Recent Blog Posts

Post written by David Wang, Naomi Christiansen, Camryn Williams, intro by Sally Komarek

What a week in Jodhpur! We have had such marvelous travels in this beautiful and complex city. Our final day in the city enabled us to use every single one of our senses to experience all it has to offer. Starting with a visit to Mehrangarh Fort, to a private musical performance, a walking tour of the Blue City, which is home to many of the Brahmins of Jodhpur, and finishing our day with a cooking lesson from Mukta-Ji at Sambhali Trust, our journey and the people we have met continue to educate and amaze us.  We are pushing off to more rural areas of Rajasthan in the next few days, and are unsure when we will be able to post next. We look forward to sharing our incredible experiences with you!

David Wang:

The Mehrangarh fort was a massive and incredible site. It was one of the biggest architecture that stood out in Jodhpur and even one of the places where a iconic scene in "Batman The Dark Knight Rises" was filmed. To further elaborate on the size, when we were at the markets by the clock tower, the Rao Jodha Desert park, and the roof of Sambali Trust, the fort was always in our view. During the visit, we got to see and take photos of a place with a long standing history. Right from the entrance, I could hear students and teachers gasping in amazement at the delicate architecture. There were complex patterns carefully carved into the buildings and doors made of stone and wood. As we moved forward, the high walls of the fort along with the story and history of the castle told by our trusty guide never ceased to astound us. We learned a variety of knowledge, by reading information boards and listening to our guide, from how to tie a turban to the myths and purposes of the war goddesses Devi and Durga. The museums and rooms showcased objects, which the oldest dated back five hundred years. The high points of the fort provided a magnificent view of the communities and landscape of Jodhpur. Even when we were burning from the sun or hungry from not eating lunch until two in the afternoon, the fort cheered and lightened us up. Overall, the visit to the fort was very worth while and I certainly enjoyed it.

Naomi Christiansen:

The Mehrangarh fort was a gigantic beautiful Hindi structure the took about 400 years to finish. The artists and architects payed attention to every detail from the color of the light in the room to the sketch of an eye on the ceiling. Naturally, we wanted to stay but we had to keep moving and were encouraged to keep a quick pace. We rushed out of the gift shop and through the tower. The teachers arranged a music concert for us to see. Five musicians and a translator sat in front of the us and started playing beautiful traditional music. There was a specific song that was played for a persons birth until the year of death. We learned that every single time they played a song it was a little different. Their talent and love for the instruments was clear from the start of the first song. There was one man with a set of 4 thin slices of wood. He knew sounds that he was able to make come out of this instrument were amazing and smiled the whole time. These men were highly valued as musicians even though they were in the Muslim minority, illiterate, an in a lower caste. As Yoli-ji said, it was clear that music pushed past all boundaries in this space.

Camryn Williams:

Tonight we learned how to make a Rajasthani meal at the Sambali Trust headquarters. Our group sat in a circle and chopped up the vegetables together. When we were finished, the fun began. Mukta-Ji, who runs a bed and breakfast and is the wife of Sambhali Founder, Govind Singh Rathore, dressed in traditional Indian clothing sat down at a single burner. She showed us a few of the spices she would be using and got to work. All of the dishes were based on her on what she felt was right. She never used measuring cups, or electric mixers (and later said that they "killed the flavor"). Every time she made these meals it is different. This woman was passionate about the meals she made and controlled the room. It was exciting to see someone who was extremely passionate about something so deeply rooted in the culture and to have her share that with us was truly something spectacular.