Underwhelmed in Jodhpur
Arriving into a new city on a public bus is never going to result in a positive first impression. Bus stations are always in the crappiest part of town, if there is one. In the case of Jodhpur, not only were we dropped off at a gas station in an ugly part of town, but it was raining. Tired from our previous night’s sleep out under the stars and the 5 hour bus ride we ventured out for dinner, but that was about it.
Waking to a sunny morning I hoped that I could get a new start with Jodhpur and overcome that first impression. But it really never happened. I found this city, famed as The Blue City, to be too dirty, loud, and dusty to embrace.
That said, the main attraction definitely deserves a visit as it is extremely impressive. The Mehrangarh Fort – biggest fort in all of Rajasthan. It sits overlooking the city on a hill and was worth every penny in the admission fee. A lovely audio tour guided me through the various rooms, courtyards and gardens, each carefully and beautifully decorated. Listening to some of the history in a beautiful Indian English voice, I was transported to medieval Jodhpur. Somewhere between 500 & 600 years old, with several rulers adding on – it is massive.
As a part of the guided tour, we were invited into a small chamber for a short listen to a musician playing the santoor – a 100 string instrument. What beautiful music came from his hands and the instrument! That alone was the highlight of my day.
Besides the actual fort, the other gem of this place was the views. Up until this point I really didn’t get why Jodhpur called itself The Blue City. Once up on the hill it became clear. Several neighborhoods are painted indigo blue, to signify that a brahmin, or priest, lives in the home. For a few moments, looking out at the panorama, the city wall off in the distance and the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one can forget about the dirty and chaotic city down below.
The city wall and white palace off in the distance
With the fort visit behind us we had an afternoon to kill so we waded through the market, escaped to a nice rooftop restaurant for a saffron lassi and visited the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the last palace built in India and where the Maharaja of Jodhpur currently lives.
I can see why the tour stops here as it is a logical stop between cities and the fort is very much worth the visit- but outside of that, for me, Jodhpur was just – meh.
I also must point out that the day I spent touring Jodhpur I had misplaced my SD card, so I either took pictures with my cell phone or got them from my tour mates. Some of the pictures above are borrowed.