India is a country which has its roots very deep in history. Almost every state in India has its own epics to tell but very few states can match Rajasthan when it comes to history, architecture, sculpture excellence and grandeur. Every city of Rajasthan without any exception, no matter how big or small has some architectural marvel to offer to the world. The city of Jodhpur has a big share in such offerings. The city is popularly known as the ‘Blue City’ because since long in history it was customary to paint the houses in blue as the blue colour of houses keep them cool in white heat of desert. It is also known as ‘Sun City’ because it enjoys the bright and sunny weather all around the year.
Jodhpur is a fantastic city which is old and at the same time modern as well. It is the second-largest city of Rajasthan after Jaipur. It is also historically referred to as the Kingdom of Marwar. Jodhpur was founded by a Rajput king known as Rao Jodha of Rathore clan in 1459. It has many temples, palaces and an invincible fort known as Mehrangarh Fort which is most prominent landmark of the city since centuries.
The massive Mehrangarh Fort has been a landmark of Jodhpur since centuries. Located at an impressive height of 125 m above the skyline of the ‘Blue City of India’, this fort is one among the largest forts of India and also declared as a National Geological Monument by the Geological Survey of India because it is built on a Malani Igneous Suite Contact which represents the last phase of igneous activity of Precambrian age in the Indian Subcontinent, making this geological feature quite impressive. The fort can be seen from anywhere in the city. To read more about the fort and palaces inside the fort, click here.
Another important landmark of the city is the Umaid Bhawan Palace. It is the largest palatial building in India and considered as one of the largest private residence of the world.
Umaid Bhawan Palace is now divided into three parts. One part is converted into a very well kept museum, which houses numerous articles of daily usages of former kings, queens, prince and princes of Jodhpur, their paintings, portraits, clothes, crockery, clocks of various kinds, cars etc. Another part of this palace has been converted into a heritage hotel, being managed by the Taj Group and in the third part, His Highness, the king of Jodhpur lives himself. A photoblog on this fascinating palace will follow soon here.
Another important monument to visit is Jaswant Thada. Made up of milky white marble, Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph located near Mehrangarh Fort. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, and serves as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar. The cenotaph’s grounds feature carved gazebos, a small garden with fountain. There are three other smaller cenotaphs in the grounds. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh displays portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur. Jaswant Thada is also known as the ‘Taj Mahal’ of Marwar. A beautiful small natural lake is near to this monument. It houses a small cafe too.
In between the Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada, there is Rao Jodha Desert Park, which is a welcome initiative to educate people about the flora and fauna of desert. Taking the services of a guide is advisable.
Another tourist destination in Jodhpur, although less popular but one cannot afford to miss, is the erstwhile capital of Jodhpur state, ‘Mandore’. It consists of well kept large gardens, several cenotaphs, a Bhairav temple, an old ruined fort and a palace turned museum. If Jaswant Thada is to Taj Mahal, Mandore is to Khajuraho as far as architectural brilliance is concerned. Mandore is also considered to be the In-law’s place of ‘Ravan’ (the name of Ravan’s wife was ‘Mandodari’), the mythological villain of the epic ‘Ramayan’. If anyone is having even a little appreciation for sculpture, art, history and architecture, he/she should reserve a good 5-6 hours to visit Mandore. We spent almost 6 hrs there. There is so much to share that it is absolutely not possible in a single post. You can read my article covering Mandore in detail here at “The In-Law’s Place of A Daemon King”.
The next attraction of Jodhpur is the step-well or ‘Toor ji ka Jhalra”. Situated at the foothill of the Mehrangarh Fort, this step-well is named after queen Toor ji (wife of the King Abhay Singh of Jodhpur) who made it in 1740. It was customary that the women of royal families made public water reservoirs, to be used mainly by the common women; as bringing and collecting potable water was considered a duty and responsibility of women. It is situated at a walking distance from the Ghantaghar (Clock Tower), Sardar Market.
People also visit the Clock Tower which was made in 1910 by the then ruler of Jodhpur Maharaj Sardar Singh. It is situated in Sardar Market area near Nai Sadak, which is a busy, congested market place and a centre of famous tie and dye (a type of printed clothes) of Jodhpur. People can go up to the top of clock tower using stairs inside the tower. The tower remains open for public from 10:30 AM-6:30 PM in summer and from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM in winters. However there is an entry ticket of Rs. 10 per person. We stayed in Jodhpur for 3 days and during our stay we visited to this central area of the city at least once a day.
At a walking distance from Clock Tower, situated many markets, famous for the exclusive artifacts and products of Jodhpur. One such market is Mochi Bazaar, which is famous for Jodhpuri Juti (shoe). There are many cobbler shops who made Juitis by hands. You can order them to make customised jutis for you too but it may take 2-3 days and also you must be a haggle master. Although we are not a master in this art but we ended up buying a few pairs.
There is another market exclusively for mouth freshener of various types and tobacco related products. You can shop here for a variety of mouth fresheners, betel nuts, digestive pills etc.
How to Reach:
Jodhpur being the second largest city of Rajasthan is well connected to every part of the country. Jodhpur can be reached by air (JDH) from some of the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
Jodhpur railway station was opened in 1885. At present Jodhpur is Divisional Headquarter of a North Western Railway Division. Jodhpur Junction is the main railway station while few small railway stations are also there. Jodhpur Junction is very neat and clean station having all modern amenities.
Jodhpur is well connected to rest of the country with a network of national and state highways. State bus service and cab services are readily available from every big city of the state.
Where to Stay:
A number of quality hotels ranging from one of India’s costliest hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace, Raas Hotel, Indana Palace Hotel, Ranbanka Palace, WelcomHotel, Fairfield by Marriott, Radisson, Taj Hari Mahal, The Ajit Bahwan are only a few names among many others.
Where to Eat:
Jodhpur is a paradise for street food lovers. There are many joints where one can enjoy delicious street foods at a very cheap price. The first name in the list is the famous omelette shop at the gate of Sardar Market (opposite to Nai Sadak side). This shop is equally liked by the domestic as well as foreigner tourists. One can recognise the shop by high stack of eggs crates and many tourists sitting and enjoying the omelettes. Just opposite to this shop there is one tea stall, which serve really good tea. Sipping hot ginger tea in Kulhad (earthen pot) is a must try.
On the other gate (towards Nai Sadak), there is one snacks shop Arora Namkeen. One can enjoy here really mouth watering Shahi Samosa, Pyaz Kachori, Mirchi Vada etc. Dudh Mandir near Sojati Gate is famous for hot sweet tasty milk.
One more sweet shop near Sardar Market Gate (Nai Sadak side) is the Shri Mishrilal Hotel which was established in 1927. This shop is famous for Rabri, Lassi, Mava Kachori and other sweets.
Top Restaurants to Dine in Jodhpur
This luxury is located in Mehrangarh fort. It is a romantic dining spot famous among tourists and locals. It is famous for vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Chowkelao Palace & Chowkelao Garden
Enjoy romantic terrace evening restaurant with glorious views of the fort palaces, ramparts, and surrounding skyline to a beautiful garden cafe set in the historic Chowkelao Garden of the fort. Satisfy your appetite with a mix of regional, traditional and western delicacies as light and full meals including wide range of teas and freshly brewed coffees.
This hotel is located on the roof of Pal Haveli opposite to the famous omelette shop. This luxury candlelit dining spot is famous for its breathtaking view, long menu of cocktails and variety of dishes. The restaurant is famous for its kebabs.
Shandar Sweet House
At the first sight you might overlook this restaurant but once you have tasted the meals here, you will be going to remember the place for a long. This tiny restaurant is located near Mahatma Gandhi hospital. It is famous for snacks, light meal and ghee sweets. The dishes are made with pure ghee. The menu might be limited but taste is unlimited here. You ought to try Dahi Wada, Lahsun dal and Gatta curry of this restaurant. Usually waiting time is 20-30 min. here.
This restaurant is famous for Thali. Thali is a dish in with numerous traditional delicacies will be served unlimited along with roti. Gypsy has thali with 29 dishes. It is very famous for Balushahi. The restaurant is located in Sardarpura.
Janta Sweet House
This is a huge branch running at different locations in Jodhpur. It is famous for sweets, snacks and fresh juice counter. There are fast food items too. Onion Kachori and Mawa Kachori are famous here.
This is an open-sky restaurant in Hotel Haveli. This restaurant is famous for the stunning city view, multi cuisine menu and delicious desserts. The hotel is very famous for pancakes.
This is a very expensive and luxurious restaurant in Jodhpur. The dining area is located near swimming pool. Menu is limited and you can enjoy classic and high quality wines here.
This hotel is located in Tunwarji Ka Jhalara. It is a flattering place for royal diners. You can enjoy a sublime ambience, authentic menu and good service. The restaurant is located at the base of Mehrangarh fort.
And finally, no matter how busy or congested roads we have in India, we still have a place for each and everyone..