Wherever you are in Jodhpur, it's hard not to be drawn in to the magnificence of the Mehrangarh Fort, which sits imperiously on an outcrop high above the city. Established by Roa Jodha (giving his name to the city) in the 11th century, the fort is the embodiment of the royal story of Rajasthan: the warrior kings of Merwar (the land of death), their many wives and concubines, courtiers and family feuds. Under the current Maharajah of Jodhpur, the fort has evolved in to a well-preserved monument with a better-than -average audio guide giving you a real insight in to its rich history.
Looking down from Mehrangarh, it becomes obvious why Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. Historically, only the Brahmin caste was permitted to paint their houses in the pale-blue indigo, but these days the colour is in widespread use, particularly as it has the practical result of deterring mosquitoes and termites!
Other royal sights include the mausoleums of the royal family, and opposite the fort, the fairly recent (in Indian terms!) Umaid Bhawan, which was in fact designed by an Englishman and bears very strong resemblance to the Royal Pavillion in Brighton. The current Maharajah ordered the palace to be built at a time of severe famine, giving much needed work to thousands and was later to become his official residence which it still is today. At the heart of the city you will find the busy market place, which despite the high levels of pollution is worth perusing for the many stalls selling an array of aromatic spices. At it's centre, the ornate victorian clocktower seems somehow misplaced but is a striking reminder of the days of the British Raj.
More from Jodhpur
Jaswant ThadaOn the road to the Mehrangarh fort is the Jaswant Thada, the cenotaphs of the Jodhpur royal family and a memorial to Maharajah Jaswant Singh II built in 1899. Constructed of white marble and set in formal gardens with a lake to one side, it is very pretty although its worth visiting before heading up to the fort as the fort is so impressive that Jaswant Thada tends pale into insignificance.
Jodhpur and the Mehrangarh FortThe best place to get a great view of the blue city is up at the Mehrangarh Fort fro the ramparts. The Mehrangarh Fort was built in the 15th Century and stands elevated 122m about the city. Made of red sandstone, the breathtakingly huge structure dominates Jodhpur's skyline, standing imposingly over the city but appears to be part of the land itself. Rudyard Kipling referred to it as “the work of angels, fairies and giants” 1899 and its still an impressive sight, both inside and out. The audio guide is one of the best available, with comments from Maharajah Gaj Singh II and the polo playing Crown Prince Shivraj Singh and contextual information about Indian culture including the caste system, miniature paintings, opium use, the meanings behind clothing colours and more, all in addition to the story of the fort.
Jodhpur's marketsThe markets and bazaars of Jodhpur are well worth seeing, even if you have no intention of buying anything. Each section of the market in the old city sells something different, shoes in one area, grain in another, fruit and vegetables, spices, saris, the list goes on. They all have in common that each area is a blaze of different colours, smells, sights and sounds and its a photgraphers (and shoppers!) paradise, so grab a camera and take a stroll.