Tuesday, December 30, 2008
After my lavish and pleasurable journey on the Palace on Wheels, I arrived at Jodhpur. It was my second visit to this enigmatic city of Rajasthan. Chayan, my friend, being very punctual, was waiting for me at the station. I hadn't met him for a couple of years, I guess. Being a bachelor, his flat in Jodhpur was actually disheveled and unkempt. Even so, I liked it, as it reflected the typical bachelor's freedom - to enjoy every bit of life.
Chayan's flat is close to the Polo Ground, which was hosting the three day International Desert Kite Festival. After a cool shower and a heavy breakfast, we moved on to the Polo Ground that was full of the kite flyers from India as well as all over the world. This International Kite Festival is celebrated every year in the month of January (on Makar Sankranti). People were gathered to reveal their kite flying skills with full enthusiasm and vigor. Air Force helicopters were also releasing a number of kites from the sky. The sky was full of kites and balloons of various designs and colors. The festival is truly a blend of enthusiasm, colours, brotherhood, entertainment and mouthwatering Rajasthani sweets like Phirni.
I was dying to pamper my taste buds with the fiery and aromatic Jodhpuri cuisine which is why we first drove to Jalori Gate by bike and ordered two plates of “Pyaz Ki Kachori” and a few red meat and white meat preparations along with the grilled Kebabs and Tikkas. Our meal ended with a glass full of Makhania Lassi made with saffron, yoghurt and sugar, at the Clock Tower. After a tiring day, we came back home and spent the peaceful evening while relaxing and playing cards on the terrace. A cook prepares food for Chayan at his place everyday. He came around 7:30 pm and prepared the traditional Dal Bati Churma, Bajre ki Roti, Besan k Gatte and Kair Sangri for dinner.
I had already visited the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Museum, Maha Mandir Temple etc. during my last trip to Jodhpur. Therefore I decided to devote my Sunday to another traditional fair. Chayan also insisted that I visit Nagaur town to see the Nagaur Fair (Cattle Fair) that lasts for eight days. The fair was simply a sea of animals trading over a lakh of lavishly decorated bullocks, camels and horses. We enjoyed watching sports like tug-of-war, camel races, bullock races and cock fights at the Nagaur town. After returning to Jodhpur, Chayan took me to the Girdikot and Sardar Market. The colourful Bazaar is situated near the Clock tower. Its narrow lanes are dotted with tiny shops selling exquisite Rajasthani silver jewelry, marble curios with inlay work, handicrafts, clay figurines of camels and elephants, Rajashani textiles, etc.
The short Safari to the nearby villages was simply amazing. I realized that a number of attractions were left untouched during my last visit. Chayan proved to be a good partner throughout the trip.