Feeling pretty equanimous from ten days of silent meditation, I arrived into Jodhpurs surging clocktower square prepared for reentry into the cultural onslaught of India. The first glimpse of Mehrangarh fort was jaw-dropping. Emerging seamlessly from the bedrock below, it towers over the blue city assuring all who gaze up at it that this is a fort that is not to be fucked with. I could almost taste the resignation an invading army might feel after first sight of it.
Sitting in a strategic trade route near the center of the arid state of Rajasthan, industry has blossomed in Jodhpur over the past 20 years. From textiles & furniture to the discovery of oil nearby, the blue city has begun to suffer from its own success. Explosive population growth has spilled out into the surrounding desert and locals complain they’ve traded a lack of work for a lack of oxygen. This much is clear to see in the thick, brown haze hugging the horizon. It seems begrudgingly accepted that this is the face of progress in India.
Despite rapid change, the blue city has retained its charm. While originally the symbol of a Brahmins home, blue house paint is now employed by residents of all persuasions and the effect makes for a skyline colourful like no other. A labyrinth of streets and alleyways provide a distinctly Indian experience that must be walked to be felt while Mehrangarh fort attracts a throng of visitors with its exquisite interior palace, fierce battlements and sheer scale.