After Mumbai and a world wind Lonely Planet walking tour of Jaipur and a quick lunch at the Ganesha Restaurant (I highly recommend it), Rachel and I only had a few hours of sunlight to explore the city. The next day we headed off with fellow Fulbrighters Callin, Michele and Jaspreet to the Amber fort for some nice fort touring and then to Jodhpur. Jodhpur is by far my favorite city in Rajasthan. First of all it is beautiful. Many of the buildings in the old city are painted blue (it is often called the "Blue City"), the people there are very nice and helpful. One helped Rahel and I negotiate a rickshaw and everyone we met were happy to give directions. The famous and mountain top fort/palace of Jodhpur is also amazing and probably the best preserved and maintained fort in Rajasthan with an amazing audio tour (yes in India there is an amazing audio tour that was really fun to listen to and informative). The fort is also very well preserved and restored. Although our hotel was a little strange (crazy painted rooms and a strange, sometimes too talkative, hotel owner), the overall experience was fun and we treated ourselves to some great Rajasthani food.
After Jodhpur we all headed to Jaisalmer, the city at the edge of the desert. Also very beautiful like Jodhpur, but not blue. It has some very famous havelis (littlerally wind-lights) or large ornate houses with large courtyards in the middle that let in wind and light. The havelis were great, the the narrow winding streets of the city were fun to explore except for... all the cow shit that was everywhere. There were sooooooo many cows in such small streets that everywhere you walked you always had to look down so you would not step in a cow pie. Not to mention the smell. The Jaisalmer fort, which has literally been incorporated into the city (there are houses and shops in it) is currently sort of in disrepair with stones falling off of it every year. But it has great views of the city and a great massage parlor. Yes... while everyone went on a camel safari (I have already done one and so has Rachel) Rachel and I opted out and opted in for massages instead. A lot more comfortable and better smelling!
After Jaisalmer we traveled to Bikaner for a night (ate amazing home cooked food) and then made the nauseating (small bumpy roads) and long (8 hours) trip back to Delhi. After all this traveling, I have to admit, its nice to be back. But it was fun to see so much too.
See the Vacation pictures I posted to the side.