We started early in the morning from Jaisalmer. The Golden City was glistening in the first rays of morning but was still sleeping. We made a quiet exit from the city and marched towards Jodhpur which is the third important part of the Marwar Triangle (other two have already been covered- Bikaner and Jaisalmer). On our way to Jodhpur, we drove through Pokaran which is near to nuclear test site, Pokhran. India had performed nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1974 and 1998. I heard that because of the explosion, the dust was in the air at higher proportion leading to hindrance of sunlight for few days. We took a pit stop to have breakfast and had insipid aloo paratha. Was wondering about only us having breakfast there! The place of exorbitantly expensive for the taste of the food.
We had still to cover 200 km to reach Jodhpur. We already had covered 140 odd km since we started from Jaisalmer. There is a stark difference between Indian travelers and foreign travelers. Foreigners love to be at leisure (for obvious reasons) and don’t push the journey beyond 200km a day and we Indians (for obvious reasons) have to keep it pushing so that we reach office on time the day our holiday is done with! Otherwise, boss gets angry! How I wish that we had the same culture of work in India where we have the luxury of roaming places for months. Near Pokaran, I saw a majestic peacock perched on a branch of a desolate tree. It was indeed a moment to die for and captured it by my mind. Sorry, I was not carrying the SLR camera with zooming lenses. The peacock was similar to the one we normally see in the paintings in palaces of Rajasthan. Plump, sitting with an erect glistening blue neck and the huge and extremely beautiful foliage curved in the direction of gravity. I haven’t seen such a beautiful peacock for years and no wonder it is the ‘national bird’ of India.
|The Pyaaz Kachori|
We entered Jodhpur at around 12.30 pm. This is probably the biggest city in the Marwar region. My agenda was clear about what to do in Jodhpur. I instructed our driver to drive all the way to ‘Janata Sweet House’ on Nai Sarak. (Thanks a lot Dear Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma) Once we entered the sweet shop, the madness prevailed for another half an hour and the taste still lingers on my taste buds. I got my hands first on the legendary ‘pyaaz kachori’ of Rajasthan. This puffed bread deep fried till crispy brown outside and stuffed with onions and other spices inside takes your culinary conscience to another level. I have all the sympathies for the lady pilot of Air India who overthrew the diktat of her seniors for the love of these pyaaz kachoris. J Next o the menu was the burly ‘mirchi vada’. The rajasthani mircha thickly coated with chick pea flour and deep fried is a must have snack when you happen to be in Rajasthan.
|The Mawa Kachori|
In the meanwhile, Anita who doesn’t share my enthusiasm for food was half-heartedly trying her hand at aloo tikki. She didn’t seem too pleased with that. I helped her finish it but yes indeed, it was not that great. Time to engage the sweet tooth! The Mawa Kachori – Probably the same batter for pyaz kachori but this time stuffed with condensed milk and dry fruits and soaked in sugar syrup. You ask me what heaven is and I will tell you the address! After polishing off the Mawa Kachori, I turned towards the special ‘Makhaniya Lassi’. Laced with insane amount of malai and dryfruits, this lassi can take care of your calorific requirements for days to come. For me…what calories???
|Entrance of Meherangarh Fort|
Trust me, you always have a happy time with happy belly. Never ignore it. So after pampering our guts at Janata Sweet House, we moved towards the iconic Meharangarh Fort of Jodhpur. For movie buffs, you surely have watched Nolan’s epic ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and if you remember the place from where Bruce Wayne escapes from the dungeon of Bane is nothing but the Meharangarh Fort of Jodhpur. Perched on a hill near Jodhpur, the Meharangarh Fort looks like a guard of the city.
Meharangarh is one of the most beautiful forts we came across in Rajasthan. With a splendid architecture and intricate art inside, it personifies Rajasthan’s royal history in a genuine manner. We somehow did a mistake of not hiring a guide and pushing through this fort on our own. Bad advice from our driver! Take my advice- If you are visiting such a beautiful fort with vast expanse then a guide is a must. It costs only few bucks but makes the visit worthwhile! We captured the beautiful vista of the blue city of Jodhpur from the fort. Most of the outer walls of houses in Jodhpur are painted with blue color and hence, the name Blue City. We had just covered the ‘Golden City’ of Jaisalmer, we were in the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur and in couple of days, we would find ourselves in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. We marveled at the grandeur of the King’s bedroom, walls with beautiful artwork and windows bedecked with colorful glasses. It must be difficult to sleep there. It is difficult to write about forts and palaces. I can use the words like grand, beautiful, vast, and intricate but you won’t get the feel unless you visit such places.
|The Blue City of Jodhpur from Meherangarh Fort|
It was past 3 pm and we were ready for another grueling drive of 150 odd kilometers till Ranakpur. And we marched. We had no choice. We had so many places to visit and so less of time. Ranakpur is a wildlife sanctuary and also famous for its Jain temple complex. By evening, when we entered the forested area, we feel relieved with the cool breeze of the air. We soon entered the premises of Ranakpur Hill Resort and got a lovely, cozy Swiss tent. A much needed cup of tea and a wonderful shower. Probably, the best place to stay in Ranakpur Forest. The restaurant of the Hill Resort serves nice food easy on spices. It was good for the palette and for the guts. After the tiring drive of about 500 km in the day, all we needed was a good sleep and we got it. I didn't wish to be in King's bedroom though!
|The King's Bedroom, Meherangarh Fort, Jodhpur|