Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
The Magical Blue CityJodhpur, in the northwest state of Rajasthan, also referred to as the “Blue City” due to the vividly painted homes in the old part of the city, has one of the largest and most fascinating forts in all of India. Perched high on a hill, Mehrangarh Fort is a true work of art that dominates the skyline for miles around.
Mehrangarh is about 400 feet above the city center and is bounded by a massive wall. Access to the fort is via seven gates, the most famous of which is Jayapol, “victory gate” built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over the Jaipur and Bikaner armies. In fact, cannonball imprints are still visible within the second gate.
Inside the fort walls are many ornately crafted palaces with intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. A museum, which is comprised of several palaces, houses a vast collection of howdahs and palanquins, as well as furniture, arms, costumes and paintings. Along the outskirts, along the grand ramparts, are many preserved cannons, in addition to the best view of the warm, blue city below.
A winding road leads down to the center and the large open air market which sells a whole host of goods, including furniture, textiles, marble and carpets. There is also a thriving business in handicrafts, such as leather goods and glass bangle bracelets, admired by tourists and locals alike.