Known for it's permanent state of sunshine and clusters of sky blue buildings, Jodhpur is a sight to behold. Guest blogger Tony Herbert embarked on a bespoke holiday to Rajasthan with Original Travel, and shares his favourite moments from his visit to the metropolis...
Where to stay: The Raas
We stayed at a splendid old palace called Raas, lavishly converted into a luxury hotel, situated under - and with an amazing view of - the massive Meherangarh Fort, which overlooks and dominates the whole city.
What to see: The Meherangarh Fort
The Meherangarh Fort is built on an enormous rock and as a result is completely impregnable. In its day, it was home to a few thousand people. The exterior has much beautiful carving on it's distinctive brown stone. Inside are various exhibits from earlier times, including swords, howdahs, palanquins, and a series of very beautiful paintings done (with squirrel-hair brushes) on rice paper in the traditional Rajput style.
What to read: Mark Tully’s ‘No Full Stops in India’
More sinisterly, at Meherangarh, we were shown handprints made in 1843 and preserved on the wall of the gate, of the widows of one of the Maharajas, as they left to commit Suti on the funeral pyre of their late husband. This was the last mass Suti to have taken place, we were told. The British did their best to stop it, despite never having ruled in Rajasthan.
In the book "No Full Stops in India", author Mark Tully tells a gruesome story that indicates that the practice hasn't entirely died out to this day.
Where to shop: The Bazaar
We took a walk through the bazaar and were led into what seemed to be the leading shop/warehouse for fabrics of all kinds. Having denied all intention of buying anything, we were persuaded to buy some delightful material to use as a throw. They showed us endless magazine articles with photographs of Prince Charles and others who had been similarly persuaded.
On our second day in Jodhpur, we went to some Bishnu villages, where we saw a potter making his pots, a farmer smoking his hookah, his daughter milking a cow, and at another village, a weaver making a dhuri who showed us pictures of Prince Charles (again), Richard Gere and others admiring his wares.
Where to eat: The Umaid Bhawan Palace
On our second evening in Jodhpur, we went with friends to an extravagant luxury hotel, the Umaid Bhawan Palace, for dinner on the terrace.
It's a magnificent, completely over-the-top place, where the Maharaja lives in a separate wing. Highlights include an indoor swimming pool of great luxury and perfumed with exotic aromas, and lavatories with (in the case of the male version) mildly erotic photographs from the 1920s.