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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Jodhpur?

Anupriya Bedi DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The story of Jodhpur began some 600 years ago, when Rao Jodha, a Rajputana chief, came into power. Within a year of his reign, he decided that Mandore, the former capital of Rajputs, was not secure anymore. Under his command, the capital was shifted to Marwar, the former name of Jodhpur. Here’s a little trivia for you - ‘Marwar’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Maruwat’ which means region of desert, though some historians believe it comes from the word ‘Maru-war’ meaning region of death, because it sits so close to the unrelenting Thar desert. And in case you haven't made the connection yet, Jodhpur got its name from its first ruler 'Rao Jodha'.

Continuing with our story, Jodha built the Mehrangarh Fort in 1459, which presently attracts thousands of tourists visiting the 'Blue city'. Under Jodha's rule, Marwar became a booming trading centre with trades in copper, silk, dates, opium, sandals and coffee. And when Jodhpur came under the Mughal control, a lot of interesting blends of both the cultures could be seen in the fields of arts, handicrafts and architecture. This city flourished even more under the British Raj and went on to become the second largest city of Rajasthan post Indian independence.

Today, much of the city's economy is dependent on the handicrafts industry pertaining to leather embroidery, white metal, wood and stone carvings, textile dyeing and printing, and other decorative items. The people of Jodhpur and surrounding areas are still referred to as 'Marwaris' who are known for their business acumen. Another thing, apart from the handicrafts, that you are sure not to miss, are the bright and colourful splashes of colours in the garbs and jewelleries of the locals. The people here, have really and truly gone out of their way to compensate for the bleak and colourless nature of their desert surroundings. And as far as food is concerned, well known North-Indian delicacies like Dal-bati-churma, Kadhi and Pyaz-kachori have originated in this city.

The city's architecture is influenced by Mughal, Rajputana and British styles, especially the Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is a fascinating blend of both eastern and western architecture. And while we are talking about buildings and architectures, let us tell you why Jodhpur is also called 'the blue city'. A long time ago, Brahmins decided to set themselves apart by painting their houses blue (read indigo). Gradually, everyone followed suit. Today the locals claim that the color helps in keeping the interiors cool and the insects away. However, we like to believe that painting the city in the colour of water might be a bold display to show the resilience of the desert people against their harsh and grim environment.

The friendly Jodhpur locals are most likely to welcome you with a sweet smile on their faces, to this wonderful city resplendent with colours and rich heritage, studded with forts and temples and alive with festivals and fairs, promising an experience of a lifetime! With the best places to visit in Jodhpur, it gets easier to explore the history and culture of the city.

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