As we approach our hotel in Jodphur, we are underwhelmed. We drive through many of the narrow filthy streets only to be greeted by a rather ordinary entrance. But once through the archway, the fabulosity meter squawks once more. The view is amazing
We are four hundred feet below the Mehrangarh fort, and although the usual mist or fog (we still haven’t determined which it is) is present, it does nothing to diminish the splendour of a 100 foot tall fort perched on top of a four hundred foot cliff. It dominates the skyline of Jodphur, its burnished red sandstone, imposing and beautiful, but impenetrable. Building started in the fifteen hundreds and it was four hundred years before any outsiders could penetrate its walls.
We have given Joginder the day off, which might have been a mistake as the walk up to the fort is a little trying for one who has just had a birthday, celebrated rather well the evening before, and today is feeling every day of his forty nine years (Ed is not allowed to comment here)
The fort is one of the largest and best preserved forts in India, and the city of Jodphur is making the most of it. Wandering in and out at will is impossible. For the first time on this trip, we feel as if we are at a major tourist attraction. Tickets are sold at the main entrance and are surprisingly expensive (for India), and come with a headset and audio tour, route markers make sure you follow the correct way, guards are everywhere, smart cafes appear at regular intervals, and the museum shop at the end of the tour is spectacular.
Inside the fort the ornate palace walls are remarkably well preserved
The palace rooms are breathtaking. None more so than the Maharajah’s bedroom where Christmas balls decorate the ceiling, delicate murals cover the walls, and stained glass fills the windows
The room in which the Maharajah received his important guests is called the Palace of Flowers. All the murals are of flowers and anywhere the paintbrush hasn’t touched is covered in gold
And as if that isn’t enough
But my favourite sight of the day is not quite as old, or as well decorated, but is every bit as fabulous