It’s hard to believe we’ve been here ten days already. Time seemed to creep when we first arrived. Now it’s going too quickly.
Day ten began with a sunrise hike up “elephant hill”, so named because it’s shaped like an elephant, and it has an elephant statute at the top. The mountain itself reminds me of half dome in Yosemite national park, and it may be the same kind of geological feature. I don’t know. Regardless, the trail consists of some 750 stairs. Climbing in the morning humidity was strenuous, but the views were beautiful. You could even see Kumbhalgarh atop a peak in the distance (unfortunately you can’t see it in the photos 🙁 ).
We also visited a Jain temple that sits at the bottom of elephant hill. We’re told it is old, but I don’t know how old. It appears considerably more modern than other temples we’ve seen.
Following breakfast we headed toward Jodhpur. On the way we stopped by an odd shrine. Folks here worship a motorcycle. Yes, a motorcycle. The tale goes that an individual crashed into a tree here and died. The motorcycle got impounded by the authorities. The next morning, the motorcycle wasn’t at the impound yard, but somehow was back at the crash site. So the authorities impounded it again. The next morning it was once again out of the impound yard and back at the crash site. I don’t recall how many times this happened, but eventually they just left it at the crash site, set up a shrine, and started worshiping both the motorcycle and its driver as deities. Ghost stories say you can still hear the motorcycle running in the still of the night…
We started our Jodhpur tour with a visit to Jaswant Thada, the site where they cremate the kings from the Marwar region.
We also toured Mehrangarh, a fort that’s had a more extensive conversion to a museum. There’s some beautiful artifacts and a good explanation about them. While visiting, several locals stopped us and asked if they could take a picture with us.
From atop Mehrangarh, it’s easy to see why Jodhpur is known as the blue city. We were told that this is because there was a large constituent of priests that all painted their houses blue to show reverence to Krishna’s blue color, and the fad stuck. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but there are a lot of blue houses, and our guide tells us that today there are individuals actively soliciting folks to paint their houses blue. The blue color also helps to dissipate the heat that builds up in the sandstone structures, as it gets very hot here.
Not unique to Mehrangarh (we’ve seen them on all the forts we’ve toured), the gates have spikes to prevent ramming by elephants. Also interesting is the cannonball pockmarks (circled). The cannons don’t appear to have accomplished much…
Our trip to Mehrangarh wrapped up our tours for the day, so we spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening walking the main market street in old Jodhpur. This market doesn’t feel like a tourist trap like so many others we’ve already experienced, and it’s clean (relatively speaking). There’s still trash around, but no cows or the dung piles. You can actually walk down the street without having to watch where you step. We also visited an old stepwell baori here that some of the local boys were swimming in.
We did a bit of shopping, then headed to our hotel for the night. The stairs to get to our room were very steep!
Tomorrow we get to stay in a camel camp and go on a camel ride. Should be fun!