Steve McCurry’s ‘Blue City’ photographic series was taken on the edge of the Thar Desert, India, in a place that was once the capital of a princely state – the mystical Jodhpur.
On the edge of the Thar Desert is Jodhpur, once the capital of a princely state. Its medieval quarter, surrounded by a ten-kilometre wall, is a maze of alleyways, often only wide enough for a man or cow to pass. There are no cars or motorcycles, only vendors hawking their wares on foot.
The old city is blue. Local guides say that the blue wash of the houses originally indicated the homes of the upper-caste Brahmins, custodians of holy places and the written word. Others contradict this, saying buildings used to be painted white, before the discovery that copper sulphate added to the white lime-was – turning it blue – deterred nesting termites.
It caught on. Varieties of blue, from royal blue to aquamarine, form the backdrop for a theatre of colour played out in its streets, defying the parched orange of the surrounding desert.”