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February 23, 2003

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From Jaisalmer we slept (sort-of) on an overnight train to Jodhpur. We've ridden both overnight buses and trains; we prefer the trains. If you travel third class as we did tonight, you'll be close and personal with everyone aboard. Eight bunks to a cabin, no doors, snoring competes with the train's clackety-clack and whistles, the smell of feet emanate from the bunks below; you'll feel like you're at a slumber party in hell.
In Jodhpur, the Mehrangarh Fort encloses many palaces, but the most memorable monument shows the preserved handprints of thirty women who burned in the funeral pyre with their deceased Rajput king and husband. Even today, some widows (especially in rural areas) burn themselves alive on their deceased husbands funeral pyres.
Jodhpur, known as the blue city. Places in Rajasthan need to be color coordinated to compete with their neighbors: Jaisalmer is golden, Jaipur is pink, and Jodhpur is indigo. The people here think indigo cools the desert heat and repels mosquitoes.
Situated on a steep hill, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India, protected by walls that are 17 feet thick and 68 feet high.