A Travellerspoint blog


otherwise known as the blue city

sunny 22 °C

I know you must be sick of hearing me go on and on about the hotels we’re staying in; and to some degree I understand, because what could hotels possibly have to do with the sights you come to see when you travel to a foreign country.

However … I’m going to do it anyway, because …

In our case they have everything to do with it for two reasons: First, we’re staying in heritage properties – so staying in them gives you a history lesson. And second they reflect the kind of unfathomable wealth and opulent (over the top) lifestyle that India’s ruling class enjoyed – another history lesson.

So there.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll introduce you to the Umaid Bhawan Palace – our home away from home in Jodhpur: Let’s start with the fact that it looks exactly like what you think of when you think of a castle – and the sight of it, perched high on its hilltop overlooking the city makes you feel like you are about to walk right into a Walt Disney movie – except it’s for real, not make-believe.


Once inside, you can only gasp in wonder. Ceilings at least thirty or forty feet high … marble floors … ornately-carved gilt furniture (art deco) … tiger heads mounted on the walls … glorious flower arrangements … beautiful music playing softly in the background … a billiard room … a trophy room … huge, imposing portraits of the Singh dynasty – the heroic warriers who ruled this fabled desert kingdom of Marwar for more than six hundred years – the descendents of whom (the present Maharaja of Jodhpur) still live in the palace … and what feels like a ratio of eight staff members to each guest, literally at your beck and call constantly.

They carry your fruit from the buffet table to where you are sitting … they walk you to the ladies room … they help you down the stairs … they even unpack for you (I think they’d carry you, if you let them).

Never have you been pampered until you come to India!!

It is, quite simply, an exquisite hotel with equally exquisite service. Nothing is spared to ensure that your time spent here is the most perfect experience you will ever have – the ultimate gift to yourself.

Unfortunately we were only here for one night so we never got to try the pool that is heated to precisely room temperature … the spa where you can get holistic treatments using exclusive blends of oils … or just lolling around the magnificently groomed gardens. I did, however, write yesterday’s blog lounging on my private terrace, which overlooked one of the many palace gardens.


Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I can tell you about everything else we did in this magical city:

We started off at Mehrangarh Fort. In truth some of us whined that we’d seen enough forts already and they were all starting to blur in our minds. But Rashmi, God bless her, wasn’t having any of it. She insisted we go, telling us over and over again how special it is.

And boy, was she right!

Most of the other forts we’ve seen housed palaces and everything we saw was about the no-expense-spared lifestyle of the inhabitants – pure gold on the walls, and the ceilings, and the floors … frescos and paintings museums around the world we die to have … mirrors, the finest porcelain, music rooms, and meditation rooms, and women’s quarters, and throne rooms, and on and on it goes.

But here it is all about the architecture … and the architectural details. If I could have I would have left with every door and every shutter and every piece of lattice that covered a window. Worn with time it is exactly the kind of “shabby chic” I absolutely love!! There was a very ornate, iron, spiral staircase that I desperately wished I could have carried out of there!!


Built in 1459 by Rao Jodha when he shifted his capital from Mandore to Jodhpur, this enormous fort is even more beautiful at night, when it’s bathed in yellow light. You approach the fort by climbing a steep walkway (approximately a 40-minute hike).

We ended up spending most the afternoon there – and had a great time. Then it was back to the hotel for a couple of hours of R & R before a whirlwind tour of a local market and a stop to get a custom-made jacket for Marney before dinner. She’s tall, with really long arms and legs, and every single top or pair of pants she has tried on have been too short for her.

I had read, in a guidebook when I was doing my research, that Jodhpur is famous for jodpurs (shouldn’t come as a surprise, really) – so I decided to have a pair made – especially after seeing some of the staff at the hotel wearing them.

So the two of us quickly had our measurements taken, we picked our fabrics and off we went to a terrific dinner at a charming restaurant near the hotel. We sat in a beautiful garden and consumed yet another feast!!! Tandoori chicken … chicken tikka … puleo rice … mixed vegetables … dahl … roti … Kingfisher beer. Marvelous!!

And then back to our amazing hotel for a long soak in the huge tub!

Believe it or not Marney’s jacket and my jodpurs were delivered to the hotel at 8:30 this morning. The tailor worked on them all night. Les than 24 hours to make two custom-tailored, made-to-measure garments!!!

She looks like a million dollars in her jacket and I love my jodpurs so much I called and ordered another pair in linen. They’ll be waiting for me in Udaipour – the stop after our next.

Now that’s service.

And if you’re wondering why Jodhpur is called The blue city, this little tidbit’s for you: It is the colour that the Brahmins paint their houses. They do it because it keeps their homes cool and clean; and they use a combination of indigo, lyme and glue.


None of us wanted to leave this paradise … and I am determined to come back here …

Posted by a_broad 08:14 Archived in India Tagged luxury_travel

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Yes Fransi, l was wondering what happened but whatever the problem was, it has obviously been resolved. Thank goodness as l was beginning to go into withdrawal from my daily fix of India.
I think are absolutely right in wanting to go back to this Palace. The gardens, architecture, not to mention the pool, spa and service would be the ultimate experience on a longer term basis.

I believe l could go directly to

by awsmaunt

I am so happy that you are back on track...as I look forward to travel with you to all these magical places, and Johdpur is one of them...I feel very connected to your travells and experiences...can't wait to see your new wardrobe,I love all the oppulance, it's all dreamlike...the food makes my mouth water, just sae the film "Slumdog Millionair" I was thinking of you in India, the film was an emotional challenge, but brilliant...can't wait for your next entry...
you sound like you are having the time of your life...
Love Dana

by Dana Bell

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