After the wedding in Bikaner, we left early the next morning to drive to Jodhpur. While I had been to Rajasthan before, I had never been to Jodhpur, and Dilshad had been impressed with Jodhpur from an earlier visit, so we decided to visit Jodhpur, and stay in the old city.
The drive from Bikaner was back along highway 62, stopping once again in Nagaur for the famous Kesar chai. The drive was uneventful, and we arrived in the old city of Jodhpur in the afternoon. We had to get off at the Sardar Market Ghanta Ghar (clock tower), since cars were not allowed inside the narrow gully’s of the old city, and walk the rest of the way (quarter mile), with our luggage, to the Kings Retreat Jodhpur, our B&B. This place was in the heart of the old town, in a former haveli. The place was basic, but did have AC, private bath, and a rooftop. We paid $25 for a “deluxe” room, with breakfast for both of us.
By this time, it was getting sundown, so we made our way back to the King’s Retreat to freshen up, and then went to look for the Blue Bird Café and restaurant rooftop.
The Blue Bird Café turned out to be close to our B&B, and it did indeed have a great rooftop view of the Mehranghar Fort, that Jodhpur is famous for. The food was very good, and tasty, and the bill with drinks came to $20; tourist pricing.
Our timing was great, because at 9:00PM, the floodlights lighting the Mehranghar Fort were turned off. Rooftop café’s are very popular to feed/entertain the tourists in the old town, and many of the tourists appeared to be backpacker-type tourists; at least in the old city. We went back to our B&B for a (hopefully) good night’s sleep. We did get a decent night’s sleep, thought he AC was a little noisy. Fortunately, we got an inner room, so we were sheltered from the street noises, including stray dogs.
Next morning, we got up and went to the rooftop of our B&B for breakfast. Once again, magnificent views
Some views from the rooftop below
After breakfast, we checked out as the plan was to stay at a more comfortable place the 2nd day. Since there was a slight mess-up by the cook for our breakfast, the staff were very apologetic, and reduced our bill from $25 to $20 for the night including breakfast. Nice service. And cheap 🙂 . We then rolled our luggage back to Sardar Market, where our driver met us and off we went to check out Mehranghar Fort.
Some scenes below
Pagree tying demo for tourists at the fort; note the length of the cloth and the mesmerized tourists
Entertainment was also available
Late lunch was at the On the Rocks restaurant, which was quite a unique place, It is situated in a strip shopping center but this narrow entrance leads to a large garden restaurant behind the strip, where it is very serene (with small stream and waterfalls that drown out the sounds of the street). The food is good local Rajasthani food, with good service. Prices were reasonable, with lunch costing us about $20 for 2 of us; in a decently upscale restaurant.
We then drove to the Almond Tree B&B and checked in. This place is basically a modern large home set up as a B&B; in an exclusive gated residential neighborhood behind the Umaid Bhavan Palace, with many imposing large and expensive homes. The owners have done a good job keeping the place clean, friendly and very comfortable, with 8 luxurious suites. Price per night was about $55, which is very decent. The owner, Chetan Bakshi, is a young man who runs a tight ship, and ensures all guests are happy and very comfortable. The only issue I found is that you cannot just walk out of this B&B and find a place to eat at round the corner, or 3 wheeler taxi’s. Since this area is exclusive/gated and secluded, you have to take a vehicle to get to the eating/shopping areas. Otherwise, it was a great comfortable place to stay at, and reasonably priced.
In the evening, we headed back to the old town, to check out a little more of the old city. After getting dropped off at the Sardar market, we walked to towards the Toorji Ka Jhalra
The Toorji Stepwell was close to the Kings Retreat B&B where we had stayed the previous night; so we had good bearings. We had never checked out a step well, so we were looking forward to seeing it. From the street level, you cannot see anything, but it is quite a sight when you are over it; the inscription gives a good description
The stepwell starts at ground level, and is dug into the ground; with steps on 3 sides in this case, and the Persian waterwheel on the “building” to the left in the picture, where the water gets raised to higher levels. There are symmetrical steps on all 3 sides leading down to the water to allow manual collection of water. In this case, the stepwell is not in use, and the water was dark and brackish.
We found a rooftop bar overlooking this stepwell, so went there for sundowner drinks
While enjoying the sundowners, we hear some singing coming from the step well, and we saw a man there singing Rahat Fateh Ali Khan qawali’s (songs) at the step well; a very nice touch for us as we like these songs, and with the setting sun and sundowners, this was icing on the cake.
We then made our way back to the entrance of the still busy Sardar market
And made our way to the famous Shahi Samosa shop, where we had our dinner; by the time you down a couple of these big, delicious samosa’s and a faluda, you are full. Dinner cost us all of $3.00
Next day, plan was to head off to Bera.