Day 132: Jodhpur, India. Today was our last day in Jodhpur, before we pack up our bags and head to Jaisalmer – also known as the ‘Golden City’.
It was an overcast morning, which gave us a very welcome chance to sit on the tiled terrace and read our books, without totally frying in the sun. Once the sun broke through, we scarpered inside to sort out accommodation and travel arrangements for tomorrow’s trip to Jaisalmer.
Train times to Jaisalmer turned out to be pretty rubbish – our choices were either 5.40am (meaning we’d have to get up about 4am), or late evening or overnight services. So we chose to go by bus instead, an afternoon service that gets to Jaisalmer early evening, which is perfect. We also booked a guesthouse which looks lovely, and is close to the fort and the old town.
Just after midday, we headed out to walk to Jaswant Thada, an impressive marble mausoleum close to Mehrangarh Fort. The intricately carved mausoleum was built in 1899 by Marharaja Sardar Singh, in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Four adjoining cenotaphs in the grounds commemorate successive rulers. Jaswant Thada stands alongside Dev Pond, which is part of the Jao Rodha Desert Park, and has magnificent views across the lake, the hills and Mehrangarh Fort.
The surrounding manicured gardens are impressive too, with towering gazebos, grassy lawns and flowering shrubs and a big chequered walkway overlooking the city.
We wandered inside the mausoleum (shoes off of course). A lovely old Indian man, part guide, part security, part we’re not sure, was sitting on the central marble platform and beckoned to us to sit with him for photographs. He twirled his moustache into shape as he asked, and we suspected this might be a money making venture, and indeed it was. As soon as our pics were out of the way, his hand was outstretched looking for money. He even tried to get us to change an Australian two dollar coin he’d conjured up into rupees.
From the gardens of the mausoleum, we spotted another fort like structure in the distance and decided to walk through the town to see if we could climb it. We later found out it wasn’t accessible, but regardless we had a fabulous walk through lots of hectic little streets.
On one tiny street, a bunch of guys were stirring a monster cooking pot, with an orange-brown dahl dish bubbling away. We stopped to chat to them, and sadly couldn’t quite catch the name of the dish, but they said they were preparing it for a Hindu celebration. They said the food would be ready at 7.30pm and we should join them, which was a really lovely gesture.
Further along we spotted another pile of large newly-washed cooking pots resting alongside the wall of a house. We assumed they must be for the same celebration, however the man who was standing in the doorway explained his wife cooks food for wedding celebrations. He called her out and without asking, they hugged and posed for a photo. As did two other larrikins who were standing close by.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the market for a masala coffee, which is quickly turning into an addiction. A supreme blend of cardamom, pepper, cloves and coffee with hot milk – it’s pretty difficult to stop at one.
We finished our day with a last dinner on the hotel rooftop – cashew nut curry and paneer butter masala – a perfect end to our stay. We’ll really miss Jodhpur – it’s a fabulous walkable city, with lots happening and lovely warm hearted people.
Tomorrow we pack up again to head to the bus station, for the journey to Jaisalmer. And doubtless we’ll stop for another masala coffee or two along the way.