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Down on the Farm in Jodhpur

sunny 25 °C

Baggy riding breeches known as Jodhpurs originated in this Rajasthani city where polo has been the sport of maharajas for centuries. Jodhpur is also renowned for the myriad of indigo coloured buildings that make up the old city…
In the midst of this maze of ancient streets and lanes is the market – as vibrant and chaotic as any we have found in India…
And standing sentinel high above the tangle of city streets is the Maharaja’s enormous castle – the Mehrangarh Fort…
This virtually impregnable fortress is an impressive reminder of the power wielded by the Rajputs – a local Hindu clan who were under constant attack by the Muslim Mughals. The Rajputs were never defeated here, although they eventually formed an alliance with the Mughals, (as they did later with the British). This part of the palace was where the Maharaja’s many wives were kept isolated from all other men in what is known as ‘purdah’…
When one Maharaja died in 1843, all of his thirty-two wives calmly stepped onto his funeral pyre and were burned alive. This is the custom of ‘Sati’ and here are the right handprints they left behind…
The Mughals are no longer a threat today, so Jodhpur’s royals now live across town in the impressive, art-deco, Umaid Bhawan Palace…
Three thousand workers took fifteen years to build this pile for Maharajah Umaid Singh in the 1920s/30s. Unfortunately, the Maharajah metaphorically fell off his polo pony just three years after it was completed and his four-year-old son took the reins. However, maharajaship ain’t as regal as it used to be and to make ends meet most of the joint has now been turned into a luxury hotel.
In case you’re wondering, we are not staying up here on top of the world; we are down below in the ‘new’ part of the city where the wide streets teem with traffic, pedestrians and farm animals. Jodhpur may be a relatively modern city of a million people but, as in all Indian cities, stray cattle wander the streets and thrive on the garbage that is simply piled on every available corner. And, along with the cows, there are pigs, goats, dogs, chickens, camels and rats. Living here is to live on a farm and this herd of about twenty cows are being ‘farmed’ on the road outside our hotel’s gates…

Posted by Hawkson 07:13 Archived in India

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Too bad they're not harvested.

by R and B

Calmly? Are we so certain? Drugged not a possibility? The hands are so poignant. It's enough to break your heart.

by Tom

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