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May 19

india part III: jodhpur & ranakpur.

{piles of the most incredible fabric}{the mehrangarh fort}{the blue city}{the market}{the clock tower}
{ranakpur’s jain temple}

Next up on our whirlwind tour of India was Jodhpur, the blue city. We barely had a full day to see it, so we made the most of it that we could.

On our way to visit the Mehrangarh fort, we stopped in at what we thought was a small antique store. We quickly realized that we had stumbled upon a gold mine. Eight stories of the most lust-worthy fabrics, shawls, scarves and blankets that you’ve ever seen. (It turned out that we had found the manufacturer for many of Luis Vuitton and Hermes’ products – of course my aunt would find such a place. She has a nose for these things). Much to my cousins dismay, us girls spent far too much time selecting the items that needed to make their way into our homes. I ended up purchasing a handful of pashminas and an incredible hand embroidered bedspread that would surely cost an arm and a leg had it been purchased here (note: it was $50. I feel guilty for paying so little).

After touring the (quite spectacular) fort (which still had many dents in the stone walls from where canons had tried to penetrate years ago), we rented a car and hired a driver to take us to Ranakpur. Hiring a driver sounds so fancy, but really, it’s the norm in India and it’s actually extremely cost-effective (like $40 between 4 people for a six-hour drive kinda cost-effective). Never in my life would I ever attempt to navigate through the traffic and intensity of driving in India. The drives themselves almost deserve their own post!

Initially we had intended on heading straight from Jodhpur to Udaipur, but after talking to a handful of locals, we were convinced we had to stop halfway to see a Jain temple in Ranakpur, a sight unbeknownst to many. While the Taj Mahal was overwhelming and did every bit of justice to the hype surrounding it, I truly believe it’s safe to say that it didn’t hold a candle to this temple. Imagine 1,444 two to three story white marble columns holding up turrets and domes and the like for as far as the eye can see. Each and every column intricately carved with the tiniest little detail, and each being drastically different from the next. Every visible remaining surface equally beautiful, equally intricate and meticulously carved. I feel confident when I say that I don’t think that I will ever again see another man-made item quite as incredible as this one. I have far too many pictures of it, but none of them do it even the smallest bit of justice. I’m so pleased that we made that detour.

(See Part IPart II & Part IV)

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