“The work of angels, fairies and giants … built by Titans and coloured by the morning sun … He who walks through it loses sense of being among buildings. It is as though he walked through mountain gorges.”
~ Rudyard Kipling, English author, 1900
Kipling was referring to Mehrangarh Fort in the above lines. Jodhpur city’s magnum opus.
It is hard to separate the two. The Fort and the City of Jodhpur.
Jodhpur, or Jodhana as the locals refer to it or Blue City as tourists know it, was established as a result of the fort. Yet, it was the city which sustained the citadel, towering 122 metres above it, for 550 years.
Deep in the heart of the scorching arid Thar Desert, the ensemble seems to be straight out of a fantastical fable. Narrow twisting lanes encircle the foothills of the precipitous rocky outcrop topped with Mehrangarh Fort chiselled out of the rock. Except that it is all for real.
The year was 1459. Rao Jodha, the 15th Rathore clan ruler of the Marwar Kingdom was convinced the old capital Mandore was not safe anymore and set out to find a new one, which he did. A crag with endless views across the plains. He called his new city Jodhpur, after himself.
Priests and traders soon flocked to the city to provide religion and commerce. Rao Jodha’s descendants and their queens not only added palaces to the fort, but also temples and stepwells in the bustling streets below. There was no looking back now. Though the old city has expanded well beyond its city walls and gates to become Rajasthan’s second largest city, its historical heart is easily explored on foot or a tuk tuk.
Here’s a 36-hour itinerary to discover Jodhpur’s wonders. Day 1 for the Have-To’s and Day 2 to feel its pulse. Wishing you happy travels, because some places still appear to be straight out of a fairy-tale. 🙂 Continue reading