Western Living Magazine
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Designer Ben Leavitt seeks out design inspiration in vibrant Jodphur, India.
After studying at the Interior Design School of London and an eight-year stint travelling back and forth to Asia designing products for big-name retailers, designer Ben Leavitt is back home in Vancouver at the helm of Fox Design Studio. But his wanderlust still takes him out into the world, hunting for inspiration—and Jodphur, India, always proves to be a rich source. The Blue City, as it’s called (a reference to the many buildings painted an enticing shade of indigo), is “a hidden gem,” Leavitt says. “I try to visit at least once a year. It’s an incredible explosion of design, craft and history.”
Sun SaluteWake up early and take a rickshaw up into the mountains to visit the Mehrangarh Fort for sunrise. The fort, which began construction in 1459, is 120 metres above the city and features some of the most amazingly intricate stone architecture.Nature CallsNot for the faint of heart: a ride on one of Rajasthan’s camels is as fun as it is scary! Ask any rickshaw driver or hotel concierge and they can arrange it. If you’re going during the annual camel festival, be prepared to be amazed as thousands of camels are sold and traded to farmers.Market WatchVisit Suncity Art Export or Bhandari Exports for some of the best flea-market-style shopping in Jodphur. With new pieces and one-of-a-kind vintage finds (think dowry trunks, salvaged doors, windows, religious statues and used rugs), it’s a unique and memorable experience.The Real DealVenture through the vibrant streets around the Ghanta Ghar market and you’ll find amazing embroidered fabrics and local handmade crafts and food, as well as plenty of friendly cows. (Yes, cows.)Royal Rest Stop For afternoon tea or a history on Jodhpur’s royals, the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum is a great stop. The European-inspired 347-room palace took over 15 years to construct. The car collection is breathtaking.
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