Docent, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

The Palace and the Temple

From Pushkar we pushed on to Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan and home to the elegant Umaid Bhawan Palace, a remarkable edifice of red sandstone built in the 1920s as a public works project to benefit the unemployed people of the kingdom. It is still the residence of the current Raja, though part of palace has been converted to a lovely heritage hotel and museum.

Jodhpur is also home to the amazing Mehrangarh Fort which seems to grow from the very rock of a cliff some 400 feet off the plain. Mehrangarh is well worth visiting; not only can you tour the fort and the museum there, but you can book an al fresco dining experience with tables perched under the stars on the fort's ramparts.

Jodhpur was the largest of the "Princely States" of Rajasthan during the British colonial period, and in the early 20th century surprisingly became an early center of aviation due to the avid interest of the Maharaja. English-seat equestrians also know this city as the home of "jodhpurs," or riding breeches as we know them today. This distinctive garment was invented by Sir Pratap Singh, former Regent of Jodhpur and a great Rajput warrior who (it was said) virtually lived in the saddle.

From Jodhpur we drove to Udaipur, but stopped first at the breathtaking Adinatha Temple deep in the forest at Ranakpur. The largest and most complex Jain temple in India, Adinatha has been called a "veritable hymn in stone and marble."

 

Above right: a Jain pilgrim glides serenely through the marble-pillared halls of the Adinatha Temple at Ranakpur. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.

 

The impressive Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Police officer, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Shoe seller, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Shoes for sale, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Jain acolyte, Adinatha Temple, Ranakpur, India. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.

 

Bronze bas-relief tiger, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Gatemen, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

A craftsman displays a decorative ashtray, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, India.
Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.

 

Carving detail, Adinatha Temple, Ranakpur, India. Nikon D70, 85mm f/1.4 AF Nikkor.

 

Jain monk, Adinatha Temple, Ranakpur, India. Nikon D70, 18-70mm DX Nikkor.