DA Travelography

The Blue houses of Jodhpur

Jodhpur, the blue city of Rajasthan has been in my list for so long. To be honest, as a traveler I am not fan of traveling in cities and usually disappointed by people, traffic and pollution. However, Jodhpur had soothing blue vibes about it. I was curious about this city, its history, its people and more importantly the blue houses.

 

Every magazine I picked up lately, had some feature where beautiful models are posing in these narrow streets. But I wanted to photograph real people living in these old styled houses and know about their life. So I started asking some basic question from the people like ‘why are Blue Houses are painted blue?’

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
The people in Jodhpur are extremely welcoming, I photographed this on an early morning as she was brushing her teeth 🙂

 

                   

Blue houses of Jodhpur
There is a very old brass band market in Jodhpur. I photographed this gentleman as he was ready to perform for a wedding.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Here is the wider shot 🙂

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
The most intresting character was this lady, who was so curious to know how can she start her own homestay. She had a lovely parrot to play with. 

 

This is the place where Bollywood movie ‘Shudh Desi Romance’ was filmed

 

Why are Blue Houses are painted blue?

 

I was told different theories to support the color Blue. It goes as, Jodhpur was once a princely state, a country in its own order for a very short period of time before Vallabhbhai Patel consolidated it and made it a part of India. Before this, Jodhpur was a much smaller city, entirely dependent on one lake and rain-water. This small town was built around Mehrangarh Fort and the primarily residents were Brahmins. Blue color has been associated with Lord Shiva due to his blue neck. The Brahmins consider Blue as sacred color and painted their houses in reverence to God Shiva.

 

 Another reason which sound more practical is that Jodhpur gets really hot in summer, so the blue color is soothing to the eyes as it appears cooler. Also in earlier times, the blue color city seemed like as oasis in the desert to the thirsty merchants, which was one way to attract the merchants for trading.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Summers are indeed hot 😉

 

Others say that due to the climate jodhpur houses are prone to termites and the termites damaged and destroyed the traditional building techniques which involved the exterior being coated in lime wash. It was discovered that the termites were repelled by copper salt compounds and these were added in low concentrations to the lime washes, the mixture produces blue colour. Since the limestone is easily available in the vicinity of jodhpur due to this is the cheapest option to deal with it.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Secularism can be found at very nook and corner of Jodhpur. Different religion Hindus, Muslims, Jain, Sikh live all togther in peace.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
A jain monk walks on the street asking for the food.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
In the neighbouring mosque the man goes for the evening prayers.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Children playing in the madrsa

 

 

How to photograph the blue houses?

 

Whole of the city is not painted blue, it’s only the fortified old city where houses nearby the fort are colored blue. For an overview of the blue houses, the best place is to be in Mehrangarh Fort for the sunset. A winding lane leads up the 125-metre-high hill, on which the ancient fortress is built and has a great view.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
The bird eye view of Blue houses

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
View from Mehrangarh Fort

But to photograph the lanes and houses for the street photography, either one can go to Nawchowkiya or Chandpur. I often took an auto and asked them to drop me on elevated lanes and I walked down slowly through the stairs while photographing the blue houses. Infact one can walk down from the back side of Mehrangarh fort to photograph these blue houses.

 

The streets are very narrow and driving through these streets isn’t possible at times.  Also, in the early morning and evening the light is low on the streets due to densely populated houses. I usually chose time 7 am to 10 pm and in the evening 4pm to 6pm.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Chandbawli

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
Sneaked a picture at night

 

 

Despite high exposure to camera and tourists, people of Jodhpur were extremely pleasant and warm. Some of the people in neighborhood invited me to have tea, or have a view from their terrace; and proudly told about the story of their house and ancestor. The best thing about Jodhpur was people from different religion living at peace. There are equal amount of temples, Jain temples and mosque you can find in the old city and at some places next to each other.

 

Where to stay?

 

To photograph the Blue houses, it is preferred to be centrally located within old city. So I got into one of the most popular home-stay/guest house of Jodhpur which has ab easy name to remember ‘The Blue House’.  I found Blue house surprisingly good, not to exaggerate it surpassed all my expectations. A 500-year-old family-run guesthouse is one of the oldest guesthouses in the area. The guesthouse started as a welcome home for the travellers in 1968 on a friendly note with a free service and later in 1991 it received its registration for the paying guest. The family has endless stories to amuse you, and then treat you with some delicious home cooked food, their Thali is a must try. The Blue houses has multiple floors, and the view from top one is breath-taking.

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
New friends at the terrace of guest house

 

Blue houses of Jodhpur
That’s my beautiful room on the top floor

 

 

Planning a trip in Rajasthan? Also read about my travel experiences in Bikaner , Jaisalmer and Thar desert

1 comment

  1. Beautifully narrated…Pictures are simply marvellous as usual…Loved the detailed description of the place. Thanks for sharing.
    Regards
    Sunil

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