navchokiya: brahmins and the blue city of jodhpur

Navchokiya. The raison d’etre for Jodhpur’s moniker: Blue City.

Snuggled along the towering rocky outcrop, atop which sits Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur’s pride and primary claim to fame, is a sea of cornflower blue houses which give the city its current popular epithet.

Since Jodhpur’s inception in 1459, the neighbourhood has been the home of the city’s Brahmin or priest community. To set themselves apart from the other Hindu castes, they painted their homes blue. Perhaps in reference to their blue-blooded lineage?

In recent years, many of the younger generation still living in their ancestral homes have chosen to paint over their homes, from the blatant intense announcement to placid whites and milky creams more in tune with modern trends.

The result is the sea of blue houses has somewhat diminished. But its maze of lanes still reverberates with a way of life which has remained intact for the past some six centuries.

Come join me on a wander of the bylanes of Navchokiya, and discover its charms which are only known to the folks who live there, or those like us who thrive on the path less treaded. ❤

A good place to start is from the top, to get a panoramic view of the Blue City.

Who says only travellers have the right to fawn over a view? In Navchokiya, even the locals do.

Where there are Brahmins, can temples be far behind? Especially when it comes to a rocky outcrop. Looming in the background is the majestic Mehrangarh Fort.

Shri Jwala Mukhi Devi Mandir and its sacred deities.

Double protection: Colossal bastions of Mehrangarh Fort and Hanuman, the god of wisdom, strength, courage, devotion and self-discipline.

Temples, big and small. The image on the right is of a Krishna Temple. Since the temple is opened only briefly, devotees leave their offerings in a small opening in the enclosure wall.

Rituals of daily life …

… Where past and present live together.

Elephants and musicians adorn a facade or two.

The local grocery cum vegetable store.

Entry to Sanjana’s Beauty Parlour with full Covid guidelines in place.

Left: Just another entrance to just another home. Right: A water well guarded by a grill and purified by the roots of a banyan tree.

Though tap water is readily available in Navchokiya, the locals swear by the sweetness and purity of the neighbourhood well’s water. It is the only water that will do for cooking and drinking.

Navchokiya’s narrowest lane. 🙂

Surprised at the signage? These two figures in the town square comprise a temple dedicated to Eloji, the god of sex. A folk deity in Western Rajasthan, men worship him for sexual powers and women for a male child. Rituals include new brides hugging him first before their husbands, and married women touching his elongated penis during the Holi festival.

Sex makes the world go round, keeping the human species alive and kicking. The townsfolk of Navchokiya have always been fully aware and appreciative of it.

Navchokiya: Where time continues to stand still.

Travel tips:

  • Staying there: I stayed at the ultra arty-funky The Arch Boutique Homestay in the heart of the old city through
  • Getting to Jodhpur: I used Rajputana Cabs for an intercity drop from Jaisalmer.
  • Getting around in Jodhpur: I used a tuk-tuk or walked.
  • How many days?: I stayed for 5 days.
  • I explored Jodhpur’s Blue City with the Brahmins and the Blue City Walking Tour run by Virasat Experiences.

[Note: This blog post is part of a series from my 35-day solo and independent road trip through Rajasthan from 17 October to 20 November, 2021. To read more posts in my Rajasthan series, click here.]

23 thoughts on “navchokiya: brahmins and the blue city of jodhpur

  1. The first time I heard about Jodhpur was many many years ago when I saw a MasterCard commercial on TV. It featured the blue city’s iconic skyline which didn’t look like anything I had seen before. Then I learned about the reason why some houses in this city were painted in this bright color. But I didn’t know that the younger generation prefer to repaint their houses in while or cream. I wonder if in the next few decades/generations Jodhpur’s blue houses will be all but forgotten. On a side note: I think there’s also a blue city in Morocco called Chefchaouen. Have you been there?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We loved Jodhpur, but were surprised that there wasn’t as much blue as we expected. Too bad the younger people painted them white, blue makes the city more unique and interesting. Wonderful pictures that brought me back 🙂 Maggie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Globalization and modernization are, unfortunately, heritage tourism’s greatest bane. 😦 Am glad you enjoyed the photos. What little remains of Jodhpur’s ‘blue city’ is a photographer’s delight.


  3. I many like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and a very interesting blog. I will come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. A soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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