Jodhpur – Rajasthan: The Blue City

We had heard that Jodhpur was called the Blue City, and we had googled a couple of pictures to see what this place had in store for us. As with most things in life, the pictures do not do the real thing justice (unless taken by an expert photographer with mad editing skills, ie. not me). The reason Jodhpur is blue is debated, and there is no historical evidence to confirm different ideas. Many believe it is the colour of the Brahmans, the priestly Hindu caste, as this is the colour of Shiva, one of the most highly regarded Gods in the Hindu faith. Others believe it is good for reflecting light and therefore keeps houses cool, to which I would ask why houses in other parts of Rajasthan/India do not do the same on such a large scale. Others mention that the blue is a result of copper sulphate and limestone, and Jodhpur is a very limestone rich region. Either way, it makes for a striking sight, especially from the Mehrangarh Fort, which is arguably Jodhpur’s biggest tourist attraction and the focal point of our visit to this lovely City.

 

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We decided that we would take our camera into this one, and we got an audio guide, so we were on point with the knowledge and photos. It was definitely worth it, this fort was built with incredible detail and care. One fact which really amazed me was that no two windows are the same, each one has a slightly different pattern. So much creativity went into building this place.

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We heard a number of bloody and harrowing stories on our tour around the Mehrangarh Fort, but one that struck me the most was the story of the practice of sati. At one of the entrances, the ‘iron gate’, there were plaques with hand prints on them. Before having heard their story through the audio guide I thought they looked like cool decoration. I was later horrified at having thought of them so nonchalantly. As an act of devotion and faith, the practice of sati meant that wives would enter the funeral fires of their husband, and burn alive. These particular hand prints belonged to Maharaja Anjit Singh’s 6 wives and 58 concubines, who sacrificed themselves in 1731. This practice was common in Rajasthan in the past and was actually only officially outlawed by the government in 1987 after a well publicized sati death. Deep.

Hand prints at the 'iron gate' entrance to the Mehrangarh Fort.
Hand prints at the ‘iron gate’ entrance to the Mehrangarh Fort.

 

I have also included a few of my favourite photos from our walk around this fascinating place.

Here you can see cannonball holes in the walls
Here you can see cannonball holes in the walls
They had some cannons of their own
They had some cannons of their own
Gaj Singh II - The last Maharajah King has been responsible for the restoration and commercialisation of Jodhpur's fort, keeping his family heritage alive
Gaj Singh II, the last Maharajah King in Jodhpur, has been responsible for the restoration and commercialisation of Jodhpur’s fort, keeping his family heritage alive
Royalty would be carried around in these
Royalty would be carried around in these
an example of the stones used to make different colour paints.
An example of the stones used to make different colour paints.
One example of a very grand looking room inside the Fort
One example of a very grand looking room inside the Fort
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DJ Craig surveying his palace

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On our way back from this Fort, just when we thought our day of sightseeing could not get anymore successful, we took a wrong turn and stumbled upon these fantastic stairwells. It was a lovely place to sit and relax, as a number of locals seemed to be doing. We were slightly dismayed to see a young boy taking pieces off the wall and throwing them into the well, hopefully this is not a regular occurrence, as they looked to be very well maintained and a beautiful piece of architecture in a hidden alcove of Jodhpurs busy streets.

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