Rajasthan Stories - Day 5: Mandore & Jodhpur

How do you like to wake up every morning? I know the 'in the hands of my beloved' track; but even that might sound a lot less romantic if the background score sounds like a fusion of the neighbor's mixer, the milkman yelling and vehicles honking on the road. That is why our Thar morning was so special, waking up to peacock calls amidst an otherwise complete silence! People in Rajasthan respect their animals and it was a common sight to find Blue Bulls roaming around in the Thaara-Meera or Ragi plantations. Om Prakash's dad was no exception and his morning routine included feeding a flock of peacocks who diligently come by the house and sound the morning alarm. These birds had grown so fearless that one of them was almost staring right at me from a fence by my bed. I did lie there for quite some time, admiring the mesmerizing colors of this awesome bird. The sun was slowly rising above the distant sand dunes, bringing the thatched huts back to life. The birds were busy having their breakfast as Om Prakash's dad stood there throwing grains all around.

After a sumptuous breakfast of Onion rotis and ginger tea we soon started our journey to one of the Bishnoi vilages near Osian. Omprakash also decided to accompany us this time. He goes to a school some six kilometers from his house and he walks all the way with his neighbor friend Nila. School has a different meaning for him and that day he decided to bunk school and join us on our journey. I envied the kid because he could make such a decision, and there was no fuzz about missing classes, dropping grades or falling behind peers. So he just tagged along, talking us through the various scenes and structures as we passed through some of the desert settlements. We met a couple of his friends on their way to school, who were happily singing "Ladai vadai naa karo, kothaka donga saaf karo" (Do not fight, but do clean the toilets after use) and running along the crest of the sand dunes. Om Prakash waved proudly at them from atop 'Manak' as we strolled past them.

A little later Omprakash's big brother came with a few other travelers in his jeep and we swapped rides for the rest of the journey. The Bishnoi village of Kethasar was quite far from the place and the jeep safari helped us to cover the distance pretty quick. Bishnois consider themselves the caretakers of the land and the flora and fauna around them, and hence live in peaceful coexistence with them. Black bucks and Blue Bulls roam quite fearlessly amidst their thatched huts and farm lands. The otherwise endangered Black Buck owes a lot to this community for their existence in Rajasthan. We visited the house of a potter to see how he makes those beautiful earthen pots. The people were very friendly and happy to show us around their small but neatly kept houses. We left Osian to Jodhpur before lunch time and got down at Mandore, 9 kilometers before the city.

Mandore used to be the capital of the Marwar kingdom, and is now famous for the fort and the Cenotaphs there. Mandore cenotaphs, built in memory of warrior kings of the erstwhile Marwar empire, are exquisite pieces of architecture. Though they are 'empty tombs' made in memory of dead people, they look more like a display of the architectural prowess of the times. There are memorials as well as temples spread across the many gardens. You find a lot of Gray langurs here as well, sharing the space with musicians and tourists. You will find a lot of talented musicians playing the "Ravan Hattha" in and around the gardens. There is something so soothing about the instrument that we wanted to spend a few hours there, just sitting and listening to them playing. But as we had to visit the Mehrangarh fort before leaving for Udaipur that night, we quickly grabbed some lunch and took a rickshaw to Jodhpur city.

If you can visit only one place in Jodhpur, then I think that should be Mehrangarh fort, a magnificent structure erected on a hill and surrounded by formidable granite walls. This fort was built by one of the Rathore kings, When the capital of Marwar was shifted from Mandore to Jodhpur. I don't think even a full day is enough to walk around the fort and admire the many treasures there. This is one of the largest forts in India and is also a classic example of the enviable luxuries enjoyed by the kings those days. No, I am not just talking about the many beautiful wives, but the Palanquins, jewellery, sculptures and other artifacts you get to see in the fort museum. You also see the palm imprints of the queens on the walls, who committed 'Sati' by jumping into the king's funeral pyre. In spite of all the luxuries enjoyed during life, such an unfortunate death awaited those beautiful ladies!

The winding stairways, the many treasures stored, and the exquisitely designed rooms with stained glass windows and mirrors makes the museum in the fort a must watch for art & history lovers. There are huge cannons kept on the rooftop and the terrace offers some nice views of Jodhpur city as well. The famous Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is a hotel now, is also visible from there. We wanted to see the palace but there wasn't enough time. After spending a wonderful afternoon in and around at Mehrengarh, we got back to the city and took a bus to Udaipur at 10 in the night.

Click here for more pictures!

Rajasthan Stories - Day 1: Jaipur
Rajasthan Stories - Day 2: Jaipur
Rajasthan Stories - Day 3: Ranthambhore
Rajasthan Stories - Day 4: Osian & Thar
Rajasthan Stories - Day 5: Mandore & Jodhpur

Rajasthan Stories - Day 6: Udaipur
Rajasthan Stories - Day 7: Ranakpur & Kumbalgarh
Rajasthan Stories - Day 8: The Taj Mahal

1 comment:

Representindia said...

amazing service by Dashrath cabs Best taxi service in jodhpur drivers are very polite and cars also clean

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