The (fairly) blue city
We arrived at Jodhpur railway station early in the morning from Jaisalmer, before sunrise. As orientation in the dark is always a tricky task in an unknown environment, we headed to the 1st class waiting room to let some time go by before facing the Tuk-Tuk bargaining. Of course we didn’t have a 1st class ticket, but I guess no one sitting around in that waiting room did and as a foreigner you are always welcome to enter. I can’t say wether they think we are getting lost outside, among the numerous waiting Indians, lying on the floor sleeping between their luggage, or if this is a manifestation of the Indian hospitality, which shows itself in many different forms. Recently on the train we asked an elderly couple travelling in the same compartment with us if they would accept to change berths so Javier and me could lie side by side and we received the reply: “Choose so that you are the most comfortable, you are the guests!”
Our hostel in Jodhpur was supposed to be in the old city district around the famous fort, known as the blue city. But when our Tuk-Tuk drove us through the deserted, narrow lanes of the bazaar close to it – we arrived on a Sunday morning – the surroundings where anything else but blue. To see how Jodhpur received its nickname, one has to climb up to the fort, one of the most important and sophisticated forts in Rajasthan. You can climb up the steep access through the narrow old city lanes, asking “to the fort?”, and everyone will point to the right branch-off to choose. An the good news about the fort is: one can enter for free! Of course, one is not supposed to do so but should pay the 400 rupees tourism contribution, which gives you the right to an all-explaining audioguide.
But as far as you don’t enter the museum or the interiour of the former palace, you can joint the numerous Indian families walking around the fortress wall and enjoying the 180° view. And yes, seen from above the old city districts can definitely be qualified as displaying a higher than normal share of blue painted houses.
Apart the peaceful ambience around the fort, we experienced Jodhpur as a pretty busy, loud and dirty city with a more than excited traffic behaviour, particularly on Sardar Bazaar around the old clocktower. However, the market is worth a visit to wonder about various kinds of archaic products sold there – televisions the were already outdated in the 80s – and to have one of the excellent fruit juiced in a street bar.
Our stay in Jodpur was however overshadowed by a very sad incident: by a very stupid accident in Jaisalmer we broke the small lens of our new camera – the camera which is providing you with the pictures you enjoy on this blog. Besides the material damage, what would be do on such a long and unique trip without being able to take proper pictures? We spend some time in Jodhpur pounding the exclusive distributor stores of Sony we found on the corporate webpage, to find a replacement for the broken lens. But as expected, things were not all that easy and we learned that the model of our camera was “outdated” (it was released in Germany in 2013) or “not sold in India”. But already on that matter, India was again ready to surprise us and to justify its reputation as the place where anything is possible.