Jodhpur – Jaswant Thada

27th February 2014 (Day 19) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


(This is the last post for India, out of 56 posts with 1,000 images and 20,000 words.)

After Mehrangarh Fort, we visited Jaswant Thada.  It is in the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park and close to the fort, the walls of which you can see on the horizon at the left.


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Jaswant Thada is a white marble memorial built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.



There was a small bird with iridescent blue plumage feeding on the blossoms of a tree.  It is somewhat like an Australian Honeyeater but I don’t know what kind of bird it is.


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On the skyline is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, residence of the family of the Maharaja, built in the 1930s and finished in 1943.  Amongst other things it is a monument to incredible wealth but in 1948, Marwar became part of India and the Maharajas lost their taxation revenue.  The palace has 347 rooms and includes a hotel where you can stay for as little as $A400 per night, or if you feel like lashing out, $A1,725 per night for a grand royal bedroom suite.



Back to Jaswant Thada, this is the shrine inside.



Bronwynne, a member of our party, on the left, had just been photographing this Indian family.



Later, on the way back to the hotel, we passed this demonstration.  Our driver was unable to say what they were demonstrating about.



This street vendor obligingly stopped for a photograph.



Goodbye from India!  This is an appropriate image to end on as well as being chronologically the last photograph.


Jodhpur – Mehrangarh Fort 2

27th February 2014 (Day 19) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India



French women in front of ornate window.

We continue from the previous post, in the museum of Mehrangarh Fort.



We are looking up at a thin tapestry suspended overhead.



This is Sheesha Mahal, or the Hall of Mirrors.



Phool Mahal (The Palace Of Flowers), featuring an abundance of gold.



Phool Mahal (The Palace Of Flowers).



Phool Mahal (The Palace Of Flowers).



Phool Mahal (The Palace Of Flowers).  Reflections in a mirror.



Phool Mahal (The Palace Of Flowers).


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A collection of swords in the armoury.  The Fort is said to hold the swords of many emperors including Akhbar and Timur, though I do not know if these are shown here.



Takhat Vilas (Maharaja Takhat Singh’s Chamber).


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Many of the Maharajas of Marwar.  Top left is Rao Jodha, who founded Jodhpur.  Others are Maharajs between 1417 and 1895.  Ajit Singh, who was taken to safety as an infant and reclaimed his throne in adulthood is middle of the bottom row.  His predecessor Jaswant Singh, who rebuilt the fort in the seventeenth century, is to his right.



Moti Mahal (The Pearl Palace) where the Maharaja used to hold court.


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Some artisans near the gates….


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Entrance to a temple inside the fort.

I don’t know the name of this temple but it’s not Chamunda Devi Temple, at the other end of the fort and probably much larger. In that temple in 2008, 249 people died in a human stampede and more than 400 were injured. The casualties were mainly men as the women were in a separate queue.



Musicians at the gate.



A bridal couple just outside the gate.




Jodhpur – Mehrangarh Fort 1

27th February 2014 (Day 19) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India



In Jodhpur, on our last day in India (excluding travelling back to Australia via Delhi), we visited Mehrangarh Fort.


Jodhpur and its fort was founded by Rao Jodha 1459, and soon became capital of the Rajput kingdom of Marwar.


Jodhpur was conquered by Sher Shah Sur in 1544 or 1545. As we saw in an earlier post, he defeated the second Mogul Emperor Humayan, who fled to Persia. He established a remarkably competent administration that became a model for later Mogul Emperors. Then he sought to subdue the states of Rajasthan but died while beseiging Kalinjar when a rocket bounced off a wall of the fort and ignited a pile of them near where he was standing.

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This is the old city of Jodhpur, the Blue City.  According to one legend, the Brahamans originally painted their houses blue as a sign of their disctinctiveness but the rest of the population then followed suit.  It is essentially a pedestrian zone, too crowded for streets.  We asked our bus driver to take us there but he declined, claiming it was not safe.



Though the origins of the fort are much older, much of it dates from the time of Jaswant Singh (1638-1678).



In 1678, Jaswant Singh, the Maharajah of Marwar (capital Jodhpur) died without an heir. Aurangzeb interfered to name a compliant candidate as Maharajah but meanwhile one of the old Mahajarah’s wives had given birth to a boy. This infant, Ajit Singh, was smuggled out away from Aurangzeb and took refuge in Mewar. The Maharana there successfully resisted the Moguls even though they sacked Udaipur, and Ajit Singh remained free. After Aurangzeb died in 1709, Ajit Singh, now over 30, successfully reclaimed Jodhpur and Marwar.


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Rose-ringed parakeet.


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The fort museum has a particularly impressive collection and includes several palaces.  Here is a Maharaja’s howdah, for travel atop an elephant.  It was presented to Maharaja Jaswant Singh by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan in 1657.



Lions embossed on the side of a howdah.



Another howdah, this time from the late nineteenth century, complete with parasol.



A lion on the side of a howdah.



A palanquin from the nineteenth century, showing Western stylistic influence, and featuring carved wooden peacocks with glass eyes.  (In case you don’t know, palanquins are carried by human bearers).



The maharaja’s throne.  It doesn’t look too comfortable but there would have been plenty of cushions on it.



From the mid-eighteenth century, this is a grand palanquin captured as war booty by Maharaja Abhay Singh after defeating Governor Sarbuland Khan of Gujurat.  Perhaps it was cooler where it had been used in Gujarat.  The Maharaja used it once and found it remembled an oven, making him rather like an infant trapped in a closed car in summer.  It was never used again.



Lid of a cosmetic box, quite small, ivory inlay from the nineteenth century.



A Houqa bowl.  This is made of zinc copper and lead, chased or carved and inlayed in silver.  The black background is the result of oxidation.



Indian chain mail armour.  I don’t know the period.



Spiral staircase heading up to the next level.

To be continued in the next post….


Jodhpur – In the old city at night

26th February 2014 (Day 18) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


This is the square where we dismounted from the horses and carts, with a magnificent horse and rider ambling through.



It is just after 6pm and sunset is approaching, though there wasn’t much of a sunset this night.



All of these images are taken in the next hour and around half of them after dark.



Incense shop.






Most of our party disappeared into a Fabrics shop but I remained outside, photographing on the street in the receding light.


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Probably confectionary.



Preparing flowers and garlands for a festival the next day….



By this point I had stationed myself in full view on the corner of a small busy intersection, photographing people and events as they passed by.  I stayed there for the remaining images.

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Tuk-tuk doubles as a truck.




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Make way for the donkeys!


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Jodhpur – Horse and cart ride

26th February 2014 (Day 18) Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India




After visiting the markets, we went for a horse and cart ride through the old city.



There were six of us, two to a cart in three carts.  This is the one behind us, with Christa and Bronwtnne facing out to the back.  All the following images were taken from the back of a cart.


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DSCF5208 Some people have it particularly tough.


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He’s at least wearing safety glasses but not protective footwear, and the embers are flying out….


DSCF5302 Motorbikes and motor scooters are very popular….


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Jaisalmer to Jodhpur

26th February 2014 (Day 18) Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


A young camel hiding in the trees.

This was a day for travel in the Thar Desert, between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.  All these images were taken from a moving bus and captions for most are superfluous.


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A groom walking by on the road.


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Another bridal party walking along the road.  You may be familiar with the term “getting hitched”; it seems they take that a little more literally in India.  It may not be completely apparent in the image but the bride is connected to the groom by a link of fabric.


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This and following images are now in Jodhpur.


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