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The Blue City

Story by Rupert Marlow February 11th, 2016

The Blue City

Unlike Jaipur (The Pink City - that is actually orange), Jaipur truly lives up to its name and is, from above and inside, mainly blue. It is stunning. Established as a colour, the mix of which was initially adopted by the Brahman Caste as an auspicious colour, was used to keep houses cool and repel termites. The entire city is not blue though but only the main part around the Palace Fort as this is where most of the Brahmans were concentrated.

We arrived by train from Jaisalmer and headed straight up to the Fort as the town’s main attraction. It is without doubt, the most fascinating one we have done so far and the audio-guide is absolutely fantastic. The Palace Fort stands well above the blue area of town and is truly imposing. It has been used as an impressive backdrop in many films, most recently, in one of Christian Bale’s portrayals of Batman as he climbs from a pit to find himself at the base of the fort.

Once in the Palace, there are many sights, some of which we are asked not to photograph, but the Coronation Throne was one of the most interesting in its relatively small size and un-imposing stature, positioned in a courtyard close to the palace entrance.


The Town

Practically everywhere you look in Jodhpur is a scene worth photographing. As a subject, the old town of Jodhpur was one of my favourite places I have ever visited. It was brimming with small scenes, alleyways and again, a goat in a polo shirt, just taking it easy in some shade during the heat of the day!
The colourful town is simply beautiful and where blue isn’t the colour of choice, a splash of variation really adds to the city’s charm. Again, the locals were generally friendly and either ignored the fact that I was photographing them - I read this is unspoken permission - or, if interested would say ‘thank you’, having seen the image in the back of the camera. The cows had no choice.

The Market

Sarah and I had Christmas in Jodhpur. Christmas away from home is something I did not enjoy. We decided - with an idea pinched from my brother who had a long trip in South America over Christmas a few years ago - to have £20 each, that’s 2000 Rupees and go and find some stuff. This would not be a marvellous romantic gesture but was to largely result in us ending up buying each other some tat. We set off in separate directions with 30 minutes to spare before we were to meet up again.
Sarah bought me a fake Rubix-Cube that broke, a turban that didn’t fit and was so itchy, it went in the bin and the piece de resistance, an elasticated string for my glasses. This was perfect. Photographing and removing glasses or sunglasses all the time is a real pain. She hates it as it’s an ‘old-man’ look but functionality wins.

I bought Sarah some indian sweets (which I know she likes) and an allegedly silver bracelet with elephants on, going head to tail - just like the Pachyderm Parade from The Jungle Book with an elaborate clasp in the simple chain. Unlike me, she kept this, that is until the chain and clasp part ceased to be ‘silver’ and a nasty rash developed. We’ll try and get this fixed. It would appear the elephants themselves are inert, so that’s lucky. Happy Christmas.

In the process, we both stumbled on the market and I insisted on having some time in there to photograph the people and stalls. The Jodhpur Market was massive, spread out and has far less cover then some of the others we have visited on our trip though India so far. Nonetheless, I was able to snatch some good shots of ‘business as usual, along with some portraits of the locals at work.


The People of Judhpur

We met some wonderful people in Jodhpur, I bowled and batted with a couple of boys in the street and most kids were only to happy to strike a pose, with the adults, again, either ignoring me or being more inquisitive. The older gentleman shown below in the hat and black and white was only to pleased to have a few photos taken. I have emailed them to him at his guest house.
We also came across a large step well in the middle of town - something I had seen and read about in books but these things are massive. A clever design, ensuring that whatever the level, the water is accessible but also, a wonder of architectural design given their time.

Jodhpur was, without doubt, one of the best places we could have spent a slightly downhearted Christmas away. It is stunningly beautiful and we never got tired of aimlessly wandering the streets - at least Sarah never told me if she was bored. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. As a part of Rajasthan, it holds the similar atmosphere and feeling of the other towns and cities we visited but there was something more impressive and memorable about this (ignoring the Taj for now). Definitely one of my favourite places of the trip so far. I will be going back one day and this will be up there as a ‘must see’ on my return.

Footnote: All images were shot on Fujifilm’s excellent X100s, X-T1 or the iPhone 6s Plus on 19-25th December. Property of Rupert Marlow. All rights reserved.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India