Ideal duration: 2 – 3 days Major Airports: Domestic airport at Jodhpur Airport (6 Km) Best time: October and March
The city of Jodhpur bordering the vast arid expanses of the famous Thar Desert is one of the popular holiday destinations in Rajasthan. Dotted with splendid forts, royal palaces, scenic lakes, artistic museums,sacred centuries old temples and bustling marketplaces Jodhpur with its great mix of culture and heritage and contemporary amenities has something in store for all its visitors.
While the impressive majestic Mehrangarh Fort and the grand Palaces of Umaid Bhawan and an alluring Rai ka Bagh capture your attention, the pristine Balsamand and Kaylana lakes beckon you to soak in the beauty of the settings.
The architectural nuances, grandeur and historical significance of the forts, palaces and temples here make your visit more interesting. Jaswant Thada, Mandore Gardens, Maha Mandir, Ghanta Ghar and Sardar Market are some of the other attractions here.
Jodhpur is also known by other names such as Gateway to Thar and Sun City, indicative of the fact travellers must be well-prepared to endure the sun’s wrath when visiting this place. Reportedly Brahmins of the city earlier painted their homes in blue colour to differentiate them from the dwellings of other communities. Several buildings of the Jodhpur are still painted blue, earning it the name of “Blue City” as well.
Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, the chief of the Rathore family of Rajputs. The city eventually succeeded Mandore as the capital city of the Marwar State, later established by Jodha. Subsequently, the kingdom served the Mughals during the period of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, paying fiefdom in exchange for internal autonomy and drawing upon the trade, art and architectural expertise of the Mughals.
Aurangzeb took over the kingdom after Maharaja Jaswant Singh’s demise. After Aurangzeb’s time, Durgadas Rathore restored Marwar to the rightful ruler Maharaja Ajit Singh in 1707. Thirty years of relentless efforts to regain the kingdom did not pay off as the Marathas gained control over the territory under the pretence of bringing about peace and stability in the state which was quite disturbed after the decline of the Mughal Empire.
Internal strife proved costly as negotiating peace drained the coffers of Marwar. However, signing up for a subsidiary alliance with the British in 1818 set Marwar back on the recovery track. Trade prospects improved, and so did internal peace and stability. By virtue of its location on the Delhi-Gujarat trade route, the city flourished in the trade of dates, silk, opium, sandalwood and other merchandise both earlier and during British occupancy giving rise to the affluent trading community of Marwaris.
Post-independence the state was persuaded by Sardar Patel to join the Indian Republic, and Jodhpur was included as a part of Rajasthan when Indian states were reorganised in 1956.
Interestingly, records as ancient as Mahabharata as well as the more contemporary geographical dictionary of Jodhpur reveal that the region was inhabited by Ahirs (members of the Yadava clan) before the Rathore clan founded Marwar!
Culture and Tradition
Jodhpur is rich in Marwari culture and tradition, with all aspects of life predominantly influenced by the ways of this community. Colourful clothing, beautiful jewellery, excellent craftsmanship and warm hospitality of the locals are characteristic of Jodhpur.
Women are clad in traditional multi coloured outfits – ideally long pleated skirts and waist-length blouses with long sleeves. Women also wear different pieces of jewellery to deck themselves from head to toe.
Dhoti, Kurta and Turban constitute the typical outfit for men. Apart from the colourful turbans, the city is well-known for tight horse riding breeches also known as ‘Jodhpurs’.
The International Desert Kite Festival, Marwari Festival, Nagaur (Cattle) Fair, Holi and Deepavali are but some of the festivities that are grandly celebrated in all pomp and splendour. Traditional folk dances, tribal music, puppet and jugglery shows, storytelling and other cultural events add more colour and excitement to such occasions.
Auspicious festivities such as Navratri and Hariyali Amavasya too are conducted in a traditional manner.
What you will like
Forts, Palaces, Temples and Heritage Monuments
Different architectural styles
Local cuisine, sweets and street food
What you might not like
Soaring temperatures during summer months
Architecture, history, and culture buffs
Those seeking Royal/Desert holiday experience.
How to Reach
By Air- Jodhpur has its own domestic airport which is known as Jodhpur Airport, located merely at a distance of 5 kilometres from the main city. Well-connected to other major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur. One can hire a cab or taxi which will charge around Rs. 100.
By Rail- Jodhpur Railway Station is well connected by Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Even the luxurious ‘Palace on Wheels’ also visits the city of royal splendor.
By Road- Jodhpur is well-connected with national and state highways that connect cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Jaipur. Government operated buses like AC Goldline and Silver Line Express also run between the Delhi and Jodhpur and Jaipur to Jodhpur as well.
Local Food and Eateries
The delectable Marwari cuisine is a must-taste when you are in the Blue City. The fare is primarily vegetarian, tasty and spicy leaving you craving for more. Sweets form an important part of the regular meals. Apart from the different types of dishes served at the fancy restaurants, hotels and luxury resorts, it is the local street food that appeases an ardent foodie’s palate.
Dal Bati Churma, Chilli Sabzi / Vade, Badam Halwa, Motichur Ladoo, Mawa, Malpua, Kachoris with sweet /spicy fillings, Makhan Bada, Besan Chakki, a lip-smacking array of Kulfi in different flavours and immensely filling creamy Lassis(Clock Tower Market) are some of the local foods you can’t afford to miss when in Jodhpur.
Trying out the traditional Rajasthani Thali (Lunch Platter) at Gypsy in Sardarpura is a great way to ease those pangs of hunger and sample several regional delicacies at the same time! Several other restaurants /hotels in this locality and around the city cater to luxury and budget dining experiences.
Janta Sweet House has different outlets across Jodhpur to satisfy your sweet tooth and cravings for fast food. Fruit juices are also served here. Check out the Kachoris here.
Shopping at Jodhpur
Colourful Hand-dyed and designed Tie-and-Dye fabric, beautiful Silver Trinkets/Jewellery pieces, handcrafted/embroidered footwear, wood/marble Artefacts, appealing pieces of Blue pottery are but a few souvenirs you could shop for to remember this trip.
Markets at the Clock Tower, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Nai Sarak, and Sojati Gate offer a great collection to choose from. It is, however, important to compare prices and drive a fair bargain when shopping at the marketplace. While there are dedicated bazaars for fabrics (Kapra) and footwear (Mochi), others including Tripoli and Sarafa markets also showcase an extensive array of merchandise that makes excellent gifts.
While a short holiday in Jodhpur may not really do justice to this city, it may be just enough to experience the best of the local attractions and activities that are quite popular with tourists.
Day 1- Kick start your first day in the city with a visit to the famous Ghanta Ghar aka Clock Tower from where you can get an unobstructed bird’s eye view of the entire city. This part of the New Town is also a busy shopping hub with the Sardar Market in the vicinity being a haven for shopaholics! Make a mental note of things you wish to shop for later and head straight to the Mehrangarh Fort for a leisurely excursion through the large premises soaking in the grandeur and architecture of this impressive structure. Take time to visit the Museum at the fort to view exhibits on display and better understand the historical background of Mehrangarh. Expect to spend at least a couple of hours at the Fort.
Break for lunch and treat yourself to a sumptuous local spread at any of the restaurants en-route and rest your feet before proceeding to Jaswant Thada, a memorial complex intricately crafted out of white marble. The architectural nuances, sculptures, portraits of erstwhile kings who ruled Jodhpur, a mini garden and lake are quite a pleasure to behold. Allow yourself about an hour’s time to explore the marble structure.
Time permitting, check out the step well Toorji Ka Jhalra on your return trip, before settling for dinner at one of the many restaurants near the Clocktower.
Day 2- Enjoy a delicious traditional breakfast and hit the road leading to the beautiful Umaid Bhavan Palace, which is still home to Maharaja Gaj Singh and his family. While one part of the palace is converted into a heritage hotel run by the Taj Group, the other serves as a royal residence. The Palace with over 300 rooms and its own Museum is an impressive piece of mixed-architectural styles that make an excellent background for photographs as well! Spend about an hour or two exploring the premises before you get to explore Mandore Gardens.
Mandore was the capital of Marwar, and these gardens hold the tombs of Maharaja Ajit Singh, the Maharani and other rulers of Jodhpur. The tombstones are shaped to resemble Hindu temples and sport intricate, ornamental carvings. The rocky terrace, “Hall of Heroes” dedicated to legendary local heroes, a shrine dedicated to 30-crore Hindu deities, and the Government Museum at the premises are bound to demand at least an hour of your time.
Break for lunch and a short rest and proceed further to the scenic and calm settings of the Bal Samand Lake where you can unwind and relax. Flanked by fruit orchards fed by waters from the artificial lake and the magnificent Bal Samand Palace, now a heritage hotel, these surroundings make an excellent picnic spot.
Head back to the city for some souvenir shopping at the markets, hearty dinner and great night’s rest.
Day 3- If you are religious, visit the Chamunda Mata Mandir, Kunj Bihari Temple and the Mahamandir dedicated to Lord Shiva and offer worship. Architectural nuances of these temples are indeed captivating. Spend time at the Umaid Gardens and visit the Zoo here.
If temples don’t interest you, you can check out the Geographic heritage site at Welded Tuff, visit the Rao Jodha Statue, and spend time at Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park or even explore the