Friday 31 December 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

(Look to This Day by Kalidasa)
A Happy New Year to you all!

Rajasthan (14) – Jodhpur (part 2)

PC011455PC011498Part of the Meherangarh Fort is now given over to a museum with a collection of palanquins (sedan chairs). I’ve never ridden in a sedan chair, although always fancied being borne aloft! These were a real mixed bunch, some ornate, some were works of art, some were open, some enclosed, some looked comfortable, others did not!





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It also house a surprisingly interesting collection of daggers and other sharp weaponry. I loved the filigree inlays of these, echoing the jali and the symmetrical patterns found in the buildings.

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PC011717PC011659On down the road a little distance form the fort lies the Jaswant Thanda, a marbled mausoleum of a memorial to a Maharajas (what is it about Indian building that make them seem to resemble multi-tiered wedding cakes!) surrounded by cenotaphs to other royals, formal gardens, with a local water supply capable of attracting what I think were like some sort of cormorant – Ken, identification appreciated if you are around, and NB more birds to come!




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The new part of the town was interesting in its own way, clearly Jodhpur folks are quite affluent and don’t want to stay living within the old city and so the equivalent of new housing estates are springing up along with some up market hotels.  All very different from where I am in Orissa – worlds apart!.

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Rajasthan (13) Jodhpur (part1)

PC011414 Settling in on the Eastern edge of the Thar Desert Jodhpur is the “blue city” of Rajasthan, it is pretty dusty, and when we were there full of flies. It is set spectacularly below the Meharangarh Fort, once the centre of the Marwar, a  principality dating from the late 1300s.

PB301400Its marketplace is dominated by a somewhat incongruous clock tower, and was unlike any other Indian market  I’ve seen – it was full of junk, second hand clothes, stuff most folks wouldn’t want. The undercover part was more like a souk, but the stall holders were particularly assertive to tourists and I can’t say I liked the town much at all.


Once you’ve made the uphill climb, the Fort was however, something else.

Huge fortified gates aside which is a macabre set of handprints moulded into the walls by the widows of the Maharajas as they went of PC011441-cropto commit ritual sati.

Beautiful jali lattice work covers the windows of the various royal apartments (dating from early 1700s to 19th century ones), passages and the Zenana or woman’s quarters (remember these women went into purdah in the old days) as they look out onto the various courtyards of the palace.

Among the various rooms was an incredible light show of a room, full of gold and glass, looking something like the inside of a tin box! which was seemingly a room for listening to music and watching dance (not sure about the acoustics)



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