[Jodhpur, Rajasthan] In this week’s podcast we’re going to get lost in the back streets of Jodhpur town itself. There are plenty of sounds to take in here, with the noise of market traders selling their wares. But first, a refreshing drink…
The Mehrangarh Fort, one of the lagest forts in India, sits over 120meters above the city, surrounded by huge thick walls. Inside are a number of palaces and courtyards, the foundations of which date back to 1459, although most of what we see today dates from the period of Jaswant Singh – 1638 to 1678. Entry to the fort is through a series of seven gates, again built and installed over different periods. These have been offset so as to avoid being charged at by armoured elephants.
[S02E19] This is the second part of our podcast interview with Govind Rathore who set up and runs the Sambhali Trust, a non-profit, grass-roots charitable organisation based in Jodhpur, the Blue City of Rajasthan. In this episode we continue to chat with Govind on the rooftop of his homestay, Durag Niwas, and we take in two of the empowerment centres that help women who come from troubled backgrounds.
[S02E18] A couple of kilometres outside the centre of Jodhpur, Govind Rathore and his family run the Durag Niwas homestay, but that’s not their main interest. In 2007 Govind set up the Sambhali Trust, an NGO that helps women from the lowest castes in India escape their lives of hardship and empowers them with the skills necessary to operate their own businesses. Many of these women only speak a local dialect and don’t understand Hindi, so they learn to read, write and speak Hindi and English. They are also taught sewing and farming skills. The work Govind and the Trust is doing is so important, having helped over 600 women in its five year existance, that we are dedicating two podcast episodes to our time with the Sambhali Trust.
[S02E17] The Taj was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and the whole complex was completed in 1653. It is a mausoleum using Persian, Turkish and Indian styles of architecture. The building needs no introduction, it’s one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. If you decide to go there, do what we did and get up really early!
[S02E16] Fatehpur Sikri consists of two areas: The huge Jama Masjid, the second largest mosque in India, and the Palace of Akbar. For a short while Akbar made Fatehpur Sikri the capital of his empire. He spent 15 years building the mosque, the palace, harems, courts, water features and other buildings and drew his influences from Persia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not to be missed, but if you can’t make it, then listen to this week’s podcast to get a great idea of what the fuss is all about.