In the time of middle year, there was a news rumoring around in my company that there would be an official weekly off at the year-end. So myself having being done the Sarpass trek in 2011 from YHAI, and over enjoyed the snow and chilling weather, always wanted to try the other extreme terrain i.e Desert. After getting an official confirmation about the mandatory week vacation, myself and a colleague planned to do the desert trek conducted by YHAI at Rajasthan. Since we had around 2 weeks timeline including the holidays, weekends etc. we as well decided to do the rest of the Rajasthan.
As part of the planning team, myself and colleague (Harish) discussed extensively how to efficiently conclude this visit such a way that a maximum utilization is done. Thanks to his at-large patience in doing extensive online research about flights, train availability vs cost, stay, places to visit, etc. We were able to come up with the a draft plan, wherein we decided 2 days for Jodhpur, 6 days for Jaisalmer and rest 3 days for Jaipur. Due to the less time availability and reluctant to tight schedule our visit, we decided to drop Udaipur and cover up these places properly than rushing.
As per the initial draft, we started booking the flights and searching the accommodations at tripadvisor. Once that was done, we were just left with train bookings to be done. As the days rolled by, we began to dig deeper into the place details and what to do, eat, stay, etc. As we began digging, we came up with alot of information about this place. Harish carefully document everything we could collect from the research. We then started off with micro planning: day wise to do, places to eat in this trip. Again with extensive discussions, disagreements, ego clashes, pain in the a** moments etc. we concluded the initial draft of the detailed itinerary as well. Since we had only 2 days to spend in Jodhpur, we had to carefully articulate our plan based on the time of landing, distance between the hotel, forts, eatable places, train timings and commuting time required to each of those places along with fort operational timings 9-5PM.
Finally, the D-day arrived. All of us were very excited for this adventure. Our flight was at 7AM from BLR – Mumbai – Jodhpur. We all arrived at the BIAL by 6AM. The weather was nice and pleasant. The crowd at the airport was as usual. There were no much of an eye treat to me though, looks like kingfisher shutdown did effected alot 😛
The Jet-Airways flight was supposed to depart on time, but bangalore weather kicked us back and delayed the departure by almost 1 hour. The outside mist on the runway was really dense and it was really nice to stand there and enjoy the view for a minute. Though we boarded the flight, we were made to wait for almost 45 mins in that leg room crumpled seats before departure. Nevertheless, you always get an eye treat in the flight 😉
We reached the mumbai airport around 10 AM. Thanks to Jet airways, they served us a complimentary breakfast and lunch during our travel. The food served was pretty good and we enjoyed it. There was veg and Non veg served. Both of them were good, with a work load for the mouth with eye on the hostess, the next hour or so enjoyed the ride. The mumbai domestic airport is quite clumsy and kinda stinks.
We finally landed at jodhpur airport which was really a nice airport unlike others because it’s an air-force base than a commercial type. One can see fighter jets and bunkers all around and the airport is heavily guarded with armed army men.
After refreshing at the hotel room, we decided to depart towards the Umaid Bhavan palace. From our hotel to palace, the distance was around 8 kms. We traveled via rickshaw. In Rajasthan (tourists places) the rickshaw guys has a standard rates which is exorbitant regardless of the distance. One has to haggle alot with them though.
This palace looks very lavish and beautiful from the outside. Most of the palace is converted to a star hotel and only 10-20% is allowed for the public visit which is turned museum. The work of art on this place is really nice and the stone color and texture is marvelous.
The interior painting, structure design is really good.
The hotel next door which must be magnificent inside uses this car and other luxury ones for the incoming guests. They also welcome the guest with typical rajasthani style music including maharaja welcome.
This palace has only the antique collection of the maharaja’s collection including lots of vintage cars being displayed.
It took us around 2 hours or so to complete this palace, once we are done we headed straight down the clock tower which was the market area of jodhpur, pretty happening place. After reaching this place, i realized that the jodhpur which was appearing silent and calm city is no more the same. Around this area and surroundings, the situation is a mess. One has to be completely careful about crossing roads. The traffic and the road sense is so horrible that one would not care to run over.
The place is heavily dusty and noisy, traffic is horrible and very dense. We roamed around this market place for a while before hitting the snacks shops 😉 In the pic you can see the gateway as well as the clock tower at the back. This place is very famous in jodhpur though. Just adjacent to this lies the fort Mehrangarh.
Jodhpur is very famous for its sweets and snacks, which now i can fully agree upon. We had the best snacks and sweets here.
Menu is quite extensive though. 😉 Click on it to take a look in detailed.
Here we had mawa kachori which was not only very sweet but really tasty.
Next we had the road side chats which looked very colorful yet tasty.
The shahi samosa is top knotch. The stuffing is really tasty and definitely tastes buds cries for more 😉
Next we decided to roam around the place for a while again and then hit the Kalinga restaurant as planned which was rated must try for non veg food. This restaurant lies apposite to the Railway station which is just 5 – 10 mins walkable distance to clock tower.
This place is pretty well maintained and ambiance is good. Restaurant also serves alcohol too. The prices are in medium range and food variety is alot. I ordered Laal Maans and Handi gosht with roti and they both ordered veg curry.
At the same time, the veg food was satisfactory to the guys. So we all enjoyed the food here.
Finally we exited this place around 930 and then departed towards our hotel room. Day 1 concluded with much fun and yummy food.
Next morning as we had already planned and booked to do Zip line activity (Kudos to Harish’s suggestion), we departed to this place which was inside Mehrangarh fort organized by flyingfox.
We had booked for a morning batch considering the broad day light for better experience and photography as well. We reached the place on time.
Their office is very small and located at the north edge of the fort.
Once the whole batch is ready with the gear, we are taken to the adjacent practice and demonstration zip line which is just few feets above the ground so as to demo and give us a trial.
Once that is done, we are then taken to the first of 6 zip lines activity which is atleast 70-100 feet above the ground and its outside the fort grounds.
For us, the height did not matter nor we were bit scared at all. Perhaps our team is an adventure oriented and been doing many such activity, so were more excited than fear. Of all the time, i kept thinking how i can make the ride on the zip line more fun, what way i should position to make it more thrilled yet different 😉
You can see few more zip line pics in below links:
The full 6 zip line took almost an hour activity and loads of fun. Once the activity is finished we decided to hit the grand Mehrangarh fort as planned.
I wonder how these people survive the hot summers when there is in need of the shades. Yet as any other place of india and as any indian citizen, people and this city around the fort is pretty dirty and garbage filled all over the place.
Some relaxation moments overlooking the city.
There is a nominal entry fees for Indians and a way higher price for foreigners compared to ours; which i do not understand why. There is also Audio guide available at slightly higher price of around 80 INR and varies fort to fort. Those audio devices and ear pieces are well maintained. There is an extra audio jack for 1 extra person to plug into the same device, if one has a spare headsets.
The interior walls of the fort are still kept untouched as the way it was during the king’s time so as to resemble the damages done to it during the war times.
Till date one can see the canon ball damages on the wall here and there. The engineering done on these walls to protect is really smart and shows how futuristic their thinking were. Looks like the old definition of Fast thinking wont work always proves well here.
Although i wonder why only few hand prints here but not many more. Nor the reason behind having such a print is also not known to me yet. Any ways, RIP on those poor souls.
The interiors are really well designed using stone and at some places wood. I did admired the work done by the architects. This place has some ideas inspired by the mogul. The arches well denotes the moghul inspiration and rest depicts ours own.
The place where maharaja used to be seated for the fun activities in the evening times.
The interior of the forts is being converted to a museum with alots of stuffs assembled from the king’s time. I liked the sword designed being displayed here which is definitely inspiration from turkish region.
Thankfully the art and the precious decorations are well maintained and transformed back as if it were earlier. Looks like the goverment or the trust is serious into this matter, which is commendable.
One thing for sure is that, one would need alot of patience and energy to roam around this fort to see everything in detailed. As there is no resting places atleast inside the fort halls, so it’s quite difficult for the old folks to commute around comfortably and same goes to the younger kids who would be least interested in historical stuffs.
The keen eyes do get alot, which could be well appreciated here. This enables us to notice and appreciate the richness, purity and big hearts our kings and people had in the past. Gone are those days sadly 😦
The fort exit area has few shops, looks like they are being run under the monitoring body of trust or royal family if not government. We did notice rajasthani style shops selling shoes, dress materials along with the decoration items.
Next we decided to visit the nearby royal family burial ground called Jaswant Tada; which is in walkable distance from this fort.
This place is build from marble stone all over. It’s really beautiful and all the royal family get buried here based on their position in the family. The king gets a big palace kind of monument and rest of his family gets a smaller ones. Yet this is again on the hill area along with fort.
These much smaller grave is for the distant relatives of the royal family yet served for the kingdom. This place currently is not fully maintained by the royal family but kept clean by and large. Some of the graves are ill maintained though.
Finishing this place in 30 mins or so, we headed back to the fort for our terrace visit from where the sunset can be seen amidst blue city. The terrace walls are filled with cannons and war items. It’s a pleasant to be present in the aura of weapons.
Around 6PM we decided to head back from the fort. Upon exiting the fort, it was time for some photography activity, capturing the external beauty of this fort and unleash our creativity, if you will 😀
The backside of this fort, leads a walk path towards the clock tower which is the market and center place. It’s hardly 2 kms downwards path. Those who can’t stand the stress of an inclination path on your legs, should not try this path. The path is almost 60-70 deg inclined position uphill. We decided to walk down as not only its fun for us, but saving 70 – 100 bucks for the rickshaw too.
It was almost dusk and its time for some mouth fills, after all jodhpur is famous for this snacks 😉
As we had already done enough research over internet, we had prepared the list of best shops which we can satisfy our taste buds. Our first target was from previous days experience was Shahi samosa. All the day, our tastes buds were demanding for the gift of samosa. The time we went in, the somosa’s were freshly prepared as if it were made for us 😀
Watching all those samosa in the frying pan, definitely my mouth started to water. I really started to crave for the stuffing in the samosa. Along with samosa, we also had kachori and mirchi bajji, but none of those beat samosa 😉
Next we targeted our next sweet shop Shri Mishrilal Hotel and Restaurant near the clock tower. This place has varieties of sweets served including lassi.
These are the special items of jodhpur or perhaps this sweet shop per say. We loved all these items and found very typical rajasthani sweets except doodh feeni which was almost as like south style of pheni.
The lassi as well was really good, tasty and very thick. The cream on top adds a beautiful essence to the drink. The place though looks very small from outside, but the inside is quite big and kept clean. This place also gets over crowded around 730 PM onwards.
Most of the shops at jodhpur closes around 830 unlike many metro cities. We were suprised to see the market place and shops getting shutdown by 830. The sweet shops closes a lil later though, thankfully.
After our food enjoyment, it was time for us to bid adieu to jodhpur and off to Railway station for our next adventure in desert at Jaisalmer.
The desert trek story will be coming soon, stay tuned 🙂
Though jodhpur is quite a small city, yet the good hotels with comfortable stay were costly on Tripadvisor. Based on the recent reviews and pics, we picked up the Dhillion Guest house which was just 5 kms away from the Jodhpur airport.
This guest house is quite big and has a center court-yard for a good relaxation and time pass. This guest house also has around 6-7 rooms. Some are big to accommodate 3 and some are just for 2.
The room we got kept pretty good and clean. Well maintained facility over all. Would rate this 4, not 5 for the cost. During our stay, 3 foreigners were staying in other rooms.
The hot water is available all the time due to solar facility added recently by the owner. There is enough ample parking space inside and outside of this facility for guests vehicles.
Since, this guest house is in the outskirts of the city, there is a nearby auto stand if one needs or there is a public bus facility available as well, though we could not travel much due to less in number and time mismatch and we heard from the locals that its irregular as well. This guest house is also near to the famous area called polo grounds near Airforce, most of the locals would easily recognize this name.