Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 2011: Jodhpur, home of the Kings

Our driver, Chundron carefully explains that he cannot deliver us to the Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli, because it is inside the main gate to the fortified inner city. We then board tuk-tuks and have a wild ride through incredible traffic congestion, black sooty exhaust, more cows, and more people, as we rattle over centuries old granite slab cobblestones, each made to withstand the weight of elephants. Night has quickly descended; the narrow streets, built for camels, horses and carts can only tolerate tuk-tuk's in succession, so our three vehicles negotiate each turn, and sometimes there is a dance of tuk-tuks at each narrow intersection. We arrive at the Haveli, check in, then follow our bags hefted on porter's shoulders, quickly up steep marble stairs to a room that has a double bed and one window to the courtyard, plain but everything works, including the plumbing.

We take time to breathe, then lock the door with a huge brass lock, climb the narrow winding steel staircase and arrive at the restaurant deck, then, in an inky-black night sky, the mighty Mehrangarh fortress towers overhead. Now, this is not some small Edinburgh castle, it is HUGE. Look at the picture (off to the right side) I snapped from our restaurant table as fireworks exploded in the sky beside the fortress.

It has been inhabited by a long series of Rajputs, stretching back to the 1200's, and the armour in the castle, which we will see the following day, looks like something from the Crusades. We sit in the serene ambiance of the restaurant, sip Kingfisher beer, eat naan bread, kormas, dahl and steamed rice. We are in Jodhpur, home of Kings.

Cam Grant

DWC Team Leader

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