Monday, October 27, 2008

The Road to Jodhpur

DSC04042 I thought we had done pretty much everything in Jaisalmer, but as soon as we arrived, Jon suggested we head to Lodhruva, just a few kilometers away, to see the Jain temples. This particular temple comes complete with a resident cobra. Superstition has it that the cobra is several hundred years old. I made my silent little prayer to see the cobra, which lives under the temple and comes out every once in a while, but he did not poke out is little head while I was there. I tried my best Harry Potteresque Parseltongue, but to no avail. Perhaps I should have brought him a tasty treat from Deshnok to tempt him out of hiding. The closest I got was to the area where he supposedly sleeps. There is a carved cobra and a silver dish for whatever it is one gives a cobra. I looked into the hole to see if I could see him and immediately decided that having my face in front of a cobra’s front door was probably not a wise thing. I finally did manage to see him, but it was on a picture of him in all his hooded cobra glory, slithering atop his special space set aside in the temple.DSC04232

  Now we were truly finished and after a final night in Jaisalmer, it was off to the blue city of Jodhpur. We decided to take in the Jain temples at Osiyan on our way. Osiyan does not receive a huge amount of tourists and we were actually the only ones I saw. We were there to see the Sachiya Mata Temple and the Mahavira Temple, which we were told by the very friendly priest there, is the oldest temple in all of India. There are reconstructions all around the old temple, and whether it was really the oldest or not is probably a topic for discussion, but for now, I chose to believe it. The priest gave us our blessings and then a small tour of the complex and afterwards he gave each of us a gift… Two of us (Ulco and I) received carved Buddha heads while Jon and Manuel received carved Ganeshas. Manuel was so very excited to have a new Ganesha for his little temple. He is such a good Hindu these days with his little temple and incense and candles. I wouldn’t be surprised if I come home to find a note telling me he has run away to become a monk.

After Osiyan we head to Jodhpur with visions of a roof terrace and a relaxing dinner in our heads. We arrived at the Pal Haveli, which had been recommended by our hotel in Jaisalmer and were shown to our rooms. From the bed of my room, I had a fabulous view of the fort.

DSC04297 I had expected the fort in Jodhpur to be somewhat similar to the one in Jaisalmer, but they were nothing alike. While Jaisalmer Fort is low to the town. Meherangarh in Jodhpur is perched high above the city. While Jaisalmer Fort feels a bit friendly, Meherangarh feel forbidding. At night Jaisalmer Fort glows a warm, welcoming gold and Meherangarh casts a dominating silhouette against a dark night sky.

Perched on an adjacent hill to Meherangarh, sits Jaswant Thada, the white and brightly lit memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh I, and directly behind us was the Umaid Bhawan Palace, whose shape from a distance makes one think of the Taj Mahal. I decided I needed a bit of a break and decided that the next day, I would visit the fort and take the rest of the day for myself. But as I am often taught time and again, the best laid plans of mice and men most often go awry.

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