Day 7, Jodhpur
This has been a very fun day. Suzanne and I had a leisurely morning (our 2nd in a row, yippee) with a 9:30 am pick up by Paramjeet ‘highest success’. Suzanne and I both like Paramjeet immensely. He is helpful, but because he is a driver and not a guide, we are able to make our own decisions. The guides were great and full of information, but they have a routine and a certain way they like to do things. So, giddy with our freedom, we went to Maharani spices in the old city. The gentleman running the shop was very helpful. We bought some unusual and sumptuous smelling spice combinations. The spice shop was just a short distance from the Sardar market with it’s century old clock tower (you can see the fort to the left).
The market is set up from around 10 am to 8 pm. Taking our life in our hands we crossed an intersection to take a look as they were just setting up for the day. Our good luck, because the hawkers weren’t on their game yet. The hawkers are young street kids that get paid to direct you to certain shops, where you then are charged 3 to 4 times the normal amount for your purchases. Everyone has warned us to not engage with them.
Like chickens are ubiquitous in Hawaii, cattle are ubiquitous in India. In fact we have seen an amazing amount of free ranging wildlild in urban India.
After the market, Paramjeet took us to a wine shop. I almost had heart failure after figuring out what our hotel charged for a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz the other night. The taxes were almost half the cost of the bottle.
We then drove up to the current Maharaja’s palace to get a closer look. The hotel he added only has 55 rooms at approximately $824 night. The rest is all his personal residence.
On our way down the hill from the palace, Paramjeet spotted three antelope on the hillside just off the highway. They were climbing a sandstone cliff face and could have been mistaken for mountain goats.
Jodhpur is on the edge of the Thar desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert. The desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. Because of the complicated relationship with Pakistan and the border only 200 to 300 Kilometers from Jodhpur, there is a very large military presence in the city. After India was partitioned by the British in 1947, three wars have been fought over the Kashmir between the two countries.
Paramjeet wanted to know if we would be interested in visiting a Guda Bishnoi village textile warehouse to look at their immense offerings of pillow cases, scarves, fabric, tunics, purses, and more, of course we would!