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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Jodhpur: exploring an outdoor museum

Explore Jodhpur’s indigo-blue houses and the great Mehrangarh Fort…

By Surendra Singh Rajawat
Tour Guide specialising in North India

Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, is also known as the Blue City. As soon as you step into the old town, you see lanes of beautiful indigo-blue painted houses that belong to the Brahmins, the elite priestly caste of Hinduism.

On the way to Mehrangarh Fort, which you’ll see located high on a hill above the city, we stop at Jaswant Thada, a royal cenotaph built in the later 19th century with white marble brought from the same quarry as that used for the Taj Mahal. We then head to the Mehrangarh Fort, founded by Maharaja Rao Jodha in the 15th century and where we spend the majority of our time. From its ramparts you can see the stunning blue hues of the city with unique perspective. This magnificent fortress was used as the private residence of the royal family. You enter through Jai Pol, meaning ‘Victory Gate,’ dedicated to the victory over the invading armies of Jaipur. After admiring some beautiful frescoes, we walk through Fateh Pol where you can still see the cannonball marks from various attacks. The rulers partially attributed the success of Mehrangarh Fort to the human sacrifice of a man whose death was said to have lifted numerous curses.

We then enter Shringar Chowk, a courtyard where the royal families were coronated. You’ll see a marble throne and red sandstone latticed screens behind which the important ladies used to sit. Above you can see the Jhanki Mahal otherwise known as the Peeping Palace. From here, the elite could comfortably watch the activities of the common people below.

There’s a wonderful museum in which you can see all the elaborate howdahs (seats) that were fastened onto the maharaja’s elephants, made of silver, gold and delicate ivory work. One room houses a collection of palanquins (carriages) used by the royal ladies to travel to different parts of the fort. The Flower Palace is another museum highlight with frescoes, miniatures and 24-carat gold leaf work. Then you’ll see the various treasure and armour from swords to shields and vibrant Marwari (Jodhpur) paintings depicting religious figures as well as kings playing polo; fun fact – this is where the inspiration for jodhpurs came from.

For a different perspective of the Mehrangarh Fort, I’d highly recommend booking an evening tour with the curator of the complex who’ll take you around with only a few other people, glass of champagne in hand. It’s a really special experience.

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  • History
  • Trips to take

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Alfred & Surendra Singh Rajawat

With more than 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Surendra is a highly motivated tour guide with in-depth knowledge of North India. He specialises in history and architecture but also loves to introduce visitors to the country’s contemporary culture and lifestyle.