The Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur is one of the most impressive forts in Rajasthan and easily the best maintained and managed of all the Forts I visited during my Rajasthan trip in February this year.
It caters to all to all kinds of tourists and does it rather well without letting anyone feel left out. Quiet spots for contemplation; fantastic photo-ops for the serious or click-happy photographer; architecture, history and a jaw dropping collection of objets d’art on display for those interested in culture, design and history … the Fort has it all. But the activities that are the most popular and draw the tourists are the fun ones like ‘how to tie a turban’, ‘how to play chess’, having your palm read, etc.
That afternoon in February, I had just finished walking though one part of the museum at the Fort and was crossing one of the many courtyards there, when I saw a couple of international tourists requesting some Fort’s ‘volunteers’ to show them how a turban was tied. And within seconds, it was showtime.
Presenting the story of how a turban is tied in the words of the “demonstrator” 🙂
First we spread out the turban cloth to show how looooooong it is.
For reasons that I cannot really explain, ruins fascinate me. Their history, the people who lived there, their beliefs, their art, culture, their life and their ultimate downfall never fails to interest me. While in Jaisalmer, I heard about the ruins of Kuldhara, and knew that I could not come away without a visit. Yes, ruins have that effect on me; they draw me in like a magnet.
So that is how I came to be on the road to Kuldhara, about 20 km from Jaisalmer, one February afternoon listening to Sushil, my car driver-cum-guide, narrate the fairytale-like story of how Kuldhara came to be abandoned, cursed and haunted; forgotten, and then discovered after almost 2 centuries. It was a story that was fascinating in every aspect !
“This is your room, Madam,” said the hotel attendant as he opened the door and switched on the lights.
And I saw red. Literally.
“This is a very nice room, Madam,” beamed the attendant. “Don’t you like it?
“It’s too red, ” I said in a dazed voice taking in the red walls, red carpet, and furnishings shimmering away in different shades of red .
The attendant said soothingly, “This room is one of a kind, Madam. No other room is like this. In fact, all rooms are one of a kind. I promise that by the time you leave the hotel, you will love the room.”
He was right. By the time I left after 2 days and 2 nights at the hotel, I was not only in love with my red room, I was also in love with the hotel this room was a part of — the Bhairon Vilas Palace.