Jodhpur Part one:
And some days it’s better to do nothing at all, in fact it’s something I always recommend for any one traveling around India, yes there is a lot to see, but it’s also quite overwhelming, no point in pushing oneself to the point of exhaustion. So, find somewhere off beat, grab a good book and find a perfect lazy spot. Enjoy a lie in, take a leisurely lunch, go for a stroll in the village whatever takes your fancy, but slow it down and guess what, you discover a whole new side to the country.
Todays destination, actually where we were for the next three nights was the perfect place for all of the above, providing some relaxation time for dad, yet with enough to keep me out of mischief. But where were we?
If I mentioned that it was one of the first and still one of the best heritage hotels in Rajasthan, the field would be narrowed a little. If I was then to mention the delectable green tomato curry as the house dish, it would, for those in the know, narrow it down to four hotels. But mentioning that it also has some of the finest Marwari horses in the country and the game is given away. Rohetgarh was not my very first heritage hotel, but one of them way back in 1999 (!) but they definitely gave me my first ride on a Marwari horse, and I have never looked back. Their grace, intelligence, nimbleness, not to mention the ubiquitous curved ears, is enough to woo the heart of any horsewoman, or man.
So, no prizes for guessing how I spent my’lazy’ day! With dad safely ensconced in a chair in a shady spot on the lawn, MD, Siddharth and I set of out through the village, past excited children and friendly waving villagers, into the countryside and once we had a feel for the morning, galloped along what could have been a perfectly crafted sandy track. The grin which spread across my face from ear to ear, was far from the clichéd statement it sounds, it was literal. I was once told I would never ride again ( I could barely walk) due to a back injury, I was also told I would never recover from M.E. Well, let me tell you, I did both and for what? Well for perfect moments just like this one. A very Merry Christmas to me indeed.
Back at Rohetgarh, I retrieved dad, we enjoyed a long lazy lunch and then a nap for him, chatting and a bit of photography for me before the Christmas night festivities began. A roof top dinner, prime table reserved, turkey as well as more traditional Rajasthani fayre, dad’s first bottle of Indian wine, comments reserved for later, bumping into friends of friends and more chatting around the fire as Kalbelia dancers weaved their spell over the whole proceedings. And that was Christmas done.
Boxing day provided a surprise at every turn; a Scottish marching band, a morning at the Meherangarh Fort, an afternoon at the polo, cucumber sandwiches, and meeting The Maharajah of Jodhpur. An alternative, slightly surreal but wonderful Boxing day!
You see, I may not be quite the dutiful daughter I appear to be as my reasons for choosing Rohet at this time of year may have been slightly selfish. I have already mentioned riding Marwari horses which was my own Christmas treat to myself but I then added watching men with firm, Jodhpur clad thighs (in Jodhpur!) pirouetting and galloping by on horses, also known as attending the polo.
In my defence, dad had enjoyed watching the dancers the evening before and I did take him to the Meherangarh Fort in the morning. It is after all one of the two tick list monuments I had included in his itinerary, and he was impressed, it is, after all, impressive. One can forgive me therefore for sneaking in the polo. Beautiful horses, I have already mentioned men in Jodhpurs, Bapji in attendance, a few old friends, a few new ones too (facebook followers apparently), a very exciting finish to the polo game and a couple of glasses of Indian fizz to celebrate, rounded of a perfect Boxing Day. Father and daughter were both content.
We enjoyed a final leisurely breakfast at the rather delightful and somewhat sumptuous Mihirgarh before getting back on the road, or did we? What did I have in store next for this almost octogenarian?
If you enjoyed this, you may like to catch up on earlier episodes of my dad’s first trip to India, aged almost 80. http://memsahibinindia.com/2017/01/13/memsahibs-dad-visits-india-part-2/
For more about Jodhpur and its surroundings, do check out: http://memsahibinindia.com/2016/06/09/jodhpur-is-more-than-mehrangarh-fort-its-also-about-zip-wiring-stylish-hotels-and-multiple-types-of-safaris/