The Colours Of Jodhpur

The magnificent Mehrangarh fort perched 120 metres above the city, is justifiably the main attraction in Jodhpur. It is one of the largest and best preserved of Rajput citadels. And one of the better maintained as well, cared for as it is by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust under the aegis of Maharaja Gaj Singh himself.

Mehrangarh Fort - Jodhpur

The interiors are impressive, the gift shop well worth a visit, the cafe serves a mean espresso (although at Parisian prices!) and it affords spectacular panoramas of the blue city.

Blue houses of Jodhpur

The ‘blue’ in the nickname is derived from the blue wash that apparently once helped distinguish the homes of upper caste Brahmins.  They seemed diminished in number since my last visit (over a decade ago!) and far harder to locate on the ground, than the views suggest. We were told that the best way to get up-close with the blue houses was through a pedestrian path leading from the fort down to the clock tower in the centre.

I would probably have got there, and early, if I was staying in a city centre hotel. But as it was, I had a date with chef Jodha later in the afternoon, so I opted to drive down to the market area via the beautiful royal mausoleums in Jaswant Tada and tried my luck in vain.

But there was no dearth of colour or atmosphere in the bazaars radiating from the clock tower. Aside from the modern vehicles and the incessant honking (on the main roads) that I am convinced damaged my eardrums temporarily, it seemed like little had changed in the five hundred odd years since Rao Jodha started construction on that fortification towering over it all.

Take a look…

Clock Tower -  Jodhpur, India

Jodhpur alleyway

Turbanned man in Jodhpur

Bazaar - Jodhpur, India

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Colour in Jodhpur

Freshly dyed 'Odhni's' (stoles)

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Jodhpuri Jutis

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Marwar Meets Andalucia In Mehrangarh

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

107 thoughts on “The Colours Of Jodhpur

  1. Stunning! Have you been to Sigiriya in Sri Lanka? If not, you can check my latest blog:Sigiriya Part3-The Top. It’s breathtaking view there, the oldest survived historic garden in Asia.:)

    1. I am asgamed to say I have not been to Sri Lanka yet, despite it being across the channel from the city I live in! Shall certainly read your post. Thank you for your visit and comment.

  2. Fabulous post Madhu, would love to go there. So far I have only ‘toyed’ with India (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) – much more to do but how do you fit it all in?

  3. What a magnificent view of the blue city! The fort itself is most impressive, and your colourful photos transported me into the enticing bazaars. A really wonderful post, Madhu. :

    1. Thanks Sylvia. I found the bazaars even more enchanting than the grand fort. Could have spent all day people watching there! And the street food was pretty great too 🙂

    1. Ah, you need to scroll down for the actual colours of Jodhpur Mary. This post is all about the buzz and the colour around the bazaars!

      1. They are so awesome Madhu, vibrant and out of the drab buildings come the blue painted structures and then fabrics that fill the scenes with energy, life and well – they are the joy of your post. You are so right!

        1. Thanks Mary 🙂 I find exploring the bazaars more satisfying than spending time at grand palaces, always.

        2. Perhaps its the gentle human aspect of the scenes as well ~ have a beautiful week.

  4. Thanks for bringing back some great memories Madhu. Your photos are fabulous!
    We loved the blue city, and did get to walk around in it.
    According to crazyambivert who commented on my blog post about Jodhpur: “Going back in history, Houses used to be coated with “Limewash” earlier. Since the climate there is more of an arid type, the place is infested with termites, which would often destroy this coat of “limewash” on the house’s walls. It was discovered that these termites could be repelled by adding copper salts to the limewash This mixture often produces a blue colour , and was also more expensive than plain simple limewash, You would mostly find the houses to be blue near the fort. This is because people belonging to the highest caste,called the brahmins(no more considered the highest caste here) used to stay around the fort. Given the fact that limewash mixed with copper salts was more expensive , only brahmins could afford to buy it then!”

    1. Thank you for the detailed comment Alison. That sounds like a plausible explanation! And the reason why few people use the colour wash these days. Strange though that the practice isn’t prevalent in any other desert town nearby!
      PS: Loved your Jodhpur post! 🙂

  5. Madhu, just gorgeous pictures! Loved the post and I am also happy to know that the caste barriers are not so rigid anymore.

    1. Thanks Sandhya. I was refering to the painting of houses here, not too sure the caste system isn’t still prevalent.

  6. Thanks your for this beautiful presentation, Madhu. Gorgeous views, moody colours! I’s love to go there one day.

    1. A far cry from the gorgeous, soporific landscape of Cley, but fascinating nevertheless Dina! 🙂 Have a fabulous week ahead!

      1. I wouldn’t say so, never! 🙂 They are two totally different worlds, that’s all. That’s part of the attraction, I suppose. You have got much more magic. 🙂

  7. Brilliant and beautiful post Madhu. The pictures are spectacular and gives us the feel of the place. Thanks and regards 🙂

  8. Madhu, this is the most amazing series. I thought you couldn’t top that photo of blue houses against the orange, but kept scrolling and was treated to a feast of color and culture. Gorgeous post! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Naomi. The narrow alleys around the bazaars are so captivating. I have another ‘Faces’ series coming up 😀

  9. You do more for Indian destinations than the entire Tourism ministry put together. And with so much heart…. and a child’s wonder. Amazing… love it. 🙂

  10. Wonderful colours.
    I also really like the view of the whole city, with the blue colour forcing itself through the brownish colours.

  11. This is so lovely Madhu. Our country seems drab in comparison to so many others, with their bright colors. Lovely images. I particularly like the image of the blue houses of Jodhpur.

    1. The colour can get overwhelming sometimes LuAnn! The reason I prefer a near monochromatic palate for my interiors 🙂

      1. I hadn’t thought about it that way. If you lived with so much color all the time I could see where it would be a bit much to handle.

  12. Your pictures are breathtaking, Madhu. I agree that the fort is the most impressive and so well maintained. I enjoyed the views from there as well as from below. Our walk was cut short and didn’t even include the bazaar. What a pity. Whatever the scientific or religious reasons for the blue, it makes for a lovely city amongst that arid backdrop. I’ve been wanting to post on it and will do so one of these days. 🙂

    1. There never is enough time to do all that we wish to do, is there? Look forward to reading your version Lynne.

    1. The turbans were my favourite too Kath. Did you know they are almost sari length and draped from scratch every morning?

    1. This is a bit too chaotic to be magical Bente, unlike your pristine landscapes, but it certainly is captivating. When are you coming to India? 🙂

  13. I love this, Madhu. You capture the vivid colours so beautifully and the photos seem to pop out of the screen! The fort and clock tower are indeed impressive, but it seems like nothing can beat the people. I’ll have to add Jodhpur to my wishlist for India!

    1. You should. But a road trip through all the enchanting little towns dotting the state might be more up your alley. I hope to do it someday, even if it is in fits and starts 🙂

  14. Just a marvelous post…words and photos. And the title is so apropos…COLORS is right. I’ve been to India quite a few times, but never to Johdpur, so thanks for filling in some missing pieces. It’s now on my To Do list.

  15. I always admire people who drive in the chaos of an Indian city – but someone has to 🙂
    The clock tower isn’t 500 years old is it? I love the turbans, the shoes, the silver armed lady and the life you’ve captured Madhu, fabulous.

  16. Such good memories! I shall take there my family, one day… we are planning to go to visit lovely friends in Sri Lanka, this summer… But as you know already, India and her people is always in my heart!
    Have a lovely day, dearest Madhu… :-)c

  17. Hi Madhu,

    Jodhpur certainly hasn’t changed since the last time I was there in 2011 🙂 Looks like you had good weather there – I was there in Dec 2011, the sky looked misty or hazy, as such my picture of the blue houses from the fort was not clear enough. Great photos you have here, and my favourite is the second last picture 🙂

  18. Jodhpur came to my attention first from a MasterCard TV commercial many years ago, showing a valley filled with blue houses. I remember my fascination as a child of that view, so foreign yet so intriguing. But one thing I know now: the market should also be on my list for its vivid colors.

  19. Beautiful photos! One of my favourite things about India is that the country is so amazingly colourful wherever you go. Especially Rajasthan 🙂

  20. Totally enchanted by your pictures on this great post and elsewhere. Love your blog!
    Thank you very much for following and opening the door to your world. Eddie

  21. You know your colours, Madhu, but also shapes, forms, movement. Lovely! My favourite two are of footwear and bracelets.

  22. As I sit here and read another captivating post about India, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever visit your beautiful country. Jodhpur IS draped in one magnificent color after an other, complimenting the people and the textures of the city. It gives me comfort to know that I can come to visit your pages any time and get a taste for what I’m missing! Happy travels wherever you are, Madhu. 🙂

  23. Madhu I loved this post! Jodhpur is one of my favourite cities and mehraungadh is one of my favourite forts. It is truly majestic and well maintained. I absolutely loved your pictures! The bazars near clock tower are amazing. Lakhera bazar for lac bangles and Tripolia bazaar for tie and dye clothes 🙂

  24. really enjoyed the colors and the different photos – like the pink cloth one had an energy all its own. so did the the triple yellow one – that had the guy with the yellow turban and the two ladies in yellow to the left – those kind of shots are just cool.
    then reading your tidbits ahead of time – left me with thoughts of the noise to your eardrums and some of the cultural tidbits – so the scrolling of the photos had that mental backdrop.

    oh and cool to see the blue houses and how that was a status thing is just interesting…

  25. Hi Madhu!!
    Your lens and that beauty- insight with which your pictures are framed in here is really beautiful….the northern cities, each of them are blessed with unique beauty and matter that needs to be well elucidated. Good job on the photography. It really conveys the message.

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