The Blue City
Before even coming to India, I always associated the country with color. Visiting Jodhpur, otherwise known as the Blue City, has brought this notion to life.
Painting the outside of one’s house blue is a practice that started with the Brahmin (or priests). Being of the highest cast, they wanted this embellishment to differentiate them from the others. The color turned out to be highly practical (reflecting the heat of the sun while still being easy on the eyes, unlike white which can be blinding) and today, there is blue all over the city.
But aside from this famous blue, color can be seen wherever you go.
Speaking of where to go… if you are planning a trip, there are four main attractions you must see in Jodhpur.
1. Sardar Market:
This isn’t a tourist market; it is the main market for 90% of the population (including the countryside). From vegetables to spices to bangles to shawls, you will find plenty of choices here.
(See what I mean about all the colors?)
If you are a wake-up-early-to-beat-the-crowds kind of tourist, you should be aware that a vender will not bargain with you if you are their first customer. The price is fixed because if their first sale isn’t a good one, they believe it will bring bad luck.
2. Mehrangarh Fort:
Although less subtle than some of the others, my favorite room was the entertainment room, decorated with incredible color glass windowpanes and gold plated pillars.
When there, do not miss the display of miniature paintings. From afar they look like normal paintings but up close you can perceive waves in the water, individuals hairs, and the details of fabrics.
3. Jaswant Thada Crematorium:
According to the Hindu religion, we are made of five elements (fire, water, soil, air and sky) and when we pass away these elements must be returned to the world. Once a loved one has been cremated (that’s where fire comes in), it is customary to spread their ashes near water. With the wind, some goes back into the water, some blows into the air and some falls into the soil. The circle is complete.
The Jaswant Thada crematorium is beautifully peaceful; it is a place that celebrates life and welcomes the idea that energy is constantly being transferred.
4. Umaid Bhawan Palace:
Multi-purposed, this palace is a museum, a luxurious hotel and the inherited home of Maharaja Gaj Singh II. Whether you stay here or visit, it is a spectacular palace where many come to celebrate their weddings.
During our stay, we felt utterly spoiled enjoying our breakfast on the terrace with a view of the gardens or lounging by the outside pool with a view of the entire palace.
I hope the Hindus are wrong about reincarnation because this life is already too good to be true.