Jodhpur: A Magical Blue City
Day 1: The Pastel Colored Airport
You know you have arrived at a special place when you arrive to an airport so petite that you walk from the tarmac to airport. I got instantly reminded of my arrivals at Oaxaca, Kona or the Maldives. Had a big smile on my face looking at this super cute, pastel colored airport with arched entrances. So chic and traditional.
Note: Just because it has an airport does not mean you can use this as a hub to discover Rajasthan. In fact there are only charter flights to Jaipur and no direct flights to Jaisalmer as of now (Oct 2017). We arrived here directly from New Delhi.
Stay: The Ranbanka Palace
We hadn't pre booked a cab from the airport via the hotel. Just forgot! So, it felt great to be able to hire a good/clean cab at a great price in the airport. We made it to our home for the next 2 nightsThe Ranbanka Palace Hotel in less than 30 mins. While booking this place.. I was torn between booking at the award winning Raas hotel, the gorgeous Umaid Palace and this heritage palace called Ranbanka . Given that we were planning on splurging in Jaipur, and that we were going to stay outside the hotel most of the time in Jodhpur I went with Ranbanka. Also, this would give us a chance to experience a more intimate hospitality that the I think gets a bit diluted in most bigger properties.
From the moment you step in you feel like a royal guest as well as like you are visiting close friends. Its not an understatement to say "they looked after us like family."
We were welcomed in a traditional way and had delicious welcome snacks. We then freshened up and set out to find the blue city within the hour. We decided to take an auto rickshaw to get the full experience.
Sardar market or the Clock Tower Market : We made it to the clock tower or the Sardar market: Alive, colorful and so boho! It looked more like a place where the locals would shop for their clothes, vegetable, spices, cycles, pots and pans and everything in between. I had a smile stuck on my face. exactly what I wanted to do. Connect with the pulse of a small dreamy town in a dessert. We walked through the market and behind it in search of the blue city. Blue city is the part of Jodhpur where the houses are painted blue. Why? That is not entirely demystified however the popular narrative is that these houses belong to the Brahmins who for some reason liked to paint their homes blue with indigo(?).
Kachori Stall Entreprenuer: On the way we stopped at a cute Kachori Stall. Had the best ever pyaas kachori: Deep fried but tastes like a puffed pastry with spices and caramelized onions. Mouthwatering even to this moment. The shop keep was a young guy who had very good CRM (he was giving away free stuff to a regular client's baby girl) and had great ambition of have a chain of stores one day. That was so uplifting. We asked about the blue houses and they said we are in the area in front of the fort and would need to go all the way to the area behind the fort. People here are sooo awesome!
Finding the Blue City: After 25 mins our Rickshaw driver dropped us off and asked us to keep walking around and exploring. We were in among the blue houses and yet we were soon lost 😃 Narrow alleys serpentine up and down and go to more houses. There were no main roads in sight. We took pictures and enjoyed this place. Got to be honest though, you look up and see beautiful heritage homes and look down at the streets and on both sides see open gutters that carry dirty water. I'm not sure that it was. If people here stop throwing trash on the roads and push on the local govt. to find solutions the tourist potential will be off the charts.These villages are as beautiful as the tiny cobbled stoned villages of Europe if not more.