In photos: on the streets of India’s Blue City

A photo essay and short stories about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, one of our favorite cities on India’s tourist trail.

 

“Brahmin blue” Jodhpur lies within Rajasthan state, and is usually part of any Rajasthan holiday package. But unlike other touristic cities in the state, Jodhpur has a far chiller vibe.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Sleeping aunty storekeeper in a blue storefront - Lost With Purpose

Goodnight, Aunty

A smile doesn’t imply a sales pitch is coming. Locals are happy to sit and chat. Anyone that is trying to sell you something will not be offended—or aggressive—if you turn them down.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A man selling fabric in front of a blue building - Lost With Purpose

Colorful enough for you?

After wandering throughout offbeat places in India for so long, we were apprehensive about entering Rajasthan’s tourist track. (Yes, we’re pretentious sometimes. We’re working on it.) But Jodhpur and its people quickly reminded us that you can’t judge a book—or a city—by its cover.

 

Jodphur, Rajasthan is widely known as India's blue city. Its streets are filled with "Brahmin blue" houses, and despite its place on India's Rajasthan tourist trail, the people were incredibly warm and open to visitors. Read on for more stunning photos of the vibrant city.

 

Cow crossing

The golden hour settled upon Jodhpur, bathing its streets and curiosities in a warm blanket of sunlight.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Golden hour in the alleys of Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

The narrow alleyways of Jodhpur

I meandered slowly through its lanes, past houses and shops in alleyways punctuated with blue. Eye peering through my camera, I was happily oblivious to the chaos around me. Too oblivious.

“… WATCH OUT!”

A man leaned over the counter of his small drugstore, pointing at the cow I was just photographing… which was headed straight towards me, head down and horns out.

A lady in a red sari zipping past on a motorbike during sunset in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
Light beams through a Brahmin blue house on the streets of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
A rogue cow crossing the streets during sunset in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

I leaped out of the cow’s way, onto the curb in front of his stall amidst his gales of laughter. Once he got his breath under control, still chuckling, he asked to see the photos I’d taken.

“Oh, that lighting is lovely! You must be into photography. I am, too!” He looks up, “I bet you want to find the blue houses to photograph, right?”

I nodded enthusiastically—despite Jodhpur’s “Blue City” moniker, finding dense clusters of blue houses was proving harder than expected. He leaned over the counter, pointing down the way.

“Go down this street, then once it comes to a T, turn right and keep walking. You’ll see them.”

He smiled, waving goodbye as I thanked him and went on my merry way.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A man walking through a blue neighborhood in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

Find them, I did!

 

 

Through the window

Three pairs of peeping eyes glinted at me from a window far above my head. The oldest of the trio couldn’t be older than ten, and none of them had any reservations to speak of.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Girls in the window in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

“Take our picture!” they giggled, heads hanging out the window. The moment I raised my camera, they’d pull back inside, their victorious cackles floating through the window’s void as they bested me at their little game.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Playful girls in Jodhpur, India - Lost With Purpose

A woman sitting on a nearby stoop watched it all play out with a small smile on her face. As I extricated myself from the tormenting trio, she waved me over, insisting I sit next to her. We chatted for a while—Where are you from? Can I help you? Are you sure you’re not Indian?—and she asks to see some of my photos.

Her smile widens as she peers at the girls’ photos, then she shyly looks up at me. “Can you take my photo?” I nodded, and she excitedly calls her children out to pose in with her.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A local woman in front of a house in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

A queen and her children

She looked at the final results thoughtfully, then smiled once more, satisfied.

 

Three men and a stoop

My eyes were down, focusing on not tripping on the uneven path. “Hey!” I looked up.

Three men were relaxing languidly on a stoop, watching me stroll by. The middle of the trio calls out again.

“Hello! How are you!” He points at my camera. “Take our picture!”

“Why?”

“Because I look good!”

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Three men on a stoop in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

Lookin’ good? If you say so.

With a shrug, I snapped a photo, then came over to show them. The ringleader guffawed at the sight of it, elbowing his comrades. He tried to encourage them to have individual photos taken, but they just rolled their eyes.

“They know I look better than them,” the ringleader says with a grin. I respond that he’s full of crap, eliciting another laugh.

“You are funny. Welcome to Jodhpur!”

Heading to Rajasthan? Don’t miss out on camping in the Thar Dessert!

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A dog on a blue stoop - Lost With Purpose
Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A blue door - Lost With Purpose
Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A man sitting on a blue stoop - Lost With Purpose

 

Beedie biddies

I was hopelessly lost in Jodhpur’s maze. Its streets criss-crossed every which way, their steep paths leading in no particular direction unless you already know where to go. The fort was my destination, but how to get there? Another story.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Mehrangarh fort over the city - Lost With Purpose

Mehrangarh fort looming over the city

I paused for breath on the side of a street, taking a moment to look over the city below, when a woman called out to me.

“Come, sit!”

Behind me sat two women, sitting cross-legged outside the door to their home. Between them lay a round, shallow wicker plate, covered in materials for rolling beedies, a sort of Indian cigarette.

The younger of the two women dipped tobacco leaves in a bucket of water, moistening them, wringing out the water with her two forefingers, then handing the damp leaves over. The older woman’s nimble fingers worked quickly, placing a small amount of tobacco in the middle of the leaf, then rolling it up and tying a neat bow of thin thread around the beedie before I could blink. Somehow, through all this, they managed to look at me while conversing, without making a single slip up.

“Where are you from?”

“USA.”

“But you look like Indian!”

“My mother is from the Phillippines, that’s why I look like this.”

“Aaaaah,” they cackled in understanding, “Phillippines! Yes, yes.”

Snippets of conversation revealed more. They were a mother and daughter combo, and several of the daughter’s children lurked in the house, occasionally peering out to catch a glimpse of me. I asked them about the beedies, and they said they could roll 200 a day. Wait, no—200 an hour. Looking at the old woman’s hands at work, I bet it was even more.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A girl in a blue neighborhood - Lost With Purpose

The ladies didn’t want photos of themselves, but neighboring Brenda in Blue was all too excited for attention.

“Phillippines, do you smoke?” the old woman asked, after a time.

“No, no smoking for me.” (Not beedies, anyway.)

“Your boyfriend, he smoke?”

“No, not for him, either.”

“But beedies are good! Here you take some anyway.”

She presses a handful of them into my hand, to send me on my way to the fort.

“Gift for you, Philippines.”

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A sunset view from Mehrangarh fort - Lost With Purpose

And so I made it to the fort just in time for sunset, beedies in tow

 

The mustachioed man

Yet again I found myself winding my way up the steep path to Merangarh fort for sunset, lured by its unbeatable views.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - A look through a window of Jodhpur, India - Lost With Purpose

A tiny peek at the blue sprawl

As I climbed onto a ledge for a better view over the trees, I heard a small, high voice peep behind me.

“Be careful, madam, don’t fall!”

The source of the voice was a tiny man with a shockingly white mustache… and the most spectacular ear hair I’d ever seen.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Mustached man in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

But really, look at that hair

As I turned to face him, his brow furrowed with confusion.

“Oh, sorry. You are Indian?”

“No, I’m from USA.” His eyes widen in delight.

“Really? All the way from USA?”

He insisted that we pose for a selfie—with a real live American!—and shook my hand at least three times before wishing me a safe journey and drifting away.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Sunset behind Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

Sunset over the fort

Though Jodhpur is a sprawling city, I ran into him twice more during my city strolls.

The first time was late one evening. I was wandering the streets alone again, to his great disdain.

“Please madam, be careful. If you need anything, anything at all, take my phone number. I will find you help.” He scrawled his number on a scrap of paper, and handed it over without demanding my own—always a good sign with Indian men.

Photo essay about the streets and people of the Blue City of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India - Night time in central market and Ghanta Ghar clock tower in Jodhpur - Lost With Purpose

Night time in Jodhpur

The next day, Sebastiaan and I find him trailing happily behind a small parade of people. A portly man decorated with a surly look and several flower garlands led the way, followed by a group of boys with brass instruments. Their playing sounded more like a horn player being run over by a bus than actual music, but the parade-goers didn’t seem particularly concerned.

The mustachioed man beamed when he saw me, and waved us over excitedly. The parade was celebrating the career of the surly man, he said, who’d just retired from the police force. As he explained it all to us, he suddenly stopped and blinked.

“Do you like food?” he asked. Well, duh. We nodded.

“Excellent! Come with us! There is a feast!”

I couldn’t help but grin. Perhaps the tourist track wasn’t so bad, after all.

A blue house and beautifully detailed archway and door in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
A very blue alley way in the blue city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state, India
Wandering through one of many blue arches in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

 

Where to stay in Jodhpur

If you’re dreaming of Jodhpur after checking these photos, make your dream a reality! Here are our recommendations for places to stay in Jodhpur:

  • Budget: Jewel Palace Haveli is a beautiful—and affordable—guest house in the “really” blue part of Jodhpur behind the fort. It’s a bit removed from the tourist strip, but the neighborhood here is far prettier, in our opinion.
  • Mid-range: Suraj Haveli is a perfectly blue guest house in the heart of the old city, with super friendly hosts and great views. Breakfast is included.
  • Luxury: If you’re pulling out all the stops, the Umaid Bhawan Palace is the way to go. It’s one of the largest private residences in the world, sits in an absolutely stunning location overlooking the city, and is the perfect way to experience Rajasthan’s palace culture up close and personal.

Heading to Rajasthan? Check out this article on the perfect road trip!

 

Jodphur, Rajasthan is widely known as India's blue city. Its streets are filled with "Brahmin blue" houses, and despite its place on India's Rajasthan tourist trail, the people were incredibly warm and open to visitors. Read on for more stunning photos of the vibrant city.

 

 

Yay transparency! There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a booking using our links, we’ll make a bit of change at no extra cost to you. It’s how we cover the costs of running the blog!

Alex

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

More about Alex

28 thoughts on “In photos: on the streets of India’s Blue City

    I fell in love with Jodhpur when I was there, and I was similarly skeptical about the tourist trail. It’s simply such a beautiful city, and the people are lovely. Mehragarh fort is incredible, one of the best in India… and those blue streets are just perfect. You’ve captured them so well in your photos – thank you for bringing back such beautiful memories. I really must go back some day.

    Thanks for the kind words, as always. You hit the nail on the head—so much of Jodhpur is simply lovely. It was our favorite place in Rajasthan by far. Not sure why Jaipur and Udaipur get all the limelight!

    Pdoggs says:

    Such beautiful photos! I’ve been to Jodhpur but only for a night or two with not much time to wander. You make me want to go back!

    It seems no matter what you do, there’s never enough time! But who knows, perhaps Jodhpur will pull you in once more someday 🙂

    The bucket list never ends! Hope you make it there soon 🙂

    Gorgeous, and what a beautiful, loosely-weaved yarn of a story! I really felt like I was there wandering the streets.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks for the compliment. It’s a really great city!

    Maria says:

    Hey !

    Amazing story!! And superb pictures!
    I really love your journey. They way you travel communicate and have the guts to wander where you want!!.. a bit jelouse though!! Hehe
    Heel veel plezier
    Just wondering wat is jullie budget ? Hoe komen jullie aan geld ? Because my money is finished in 1 trip .. verdienen jullie ook iets aan de foto’s insta en deze website ?

    Big hug

    Yes, Jodhpur is a lovely city where i have some good friends; the life seems calm here

    Tony says:

    Great photos. Shows Jodhpur as it really is! Nice article.

    Tony
    =

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks a lot. Glad you like the photos.

    P.S. I have deleted the links you placed, as they aren’t relevant to the content of the article.

    Francesca says:

    Just came acros your blog from Instagram. Great pictures and great writing … really enjoyed your post and you guys seem cool. My mum is fili too (high five).
    You can find me on insta vivethatvida … safe travel guys ✌🏼✨

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hiya, thanks for reaching out. Alex high fives back 🙂 Glad you like our stuff!

    La Shell says:

    Omg Alex, I have always been apprehensive about going to india, but this post has changed my mind! I will definitely put this on my bucket list and your blog on my must read list! I’m enjoying your posts. Your photos are amazing! What camera do you use? Love the blog. Keep ’em coming!

    Sebastiaan says:

    Wow, that’s great to hear. India can be absolutely amazing, and we definitely recommend you go. I saw you found our article about the camera we use, was it useful?

    Helen says:

    I got to the pink city, but not the blue one! I hope I get to go one day, it looks so pretty!

    Sebastiaan says:

    The pink city is Jaipur, right? Jaipur is really pretty too. But yeah, we definitely recommend Jodhpur.

    sabrina says:

    Really beautiful littles snaps of life 🙂 Im planing on going to India for 8 months with a program. Ive been getting cold feet with the date coming up but this made me feel the buzz again, Thank you!!

    Sebastiaan says:

    Jodhpur was one of your favorite places in Rajasthan, glad you liked the photos.

    We’re sure you’ll have a great time. We’ve been there for 8 months, and will return next week for another month. We’re sure you’ll love it too!

    chandan says:

    We are feeling so proud to be born in India after seeing this blue city in our land.

    Sebastiaan says:

    We’re really glad to hear that!

    Gauri Bhasin says:

    The pictures are so beautiful! Took me back to my trip to Rajasthan. I also loved the vague yet vivid snippets from what I’m sure must be one hell of a story. Got me nostalgic and happy at the same time. Would love to read more stories like this. This is really good stuff!

    Sebastiaan says:

    Really happy you liked it. Jodhpur was a great place to explore!

    Aayush says:

    Hi there,

    Amazing write-ups. Started with Majuli and then got addicted to your style of story telling. You actually made me visit / re-visit some of these places through your words and pictures. I also like the fact how you focus more on people rather than the sights.
    Do you also have youtube travel vlogs?? Would love to subscribe.

    Regards.

    Alex says:

    Thank you for the kind words. I love hearing that I sucked you in, bwahaha! People are indeed my favorite focus—no point in writing about sights, people can learn about sights and their history from television or the internet 😉

    I don’t vlog as of now, but you never know in the future! My Youtube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBzxAYrzsR3OPiGL-9IGm-A

    vishal patidar says:

    i like al this photos i think any once time will come in rajasthan and visited to jodhpur city i like it thanks photo shooters .

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