is the perfect complement to the red sandstone and the idyllic blue lake. And from here, you get some of the best views of the fort!
When you make your way up to the fort, its size is certainly the most noticeable thing. It is unavoidable. Now, the audioguide for the fort has such a good reputation that I actually had people recommend it to me. While it was a very good audioguide*, I still found the fort to be a little underwhelming. Maybe I was because I just came from a really cool living fort. Maybe I was just tired of forts. I think it’s because the enormous size of the fort actually makes it seem more like a boring city when you are inside, and not like a really cool fort. It was another glorified museum with lots of ornate baby cradles and palanquins for carrying women.
Even though I wasn’t wowed by Jodhpur, I think it was a great place to end my time in India as it really brought together a lot of my feelings on the country. I ended my day by wandering around the local bazaar and pretending to shop for souvenirs. I was hounded by shopkeepers, was affronted by listless cows wandering the streets, was aggravated by the loud honking of vehicles, and I dodged piles of trash in the streets, all while under the shadow of a gorgeous fort in a city where many of the houses are painted blue to represent the Brahmins of the caste system. There’s such an inseparable blend of ancient eastern religion and culture with the horrible hustle and bustle of a developing nation left unchecked.
I was definitely happy to leave, but I have a ton of fond memories and a laundry list of places I still want to check out and a couple I even want to return to. India will always hold a special place in my heart. Or more likely in my newly acquired high blood pressure from the constant honking.