Jodhpur

Jodhpur is a city in the state of Rajastan in India and is on the edge of the Thar desert. It is also known as the blue city due to the colour that people traditionally painted their houses. On the hill above Jodhpur is a great fort called Mehrangarh, it was ruled by a Maharaja (an Indian King).

What are Jodhpurs?

The Maharaja of Jodhpur enjoyed playing lots of different games and one of them was polo (a game played on horseback), when the Maharaja was playing polo he wore jodhpurs (tight fitting trousers) and soon they became famous and fashinoable for horse riding in England and across the world.

Why did they paint their houses?

Houses were built very close together with a small alleyway in between, this provided shade for the neighbouring houses and kept the road cooler. Similarly, painting houses blue was a way to keep the houses cooler in the Indian heat. It was also a way for people to honour Lord Shiva (a Hindu God), who has blue skin. The Maharaja used to make everyone pain their houses, but today it is optional and some people haven't painted their houses for a long time.

Blue houses

The Mehrangarh Fort

The Maharaja

Howdah

The Maharaja would of travelled to the fort on an elephant sitting on a Howdah (an elephant seat). The doors of the fort have to be incredibly tall to allow elephants through.

Some of the doors also have spikes on them. These are to stop attacks from an enemy army and to stop the enemy using elephants to break the door down and enter the fort.

The fort doorThe fort door spikesMaharina's handprints

By the doorway to the fort you can also see some handprints. These belong to the wives and female servants of the Maharaja. When he died they created these handprints, before sacrficing themselves and jumping on to the funeral fire. The last time this happened was in 1843 Some Hindus still believe that the souls of these widows live on inside these handprints.

The Maharaja still live in Jodhpur today in a new palace called Umaid Bhawan Palace, which was built in 1929 and is one of the largest houses in the world. Umaid Bhawan Palace

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