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Jodhpur and the Maharajah: Photos

The Maharajah, Louise and camera-ready Patricia
December 27th: Jodhpur

(Yes, that is a picture of my friend Louise and me with His Royal Highness the Maharajah of Jodhpur--read on...)

This morning we go on a safari to a Bishnoi village. This 450 year old tribe are environmentalists and live in harmony with nature. No electricity or refrigeration other than this interesting ancient clay cooler (see pictures in Jodhpur photo file). We had an "opium ceremony" and drank opium tea (supposedly it was actually Opium--who knows) as well as were served an "authentic Rajasthan lunch" (some hot bread and pickled eggplant-type cold stew), while sitting on a charpoy (rope bed) outside in a dusty courtyard. It was fun. At this point we figured if we didn't get sick we would never get sick. We did not get sick. The rural people are so gracious and lovely. Gave more pens and cartoon stickers to the children. Their beaming faces when they see stickers are so darling. The children always run and get their little brother or sister so that everyone is included. I brought LOTS of stickers ;-)

This afternoon we went to a polo match after going back to the hotel and cleaning up. Our guide had us take a seat and a few minutes later a big Mercedes pulled onto the field. Out jumped a sporty looking fellow in a polar fleece vest, ascot and cowboy hat. Our guide said "come with me and I'll introduce you to the Maharajah of Jodhpur" So, we sauntered over to the Maharajah and shook his hand and exchanged pleasantries. He asked us a few questions and then motioned to some comfortable seats next to him and said "why don't you join me for the match" So, my friend Louise and I sat with him and he explained the plays during the match. What a great guy--Oxford educated and doesn't sell royal access (through paid dinners and parties) like the Maharajahs of Jaipur and Udaipur do (tres tacky). (see Jodhpur file by clicking the title link of this post)

The commentary during Indian Polo games is wonderful. Two chukkas (polo play periods) are in announced in English and two are in Hindi. Examples of commentary:

"A lovely backhand!"
"A lovely solo effort gone to waste"
"Two youngsters in a tussle"
"Hit with a feeble backhander"

It was great fun!

Late afternoon we returned to Maharani Arts Emporium where I had dropped a bundle the day before on wonderful goods (Louise was almost as bad!). I just had to buy more stuff for my sisters. Jodhpur is where all the major exporters come to place their orders for weavings and fabrics. At Maharani Arts there is no bargaining, but you can get authentic designer goods for a fraction of the International prices. They only sell design overruns on the premises and do not bargain--the designers allow them to do this, but only if people come to the shop. Prices are more than fair and are fixed. All the celebrities load up here (pictures everywhere of the gliterati). There is no junk--only 8 rickety floors of very high end stuff. Thank God it was my last day in Jodhpur or I could have done even more damage. They ship at very reasonable prices and everything arrived in perfect condition. I do not regret one purchase that I made at Maharani Arts Emporium. The really fabulous part of Jodhpur that you don't realize until you get there is that there are essentially no beggars or touts because there are fewer tourists. That little fact makes the city so much more enjoyable.

Visited Umaid Bhawan Palace (and hotel). Simply gorgeous, but very formal, and we are happier at our hotel.

Off to Udaipur....
Permalink | Posted by Patricia Pomerleau on Sunday, January 22, 2006