Just when I thought that Ko Samui was going to be my last trip for the year 2015, fate worked it’s way and I was off to another exotic location for a few days and I couldn’t be happier! Not only was I getting to travel again, but also to a place I hadn’t been to before. So with 3 short days to explore Jodhpur-the city of the Royals, I packed light and made a quick note of things not to be missed.
After landing at the tiny little Jodhpur airport I made my way to The Taj Hari Mahal where I would be staying for the next few days.
A quick check in and some lunch later, I was off to Mehrangarh Fort to get an aerial view of the ‘Blue City’ aka Jodhpur.
The Mehrangarh Fort is the same fort that made a brief appearance in the movie The Dark Knight Rises and I am pretty sure that with this sentence I have managed to capture your complete attention! Yes, it featured in the famed film and is one of the largest forts in India and was built in the year 1460 by Rao Jodha. I wont get into the details here, for that you can always turn to good old Wikipedia.
But to look at something that magnanimous; the sheer size of it will baffle you. without modern technology and know how, how was it even possible to build something of this scale and magnitude! A site to behold, the fort has many interesting to things to see from the bygone era preserved in its museum. Take a good 2 hours at the least to marvel at the structure, relish it’s beauty and maybe if you want to learn more but don’t want to bother yourself with a guide, the fort also has arrangements for personal audio devices that will help you understand the structure better. If you still have some time, do visit the Jaswant Thada, which is a burial site for Marwar rulers. It’s a beautiful marble structure and one can also get a splendid view of the Mehrangarh fort from here.
With the setting sun I made my way back to the hotel and got ready for an open air Rajasthani meal at Hanumant Mahal Terrace Restaurant; which along with some resplendent food offered a spectacular view of the beautiful Umaid Bhavan lit up in all its glory. The food, the ambiance and the weather made this a great night. A visit to this restaurant for a night time meal, especially int he winters is a must.
The next day was spent at the property itself, which by Taj standards is quite okay, nothing grand. If you have the budget then book yourself into the Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace instead, otherwise this property is quite okay for a short stay. The food though is quite delicious, and don’t forget to have some good mutton curry during your stay here.
Day three started with a quick round of the local market at the Clock Tower in the city center, and I can safely say that this can be avoided. There isn’t much to buy, Jaipur will offer you better prices and variety of anything that you are looking for, so don’t waste your time at the market if you have a limited number of days at Jodhpur. After a sumptuous lunch, it was time for a visit to the sand dunes of Dechu, a small village some 2 hours from Jodhpur. I haven’t been to Jaisalmer so can’t compare, but Dechu didn’t disappoint, rather it was quite a brilliant experience.
First up was a thrilling open jeep safari through the sand dunes where I spotted some wild Black Bucks, Peacocks and Camels in the shrubbery. The ride itself was super fun with sudden drops and turns. Then came the camel ride, for which I was hesitant at first because I had already fallen off a camel’s back once at Nubra Valley and didn’t fancy repeating that incident here. But after being assured that the Camel wouldn’t throw me off it’s back I found myself taking the most uncomfortable ride of my life. For those who think getting your thighs bruised is fun, please go ahead, but I am not going to do this again, unless ofcourse its a necessity. The camel on his part was friendly and quite good at his job. Thankfully post that ride and me incessantly praying that I manage to make it without a fall, I was greeted with piping hot tea and some snacks right in the middle of the dessert. I should mention here that all of this and more was taken care of by the management at Samsara Luxury Resort & Camp, which happens to have a beautiful luxury tented property at Dechu for all those looking for some peace and quiet under the starriest skies one can imagine.
Then came a round of entertainment by some Rajasthani folk musicians and dancers who just added value to the sheer beauty of the night. An open air seating in the cold dessert, a bonfire, singing and dancing, delicious food doing the rounds and some alcohol to keep you warm, what more could one want!
The night ended on a sweet note with some fantastic dinner of which the Lal Maas (an authentic Rajasthani mutton curry) was my favourite. A long ride back to the hotel, I relived every second of the wonderful day I had. I highly recommend this experience to everyone visiting here, in fact if you can do take out atleast one night and book yourself a luxury tent here.
Having left the visit to Umaid Bhavan for right before departing for Mumbai, a quick 30 minutes is all you need to visit the museum here, as the rest of the property belongs to the Taj and one wing is where the Royal family stays. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture and the Royal car collection is something else! The museum houses some rich artifacts from the royal household and it makes you wonder if they are still living like that even in these times. Too bad, you can’t just hop over to the next wing and find out! The Umaid Bhavan is a piece of striking beauty and upon seeing it you will know why it’s regarded as one of the most beautiful royal abodes in the country. Next time I am definitely getting myself a room here!
So in 3 short days I had covered almost everything that Jodhpur has to offer and more. It is a perfect getaway for any long weekends and 3 days is more than enough. So how about you skip Goa for a 3 day weekend and try something else for a change?!