We were up and running by 10.00 a.m. Just last night, we spotted ‘Omlette Shop’ which was very near to our hotel. This shop is mentioned in almost every guide book, and says the person sells 100s of omlettes, and been doing this daily for over 30 years! Man, that is a huge opportunity loss for chicken populace! After having omlette here, we didn’t feel it is too extraordinary or anything. Just good breakfast at normal price!
The first stop of the day was Umaid Bhavan Palace. Ask for ‘museum entry’, not ‘palace entry’, because the palace is now – you guessed it correct, a hotel! So only a portion of the palace is now open for public.
The palace is very huge and beautifully maintained. This was the last palace that was built in India. But we noticed they are constructing a large number of classic looking buildings around the palace. Guess for Taj the palace is not enough, and maybe we’ll soon have a ‘Umaid Bhavan Annexe’!
After the museum, we went to Jodhpur railway station for knowing the timing at which Vesta was to be handed over for journey to Pune tomorrow. The parcel office informed us to submit the bike in late evening. This was actually relieving that we would be accompanied by Vesta for full day, otherwise we would be at mercy of public transport and rickshawallas.
After lunch, we rushed to Mehrangarh fort, which was supposed to be very near to our guest house. But after going through a strangling maze of dirtiest roads we had seen and filthiest conditions people operate in, we were more than eager to finally reach someplace clean.
The road connecting Mehrangarh to the city was having some work, so people had to take long route to reach there. In order to save our kilometers, the people themselves decided let them go through the narrowest and steepest ways possible to save petrol! After crossing that maze, we finally found ourselves on the Mehrangarh base.
We opted for audio tour for this fort, as Lonely Planet said it was worth it. The person giving us the audio tour equipment was so fully charged, and the way he told us all the directions and instructions was really interesting!
The audio tour IS worth it. And importantly, the equipment has two audio slots (3.5mm jacks), though they give only one earset. If you have a spare one of your mp3 player, you can put it in the second one and two can listen. We had one with us, so both of us could enjoy the tour together.
The blue houses of Brahmins
Mehrangarh fort inside
View of Jaswant Thada from fort
View of Umaid Bhavan palace from fort
The fort is very beautiful, but at the same time, the approach roads go through the worst paths I have seen. It is as if a lotus has bloomed in a mud pond! Don’t mind the mud if you value the lotus!
Jaswant Thada, a monument constructed in carved sheets of marble ,is a traditional cremation ground of Jodhpur rulers located very near to the fort. But it gets closed at 5 p.m., so couldn’t see it. Maybe next time!
We went to the railway station for giving the bike. After getting the bike packed for 110 bucks (which I feel is perfect price, anything above Rs. 150 is not worth the service), we started to remove the petrol. Vesta’s huge belly has many spots for petrol to hide. After a tiring session of rolling and twisting the bike, we finally managed to dry up the petrol tank.
But soon the parcel office informed us, that for booking as luggage, we had to give the bike tomorrow only, and we couldn’t keep it in the premises for the night! We had to keep it in the nearby parking and come back early tomorrow morning. But after the removal of all petrol, Vesta had to be pushed to the parking lot, which was at quite some distance. So I put back around 1 liter of petrol back into her. Later I realized that I didn’t connect the petrol pipe below the tank back to the carburrator, meaning all the petrol had easy exit to the ground! But to my great surprise, not a single drop was dropped! Seemed Vesta gulped that 1 liter of petrol and not a drop fell out of the open fuel knob! Damn! So now I was looking forward for a morning exercise to pull out that 1 liter again!
We put the bike into the parking, and chose to walk back to hotel. Had ice creams in some shop, there was one named ‘Banaras Paan’, and it actually tasted like I was eating the Paan. In fact, it was so realistic, I got bored half way and switched the ice creams with Nandinee. Heym I am not Paan addict!
Further, we saw a Paanipuri shop, and went in with great expectations. That was, undisputedly, THE worst paanipuri in my living memory. Everything had come together in its worst form to create such a wonderful taste. Nandinee as usual backed off after tasting one, and I had to endure the rest of the plate.
We returned to the guest house for packing and dinner. We had planned to sleep early, as tomorrow we would have to wake up as early as possible, for Vesta’s check in. But packing stuff took a good deal of time, and finally we put our backs on the bed at 12.00 midnight.
… to be continued.