11.02.2015 - 11.02.2015 28 °C
Today after a relatively good rest yesterday our plan it to tackle the Mehrangarh Fort. The fort is built on and within a rock face with seamless integration and we are able to see where we are heading as our hotel has perfect views from the roof top restaurant. We are told that the walk up is only around 10 to 15 minutes from the hotel but we are dubious as it seems so much further away.
Heading off on the steep inclining and winding streets of Jodhpur the walk is kind strenuous but as promised takes only around 15 mins with some stops to see the views. The fort is even more magnificent when viewed from the base of the front gate. The red rock appearance almost intimidating - and you get a sense of what a great stronghold this place must have been.
The fort guided tour is brilliantly laid out and if you listen through the entire audio guide you could easily spend four hours up here just wandering. But after a while I opt to rad the plaques and information provided and probably spend three amazing hours here.
From here we are off on the walk to white palace which is a couple of kilometres away. We walk through what is mostly sand and gravel roads and arriving a white palace is kind of like finding a desert oasis. In the middle of dust and sand you find perfectly manicured gardens, trees and pavilions. The grand white structure is simple and elegant - and the marble interior is cool and defiantly fit for a Maharajah.
The Rao Rock Garden is the adjacent views and we decide to walk around the lake through the desert terrane. From the palace we find a convenient path down and start walking through cacti and thin rocky paths. It's actually quite nice albeit not a lot to see. Towards the end we are called out and told that apparently you are supposed to have different tickets for this area and are asked to leave. It's such a weird set up that you could see both things in the same location but have different tickets - very confusing.
Just to side track from the experience of not paying to see 'essentially what is free all around Jodhpur ... desert and rocks' - India has a weird obsession about producing your ticket all the time! For example: We paid for tickets into the Fort, $8AUD each from the entrance with is at the main fort gates and the only entrance point. After purchasing, a guy asks to see our tickets ten metres from the ticket office and punches a hole I the ticket, so I'm pretty confused at this point. Then to get into the armoury still in side the impenetrable fort - show tickets, fort museum show tickets again. It's like how did you think I got to this section of the fort without a ticket in the first place - so bizarre.
After we head to the markets which are huge and Jodhpur and are surrounding what we actually want to see today the old quake clock tower. After getting followed around in the hope of getting some free rupees out of us, the group of kid move on and we head into the clock tower. The views of the bazaar are spectacular and you can see how busy everything is here. The market is divided up into so many different segments but still most stalls seems to be selling the same thing - don't know how they survive.
After a long day we head back to the hotel to have roof top beer and dinner with the views of the fort all lit up.