Summary : Kailana is a delightful picnic spot, with a small artificial lake and gardens.
This is a good day excursion, the ideal escape from the hot, dusty inner city. Kailana is a delightful picnic spot, with a small artificial lake and gardens. Situated 11 km (7 miles) west of Jodhpur (an hour by cycle), it supplies part of Jodhpur city’s water. To get there, cycle west from Jalori Gate, via State Bank of Bikaner, down the main Chopasni Road for about 1 km ( 2/3 mile). Then turn right, cycle another 2 km (11/4 miles), take first major turning left for Kailana Lake (3 km: 1 2/3 miles). On the way, look out for Eklinji, a large hilltop Shiva temple, with a ‘natural’ swimmingpool (wash your sins off before climbing up!) and bags of mystic atmosphere. Kailan itself is actually two lakes in one—the one on the left is 5 km (3 miles) long, and very suitable for swimming (when there’s water in it.). Lock your bike, have a dip in thee cool, clean water, then (leaving bike behind) enjoy a scenic 1-km ( 2/3-mile) stroll up to the nearby Bheem Bharak Caves. At these two beautiful caves (one above, on underground) lives an old hermit who practises yoga. He looks 50, is actually well into his 80s, and has been here for the past 60 years. These natural caves are a popular picnic spot, and an ideal situation to enjoy the scenery—especially at sunset, when the lakes are a vivid, unforgettable splash of romantic colour. If going out for the day ask your hotel for a packed lunch—Kailana has no refreshments.
RECREATION The most popular recreation in hot, sticky Jodhpur is swimming. Umaid Palce Hotel has its novelty underground pool, available to non-residents for daily charge. The Ratanada Polo Hotel has its cosy open-air pool (with cool, shady garden surround).
The Palace hotel also offers golf—on a full 18-hole course which nobody ever completes. Given the recurrent drought situation, the Maharajah was asked how one could play with anything but a sand-wedge. ‘It’s a very interesting course’, he replied, ‘Very dry. To give you an even lie, you’re permitted to use a piece of doormat. It works very well!’ Also, this must be cheapest game of golf in the world. Jodhpur has three or four cinemas, showing English films on Sunday mornings. See a local newspaper for details.
SHOPPING While traditional Rajasthani handicrafts are best bought in Jaisalmer or Pushkar, Jodhpur is good for ‘novelty’ items—ranging from the quite useless (flick-knives made from lollipop sticks and elastic bands) to the very useful indeed (Rs30) ladies’ umumbrellas for long, hot camel-treks. The famous ‘Jodhpurs’ (polo pants) are now out fashion, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a tailor in town who can make them. I FryArjun’shop, outside Sowati Gate. Alternatively, feret around in the market. One girl came up with a perfect pair of faded antique jodhpurs—complete with silver buttons and royal stains—for only Rs50. They were repaired by Roopali tailor, opposite the New Tourist Hotel.
Jodhpur is a shopping attraction less for its handicrafts than for its large, vibrant Central or Old Market, now known as the Ghasmandj Bazaar. This clean, colourful and friendly market is many people’s favourite in India. There is no pressure on you lit buy, the atmosphere is relaxing and civilised, and the air is sweet with spices and times. Also, a big plus, the bazaar is divided into sections: starting from the Clock tower, there is first a general market, then a cloth market, then an ivory and bamboo market, then a market for jewellery, silks and spices, fruit and vegetables, and finally sweets. Look out for the old ha veli-type stone-carved houses above the shop-fronts, and for the charming modern Krishna Temple (lovely ceiling IN tercolours and ‘scientific quartz clock’) through a small gate on the left, I halfway down the market.
WHERE TO STAY
Luxury/Expensive (over US$35/Rs1000 per room night) Welcomgroup’s Umaid Bhawan Palace (tel 22316, tlx 0552-202 UBP IN) has been tastefoully converted from a palace into a luxury hotel, without losing either its aa hraacrtaejra hor. Tiths irse gpalal caem hbaiesn ocne.e Hoef rteh,e a lsa trhgee sbtr cooclhleucrtei osnasy so,f y 1o9u3 r0esa lAlyr tc-aDne cliov ei nli kthe ea mid, and every room and suite is immaculately furnished. Actually, you have a nice of deluxe rooms (old-style period pieces), royal chambers (even better) from and regular/deluxe suites at US$200-660. The new air-conditioned rooms are .11 and rather ordinary. Facilities include underground pool (built to stop the royal being spied on), two dining rooms, badminton and tennis courts, and lavish -lit buffets on the sweeping lawns. It’s a great place to send a postcard home from, if you can afford to stay. And in the low season, when rates are discounted by tTohe 40%, this becomes quite possible!
The new Hotel Ratanada Polo, Residency Rd (tel 31910-14, tlx 552-233 POLO IN) jodhpur’s only centrally air-conditioned hotel. It lacks the character of the Palace I. but is certainly cooler. There’s a nice pool, an air-conditioned restaurant, a smart tennis court, and large bright rooms at Rs1200 single, Rs1400 double.
Mid-range (US$10-35/Rs250-1000 per room night) The cheaper, more personal Ajit Bhawan Palace, near Circuit House (tel 20409), is very popular. A self-styled ‘legendary resort’, it is the family home of the Maharajah ‘s uncle—Maharajah Swaroop Singh. Room rates vary and the best buy are the wellfurnished little cottages—each with a different theme (ask for the ‘milkman’s room’ or ‘the room with the tree’)—set around a desert-village compound. There’s a pond, a courtyard, an antique bullock ‘chariot’ on the lawn, cosy dinners in the garden, and a constant store of cold drinks in your fridge. The hotel organises jeep-safari trips out to neighbouring villages (9 am-5 pm daily); Maharajah Swaroop Singh often tags along for the ride. Another nice place, also near Circuit House, is Hotel Karni Bhawan (tel 20357), owned by the Maharajah’s private secretary. Here you can enjoy Rajasthani campfire suppers in the dhani (village-hut complex), or sip exotic local cocktails on the immaculate green lawns. Cosy and peaceful, this is a good getaway from the heat and dust of Jodhpur. Rooms are excellent value.
Budget (below US$10/Rs250 per room night) Cheaper lodgings are mostly disappointing. The RTDC Ghoomar Tourist Bungalow (tel 44030, tix 552-254) is on High Court Rd, next to Umaid Gardens. It’s rather shabby place, mainly useful as somewhere to stow your gear (for free) while you sightseeing, but ideal if you’re only here for the day. Single/double rooms range fro Rs300 (depressing) to Rs300 with noisy air-conditioning. Best deal are the quiet non-depressing, air-cooled rooms at Rs350 /200. A much better deal is Adarsh Niwa Hotel (tel 26936, 23658) opposite the railway station. This has pleasant air-cool rooms with tiled bathrooms, colour TV /video, and lots of space. The attach restaurant is a real bonus, and it’s very convenient for early morning departures. S are the clean Railway Retiring Rooms (tel 22743), costing Rs30 /40. But the best budget bet is still New Tourist Hotel, Lakshmi Bhawan, near Jalori Gate. This is run by a friendly Brahmin ex-teacher, Allen, who really looks after his ‘dear fatigued foreign friends’. Most rooms are fairly basic, but there’s one nice one on the roof. Allen makes delicious chocolate tea, rose-water lassi, and Rajasthani Royal Food. His friend is an ex-Maharajah’s barber whose body-massage is the talk of Jodhpur. His city information is first-rate, and his sun-roof a real treat.
The RTDC directory of paying Guest accommodation in Jodhpur is available from the tourist office (tel 45083, 44030).
EATING OUT Jodhpur’s only real traditional fare, incorporating the heavy local millet (millet ScSohhitaoa muptgtoan crtoika,ed with milet), is a speciality. For god blowout, try t special buffet supper at Umaid Bhawan Palace’s Marwar Hall. This palat ‘restaurant’, the scene of so many RAF parties in the 3940s, started life as a royal banqueting hall. Today, it serves excellent Indian, Continental and Rajasthani cuisi in true Maharajah style. The buffet runs from 7.30 to 30.30 pm, and includes live entertainment. Great value with meals from Rs350, but bring some Alka Seltzer—t desserts are incredibly rich.
Slightly cheaper, the Khamaghani restaurant at Hotel Ratananda Polo offers a carte Indian, Chinese and Continental food. Some evenings, live entertainment thrown in. The mood is very relaxed, and the food good. For convenience (i opposite the rail station), try Kalinga Restaurant, something of a travelle’s favourite. This is a cool air-conditioned place, serving Continental, Tandoor and Mughlai cuisine. Service is very patient (they’re used to dithering foreigners) and vegetarian fare is very cheap (try ‘Stuff Omelette’ or ‘Potato Chop’). The favourite local snack is Baked Beans on Toast. Cross the road for low-budget Indian meals at the small New Restaurant. For strictly vegetarian meals and good coffee, try Pushpa Bati, outside Jalori Gate. Or the nearby Pankaj—also good, but pricier. Near ojati Gate, you’ll find Jodhpur Coffee House, full of thali/dosa afficionados and offee-slurping locals.
GENERAL INFORMATION RTDC Tourist Office, inside Tourist Bungalow, High Court Rd (tel 44030), is open 8 am to noon, 3 to 6 pm except Sundays (in theory.). Poor information, irregular onducted tours (8.30 am-3 pm, 2-6.30 pm), and no decent city map. Hires out tourist guides for half-day and full-day tours. Universal Book Depot, Jalori Gate, sells the useful Jodhpur—a Traveller’s Guide, full f detailed city information. State Bank of Bikaner is near Jalori Gate (open 30 am-2 m). The post office is a few minutes’ walk south of the main rail station.