Rajasthan, India: Jodhpur – The Blue City

Some parts of the article as seen on my write-up for Masala Thai Magazine

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After a long day’s drive from Udaipur to Jodhpur we arrived at The Heritage Kothi, my accommodation for the next three nights. As we walked through the doors of the hotel in sheer exhausting, the owner greeted us with a warm tea, and took us to sit in the guest welcome area. He explained that the Heritage Kothi used to be their home, and was a property that had been passed down for over sevens generations; as he pointed to the paintings lined along the walls proudly displaying his ancestors. He made us feel at home instantly. Following our greetings, I retired to bed and decided that exploring Jodhpur would have to wait until morning come. For now, I needed sleep.

The Blue City of Jodhpur

The quintessential Mehrangarh fort towering over the Blue City of Jodhpur is an architectural masterpiece that captures ones attention instantly. Surrounding the Mehrangard fort are the cubed blue houses, scattered over winding medieval cobblestone streets.

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I decided to make my way up to the Mehrangarh fort through these intertwined streets; not knowing exactly which one would lead me there. As long as I was moving uphill, I knew I was on the right track. The streets were scented by incense, roses, sewers, and bazaars selling everything from saris to spices of all kinds. To my pleasant surprise, the blue city really was blue! Traditionally, the color blue signified the homes were of a Brahmin, but that has evolved over time. One of the locals explained that the color blue is thought to repel insects, in addition to acting as a cooling agent against the summer desert heat.

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The crowded, hectic bazaar encircling the clock tower Ghanta Garh is also a main tourist attraction in Jodhpur, and one of the biggest spice markets I’ve ever seen.

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You’ll often find that you can’t speak to anyone without them trying to sell you something. A wise man on the streets told me, and I feel it important to share, “Remember, you’re the honey, and they are the bees.”

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To get away from the city life and congestion of the Blue City, head up to Pal Haveli’s rooftop bar and restaurant; a short walk away from the infamous clock tower. You’ll experience the most serene and peaceful landscape views Jodhpur has to offer. Not only that, but you also end up getting front row seats sighting the Mehrangarh fort. I ended up having lunch here, sunset drinks here, as well as a dinner here; all on the 3 days I was in Jodhpur!

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Chasing the Sunset

I would recommend avoiding the sunset view from the Mehrangarh fort. Although the daytime view is stunning, by evening this giant fort casts a shadow over the entire blue city, as the sun sets on the other side of the fort. I ended up taking an auto-rickshaw and asking the driver to take us somewhere up the hills for a good view. He ended up driving us to a small neighborhood at the hilltops and asked us to get out of the rickshaw and follow him. He escorted us up some stairs, through wooden doors, passed the barking dogs, up the rooftops where we continued to walk along wooden planks to get from one rooftop to the next, finally arriving at the perfect spot to watch the sun kiss the blue city goodnight.

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My Highlight of Jodhpur

I took a cooking class at Spice Paradise, which was about 200 meters from the clock tower. For only 1,000 Rupees, I was invited into a Rajasthani home to meet the family and enjoy a private cooking class in a mom’s kitchen.

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Not only did we learn how to cook Rajasthani cuisine, our chef also spoke of the Rajasthani values, customes, and about the various health benefits of the spices that go into the Masala Chai and Indian cuisine. She took it one step further by consulting me on my health issues, and recommending home-made remedies and concoctions on how to battle them organically. Her heart was pure fold, and her family was ever so lovely.

Off-The-Beaten Path

For an off-the-beaten path experience, I recommend visiting Jaswant Thada, the Taj Mahal of Rajasthan.

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The Bishnoi Village was also a lovely detour, just a short drive outside Jodhpur, especially if you are interested in the local village life, and seeing pottery, weaving, and block printing created first hand.

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The Verdict: Udaipur vs. Jodhpur

Everyone asked me which city I preferred, and I can’t really say. Yes, Udaipur is gorgeous, romantic, and much more relaxed than Jodhpur. On the other hand, Jodhpur is extremely cultural and highly exciting with many narrow blue winding streets to explore. If I could have a do-over of my India trip, the only thing I would change is to make sure I spend 3 nights in Udaipur and 2 nights in Jodhpur, instead of the other way around. Also, I would leave out Goa entirely from my trip entirely. Honestly, I would have rather visited Pushkar, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer, the other Rajasthani cities instead! Goa was just too commercial with the vendors giving you no personal space, and the beaches were too dirty for my liking. I guess the relaxed and serene Thai Beaches have spoilt me that way 😉

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