Rajasthan Part 3 - Moto Travellers

Johdpur is in the south of Rajasthan and is know as the 'Blue City', due to the large number of houses which are painted pale blue or more presicely, Indigo. There is some controversey surrounding why certain houses were painted blue in the city's history; there are at least 3 versions we have heard:

1. The blue paint was used in order to keep the house/city cool during the scorching summers. It does get hot in Rajasthan, no doubt, but this does not explain why only a portion of houses were painted blue or why other cities Rajasthan did not adopt the same colour schemes.

2. The houses which were painted blue belong to the Brahmin caste, the highest caste in the hierarchical Hindu caste system. By painting their houses blue they were differentiating their houses from the lower caste people, but what purpose this would serve is unclear and this account also does not explain why only the Brahmin of Johdpur thought this type of visual differentiation necessary.

3. The third explantion is termites. This account suggests that the blue paint was a mixture of indigo, copper sulphate and possibly other chemicals with pesticide properties in order to repel termites in the house. Subsequently, the blue house painting has become more of a tradition as more effective termite prevention has become available.

There are no doubt more explanations of the blue house painting; the mystery adds to the charm of this city.

The Mehrangarh Fort is located on a sheer cliff top in the middle of Johdpur. The fort was constructed by Rao Jodha in 1459. The fort has seven gates in total and numerous palaces within the walls. The fort is also home to bats, and they can be found sleeping in some of the darker stone passageways within the fort complex.

Om Banna Temple

aka The Bullet Baba

50 km south of Johdpur on Highway 65  is an accident prone section of road near a village called Rohet.

Legend has it that late one night back in 1991, a Royal Enfield rider named Om Singh Rathore, crashed his Bullet (a popular model of Enfield) and died at this point on the highway.

The next day the police investigated the accident and removed the body and took the bike back to the police station. However, the next morning they discovered the bike missing and upon searching, found it standing back at the accident scene. They once again impounded the bike but again the next morning it was found standing at the accident site.

It was concluded that a divine power was at work here and that this needs to be acknowledged in some way.  To that end, the Royal Enfield Bullet was deified and a temple built on the accident site. The Bullet in question, registration RNJ7773 is now housed in a perspex box at the temple site and draped with garlands of flowers.

Many riders, locals and tourists alike visit/worship at this temple to pray for safe travels on the road.

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