Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan, after Jaipur, and is located at the edge of the Thar Desert which leads into Pakistan. The town was founded in 1459 and was once known as Marwar, which means "Land of Death," probably in reference to the harsh desert climate.
Not many people seem to visit this town, which is somewhat difficult to get to. I went there by overnight bus from Udaipur though you can also go by train.
On the day that I arrived in Jodhpur, there was a taxi drivers strike and the only way to get ar ound was to go in a horse-drawn cart!
This is the main market in Jodhpur. Notice the detailed carving of the gate in the wall which surrounds the oldest part of the town. Just near this gate is a shop which serves a very special type of lassi, an Indian yogurt drink. I went in with another woman and we sat in the special ladies' section. We even had a woman waiting on us, so we could enjoy our meal peacefully, without the presence of men (translation = without being stared at continuously). The other women in the room were wearing elaborate jewelry, bracelets and wildly-colored saris. They seemed fascinated by our western clothes and the fact that our hair was not covered.
This is the view from the path leading up to the Meherangarh Fort. The name means "Majestic Fort" and I don't think there is any better description of the place. It is absolutely beautiful. It is located at the top of the hill at the center of Jodhpur and is visible from the surrounding area. A twisting path leads up the the main gate, and was used as a form of defense. There are a total of three gates, each built to commemorate a particular victory as well as to reinforce the fort. Originally built in 1806 it has been added to many times since.
This man might look familiar to you! He was on the cover of Lonely Planet's India guidebook several years ago. he sits in here, outside of the topmost gate to the fort, playing music and selling things, as well as asking money to have his photograph taken!
The town is surrounded by a 10-km long wall, which is quite easy to see in this photo. It was taken from the top of the fort, and you can see the blue colored roofs, which indicate the homes of Brahmins, or members of the highest caste.
This is one of the intricately-carved windows of the main palace. The men are palace guards, all of whom wear these distinctively mustard-colored turbans and crisp white uniforms.
Inside the main gate there are a series of courtyards and palaces whic h are now museums and you can go inside each one. Numerous displays show what the lifestyle of the maharajas was like including furniture, costumes and a collection of elephant howdahs (saddles)!
All text and photographs Copyright (c) 2001 Naomi S. Smith