This is the Jodphur Fort from the balcony of my hotel room. I went to Jodhpur just to see the fort. I had been traveling around India, looking at forts for a couple of weeks. While I was visiting forts in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jaisalmer I had people ask me "Have you seen the fort at Jodhpur?" when we were talking forts. I considered that something of a "tell" about the fort in Jodhpur. No one really came out and said that it was the best fort in India. Each one is, on their own merits, special. But the fort at Jodhpur, well, it’s a fort a fighting man can appreciate. It just seems impregnable when you are inside. The walls are so tall as to make me dizzy looking over them from inside. It costs $5 to get inside. There is a great audio tour included.
I’m here to tell you that this was a fort. I had seen many forts in India. I saw the Red Fort in Delhi. I saw Agra Fort in Agra. I saw the fort in Jaipur. But this fort was unique. It had been occupied for over 800 years. Some say it’s had the longest continuous occupation of any medieval fort in the world. I could believe that. It costs nothing to go in, because everywhere you turn there are people trying to sell you things. There are also 40 hotels in the fort that want your business. This means good things for the people who live in the fort. The bad news is that all that commerce is supposedly causing an over-consumption of water which is eroding the foundation of the fort. There is an ongoing debate about whether the fort will last much longer. There have been collapses of sections of the fort with deaths involved. The fort is on the World Monument Fund’s 100 Most Endangered Sites list. All I can say is I got to see it and take a few snapshots before it goes.
It’s the courtyard of the hotel where I stayed in Agra. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? The rooms weren’t that good, but certainly significantly better than the ones I had in Delhi. Again, no heat. But there was hot water whenever I wanted. Plus, the weather wasn’t quite as cold. It seems that heat in hotel rooms within this region of India only happens at a certain point on the luxury scale and I hadn’t quite gotten to that level. But I’m becoming more and more cognizant of it.
This is Wikki, my Indian friend who works for Macy’s. He works at a call center. How many call centers are there in India? More than I can count. Wikki and I shared a compartment on the train from Delhi to Agra. I learned a lot from him about Indian life from him. Hopefully, I instilled a little more desire in him for All-Things-American.
I’m waiting on my train to Agra. The Delhi train station is more than just an interesting place, it’s a little slice of… well, I’m not sure. But after some careful thought, the first word that comes to mind is Purgatory.
Okay. It’s a McDonald’s. It’s breakfast time. I’m thinking Sausage McGriddle. No such luck. Maybe an egg biscuit? Nope. Okay, I’ll settle for a burrito. "A what?", they ask me. Apparently, all they had was lunch. To top that, there was no beef on the menu. The sandwiches were chicken, fish and veggie. From what I could gather from my sources, it may be illegal to sell beef in India. In India, you can get some good smoke on the streets or a shot of Jack Daniels at a bar to go with your Cuban cigars and you can purchase all kinds of powders that do who-knows-what to a person at every little shop in the city, but no double cheeseburgers. Hhhhmmmmmm….
Delhi is full of all kinds of alleys like this one. They lead into the bowels of the city. Caution is advised.
This is the Lotus Temple in Delhi. It is a temple of the Bahai faith and is known as the Bahai House of Worship. It’s a very unique structure. When I visited, there was a constant stream of people coming and going. The Lotus Temple was quite popular with the tourists as well as people of the Bahai faith.
These are columns at Qutub Minar. I liked them. I took a picture.
Qutub Minar is a big stone pillar. It’s also on the original site of the town of Delhi. All the tourist guides will tell you that Delhi is a city that was rebuilt six times on different sites that were all very close to each other. This site is the earliest. The tower itself is an imposing 210 feet high and is part of a complex built by the Muslim invaders that defeated the armies of the Hindu kingdom in the late 10th century. One interesting part of the site is an iron pillar that has been dated at around 400 AD. The significant thing abut the iron pillar is that no one has been able to figure out how it was cast at such an early stage in metallurgy or why there is no rust on the pillar. It is also said that the hugging the iron pillar can make wishes come true. True to government form, they’ve erected a barrier so that no one can get close enough to the pillar to hug it. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site and shouldn’t be missed.