Bison Abroad | The Blue City

Rajasthan is a colorful state, partially due to the iconic tie-dye textiles and partially due to its iconic color-themed cities — Jaipur and Jodhpur. While “the Pink City” of Jaipur is well known by tourists, Rajasthan has another colorful town with a lot to offer close by.

Jodhpur, “the Blue City,” is a smaller city comprised of, you guessed it, blue houses. Unlike Jaipur, Jodhpur does not sport its royal blue hue to impress a British prince, but much more practically to help deter termites and other detrimental pests from deteriorating the homes. Some guides will try to convince you that it supposedly marks the home of a Brahmin (the uppermost group in the caste hierarchy), but this is no more than an attempt to create a more interesting origin story.

LAURA ELLEN BRANDJORD | PHOTO COURTESY  A whole day could easily be devoted to exploring Mehrangarh Fort’s numerous buildings displaying unique relics of the Marwar royals who once inhabited it.

Jodhpur does experience an influx of tourists, but is refreshingly more laid back and less aggressively tourist-geared than Jaipur.

While wandering through the shops and markets surrounding the clock tower, which is the largely tourist-focused shopping area, I learned how to test for fake saffron at a spice shop and fake pashmina at a clothing store. The owner of the clothing store jokingly told my friend and I he knew we weren’t new to India because we didn’t stop and take a picture of the cow casually standing in the roadway.

My advice is to eat at one of the rooftop restaurants in the evening after exploring the old city. The view of the massive illuminated walls of the fort and surrounding town are breathtaking. Add in ample, delicious food and by all accounts you are in for a great evening.

I am indebted to a very helpful Uber driver who suggested we visit the Jaswant Thada first and then walk a short way to the fort. If he had not suggested this, I would have missed one of my favorite places in Jodhpur.

This cenotaph of the Maharajas of Jodhpur is set in the middle of a wildlife park and is beautifully landscaped with flowers and greenery against impressive white marble structures housing the cremated remains of the Marwar royal family since 1899.

In the main mausoleum complex, visitors tie strips of cloth, bangles or even hair ties to a rope in-front of the most recent remains, believing that whatever they wish while tying the string will come true and bring them good luck.

LAURA ELLEN BRANDJORD | PHOTO COURTESY | Opulence abounds in this hall where rulers would hold counsel while lounged on silk cushions.

From the time we entered the fort, I could not stop taking pictures. The imposing grandeur of the extensive complex with its heavily ornamented rooms and memorabilia left me awestruck hour after hour.

Jodhpur is hard to leave. My friend and I even extended our stay in the city an extra day because we couldn’t bear to leave it so soon. Whether it is the architecture, the helpful people or simply that I love the color blue, Jodhpur is a destination I will not hesitate to visit again.

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