Jodhpur “The Blue City”

We started the morning in Jodhpur “the blue city” eating in the hotel and was able to wait until 9am to head out for the day. We wish we had more time in Jodhpur because the hotel and the city was less busy then the previous. Jodhpur also known as the Sun City (because the king said he is the son of the sun) city is dry desert country with camels. The city is also known as “the land of warriors” even now we saw a huge standing army here protecting the city from Pakistan.

We started at Mehtangarh Fort on top of the highest point in Jodhpur. Much of the monument was sectioned off because they were filming a Bollywood movie, starring their most famous actor Amitabh Bachan.

We were also told that monuments ban the use of a selfie stick banned because a tourist kid fell from the wall and died, while taking a selfie. I completely agree that it’s better without selfie sticks.

Our tour guide Praveen gave us a good overview about the history of the four caste system, plus the untouchables (ones with the dirty jobs). From the fort we can see the city walls that fortified the city and only the caste system can live inside the walls. The untouchables who visited the fort had to put their shoes on the head inside the walls, that was until the king heard a prophecy from a wise man saying that if you bury a man alive in the foundation that the fort with the palace would remain in the family. When the king asked who in his city would do this one untouchable agreed on May 12, 1449, but with three conditions 1. No longer do untouchables have to put shoes their head when entering 2. They give a stipend to his people and 3. His family can live within the walls.

This was also the first city where we saw the daily people wear turbans. The turbans are used for distinguishes what region you’re from by pattern, color for caste, soaking up water from the well, head protection during fights, a pillow, and mosquito protection.

On the iron gates we saw 43 handprints that were dedicated to the Sati women, meaning if their husband died in war they chose to be burned alive with the dead body. This was a tradition brought over from Rome and it was a decision that the women made, so they don’t get raped as part of a kings harem.

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We saw an elephant mount for the king and saw the area where the servant sits to constantly fan the king. This was a Unix  that was both deaf and dumb. There were paintings at the entrance that were finely painted with a style that was brought from Persia, where you use fine squirrel hair and precious + semi-precious stones for color. The art of painting in this style was almost completely lost, until the current king found a family still practicing and offered rent free space to sell within the fort and asked them to open a school for new students. We met the teachers and students, then purchased a small painting. The money will be used for restoration of the fort.

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From the top of the fort you can look down at the Blue City. The houses were painted blue by the Brahmans (holy man) for the color of Shiva, reflects mosquitos and sun light.

We learned at this time the mustaches was a sign for warriors. We asked why the queens hid their faces completely and was told that it was to prevent Mughal attacks. If they saw beautiful women it was more enticing for an invader to attack.

We were also told that the 98% of the population was arranged marriage, with a 99% success rate because it’s a bonding of two families, based on horoscopes and caste. They use 36 attributes for each person and 13 points have to match. To get the information for the horoscope you need to provide: Name, birth place, birthdate, and birth time. From there they can tell you what three professions were best for you, which stones to wear, etc. The matchmaker talks to the parents and relatives about you to find out your personality and traits. Then for two years they make sure this is a good match by asking more people and it isn’t until your wedding day can you see your bride’s face.

Then we went down a little ways on the fort to the Jaswant Thada (locals call it a mini Taj Mahal, because it’s also build with Macrena marble) built in 1906 was where they cremated the king of the city, then they bring the ashes to the holy city of Hardiwar. The Hindus believe to give back the body to the Earth after death.

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After this they brought us into the local market to see the clock tower, marketplace, and try the famed samosa and lassi. The city of Jodhpur is known for exporting textiles to the world, so I purchased a block printed hand made mirrored blanket and a silk & bamboo print with the tree of life and had it sent home to avoid carrying.

Then we got back in the car and headed on our 5 hour car ride to Udaipur “the city of lakes.” On the drive we saw lots of monkeys, sleeping bats and even sat on a local farmers water wheel pulled by two ox.