Mélanie Johnsson

Journal

Chapter 3: Jodhpur

 
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Oh, bustling Jodhpur

you made my head spin.

 

I arrived in the Blue City after a tiring five-hour bus journey. A journey mostly spent speaking to a super smart thirteen year old boy that kept on asking me if the Brexit had affected my work and lifestyle (he said he loved watching the BBC). He also taught me a lot about Indian's history and disastrous caste system. I would say he was a little genius, but as I don't know his name and where he lives, I guess we'll never really know!

On my way to Jodhpur, I was already starting to feel more at ease in India; the first impression of an assault on the senses having been replaced by the idea that the country was a mess but also a force to be reckoned with. Even if I did feel a bit more comfortable, I didn't really let my guard down (you can't really when you're traveling on your own, especially as a woman) but coming from the serene Udaipur, I was expecting Jodhpur to feel similar: lively but chill, animated but agreeable. Well, it wasn't exactly the same...Jodhpur is like the badass, animated, perilous cousin of Udaipur. Let me tell you more about it.

 
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Beaming

 

with colours

 

and hand-printed patterns.

 

Life in the city seems to be revolving around its central market and clock tower. Women and men in colourful and beautiful clothing are selling spices, toys, fabric, wooden tools and everything else you could think of. In October, people are also getting ready for the Diwali festival, so you can see everyone stacking up on fire crackers, fireworks and other lights and decorations. What I loved most about Jodhpur was the women's outfits. I don't really know why, but the fabrics seemed to be more colourful and contrasted than in Mumbai or Udaipur. I saw many beautiful and dignified women with bright saris keeping busy in the streets of Jodhpur.

 
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I spy with my little eye.

I spy with my little eye.

Icon inside a local tuk-tuk.

Icon inside a local tuk-tuk.

 

Yes, people will stare at you in India, whatever your skin or hair colour looks like. For the most part, you can tell people are just curious about you and intrigued by how different you look and behave. I assumed european women would be the only ones to be stared at, but as I became friends with Indian women later on in Goa, I noticed that they were being stared at as much as I was. I really strongly felt sexism in India. Not so much against me, but rather against my indian counterparts. Men's behaviour angered me, and the fact that I couldn't do much about it while I was there made me even angrier. Nevertheless, I met some pretty badass indian women during my trip, and I trust they know how to fight back whenever needed.

 
Yes, people will stare.
But you can tell they are just curious about you.
 
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The Blue

 

City

 

is surprisingly not that blue.

 

On my first day in Jodhpur, I decided to walk to the Mehrangarh Fort to explore its sand coloured walls and learn a bit more about Rajasthani culture. The Fort was extremely beautiful and well worth the long walk from my guest house. I must have spent at least two hours wandering around its beautifully carved paths, amazed at all the little details (although I kept on being interrupted by cheeky squirrels). There were Diwali celebrations taking place within the Fort, with traditional music being played and dancing happening almost everywhere.

 
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On my second day, I really wanted to get out of the city and explore the surrounding countryside. I hired a guide for the whole day (through my guest house) to show me around different places and temples, but also introduce me to some amazing craftsmen living in smaller villages nearby. At the end of the day, we were also going to do a camel ride in Osian, a neighbouring city with sandy dunes (that part was quite terrible). I learnt so much during the day, going from village to village, meeting locals and spotting wild cranes and other fantastic creatures. You know I love my birds! Now, I will let my photographs do the talking.

 
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Arts & Crafts

Admiring print making and pottery techniques.

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Learning about the crafting
of famous indian rugs: the dhurries.
 
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Beautiful people and details
in smaller, isolated villages of Rajasthan.
 
All the details.

All the details.

What a poser.

What a poser.

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So, as you might have guessed, I liked the bustling city of Jodhpur, but not as much as I liked going away from it to uncover the little marvels in its surrounding countryside. I really enjoyed learning more about traditional indian print making, pottery and dhurries. Cherry on the cake: all the people I met that day (including my guide) were really lovely.

 
Next up, Bharatpur
and its famous birds reserve.