Creating a blue sea in the arid Indian landscape, the several boxy indigo houses that stretch for more than 10 kilometers along the walls of Jodhpur led to its name – the Blue city. Overtime, Jodhpur has earned recognition for its rich cultural heritage, textile industry, exquisite furniture shops, delectable cuisine, bustling bazaars, famed forts, and the magnificent Jodhpur hotels, making it a hotspot for tourist activity. If you wish to escape the horde, then head to one of these lesser-known gems in Jodhpur:
1. Visit the low-profile Mahila Baag Jhalra
Just a short distance away from Mehrangarh lies the Mahila Baag Jhalra, a subterranean stepwell that’s so modest that you might not notice it even when you’re standing a few feet away. Crammed between shops and dwellings, obscured by motorcycles and electrical lines, this lovely, multi-layered, and multi-hued structure appears in no guidebook or any tour. It offers a dazzling array of pyramidal stairs and a disorienting experience of looking down into architecture, not up at it, as usual. Descending its stairs is quite a befuddling and enjoyable experience that requires a lot of attention.
2. Engage in the stories of Rajaram Meghwal Burial
According to legend, the title “Amar Shahid” which signifies eternal martyrdom was given to Rajaram Meghwal. He was a commoner who lived in the region that’s now the city of Jodhpur. He agreed to be buried alive in the base of the towering Mehrangarh Fort so as to break a curse. To honor this great sacrifice, Meghwal was awarded the title of ‘Amar Shahid’ and a plaque at the entrance to the Mehrangarh Fort hangs as proof. To date, the king’s family takes care of Meghwal’s descendants who live in the area.
3. Hunt for the blue houses
A trip to this blue city cannot be complete without going on a hunt for its blue houses and engaging in their mystical history. Walk in the labyrinthine Sardar Market around Jodhpur’s Clock Tower and ask the locals for directions to the old quarters which is home to Jodhpur’s elusive blue houses. The matter of the origin of these houses is a debate to date. Some people say they were coloured blue to denote upper-class residents/Brahmins while others argue the colour wards off the intense desert heat. While the debate remains unsettled, one thing that is certain is that these blue houses form the perfect backdrop for beautiful photographs.
4. Opt for a desert experience
Is there any experience like that of a typical desert safari? Sand dunes all around, the little-known hamlets and hutments of rural Rajasthan, spot blackbucks, dozens of graceful migratory birds, and colourful local birds, visit a primary school in a tiny village, spend the afternoon chatting with little kids and most importantly, gain a nuanced insight into the lives of villagers and communities in Jodhpur. Some safaris in Jodhpur offer to introduce tourists to families of Bishnois, a niche sect of Hinduism that promotes an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. One also gets a chance to be treated with bajra rotis smeared with desi ghee and authentic Marwari delicacies made by Rajasthani women.
So, don’t hold up. Winter is the best time to visit this historical city, its various attractions and the stellar hotels in Jodhpur. So get that camera out and head to Jodhpur for a great experience!