On the very edge of the Great Thar Desert lies the ‘blue city’ of Jodhpur. Founded in 1459 and dominated by the Mehrangarh Fort, this famed desert city was the showpiece of the wealthy Kingdom of Marwar.
A stroll through Jodhpur today will reveal a labyrinth of medieval streets, ornate temples, handicraft shops and lively spice markets. Many of the houses in the walled old city are painted a vivid shade of blue, in an effort to keep them cool and insect-free, which has led to the ‘blue city’ nickname.
Overlooking Jodhpur’s sprawling streets on its rocky outcrop is the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort, an intricately decorated red sandstone palace. One of Rajasthan’s largest and most impressive citadels, the fort is now a museum displaying royal palanquins, swords and miniature paintings. From this vantage point you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible view across the blue and whitewashed buildings down below.
From Mehrangarh Fort, head to the nearby royal cenotaph of Jaswant Thada to admire its beautiful marble lattice screens, gazebos, tiered garden and lake. The Umaid Bhawan Palace, current residence of Jodhpur’s maharaja, is also worth a visit. Set amidst 26 acres of luxuriant gardens, part of the palace is a hotel and another part houses a public museum displaying china, weapons and furniture.
When you’re not admiring the architecture, spend some time exploring the colourful bazaars of the old city. Immerse yourself in the chaotic Sadar Market, centred around the famous clock tower, where vendors sell everything from clothing to silks, jewellery and leather goods.