After a compelling visit to Ranakpur’s revered Jain Temples, Absolute Travel’s Brooke Garnett continued on her drive through Rajasthan – an entertaining voyage where a non-stop stream of life unfolded outside her windows until she arrived on a completely different side of the India she had known: the “Blue City” of Jodhpur.
Deemed the “Blue City” because of the sea of indigo-washed buildings that line the streets, the visual beauty of the city itself is only enhanced by the colorful people that call it home. Brooke argues that a simple stroll through the maze of narrow and packed streets will be one of the most memorable experiences during one’s visit. Whether wandering alongside locals dressed in traditional saris electrified with color, yielding ways to both cows and motorcycle rickshaws, or inevitably succumbing to the lovely potpourri of the scents filling the air, those who welcome the adventure will set their senses into glorious overload. Just don’t forget your camera!
But anyone who has visited Jodhpur knows that for all the city offers in history and charm, it lacks in accommodation options. Until now. For many years now, the only five star option was the royal family’s Umaid Bhawan Palace — a regal yet old-fashioned property. The city’s latest addition, Raas, redefines the caliber of accommodation in this desert city.
“Exquisite” was the word Brooke chose to define Raas, and after listening to her gush about her experience (and seeing her stunning photos!), we understood why. Set near the Thar Desert bordering Pakistan, this much-welcomed heavenly retreat is in a league of its own. Among the myriad design and décor choices that caught our eye were the bold use of shadow and light patterns, the delightful architectural textures, the blend of modern local materials with the preserved remnants from Raas’ origins as an 18th century haveli, and the inspiring “green” craftsmanship. When combined with its perfect location in Jodhpur’s historic district on the cusp of the city’s beloved Mehrangarh Fort, the result is a property and a city that are exquisite, indeed.
While it was Brooke’s second visit to Jodhpur, it was her first stay in the heart of the historic district. To say the least, her appreciation for this unique city grew – “Raas’ location enabled me to feel the pulse of the city in a way not possible before. I didn’t feel removed from the local life but directly a part of it. One sunny afternoon while relaxing poolside at the Raas, I caught myself in a moment as I looked to the Mehrangarh Fort and found a sky packed with colorful kites. No one was too young or too old or too busy or too tired to participate, and the sky was filled with delight!”
But no hotel could compare to Jodhpur’s most striking site, the Mehrangarh Fort, known as one of the finest examples of Hindu architecture in the world. Still run by the same families that have always overseen its care, the Fort continues to keep watch of Jodhpur like it did centuries ago, in some areas standing an astounding one-hundred feet tall and sixty feet thick. The sheer magnificence of the pink sandstone colors one’s journey to Jodhpur in an entirely new way. Whether guests are admiring the sweeping views of the city from its walls, viewing its two temples, wandering the museum inside, or just observing as locals worshipfully weave in and out of the complex, it is impossible to miss feeling the history and the heritage of this incredible site.
As she packed her bags to bid Jodhpur farewell, Brooke again found herself amazedly watching the rush of life outside her window; and she was happy for the time she was a part of the color of this Blue City.
** Stay tuned for Brooke’s photo essay revealing more of her stunning photographs, insight and opinions from her recent travels through Delhi, Varanasi, Ladakh (Himalayas) and Udaipur **