Another day, another early bus. This time we were catching a private tour operator bus. Our taxi man from yesterday picked us up and dropped us off in front of a ramshackle tourist agency located on a road that had an overpowering smell of urine. We were a little dubious of our guesthouse’s praise of the quality of bus we would be catching to say the least. There was even a man sleeping on top of a car. When it was time to go we were loaded into a mini bus not coach with seats so narrow Tim and I couldn’t really fit. But at least it had air conditioning. Suspension was also lacking but beggars can’t be choosers and we were soon on relatively smooth highway heading towards Jodhpur.
Again on arrival we were surrounded by rickshaw drivers who again tried to fleece us. Uber you are a godsend. We were staying in old town and managed about 3/4 of the way before our Uber driver informed us we would have to walk the rest of the way. We got out to mayhem! Good mayhem but mayhem none the less. We feel we are in a computer game where every-time we get used to the level of craziness we proceed to another level. We were near the old clock tower which is surrounded by the vibrant Sardar market. From here we walked through a gateway at its northern end that was undergoing some restoration so two ways of auto-rickshaws and push bikes along with pedestrians were all trying to squeeze through a gap of about 1 metre. We could have sat down and watched the madness for hours if it wasn’t so hot.
We had been warned by the guidebook that people would try and get you into other hotels and guesthouses other than the one you have booked so they can claim commission. So we arrived in the general area of our guest house and a local was steering us n the direction of a guest house that was similar in name to ours but not quite right. So of course we asked the owner to prove our booking which he was not happy about so we didn’t get off on the right foot. Turns out it was the right guesthouse they just have two different signs for it. Yet of course he gets frustrated with us, the clients who are actually doing what is right for him. Go figure. Anyway after a brief conversation we were all friends again and were lead up to our room that had amazing views of the fort….. and air conditioning. Yay!
Tim had read about this amazing samosa place near the clock tower so that is where we headed for lunch. KuKu the owner of the guesthouse had told Tim he needed to try a Chilli Bomb which is a big green chilli coated in a mashed vegetable and spicy mixture and then dipped in batter and fried. Needless to say Tim was in heaven and their actual samosas were really good as well. You know you are on to a winner when locals are queuing for the same treats as you.
We then took several hours off in the heat of the day and ventured out late afternoon to walk around the streets near our guesthouse. The place is beautiful with little alleyways and buildings rendered in blues and whites and reds. We stumbled upon an ancient step well which was full of local boys cooling off in the water. The design was beautiful with pyramid style steps zigzagging down to the water. Apparently it was commissioned in the 1740s by the Queen consort to help the women in the town have easy access to water. Still to this day getting water remains one of the principle household chores. The step well was submerged for decades and it has only recently been drained and restored. It was a wonderful site to stumble across.
We then headed to a beautiful old restaurant near the clock tower and had a drink on its rooftop with views of the fort. It doesn’t get much better really. The fort has such a commanding presence over the city and the more you look at it the more you marvel at its architecture. It seems to just emerge from the rock. We followed this up with a wonderful dinner in a rooftop restaurant near our guesthouse, the food was some of the best curries we have had in India and that is saying something because we have been eating some exceptional food here. Another fantastic day in Rajasthan. S
Local boys having a swim in the step well.
Boys asking for a photo. The boy under my arm was getting a little too close for comfort, as you can tell from my facial expression.
One of the gateways to the Sardar market and clock tower.
The clock tower and surrounding market.
More market craziness.
Chowing down on a world famous samosa.
The chefs. The place was that busy that they were constantly making batches yet were still running out.
The fort in the background.
One of the beautifully old restored buildings near our guesthouse. You could actually see the start of gentrification happening around the stepwell. Buildings were being done up and fancy stores were unfortunately being put in.
It’s a dogs life. This is the blue colour that a lot of the buildings are painted. It’s indigo mixed with white lime.
This was the bottle neck I was talking about. So many scooters and push bikes almost went acropper on the gravel. Obviously the locals didn’t even bat an eyelid.
The fort looming over the city.
Enjoying our pre dinner drinks with the clock tower behind.