Jodhpur in Rajasthan is also known as the blue city, for the blue painted houses. Old photographs of the city prove beyond a point the presence of such a riot of blue. But today the city is in a confused state of mind, caught between the modern and traditional way of existence. Like any other city in the world,traditions are being overtaken by contemporary models of survival. Both co-exist but for how long and who wins the battle is anybody’s guess.
So here I was in the city but only for a very short duration. For some reasons all my trips to Jodhpur have been very short ones. Sometimes I have just taken the flight back from the city,but all the times I have been able to get some kachauris packed for home. I have not got much opportunity to explore the city,last visit involved just a drive to the Mehrangarh Fort and that too in the evening when the place was about to close for the day for visiting.
This time I could manage half a day in the second half of the day to roam around and briefly scan the place. And then someone suggested to walk up to Mehrangarh Fort through the city which was a brilliant idea. Moving through the narrow streets to reach the spectacular and massive lanmark, experiencing traditional city undergoing change to meet the history. This was a long,slow and interrupted walk where journey was as interesting as the destination. It was a quest to find blue,a search for identity of the city which is in the process of vanishing .
It is always advised to start the journey with a full stomach and I strongly believe in this.
And when in Rome do as the Romans do, so it is best to stick with the local street food and the humongous cooking-pot full of samosas getting deep fried was mouth watering.
The confused state of city is evident in the new structures which are coming up with a mix of old architecture.
The city features in the list of must visit places in Rajasthan and being a place frequented by travelers,the dwellers are quite tourist savvy and not camera shy.
Ghantaghar, Clock Tower is the place which connects to the road leading to the Fort.
The market caters both to the locals as well as tourists. Objects of day to day use as well as handicrafts meant for tourists sell side by side.
The narrow streets are lined up with houses of different architecture and different look of exteriors. Not every house is blue,some have patches of blue and in some the clolour blue trying to peep out of a freshly painted coat of a lighter tone.
After almost an hour of maneuvering in the congested yet quite clean lanes and bylanes, the boundary of Fort is visible and this happens to be the last house on this street and it is a big blue house.
The fort is built higher than the city,so it actually is a climb and the city is now visible from a height. Not many blue houses can be seen, a disappointing view if compared to older images.
The Fort is a huge structure with doors large enough for the comfortable entry of elephants .
It almost closing time at the Fort,legs slightly tired but not the enthusiasm. The journey back begins. The last house is now the first house, the big blue house.
The old man is regular here,willing to pose in lieu of some money.
By now the samosas are fully digested and it is time to try out something new. Freshly made bhujiya , is another must have in Rajasthan though Bikaner is more known of this delicacy.
The sun has started to set giving indications to me to end the quest. Some quick shots before calling the day.
Well it said that journey never ends and the quest also continues. Find some more blue at the airport while waiting to board the flight. A bonus….
All the photographs here feature some tone of blue in the various elements,blues walls,blue skies,blue clothes. Half a day is too less to explore and enjoy a place but this half day was well spent and gave good insights and an unforgettable experience.
© All Rights Reserved Ravi Dhingra