India: Awash in colour

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For all its intensity – the heat, the filth, the chaos, the language barrier – Jodhpur, says the itinerant Isabelle Paez, can be “deeply romantic” yet is “not for the faint of heart.”

With its faded grandeur and impossibly colourful stacks of fabric lining the corridors of the street, Jodhpur is like a stunning relic that refuses to let its beauty slip through the cracks of its chipped exterior.

Under the searing glow that bathes the blue-speckled city, you’ll find Mehrangarh, a 14th-century palace and fort, which towers above the rest of the semi-arid expanse, at a height of 120 metres. Once under the domain of the maharajahs, the fortress has guarded the legacy of the Rajputs with a museum that charts life as it was when the Rajputs (Hindu patrilineal clans and descendants of the warrior class) ruled.

Today, as it was then, Mehrangarh still attracts and engages the bustle of the city, with the lure of its history, stone-latticed arches and hair-raising tales about a man buried alive under the orders of Rao Jodha, Jodhpur’s founder, and traces of handprints left by the widows of maharajas who hurled themselves out the window in an act of self-sacrifice, or the practice of sati.

Beyond the walls of the fort, lie its street markets filled with a dizzying array of colourful options and combinations, where you’ll most likely leave with one (or two, or several) bandhejs (tie-dye fabric), which are sold at Nai Sarak.

Into her third tour of India, Paez captures the ageless beauty of India – from Old Delhi to Jodhpur – in all its unbridled glory.

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