The ‘Blue City’, so called because of the azure-painted houses of the Old City, Jodhpur is Rajasthan’s second largest city and the gateway to the Thar Desert. The astounding art deco Umaid Bhawan Palace one of the worlds largest private residences the 347 room palace took 15 years to complete, in 1943 and has been the principal residence of the Jodphur royal family ever since. Today 64 rooms make up the part of the palace used as an ultra luxury hotel. The captivating Mehrangarh Fort stretches high above the city as the imposing focal point, sprawling across the hilltop. Built in 1459, this impenetrable fortress houses beautiful palaces exquisitely decorated with murals and mirror work, as well as a museum of royal artefacts and weaponry gallery. The forts location offers superb views over the bustling city below, best seen at sunset. A wander through the back streets of the Old City will lead to vibrant markets full of colourful textiles, spices and friendly locals.