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Jaipur to Jodhpur – When Travel Plans Change
Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan when traveling to foreign lands. And sometimes, when things don’t go as planned, something remarkable happens.
After spending a few days exploring the backstreets of Jaipur and visiting the magnificent Amber Fort, we decided it was time to move on to our next destination. The plan was to take an overnight train to Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’ located in the northern state of Rajasthan.
But the travel gods had something else in store for us that day.
Now, to fully appreciate this story you must first understand our environment. The above photo was captured from the window of our hotel room in downtown Jaipur. It’s apparently a “bus stop”, but in actuality it is a disgusting garbage dump.
Don’t look now, but there’s a man urinating on the side of the road. Seriously. That dude in white, the one facing us near the red striped bus, he’s taking a leak at that very moment. Lovely.
And let’s not forget about the fat black pig eating the garbage beside the orange bus.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, the task of the day was to secure train tickets for an overnight trip from Jaipur to Udaipur. We managed to navigate the noisy, overcrowded, confusing streets of Jaipur and found a travel agent that sold us two 2nd class sleeper seats. The train departed at 10:00 PM, so we decided to enjoy one last meal at our favourite dosa house before leaving for the train station.
The south Indian-style cuisine was delicious, but it wasn’t the food that made this meal so memorable.
About half way through our lunch a torrential monsoon hit the city, flooding it within minutes. It was quite amazing how much rain fell in such a short period of time. And with the city’s poor drainage, it didn’t take long for the streets to swell up.
We waited in the restaurant, hoping the rain would let up. It did not.
After about an hour we gave up. It was time to brave the weather and walk back to our hotel. Needless to say, it was a disgusting trek.
Remember when I felt the need to show you the picture of the gross garbage dump beside our hotel? Now imagine for a moment that all of that garbage and sewage went under water and began swirling around the city streets.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
You guessed it. We were knee deep in filthy garbage toilet water. And we were wearing flip flops!
After a long shower, we laid down for a short nap. We had a long night ahead of us and didn’t know when we would have a decent bed next.
Then the sickness happened.
Within about two hours we were violently ill. Let’s just say we were thankful to have paid the extra rupees for a private bathroom. After the vomiting and diarrhea came the cold sweats and hallucinations. It was bad. Really, really bad.
We barely had enough energy to walk to the front desk and ask to stay for another night. We missed our train and lost the money spent on the train tickets. It was frustrating, but sometimes these things happen.
Because of this unforeseen event, we found ourselves back at the same travel agent 48 hours later.
But this time we noticed something that had eluded us on the previous visit. We noticed a large poster of Mehrangarh Fort in the city of Jodhpur. We were impressed. It’s one of the most incredible forts we’ve ever seen!
We asked the travel agent about Jodhpur and the fort. “You can take a 6 hour bus from Jaipur to Jodhpur, spend a few days there, then take the bus from Jodhpur to Udaipur. You can do both if you wish”, said the friendly agent.
We were sold!
We arrived late afternoon without a plan, so we took a leap of faith and let a tuk tuk driver take us to his recommended hotel. Did you read our recent post on travel scams?
We knew the young driver would receive a commission for bringing us to the hotel, but we didn’t care. We had no expectations.
The hotel was simple but clean. It was an old guest house with beautiful old Rajasthani artwork and original wooden doors. The rooms were quite small and the doorways were made for people less than five feet tall. But it was cute and cozy, and the price was right.
Most importantly, it had a fantastic rooftop terrace with unobstructed views of Mehrangarh Fort.
The rooftop terrace at our hotel
Evening entertainment on the rooftop terrace
Nicole getting a lesson in Rajasthani dancing from a talented young entertainer
Mehrangarh Fort towers over the Blue City on a rocky hill that rises 400 feet above the city. The 15th century Hindu fort is said to be one of the largest and most impressive forts in all of India – and she is quite the looker!
It was briefly featured in the blockbuster movie ‘Batman – The Dark Night Rises’. You see a great shot of the fort when Bruce Wayne escapes the subterranean prison by climbing out of the deep circular cave, and again when they show the young child escaping the prison later in the movie.
If you visit the fort, we highly recommend you purchase the audio tour. It’s one of the better audio tours we’ve listened to and gives an interesting overview of the fort’s history.
There is a lot to see within the fort, including a museum with priceless relics and multiple palaces that housed Rajasthan royalty. The craftsmanship and detail is extraordinary, as is the enormity of the magnificent complex.
An old canon points to the Blue City. I wonder how many times it was used in its lifetime?
Views of Jodhpur from the thick stone walls of Mehrangarh Fort. The white palace on the hillside is Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial built by Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.
Inside the fortress walls. The tiny people walking around gives you a sense of the fort’s size.
The old city surrounded by thick stone walls and rolling hills.
We love that the residents have committed to painting their homes and buildings the same colour blue. The outcome is quite spectacular. It reminds us of the white stone buildings on the Greek Island of Santorini.
Nicole’s silhouette inside one of the many courtyards within the fortress
There were more local tourists in the complex than foreigners, a testament to the importance and significance of the fort and it’s many palaces.
After exploring Mehrangarh Fort we jumped in a tuk tuk and visited the nearby Jaswant Thada, a stunning white marble memorial that keeps watch over the city.
When we reflect on our 48 hours in Jodhpur one thing is clear – it’s a must for every travel itinerary to Rajasthan.
India is an interesting country. One minute we’re treading gross sewage water and battling an illness that caused hallucinations; the next minute we’re standing in one of the world’s most impressive forts, overlooking a city coloured in blue.
Read our other popular posts from India:
- Experiencing Life and Death in India’s Holiest City
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- Transportation in India: What the Tuk-tuk?!
- Driving in Asia: Horns or Brakes?
- Photos from our Travels in Northern India
Have you visited India? Where did you go and what was your highlight?
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