Jodhpur: Day 2

Set on the fringes of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur just feels exotic. Cattle and camels roam the streets, locals in outlandish garb jostle for space and your attention, and dominating the skyline above the ruckus is the gigantic Mehrangarh Fort. Entering through a series of impressive gateways, one can wind up the path previously traversed by Maharajahs’ armies and entourages. From the top, one has a vast birds eye view of the surrounding territories and a picture perfect view of the Blue City below.

I’m not one for museum stores, but this one is rather elegant. Jodhpur is rich with the history of polo. Truly the sport of kings (or in this case Maharajahs), there is a fascinating array of memorabilia and polo paraphernalia. The Jodhpur Polo Club is one of history and legend, and now my husband is a proud new member (at least that is what his t-shirt says). The store also sells a wide variety of local arts and crafts, some quite exquisite.

Returning to the market in the later afternoon we became keenly aware of a new degree of frenzied activity. It seemed overnight the market had been transformed by a whole new set of merchandise. Instead of the usual pickings of essentials like grains, linens, household goods, and of course, your staple of small local “damn you caught me” wildlife, there was a sudden influx of vivid, vibrant colors. Nothing subtle here. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and beyond, the full spectrum was out for display. On every table multiple plastic bags full of colored powders of every imaginable color and size had appeared. It looked like a cocaine den from the Wizard of Oz. Everywhere a profusion of the most gorgeous flowers just erupting at the bud in a tantalizing taste of what was to come. Holi. We started to hear this word a day or two before, but it didn’t mean much. The Festival of Holi was coming. We were about to be initiated and, like a naive college freshman at a total party school, initiated big time. Our guide, smiling coyly, directed us to one of the tables assisting our purchase of several packets of powdered wonderful. Ah, we were young, stupid and had no idea what was coming. Piqued your interest? Now you, like us, have to wait. Holi is two days and an entire city away.

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