After a seven and a half hour journey, we finally arrived at the blue city of Jodhpur. This is the second largest city of Rajasthan. The residents here accumulate their fortunes through selling precious tones, but there were few treasures along the streets. Instead, there were many cultural relic shops selling some carvings and silk.
We stayed at the Ranhanka cultural relic hotel. It lived up to its reputation. Its services, facilities were excellent along with its meals.
We started the journey to see three attractions around two-thirty pm. First we visited the hotel that was converted from the royal palace. The cheapest one could spend here was 400 rupees; in other words, it was not a place that welcomed the common citizens. We had planned to have a dinner or tea here, but it was so extravagant I did not see the need! I heard that Singapore's President Nathan would also be staying at this hotel. At the foot of the mountain lay a feast for the commoners under tentage.
The second attraction was an imperial mausoleum which used the same white marble as Taj Mahal. It looked impressive. The tablets of all the past emperors of Jodhpur were all here.
The third attraction was a thirty-storey high fort, the highest in India. We took a lift up to the top of the fort and were suitably impressed. Below us lay the entire blue city. Blue was the colour that only the rich were allowed to use in the past, but is now open to the commoners.
Besides fulfilling military requirements, the exterior was also aesthetically pleasing. From the meeting room made of gold and silver, to the emperor's bedroom, all the designs and materials were of top quality. Now, they have become a museum's showrooms. History defeats even the strongest citadel.
We chanced upon the sunset when we were still in the fort. Although it paled in comparison to Jaisalmer's, it held its own. We then visited a souvenir shop, which was the place I was most willing to splurge in for the entire fort. I bought an album of the Rajasthan Palace, a book on ancient Indian buildings and seven traditional Rajasthan CDs. I have always had the habit of collecting Indian music (I have a collection of around 20 of them). This time I planned to buy twenty or more.
We enjoyed first class service at the final souvenir shop. We specially ordered a tailored jacket and shawl that cost us around US$300. The puzzling thing was that they did not collect any downpayment, and even traveled 500km to our next attraction Jaipur to deliver them to us. We paid as we were satisfied with the service.
Dinner was served in front of the fountain in the hotel, with entertainers performing traditional dances, puppet shows and magic. It was such luxury! The icing to the cake was the fish that we had, for we had not tasted fish for a few days. This place was landlocked by the desert, and all the fish were shipped from external places, so prices were exorbitant. Most restaurants do not serve fish.
This city is the best managed so far. Except for the unmanageable traffic, the relics, hotels and services were unparalleled, leaving me with a deep impression.