On the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur, dubbed “the Blue City” after the colour-wash of its old townhouses, huddles below the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, the most spectacular citadel in Rajasthan, which dominates the cityscape from atop its huge sandstone plinth. Blue originally denoted a high-caste brahmin residence, resulting from the addition of indigo to lime-based whitewash, which was thought to protect buildings from insects, and to keep them cool in summer. Over time the colour caught on – there’s now even a blue-wash mosque on the road from the Jalori Gate, south of the fort.
The bazaars of the old city, with different areas assigned to different trades, radiate out from the 1910 Sardar Market with its tall clock tower, a distinctive local landmark marking the centre of town. Most of the ramparts on the south side of the old city have been dismantled, leaving Jalori Gate and Sojati Gate looking rather forlorn as gates without a wall.