Jodhpur, the cultural capital of Rajasthan, India.
Traveling to different parts of India is always a thrill-seeking adventure with an abundance of sights and sounds. The city I visit most often is Jodhpur, enriched with a glory of heritage and enamored as the cultural capital of Rajasthan, India. The medieval city is the second largest town in the State and is a stone carved town surrounded by hills and vast tracks of land, still retaining its ancient beauty even with the rippling sand dunes dancing to the tunes of the whispering winds.
The Blue City
It is known as the “blue city” because of the mass followers of Lord Shiva that live there. The color blue has always been associated with Shiva and is considered sacred, thus the reason you will find houses bathed in blue all around the Mehrangarh Fort. Outside the neighborhood are the serpentine streets of the town and hustling markets with a dizzying bounty of goods to offer – often quite vocally – with various streets dedicated to specific merchandise: cloth, silver or flowers. Strolling around I always have an urge to purchase souvenirs for friends and family because there are so many vintage collections of handicrafts, textiles and art pieces that reflect the culture of the city.
A must see is the storied fort known as Mehrangarh which has an impeccable blend of variant architectural styles and influences majestically standing with its impregnable walls and exquisite palaces at one hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. At first glance, burnished with red sand stone, I recalled it as being imposing and invincible with a strange haunting beauty. It is called the Citadel of the Sun. For truly it is one of the most impressive structures in all of Rajasthan. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”. Today, it is acknowledged as one of the best-preserved forts in India. Mehrangarh fort was built by Rao Jodha in the year 1459 and is spread over an area of 5 kilometers and is built on 125-mile-high hill in the outskirts of Jodhpur city.
Jaswant Thada, the burial ground of the Marwar rulers
Barely a kilometer away from the top of Mehrangarh Fort you are able get a glimpse of the most alluring structures. A panoramic view of one of Jodhpur’s architectural landmarks, Jaswant Thada, the burial ground of the Marwar rulers. It was built in 1899 as a royal cenotaph by Maharaja Sardar Singh, in memory of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II who was the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. The rocky approach to Jaswant Thada lends a mystic aura to the entire experience. The magnificent marble structure stands in blinding white contrast to the surrounding reddish-brown rocky hills that dominate the landscape. Its sheer grandeur, the intricacy of motifs chiseled to perfection, and the manicured lawns surrounding it take my breath away at first sight.
Ghanta Ghar, the Clock Tower
Lastly, a popular landmark of Jodhpur is the Clock Tower, also known as Ghanta Ghar. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh between 1880 and 1911 and has witnessed the several ups and downs in the history of Jodhpur. Today, it is recognized as a prime tourist attraction for travelers across the world. The view of the fort from the tower is panoramic and captivating to behold. Adjacent to this tower is Sardar Market which derived its name from the same ruler who constructed the clock tower. I usually love to stroll through the vibrant market area for curios, as the entire region is crammed with around 7,000 big and small shops and is known for selling a wide and fine range of handicrafts from sarees, bangles, kurtas, souvenirs, local crafts and much more. The entire area is a shopaholic’s dream.
The reason I visit so often is because the city is rich in architecture and culture, as well as home to a diverse selection of ethnic arts and crafts.
Jodhpur is the hub of artistic wooden furniture and offers unique handmade handicrafts that always leave me fantasizing about its rich cultural heritage. Being up close with the artisans is remarkable, witnessing the dedication, devotion, dynamism and entrepreneurship of each exporting community. They are true master craftsman who have preserved century-old traditions and legacies. I thoroughly enjoy creating an assortment of handmade products with them which I design and help produce using local influences at times and infusing the Indian culture in certain products. It is a constant reminder on why I love what I do, and the best part of it all is sharing them on Wanderlust Gallerie with you.