The Mystery and History behind the Blue City! For January 2017

Every city of Rajasthan has something unique about it and Jodhpur is one such city. Here, on the orders of the city's founder, Rao Jodha, many of the box-like houses are painted a luscious blue, like the sea in the arid Indian landscape. The colour of Jodhpur tells its history and has interesting stories associated with it.

It is believed that the blue pigment coating on a house used to indicate that a Brahmin, traditionally consisting of priests and town elders dwelled here. The Brahmin class could afford the copper sulphate lime washes and applied it to their houses which were concentrated in just one area of the city. It is commonly thought that the Brahmins painted their houses the blue colour to emphasize their royal connection when in fact they were the only ones able to afford the special exterior paint. For a long time, blue signified the home of a Brahmin but over time the colour became a badge of identity for non-Brahmins too.

Another theory attached to it is that the colour blue is a good reflector of the sun's rays and keeps houses cool. This theory is puzzling since Rajasthan's other great cities are not painted blue. A third reason, which is more practical than artistic; termites were known to destroy the walls and structures made up of lime mixture. Copper sulphate is effective in repelling the insects. The copper sulphate under certain conditions turns blue, giving the houses their famous uniform blue colour.

One can get a bird's eye view of Jodhpur and its iconic blue houses in the old town. A winding lane leads up the 125 metre high hill, on which the majestic Mehrangarh Fort is built. The walls are 36-metres high in places, offering added elevation. No matter what the true reason behind the prevalence of the colour, anyone looking from these heights will realise that the term 'the blue city' is indeed apt for this historic city.

One must visit this place for its palaces, sand dunes, sprawling forts and bumpy camel rides! The landscape is scenic, mesmerizing and one can be assured of a memorable experience.

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