Last year I decided to go on a photography tour to rajasthan. One of the places, I visited during that tour was Jodhpur. I had heard a lot about that city and the fact that the houses were blue in colour. I booked a walking tour of the city as it is one of the best ways to explore a new place, interact with local people and learn about its culture. There are a lot of walking tours available and you can find them in google or trip advisor. Generally, the tours are conducting the morning or evening and lasts two hours.
Why is Jodhpur blue
The reason the houses were colored blue is because Jodhpur is very close to the Thar Desert and the blue color keeps the house cool during summer. Also brahmins, an upper caste belong to Hindu community considered the blue color auspicious and used it to paint their house.
Walking Tour of Blue City
The blue houses are located in the old part of the city and to reach there one has to go through a connecting network of some of the narrowest lanes I have ever seen. Even cars or auto rickshaw cannot enter these streets and the local people rely on scooters or motorbikes for transportation. Chances of getting lost in an endless maze of narrow lanes are very high and there are also vicious street dogs which may attack strangers without any provocation. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a local guide and walk with him. I was travelling solo and paid Rs 1000 for 2 hours trip. However, not all houses are blue in color and they are quite scattered. Also, these days people are opting not to repaint their houses in blue and use another color instead. Hence, I was not satisfied and decided to tour another day and this time I specifically mentioned him to take me to the lanes having a lot of blue houses. So, in total I spent Rs 2000, but it was an experience of a lifetime.
Mehrangarh fort is one of the largest forts in India and is situated on the top of a rocky hill. The entry is through Jai Pol or Gate of Victory. One can get panoramic views of the whole city of Jodhpur from the top of the fort. There is also a cafe inside where you can get refreshments.
The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph made of white marble and served as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar. It is located quite close to the Mehrangarh fort and can be visited while entering or exiting the fort.
Ghanta ghar or clock tower:
The clock tower, also known as ghanta ghar is a popular landmark in the old city. One can climb on top of the tower and get a panoramic view of the surrounding Sardar Market.
Go shopping in Sardar Market:
Sardar Market is a busy marketplace with various types of shops selling bangles, imitation jewellery, pottery, handicraft items and a clock tower. Be prepared to bargain everything and check the quality of the goods before buying anything.
Mandore garden is located 9 km north of Jodhpur and has several beautiful monuments, temples, cenotaphs and memorials. It also has a government museum, a Hall of Heroes and a Hindu temple of 33 crore gods. The entry is free and it is a very underrated tourist spot as few people go to visit this wonderful place. It is very well maintained and is very neat and tidy. It is located quite far from the city and you have to hire a tuk-tuk or auto rickshaw to reach it and also return from it.
Bishnoi village safari:
The Bishnoi village safari takes place in an open jeep, where they take you far away from the city. One can experience the rural lifestyle of the village community. The tour includes a visit to a potters family, weavers family and bishnoi family. You can see them making earthen pots in a wheel, watch them do hand block printing or weave a carpet. If you are interested you can also buy their products, but it not forced upon you. The tour also includes tour to the Guda village where one can spot wildlife like antelopes, blackbucks, chinkaras, blue Bulls, peacocks, different types of migratory birds and several man made lakes. The price is around Rs 1500 for a half day tour.
Both Ola and Uber is available in Jodhpur, however they do not enter the old city. For that, you have to hire an auto rickshaw or tuk-tuk. Unlike other places in India, I have found them to charge resonably.
When to visit:
It is recommend to visit Jodhpur from October to February, because it gets insanely hot during summer.