Founded in the mid 15th century by a Rajput clan called the Rathores, Jodhpur, also known as "the Blue City" is home to the colossal Mehrangarh Fort (Palace of the Sun) rising 400 ft above the city. The cubist buildings surrounding the fort were painted blue to signify Brahmin status in addition to the color blue thought to be a bug repellant and cooling color. After a while many non-Brahmins began painting their homes blue. Jodphur is a city of more than 1 million people, has many bazaars to the west and north of the central clock tower selling metal wares, spices, clothing, handicrafts, silver, and vegetables, and miscellaneous items for modern living. The modern part of the city sprawls out around the train station and looks like many other crowded, hot, and dusty cities of India. However, take a 10 minute rickshaw ride to the old city close to the clock tower where most visitors stay. Wandering the old city, where a majority of the houses are painted a sapphire shade of blue while your senses are bombarded by sights, sounds, and smells is truly memorable. Despite the beauty Jodphur has significant problems with liter and infrastructure, which combined with the smell of fecal matter & urine from cows and people (soaked in rain), gives off a putrid stench when the wind is blowing in certain directions. With this being said, Jodphur is still worth a visit and when the weather is right, can be one of the most memorable experiences in India. Although we visited Jodhpur during a two day rain storm, which turned the city quite muddy, there are many activities and sights to behold. Below are some recommended sights:
Mehrangarh Fort: The following is an expert courtesy of Mehrangarh.org: "Rao Chunda (r. 1384-1428), the twelfth Rathore to rule in Marwar, established his capital at Mandore, which he had acquired as a part of a dowry. Two generations later, Rao Jodha (r. 1438-89) began to build a fort at a new site six miles to the south, on an isolated rock with a higher elevation and better natural defences. Jodhpur, the town that sprang up at its base, was named after him. The fort was named Mehrangarh, meaning ‘fort of the sun’ – a reference to the clan’s mythical descent from the sun god Surya. Over 500 yards long, its wall rises in places to a height of 120 feet and is 70 feet thick." Costing around 100-200 Rs rickshaw ride from the Blue City, Mehrangarh Fort is a must see on any visitors list. It costs 400 Rs for foreign visitors, 300 Rs for children/senior citizen foreign visitors, and 60 Rs for Indians. You can pay a little extra for an audio guided tour. The enormity and grandeur of the fort is simply incredible and really takes at least 2-3 days to absorb its splendor. Some have characterized it as the Vatican of India, the fort boasts dozens of rooms ornately decorated with rooms filled with statues, armor & weapons, costumes, paintings, furnishings, textiles, and chariots of the day in addition to elephant saddles or Howdah's. Please click on this link for more information: http://www.mehrangarh.org/mehrangarh/history
The Old City: Take time to wander the old city and you will come across multiple bazaars split up into sections depending on the wares they are selling. There are spice markets, handicraft stalls, metal and silver stalls, art and clothing bazaars, and fresh vegetable markets amongst others. In addition, the vivid colors of the back alleys combined with the smells and sounds of India make for a memorable experience. As with traveling be careful of walking late at night. Your lodge may be able to organize a tour of the old city.
Jaswant Thada: About 1-2 km from the Mehrangarh Fort this checker colored marble memorial is a series of intricate domes built to commemorate Maharaja Jaswant Singh in the late 19th century by his son. It's a quiet respite and strikingly beautiful place where you can relax and admire impressive views of the fort.
Bishnoi Villages: Dating back to the 15th Century the Bishnoi people gained notoriety for sacrificing their lives to defend their local trees which the Maharaja of that time was threatening to cut down. Even today the Bishnoi tribes are passionate about protecting their trees and local animals. In addition, you may also be able to tour local villages and purchase locally made crafts and items from artisans in surrounding villages. Many lodges and travel agents can provide guided tours to Bishnoi villages, around 1 hour from Jodphur. Although it can feel touristy, the more skilled guides can take you off the well beaten path for a one of a kind experience. We recommend using:
Lodging & Food: We stayed at the clean and comfortable Pushp Paying Guest House with good food, and neatly decorated rooms. Run by an Indian chef the guest house is located on the upstairs of a friendly family home with great views of the fort. Due to the torrential rain during our visit we mostly ate meals at Pushp but also had some incredible northern Indian Cuisine (Lucknow style) at the 2nd floor restaurant at Pal Haveli near the clock tower & sweet Lassi's from the famous Agra Sweets shop in the town center also close to the clock tower. For more details on Pushp paying guest house click on this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g297668-d2156169-Reviews-Pushp_Guest_House-Jodhpur_Rajasthan.html