Jodhpur: THe Blue City
Homesickness and excitement brought the leftover paneer tikka masala in my stomach to a frothing boil as I dodged fruit carts, mopeds and cow pies while walking along the main drag of Jodhpur's bustling B-road shopping area on my first night in India. I was completely unaccustomed to this normalized chaos. Between the unfaltering honks, shopkeepers yelling, brightly colored saris, and the heavy scents of both garbage and spices my senses were jarred into overdrive. Though I have never been more overwhelmed by any place in my life, I instantly fell in love with how everything in India thrives off of this constant madness. Jodhpur itself pulses with its own source of energy. Located in Rajasthan, one of India's northwestern states, Jodhpur sits on the cusp of the dramatic Thar Desert. Once the capital of the Marwar kingdom and the seat of the princely Jodhpuri state, Jodhpur is now home to 58,000 people, making it Rajasthan's second largest city. Jodhpur boasts impressive palaces and forts from its earlier monarchic eras, which today serve as popular tourist destinations. I fondly remember being a tourist myself, hiking to the top of Mehrangarh Fort and exploring the depths of the labyrinthine Old City and its seven gates. Blue-stucco houses crop up throughout the panorama of the Old City, which surrounds the base of Mehrangarh Fort, owing to the city's nickname as the "Blue City." I spent the majority of my time living and working on the outskirts of Jodhpur, but whenever possible, my fellow interns and I would venture into the Old City for a rooftop view and refreshing mango shake.