India – Jodhpur

Jodhpur is an ancient Mawar city dominated by an impressive fort. Despite its incredible history (never conquered by force), the fort stands second in fame after the Brahmpuri district, which gives to Jodhpur the surname of “Blue City”.

The Mehrangarh fort lies high above a hill of 150 meters and is really, really big, with a large wall surrounding it. The ticket entrance includes a free audioguide to the museum that is very well done (we try the Spanish version with an Argentinian accented narrator) and explains in a detailed, yet very interesting way the history of the fort and its Maharahas. Next to the patio, the museum guards dress in a very Rajasthani outfit, turbans and all, and on the way to the main gate, some musicians give some more atmosphere.

View of the fort from below before entering.

View of the fort from below before entering.

Past the first gate, going up, view of the city.

Past the first gate, going up, view of the city.

Another gate going up. The sun is really strong and the shadow scarce. People stay below the gates to rest.

Another gate going up. The sun is really strong and the shadow scarce. People stay below the gates to rest.

Past the last big gate, bird nests pack together on the ceiling.

Past the last big gate, bird nests pack together on the ceiling.

Irene upstairs before entering the museum.

Irene upstairs before entering the museum.

We love the many different strategic features defensive buildings have; the most outstanding in this fort is the L-shaped, narrow gateways, made on purpose so that attackers riding on elephants would be forced to make a curve and would loose momentum while charging against the gates.
Passing the main entrance, many red handprints can be seen on the walls. According to the sati tradition, when a man died his wife had to accompany him to the other world, so when Maharaja Man Singh died in 1843, his wives and 58 concubines immolated themselves in a pyre after leaving their prints on the wall. This was common practice for the members of the Rajput clan, hence this is not the only site where it can be seen (our friend Belinda explained it wonderfully in this article).

The palace/fort museum, that took us about half day of visit, is a must for anyone going to Jodhpur. The great building and items display became possible thanks to Gaj Singh, last Maharaha of Jodhpur, who has acted as the leader of conservation efforts of the fort and the history of his family when he lost his title by an amendment to the Constitution about 40 years ago.

One of our favorite parts of the fort regarding its arquitecture are the windows behind which women could observe life go by without being seen; the small holes in the windows are carved in up-down angles and have intrincate patterns giving the building a beautiful style.

Some of the items shown in the museum are palanquins, exquisite weapons, clothes, paintings and even turbans!

One of the palanquins exposed in the museum.

One of the palanquins exposed in the museum.

Detail of the back of another palanquin.

Detail of the back of another palanquin.

A beautiful sword in the exposition.

A beautiful sword in the exposition.

These curtains used to be soaked in water so the wind through them would lower down the temperature in the area. Old fashion air conditioning.

These curtains used to be soaked in water so the wind through them would lower down the temperature in the area. Old fashion air conditioning.

Detail of the metal of an exposed hookah.

Detail of the metal of an exposed hookah.

A group of local women visiting the museum. Irene catches them sitting and asks for a picture.

A group of local women visiting the museum. Irene catches them sitting and asks for a picture.

Mirror room.

Mirror room.

Detail of the arches of a beautiful room with colorful vitrines.

Detail of the arches of a beautiful room with colorful vitrines.

View of the Blue City from above the fort.

View of the Blue City from above the fort.

Detail of a door close to the end of the visit.

Detail of a door close to the end of the visit.

Beautiful balconies at the last patio of the visit.

Beautiful balconies at the last patio of the visit.

Wall of the last patio of the visit.

Wall of the last patio of the visit.

Just before the souvenir shop, two males fight for pride and love while the females watch attentively for the outcome...

Just before the souvenir shop, two males fight for pride and love while the females watch attentively for the outcome…

Going down to the Blue City through the other side, the fort still shows beauty.

Going down to the Blue City through the other side, the fort still shows beauty.

Really steep and narrow stairs without handrail bring us up to the outer walls of the fort complex, from where this picture is taken.

Really steep and narrow stairs without handrail bring us up to the outer walls of the fort complex, from where this picture is taken.

When our visit is over, the gate leads us directly into the blue city. Why are the houses painted in blue, you say? Well, if you remember the different Hindu castes, Brahmans were at the top of the reputation scale of society. To highlight their belonging to the VIP club, they would have the walls of their houses painted in blue. They were numerous, so the urban landscape started to change. After a long, long time, other neighbouring houses were allowed to use this color on their walls regardless of the caste they belonged to, as blue is thought to help keep termits at bay and cool down the temperature in the desertic environment. True or not, what we know is that it embellished the aesthetics of Jodhpur.

We walk among the streets (and feed some stray dogs in the process) until we arrive at the rooftop of a hostel with great views of the city and fort and wait for the sun to set and give us a break from the heat.

Walking through the Blue City.

Walking through the Blue City.

Sunset view of the fort, from the rooftop restaurant of a guest house in the Blue City.

Sunset view of the fort, from the rooftop restaurant of a guest house in the Blue City.

On the way back to our guesthouse, the rickshaw traverses the very lively streets of Jodhpur. We make a stop at the clock tower, surrounded by a market, and enjoy a super fresh and sweet mango juice before putting our very tired bodies in bed for a few hours before catching a night train once again.

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3 thoughts on “India – Jodhpur

  1. Cada vez mas impresionado por las fotos, no solo por los lugares sino sobre todo por la técnica del fotógrafo!

    1. Muchas gracias, Nacho, el fotógrafo la verdad es que se lo curra, ¿eh? 😉 Un abrazo muy fuerte.

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