Surrounded by a 16th-century city wall that stretches for 10 km, Jodhpur is a jumble of Brahmin-blue houses scattered along winding, medieval streets. In the centre of it all is the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, towering over the entire city like an architectural marvel that has been transported straight from an episode of Game of Thrones. I travelled to Jodhpur more out of a sense of duty rather than an actual desire to visit. It was the closest big city to Udaipur and next on my itinerary of places that I had been told that I should see in Rajasthan. Surprisingly, my few days in Jodhpur turned out to be the best that I spent in India’s most flamboyant state. We arrived in Jodphur on the final day of Gangaur, a two-week celebration of spring, harvest, and marital fidelity that is one of the most important festivals in Rajasthan. While the party was in its death throes, the city was prepped for one final night of revelry. I emerged from my hostel to find marching bands sitting on the corner of a nearby street, sipping chai and checking their instruments in preparation. At around 9 pm, the revelry began. Groups of women in vibrant sarees danced and drummed beside the stepwell before tipping pots of colourful flower petals into the water below and starting their march towards the centre of the city. Processions began to make their way from disparate corners of the neighbourhood, all converging on one centre point where the party would continue until 4 am the next morning. This celebration is my favourite memory from my time in India, and one that made me fall in love with this country. That isn’t to say that the city is only worth visiting when it is celebrating; the buzz of the maze-like streets – scented by a heady mix of burning incense, pollution, fresh street food and sewers – of the old town is enthralling, never leading to where you expect. The bazaars heave with saris, trinkets and spices. Inside the blue-painted walls of this cerulean city, you’ll find hidden temples, havelis and palaces. It may not be as extravagant or chaotic as cities like Jaipur, but it is every bit as interesting, just without the hustle and annoyances of the major tourist hotspots.

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