The bullocks have recovered sufficiently to 'cart' us through the village to our tour bus. Hanging on for dear life is required as the 'roads' are very bumpy. In the village children gather to wave goodbye so we gave them sweets, very acceptable as Diwali gifts.
On the road to Jodhpur city, home of the Rathore rulers of Rajasthan. Pass fields of cotton, mustard seed, corn and wheat. Very flat again and we are now entering a semi-desert area.
Jodhpur is a big military area (army & Air Force) due to it's proximity to the Pakistan border. We even pass a Pakistani tank captured in the war of 1971, proudly & prominently displayed.
Suddenly our driver stops as a few hundred yards ahead a procession of men is crossing the road. It is a funeral procession, no women, taking the deceased to the cremation ground. Women do not attend any such ceremony even for a child or their husband. After cremation the remains are gathered. The ashes are taken to the river. For preference it would be the Ganges but obviously that isn't possible for all.
Jodhpurs is known as The Blue City as many Brahmins live here, who paint their houses blue, cornflower blue. Brahmins are priests, they can work and marry. They can also enter any household, even A Royal Household, without permission.
On the outskirts of the city the Jaswant Thada, the White marble cenotaph of the local royal family is situated. This is where are cremated and there are commemorative edifices for each of them. There are great views across the city and to the Red stone fort of Mehrangarh., our next port of call.
Another fort but a massive one with walls stretching along the hilltops, a bit like the Great Wall! It is Saturday and the locals are still on Diwali holidays so ...... it is packed! We are still just a few of the non-local tourists causing much curiosity! Today it is VERY hot!! Still in the mid 30s so pretty exhausting sightseeing.
An amazing fort and just unbelievably vast! We find a passably cool corner in the cafe (not quite NT) for a quick bite to eat before heading off to the Royal Palace Museum. The family still live in part of the complex and the rest is a super smart hotel - red carpet on the steps! We attempt to buy some Kulfi ice-cream but, much to our consternation (especially Janet's), they have sold out!
The last part of our journey has brought us to Rohet Garh Hotel , again set in a village, outside Jodphur. Our driver almost misses the entrance as the lanes are so narrow and it is now dark. Wow! We walk through huge gates into a stunning garden and beautiful old fort complex. Don't think it would be easy to convey how wonderful the setting is. Our rooms are extremely comfortable & everywhere there are hand painted scenes, figures and traditional local decorations and patterns.
After a tasty buffet with local dishes (spicy green tomatoes, sweet & sour) washed down with a glass of Indian white wine (very drinkable) as we missed our evening G&T there is the chance to watch a magic show. Initially, it is a very select audience - 2 of us - until 3 Antipodeans joined us. The young lad was a very enthusiastic performer, his patter consisting mostly of ' please be looking'! However, he did impress us with his last trick producing 3 pigeons from under a basket!
And so to bed, hopefully for a quieter tomorrow!