Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Blue City

From the bastions of the Jodhpur Fort one hears as the Gods must hear from Olympus – the Gods to whom each separate word uttered in the innumerable peopled world below, comes up distinct and individual to be recorded in the books of omniscience.

-Aldous Huxley

Perched high atop a rocky hill, the staggeringly large Meherangarh Fort of Jodhpur is impressive indeed. Similarities to Olympus abound, and give credence to Aldous Huxley’s oft quoted prose, as the soaring bastions of Meherangarh tower like skyscrapers over the ancient Blue City. Like the Acropolis, the seat of power for the ancient Kingdom of Marwar dominates both the visual and the subconscious of all those in its shadow.

Built in 1459, the Fort is entered through a series of formidable gates. Evidence of former battles abounds, including dozens of scars where the strong walls ruthlessly turned away opposing cannonballs. Each gate carries its own significance, including the Lohapol (Iron Gate), which bears 15 immortal handprints – the sati (self-immolation) marks of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows who threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843.

Below the Fort, the blue houses of Jodhpur sparkle in the desert sun. Bustling shops, including the famous Jodhpur hand loomed textile stores, draw people to the markets like moths to a flame. Monuments dot the landscape, and the painstakingly carved sandstone architecture is shockingly detailed and well done. Jodhpur deserves its place as one of the crown jewels of Rajasthan.

Enjoy the Jodhpur Photo Gallery.

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