Back in ye’olde days, Jodhpur was home to many Brahmins, who painted their homes a deep ocean blue. Hence it being coined, the Blue City. Now a days, anybody can paint their houses blue, thus the hue was spread throughout the land and the city really is blue! But a visit to Jodhpur is a requisite part of the Golden Triangle Tour of Rajasthan, even though it’s actually the fourth corner on the triangle. With a fantastic hilltop fortress and the best lassis in India, Jodphur is tough to beat!
We arrived at our guesthouse, the Kesar Heritage Hotel, which happened to have a rooftop restaurant (love the rooftops!) and was basically right underneath the Jodhpur fort, the Mehrangarh Fort. Unlike [intlink id=”722″ type=”post”]Agra[/intlink], Jodhpur has no problem shooting lights on their local gem at night, so even though we arrived late, we still had a pretty good view of the fort.
The Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
The next morning, we set off to the top sight in Jodhpur, the massive hilltop fort we had seen from the rooftop. We might as well see one final fort during our time in India (seriously, 4 forts in 5 cities, the pre-20th century Indian royals sure loved their forts!).
Like most of the other forts we had seen, the Mehrangarh was made of red sandstone 400 feet high on a cliffside. It was built in the 1400’s by Rao Jodha and then the town of Jodhpur was built underneath it. It was a fortress that was attacked many a time, but was also the royal residence for the current ruler and his many wives. And probably millions of offspring.
First off, it is a bit of hike to get to the Mehrangarh, as it is 400ft above the town. Forts being built on hills, awesome. So we sweated our way up the hill and got to where we thought the entrance should have been. It wasn’t there. So we asked someone and they pointed in a slightly dodgy looking direction.
We started off that way and then he called us back and pointed down an even dodgier looking path. When we asked “Is it this way or that way?” we received the answer that can be more infuriating than no answer:
“As you wish.”
This is not an “as you wish” situation. There is a correct and an incorrect answer to this question. We started to wander up the road that was probably longer but would get us there, when a fancy Mercedes pulled up and asked if we knew where the entrance was. We pointed in the way we were going and said “Maybe it’s this way?”
They started to drive off, and just as I was muttering, “Thanks for the lift” they stopped and offered us a ride! Thank you pleasantly rich middle-aged Indian couple, we will take a lift up the rest of this hill in your shiny Mercedes. Namaste.
So we arrived to the top in style and paid our ‘foreigner’ price to visit the fort, plus the ‘camera tax’ (they really nail you on the camera tax), and received our audio guides. We had opted out of audio guides until Jodhpur, mainly because they always cost extra, and personally, I often get bored and skip most of it anyways. But these audio guides were included, so might as well take them. Also, the dude who was working the audio guide counter hit on me by telling me that if I did get bored in the fort, and I could call him and then I wouldn’t be bored anymore. Tempting. But the audio guide was pretty awesome actually, very well done, I listened to the whole thing! So I never did call up the audio guide dude.
Audio Tour at the Mehrangarh, Jodhpur’s Fort
The tour takes you through the outer entrance to the fort and then through the inner courtyards, important rooms, audience halls etc. The Mehrangarh is an absolutely gorgeous, very well preserved fort, and the detailing of the carving in all of the courtyards is really amazing. They also have rooms with different kinds of museum exhibits, like the cradle room, and the painting room, and the room with the carrier things (you know those covered boxes that royals would sit in and be carried by lesser beings on their shoulders, yeah those). I’m sure they have a legitimate name.
The audio guide also included commentary by the current Maharjah and his family, and very interestingly of the current princess of some kind who talked about when the British finally left and the whole system changed and the practice of Purdah was gradually phased out. Purdah was the term for the lives that high-class women lived outside of the public view, basically in private seclusion. These women were either kept covered or stayed in separate chambers/behind screens at all times. Which is why the wives had different courtyards from the rest of the fort. When the Brits left, Purdah was lifted and for the first time in centuries, noble women were seen in public. Also of interest on the audio guide, was the history of opium and it’s uses in India and as well as the conservation efforts of the fort, which the lead conservationist fully admitted to not having to do much to the structure itself because “it was made so well originally”. They just don’t make forts like they used to.
We had hoped to visit the Mehrangarh palm reader who was supposed to be planted in one of the courtyards, but as the heavens would have it, it was his day off. Interesting, I would think those blessed with the gift don’t get days off from their callings. Oh well, I’ll just have to figure out my future on my own.
Things to See in Jodhpur India
We spent the rest of our time in Jodhpur meandering through shops and bazaars, eating lunch and then a lovely dinner while gazing at the fort from yet more rooftops, and even consumed the ‘best lassi in India’. Or so says the Lonely Planet. We scouted out this particular lassi stand (lassis are basically yogurt shakes of various flavours), which is renowned for a particular kind of lassi, and it says ‘Best in town, probably best in Rajasthan, and most likely best in India’.
Ok, high praise. Fact: that lassi was effing delicious. It probably had more calories than a Big Mac, made even greater by the generous dollop of heavy cream on top, and basically held us over food wise for hours to come.
Relaxing in Jodhpur
Our time in Jodhpur was very chill; we were definitely winding down and took advantage of Jodhpur not having a ton of sights, just being a really nice town to be in. The Blue City was very walkable, which is nice for people who don’t drive a Mercedes, and it was very much a true city.
Travel Blog from Jodhpur, the Blue City
We had decided to save ourselves the 10 hours on a train to get back to Delhi from Jodhpur by flying. So we spent the money on the 1-hour domestic Indian flight to meet up with our flight back to Kathmandu, and felt pretty good about. Then somewhere along the line I read that India had had it’s grading decreased by the international Aviation Standards board. For lack of safety. Awesome. This is why people shouldn’t read the newspaper. Now, I’m not the greatest with turbulence as it is in general, but then I’m on a domestic, Indian owned flight, and it is hella bumpy for the first 20 minutes, and I basically was making my peace with dying. While gripping Maddy’s leg. I did survive, despite my neuroticism, though I was very sweaty.
Our second night in Jodhpur happened to be this big party at the guesthouse for one of the little boys in the family. He was having his first head shaving, so there were about 100 people in the guesthouse partying to this honor. I was in the room at one point taking my bra off, because the sun was down, so that means it’s time to not wear a bra, and I hadn’t fully latched the door. Next thing I knew, three ladies opened the door and were staring at me, half naked. When I was startled, they didn’t react at all and just kept staring at my alarmingly white tatas. I actually had to walk to the door and shut it while saying Go! I don’t care what the festivity is, no peep shows from this girl!
After I finished the horrible sequel to the Devil Wears Prada, I read something called the Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, the same dude who wrote Tuesday’s with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It was about time. I finished that in a few hours, and then the only book that was in English was the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Shoot me.
The Delhi airport is a wonderful place to spend three hours in between flights. We wandered the Duty Free a bit, with a dude continuously offering us perfume samples. But I’m not much of an eau de toilette gal, so I went and stood by a display of vodka, hoping to be offered a sample. I wasn’t.
Anyways, I think that’s all I can think of for the last of our wonderful 10 day trip to India. Was far too short, but I was ready to get back to Kathmandu, never thought I would see Kathmandu as a chill, relaxing place, but in comparison to India, yep! Would love to go back to India and see more of the country, as it really is so amazing and diverse, but it’s also really large. So it’s back to Nepal…
Have you visited Jodhpur? What was your experience? Are you going travelling to India soon? Let me know your thoughts!
Like what you read here? Pin it!