Apparently Rajasthan has a thing for cities of color. First we had Jaipur, the Pink City. Then Jaisalmer, the Golden City. Now we’re in Jodhpur, Rajasthan’s second-largest city, and it’s known as the Blue City because of all the blue buildings. At first we didn’t get that because we just weren’t seeing any noticeable blue at all. It wasn’t like Jaipur where the pink just wasn’t that pink; we went into the old city and didn’t see blue at all.
If you hang in there, though, and really start wandering back into the warrens of the old city, suddenly blueness starts happening. And then more blue. Blue everywhere! It was really pretty nice. The pictures here don’t really capture it, and to some degree it only became obvious when we were up in the fort and could look down on the city; then in the older parts it was a sea of blue, but still the pictures don’t capture it. Take our world for it though; Jodhpur is worthy of its nickname as the Blue City.
Of course, there can be a downside to wandering around the back warrens of the old city. Jodhpur, like everywhere we’ve been in India so far at least, feels perfectly safe from a crime point of view (ignore the traffic, for now, the purposes of this discussion): people are friendly, curious about us, and there are always lots of people around. At one point as we were walking toward the fort we were on a narrow, winding lane that was nice as there was no room for traffic. A dog started barking at us which was unusual, insofar as there are lots of dogs here and they’re all pretty chill. This one was decidedly unhappy about us, though, perhaps because there were puppies nearby, so we quickly went past and left her behind. Not sixty seconds further up, though, another mean dog started growling at us, this time in front of us. Wait – narrow lane, no exit, mean dog barking and baring her teeth in front, mean dog barking and baring her teeth behind. Yikes!
As should be obvious, we escaped. When no humans appeared to save us – I saw some at some point, they were mostly just curious – I picked up a big rock and pretty much just scared the dog in back (who seemed slightly less dangerous) away by threatening her with it. She didn’t know that I don’t have such good aim these days, but it worked. And then we were back on the trail up to the fort.
What is there to do in Jodhpur? Well, as is the case with these big, older Rajasthani cities, there’s a big old fort, the former home of the royal family. Turns out there is a reason UNESCO named these forts collectively a World Heritage Site; they’re fabulous. This one was huge, a long climb up, imposing, and beautiful. Now to be honest there’s not a lot to do at your fourth fort (or whatever it is), but even by the fourth one they’re fascinating. Huge doors, massive sandstone buildings, intricate carvings – they have it all.
One strange thing about Jodhpur: the near-absence of cows. I can’t say there weren’t any, but after all the cows we saw on the streets of Jaipur, Pushkar, and Jaisalmer at some point we realized, “Wow, there just are almost no cows here.” Which, to be honest, makes walking on the streets a little less stressful; you don’t have to pay quite so much attention to what you might be stepping in…
Another thing worth noting about Jodhpur is that we’re here at the right time of year. As we’ve experienced throughout the two-plus weeks in India the weather is delightful: decidedly cool in the morning; warm and sunny in the afternoon, cooling again in the evening. It’s not always like this, though; like much of Rajasthan Jodhpur sits in a big desert and is incredibly hot during the summer. From April through June, when the modest rainy season cools things down a little, the average high is over 100 degrees. Some days, of course, are measurably hotter than average; the record high for May is 128 degrees. That will kill you. So we’re glad to be here during the (comparatively) cold season.
Besides seeing Jodhpur and the fort, the main reason we’re here is to get ready for a Grasshopper Adventure group for a bike tour of Rajasthan. For the record, “getting ready” consists mostly of just resting, buying some bike shorts, and … resting. The tour actually started two days ago in Delhi but we arranged to just meet the group here. Their day in Delhi was just a walking tour; we’ve seen enough of Delhi and weren’t eager to go back there just to take an overnight (Indian) train down here. So pretty much as soon as I click on Publish someone is picking us up to drive two hours north to where the riding starts. Then it’s nine days on the road through parts of Rajasthan we would otherwise never, ever see, before arriving in Udaipur. We’re pretty excited!
All of which means that posts here might be a bit sparse over the next 10 days: I’ll be tired after long rides, and when others are selecting our lodging, particularly in the small places we bike through, Internet access may not be what we’d like. Stand by, then, and we’ll be back eventually.