Another day, another balls-achingly slow computer – a shame, as there’s a lot to write this time. I’ll see how it goes.
Still in Jodhpur, which has grown on me a great deal since we arrived. It’s known as the Blue City, which makes perfect sense when you look down on it from above, as the majority of the buildings (in the old city at least) are painted a vivid sky-blue. Apparently the reason for this is two-fold: the indigo in the paint pigment is an insect repellent, and it used to signify that the house was owned by a Brahmin (the highest Hindu caste). These days, non-Brahmins also paint their houses, and the result is one crazy-looking city. Lonely Planet, in a nice rhetorical flourish, described it as “a cubist mass of sky-blue angles”, which is exactly right – it does look like a Cubist painting, and it’s a quite a sight, especially as it’s set against the backdrop of a desert.
It’s also home to the Mehenrangarh fort, which is far and away the most imposing and fascinating “historical” site we’ve been to on this trip so far. It’s a giant, majestic 15th century fort set on top of a steep rockface overlooking hte city – vaguely reminiscent of Granada’s Alhambra, which is high praise indeed. The location is quite stunning, and the buildings inside are beautiful – all ornate stonework, lavish interiors and airy courtyards. This does sound horribly like a tourist brochure, but it’s a pretty amazing place.
Apart from aesthetic considerations, Jodhpur is just a pleasant place to spend time – the legion of “Hello my friend” types is far smaller here than it was in Udaipur, and people are generally friendly and open. We’ve made friends with the local chai-wallah (who sells us excellent chai for all of 3 rupees a glass), and managed to get ourselves caught up in what appeared to be a wedding procession last night, which was all good fun until some vile little tyke copped me in the face with a bloody carnation (flower throwing seems to be quite the thing to do at celebrations). How’d you get that black eye, Tom? Er…
This brings me to the title of this installment, as it does appear to be wedding season at the moment. We’re staying just off one of the main streets in the old town, and at least three or four times a day, a wedding procession will wind its way down the middle of the street. Now when I say “main street”, I mean just that it’s a little wider than every other street – at its biggest, it’s probably just wide enough to get one car down. Consider that the average wedding procession involves a marching band, horses, a couple of hundred people, and that the street also holds an open sewer, two “lanes” of traffic, pedestrians, shops, and the usual assortment of cows, dogs, goats and anything else that fancies wandering down the road, and you’ll get an idea of the sort of traffic chaos this causes.
Despite it all, no-one seems overly bothered by, well, any of it. There’s a bit of honking, and a bit of pushing, but mostly everyone just hangs about and waits for everything to clear. Which it does… until the next procession comes along. Ah, God bless India.
For everyone’s who’s asked, there’ll be some photos soon.