The Blue City - Jodhpur

 Jodhpur, also known as the 'blue city' is located in the very center of Rajasthan and was a 6 hour overnight bus ride from Udaipur. It is a beautiful city full of colour, smells and narrow alleyways that you WILL get lost in and is also home to over 6 million people!!

We arrived at 4am after another woeful overnight bus ride and had a tuk tuk drop us at our hostel. As it was the middle of the night there was no room available for us but the owner let us sleep on the couches on the rooftop with a blanket and we were woken by a wicked sunrise. Jodhpur's main attractions are the Mehranghar Fort, the Sardar Market and obviously the blue colour of all its buildings. I would only recommend 2 or max 3 days here as once you’ve seen everything you really have seen everything. The streets within the old city are quite sparse as most people keep themselves behind closed doors, there is the exception of the tourist center of the old town which of course is always bustling but when exploring the streets themselves everything looks a bit the same and its easy to get lost (and a little bored). In saying this I loved Jodhpur, Ebbs and I found THE BEST restated with the best views (mentioned below) and the coolest shop with the cheapest prices (also below) and loved exploring the blue streets and the beautiful Mehranghar fort.


Where to stay

We stayed at Bob's Hostel (purely because it was the cheapest we could find online) which was quite well located and was about a 10 minute walk from the center. It was only $4 each a night for a private room with a bathroom and the room was spacious and painted bright blue with beautiful Indian murals. The hostel, like most places in India had its own restaurant and rooftop but we didn't eat there as the prices weren't great.

Staying anywhere near the fort in the old city is ideal as this is where most of the action happens. I'd say get as close as you can to the market place as well as this is where you'll spend a lot of your time.


How to get there  

We arrived via sleeper bus from Udaipur which cost us around 400 rupees each ($8). The buses in India are safe an efficient (even as a solo female) the people on board are lovely and tend to keep to themselves. Obviously its not a high class experience, the buses are dirty and rickety and do break down every now and then but they get you cheaply from A to B which is really all that matters. My one piece of advice for sleeper buses (or any trips at night) is that you bring a sleeping bag with you. The buses get outrageously cold as they have open windows and the wind is icy. Ebbs and I had countless sleepless experiences due to our lack of warm attire. On one occasion we emptied the entire contents of our bag out on top of us to try and keep out the cold (it didn't work). The same rule applies on trains as they move at incredible pace and have many open windows and doors that blow gusts of wind through the carriages. Its also not wise to drink much before getting on the bus as none of them have toilets on board. For guys this is fine as you can just pee out the window but I had several occasions where I had to ask the driver to stop on the side of the road so I could pee and in the middle of the desert there aren't too many hiding places so I was often peeing while everyone on the bus watched me from the window (yay). Once you arrive in Jodhpur you'll need to get a rickshaw to your hostel/hotel as cars and buses can't drive through the narrow streets of the old cities (this is the case for every bus or train trip)

 What to do

 The Mehrangarh Fort which towers over the city of Jodhpur was one of my favorite attractions in all of India. It is lit up at night and casts a giant shadow over the sleeping city and in the day stands tall and impressive with its turrets and tiny windows illuminated in the sun. The fort has been there for 500 years, its vast ramparts running for a huge 3km around the perimeter.  The entry fee is Rs400 ($8) and is worth every penny. It includes a free audio guide which Ebbs and  I enjoyed so much we started paying for audio guides in every attraction we went to. Allow yourself at least 3-4 hours to really soak in the beauty of the fort and its views and make sure to visit the temple at the far end of the fort before you leave as it has one of the best views over the city from the holes in its walls.

Climb up to a rooftop restaurant for dinner to watch the sunset over the fort and thousands of blue rooftops. Most of the restaurants in the tourist center of the old town will have roof tops so all you have to do is pick one!

Ebbs and my favourite place for food and views was the Hilltop Nepalese restaurant up on the road nearest to the fort, while I don’t know the address myself, ask any of the locals and they'll point you in the right direction. Make sure you sit on the very top level for the best views. (this place done KILLER momos seriously the best I've ever had!!!!)

Allow yourself at least a few hours to spend getting lost in the streets of the old town. Wait till late afternoon when everything is open and the city is at its most vibrant.

I got several bags made out of traditional Afghani and Banjara fabric whilst in Jodhpur for about a 10th of the price of what I'd been offered in any other city. The shop was a 'factory' and was on one of the main corners of the old town. Ebbs and I spent hours and hours trawling through all the fabric and glitter than was piled up inside the shop and then, instead of just picking one off the shelf, got to design our own bags using the fabric we had chosen with a tailor fee of only $2. I ended up getting bags and purses made out of some of the saris I had purchased in the Sardar market as well, which was fantastic for me as I would have otherwise come home with a lot of beautiful fabric with no functional purpose. The tailor here was such a beautiful man, whom, although almost unable to speak any English was able to fully understand the designs I wanted made and created some truly beautiful pieces. I can't remember the exact name of the shop or its address but when walking through the old town look out for a shop with bags out the front on a sharp corner (:

The Sardar Market in the center of town is a place so bustling and vibrant half an hour there is enough to drive you a little crazy. Ebbs and I spent several afternoons strolling through the markets being pushed and shoved in every which direction by the other shoppers and shopkeepers. These markets surround a massive clock tower and are located mainly in a massive circular space similar to Jemma al Fnaa square in Marrakesh. You'll find a bit of everything from food to cooking utensils, used western clothing, old leather shoes, broken technology, glasses with only one lens, old teeth and costume jewelry. I bought lots of things at this market despite it not being as beautiful as the wears sold in Pushkar or Jaisalmer, the prices were dirt cheap. The ladies selling saris here will be willing to sell them to you for 50 rupees ($1) so spend a bit of time leafing through them all as every single design is different and its hard to find really lovely ones amongst the tacky. The prices here were much cheaper than Pushkar and Udaipur (where I also did a lot of shopping) Basically, shopping in India is the BEST and you’re just going to have to give in and buy another bag to carry.

If you find yourself with some time to space head to Jaswant Thada which is a beautiful marble cenotaph (similar to the taj) that is only a small walk from the Mehrangarh Fort.