Category: India, 2019

On to Jodhpur

October 27

We’re picked up to drive to the airport at 4:30, a bit sad to be leaving this amazing hotel. From the center of India we travel west to the desert and town of Jodhpur, flying through Mumbai (Bombay). We are met by a representative of our travel agency in Mumbai and a driver who take us to the new terminal (for our flight to Jodhpur), which opened five years ago and is easily the most beautiful terminal I’ve seen anywhere. The terminal was designed by the Chicago architectural firm, SOM. I’m so proud.

The terminal is so special that I’d encourage a traveler who was in Mumbai, but not flying in or out, to go see it. Except, they couldn’t, because India, being much smarter than we are, requires that you show a ticket and identification before you are allowed to enter the terminal.

Our flight to Jodhpur is an hour late. We are met at the airport and transferred ten minutes or so to our hotel, the Hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Well, if we anticipated a step down from our Hyderabad hotel, we were mistaken. This place seems equally amazing. The young woman who shows us to our room, er, I mean, suite, says that this was the number one rated hotel in all of India and number three in the world. We are greeted by trumpets blaring and rose petals dropped from above. And I hardly ever get that at home, damn it.The hotel is decked out magnificently for Diwali, with fresh flower arrangements everywhere.

And our suite is not too shabby, either, as you can see from the bedroom part. Later in the afternoon we walk around the blue city, with our guide, Praveen, an enthusiastic Jodhpur native driven there by Mahendra (Manu), who shares the road with Ubers

Praveen talks of the blue city, and certainly there is some blueYou see some blue as you look out over the city, towards the fort that was occupied by the rulers until they built and moved into the palace that is now our hotel.But there also is plenty of trashAnd, one of the “problems” of traveling as much as we do is that when you hear somebody rave about a blue city, you compare it to another blue city, Chefchaouen , that you saw in Morocco and, as blue cities go, the latter wins, hands down.The most interesting part of walking around Jodhpur is seeing people preparing for Diwali, by ironing with a coal iron

Or by decorating their doorsteps.

Or old or young people just being themselves.

We return to the hotel before being picked up and driven to the home of Lokendra and Rama (and their two small children, cousin and nephew, with whom Shonali has arranged that we celebrate Diwali. For Diwali, the festival of lights and one of India’s most beautiful celebrations, oil lamps are lit to decorate homes, and in the evening a “puja” is performed to welcome the Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. People spend more than a week preparing, cleaning and decorating their homes. We are able to experience the celebration, first hand, with Lokendra and Rama, which is a real treat.

Before the puja ceremony, Lokendra tells about his family. Large pictures of his great grandfather, grandfather and father hang in the living room. For bravery in battle his great grandfather was given six cities, from which he received the tax revenues. Though illiterate, he insisted that his son, Lokendra’s grandfather, go to school and now the fourth generation of the family is attending the same college, a fact of which Lokendra is very proud.

Lokendra seems to manage some family real estate and Rama manages the house and children, which she says is living a good life. She seems to have little interest in utilizing her advanced business degree. After the rather long, and very ritual-laden pujah, we have dinner, light fireworks in the back yard (clearly the highlight for the kids) and Carol and look through their thick wedding album from ten years ago.Our guide and driver have waited two and a half hours for us, and now drive us back to the hotel, after our most enjoyable and unusual evening.

5 comments to On to Jodhpur


    How lovely to spend such a lovely evening with a local family

  • Wendy

    Wow.Very special, Dadz. Makes me think of Thanksgiving and other holidays where you guys are the ones to welcome visitors.

  • kay osborne

    Very special. Fond memories for me of ironing with a coal iron and reading by oil lamp as a child. But what was truly upsetting was that folks in the US had neither strewn flowers from above nor blew trumpets on your arrival. How dare they? We’ll have to see about that!

  • arnie

    Yes, Kay, please work on the trumpets and rose petals.

  • Phoebe Snell

    So so cool that you were welcomed into the home of the natives and got to celebrate with them! Quite the welcome at the hotel, also… I can’t believe this one is even close to comparing with the last one. Wonderful!
    Also, your photos are great at giving a taste of life where you are! So fun.

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