Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Fort I Didn't See

My rickshaw driver taking me to the fort
I was excited this morning, I had hired a rickshaw to take me up to the Mehrangarh Fort (1449), known to be one of the best forts in all of India to visit. My driver showed up promptly and it took about a half hour to reach the fort.
The one on the far left is the guilty one

 Along the way we had to take the Fort Road, that's the road that leads up to the fort. One unexpected surprise is that we had stopped just for a second so decided to take a photo of some cows and bulls in the road. I snapped the photo and then without any warning the bull charged at us and hit the rickshaw turning it on it's side. I guess maybe I should have asked the bull if I could take his photo first. I was laughing, the driver was concerned about me and then his rickshaw. We both survived just fine.

I liked Fort Road, I could have walked this all day, and actually on the way back I did get out and walk a short bit and took a few photos, but for whatever reason my driver was anxious to get out of this area, and I suspect he had a good reason.

So we get up to the fort, I'm excited. This thing is massive and towers over the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan, Jodhpur. I had asked the driver yesterday what the entry fee was and confirmed online that it was 300 rupees which includes admission, camera fee (it costs extra to take a camera into all Indian sites), and it included the audio tour of the fort.

Right next to the ticket counter is the sign with all the prices. Yep, it says 300 rupees. So I give the guy a 500 rupee bill, he gives me my tickets, I wait, and wait, and finally asked for my change. The ticket take says there is no change, the fee is 500 rupees. I point to the sign and ask for my change. He said today only the price is 500. I again insist on the sign and my change. He says he has no change. So I give him my ticket back and take my 500 rupees and walk away.

As much as I would have loved to have seen this fort I was not going to allow him to steal my change away from me. This is an official park, a monument that all should come to enjoy, but to have an individual working there feel entitled to keep a few bucks from a foreigner for no other reason that just because is disappointing. How many people came and got ripped off without knowing it? How many knew it yet went inside anyway, feeding this guys dishonesty, and how many like myself did the right thing to not allow this to happen but never got to see the fort? It's lost money for someone, but I'm not paying extra money because I'm told it's just a few bucks, means nothing to an American.

The other disappointing thing is that I found this to happen at a few places but Jodhpur especially is greedy on change. Almost everywhere I spent money in Jodhpur my change was never returned, claiming they round up. No other city did I experience this. Dinner bill comes to 75 rupees and they decide that change isn't necessary because we can afford to leave it behind. Okay, maybe I afford to leave 50 cents behind, but it's the attitude that they feel entitled to the money. I'm glad I came to see Jodhpur, I wouldn't come back though, not with the attitudes that people here have. And that even includes the hotel I'm staying at when they told me that it's okay that I pay twice the price for taxis, "your a foreigner, it means nothing to you to spend more money. All over Jodhpur, what a shame.

Looking over Jodhpur, the palace in the background

The fort over looking Jodhpur

Fort Road

The most popular chai stand in Jodhpur (it was good chai too)

The entrance to the Fort, that's as far as i got

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