Glorious Meherangarh Fort mushrooms from beneath a huge rocky cliff to dominate the once indomitable Blue City. At dusk you feel a part of a real-life movie, as the camera-shy palace peeks over awesome stone walls, and citizens mill about in the hemmed-in chaos below. Jodhpur proper stretches beyond the 16th-century border, but it’s the immediacy and grandeur of the old city, once a stop on a vital trade route, that has more and more travellers raving.
New Jodhpur is dirty and – bless those errant cows and those open sewers – smelly, but dive into the Brahmin-blue laneways of the old city to find boxes of snuff and boxed-cuff trousers (oh yes, the baggy-pants brigade started here!) bejewelled regalia and sensual spices – you name it, you can get it, half-price and giftwrapped. There’s hassle here too though, particularly around the clock tower, but it’s nothing a shopping expedition down Palace Rd, a foray into the nearby craft villages, or an excursion to the Mandore gardens can’t cure.
Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rajput clan known as the Rathores, and the city grew out of the profits of opium, sandalwood, dates and copper. Rathore kingdom was once cheerily known as Marwar (the Land of Death), but today its moustached men are more about smiling for the camera.
In October, Jodhpur holds the Marwar Festival .
Last updated: Sep 16, 2008
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