Jodphur – part and parcel of India

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Before departing Jodphur on our previous visit we had taken the time to scout around for better (and cheaper) accommodation for our return. We succeeded with the Hill View guest house which provided both beautiful views over the city and a shorter hike up the hill to the city’s main attraction: the fort.

The fort looming 50 m or so above enticed us back for a second visit. Having before toured the fort interior (still the best out of the four forts we’ve now seen) we decided to explore the grounds from a different perspective – the air! For our return visit, we each donned a harness and clipped ourselves in turn to six zip-lines suspended in the hillside surrounding the fort. Zipping around (our instructors seemed to be on a mission to complete the course in record time) we took in some breathtaking views of a hitherto unknown lake, the lesser seen (and perhaps more beautiful) side of the fort, and again the city of blue buildings below.

After retreating back to our guesthouse for a couple of hours we made our third trip up to our home-from-home, this time to enjoy the delights of the Jodhpur Riff, a Rajasthani folk festival set in various locations throughout the fort. The ‘living legends’ performance to which we had acquired tickets was set in the beautiful Maharajah’s reception room, one of the very rooms whose glowing stained glass windows and carved marble screens had made me gasp before, imagine my delight! We were treated to the sounds of rare Rajasthani instruments such as the sarangi, India’s answer to the violin; the santoor, whose strings produced a silky soft sound reminiscent of a harp; and a drum-like instrument (which after lengthy google searches on both our parts we believe to be called a khamak), held under one arm whilst producing an incredible range of reverberations via the plucking of a single string. A fantastic performance enjoyed in the cushioned comforts of a royal chamber to the setting sun!

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Jodhpur also provided us with an education in India’s postal system. Having purchased two lovely but slightly cumbersome bedspreads we decided the only course of action was to parcel them up and ship them home. It turns out that in order to send a parcel in India there are a whole host of hoops to jump through. Obviously the post office could aid you in your quest by providing in-house help, but where would be the fun in that? Or indeed the entire street’s worth of trade outside?! The first task to be completed, having made your way to the front of the queue, is to turn around and walk right out of the post office. You walk down the street with your bundle soliciting quotes from various tailors for the cost of encasing your treasure in white cloth. Having selected your tailor of choice you sit to one side whilst he completes the job in hand, carefully sewing up your package and sealing the seams with wax. You return to the post office a second time to address your parcel and fill in the requisite forms before hitting the street again to acquire three photocopies of the customs declaration form. On your third visit you successfully hand over your parcel, forms and money and leave satisfied in the belief that in about a month’s time your parcel will arrive home…. hopefully!

Laura

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