Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The city is known as the Sun City for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. Jodhpur lies near the geographic centre of Rajasthan state, which makes it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequently by tourists. The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a thick stone wall.
Mehrangarh Fort: Mehrangarh Fort was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459. Seven gates have to be crossed to reach the fort. The gates still bear the marks of the various battles fought in the bygone era. Other attractions of Mehrangarh Fort include several palaces inside the fort, with their sprawling and huge courtyards. The Mehrangarh Fort houses grand palaces like the Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace that houses the royal throne of Jodhpur known as the Sringar Chowki, the Phool Mahal whose ceiling is adorned by gold filigree work, the Rang Mahal and the Chandan Mahal. Other mansions are the Umaid Villas that showcases the Rajput miniature paintings, the Ajit Villas displays the musical instruments and the royal attires and the Maan Villas. The fort also has galleries, temples and museums where all the decorated rooms of the palaces and villas are exhibited along with the royal palanquins, miniature paintings, furniture, and historic armory and etc.
Jaswant Thada: Jaswant Thada is a memorial house built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 AD, in the memory of Jaswant Singh II, his father. Jaswant Thada is also a cremation ground for other royal family members of Marwar. Popularly referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar”, Jaswant Thada is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. Considered an epitome of Rajputana architectural style, essentially an amalgam of Mughal and Hindu structural design, it displays lattice work in marble, reflecting the creative genius and sculptural skills of the artisans of the time. A life-size marble statue of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II seated on a horse welcomes us at the entrance to the cenotaph complex which also houses three other memorials to successive rulers. An interesting and unique aspect associated with the complex is a memorial to a peacock which is believed to have flown into a funeral pyre.
Umaid Bhawan Palace: Umaid Bhawan Palace is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, who is the grandfather of present owner of the palace. In earlier times, the palace was known to be the ‘Chittar palace’ as it is located on Chittar hill (the highest point Jodhpur). Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is a masterpiece of brilliant architecture and boasts of a wonderful mélange of Rajput and Victorian styles. The palace was broken down on 18th November 1929 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and the construction was in progress until 1944. Later, it was constructed in order to provide employment to the poor and unemployed people of the palace. The Palace is one among the World’s largest private residences comprising 347 rooms. In today’s time, the main owner of the palace is Maharaja of Jodhpur, Gaj Singh. The palace is mainly divided into three compartments namely the Maharaja’s royal residence, a museum and a heritage hotel.The museum here has a huge collection of weapons, a banner presented by Queen Victoria and amazing clocks providing detailed information about the royal era of Rajasthan.
Inside the palace you will see the following landamarks-
The Trophy Bar
The Billiards bar
Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel
Umaid Bhawan Museum
Clock Tower: Clock tower is standing in middle of the old City bazaar or ‘Old Haat Bazar’ of Jodhpur. Though previously this place was made as the rooms for Elephants, in the past, elephants used to live in these big halls but later on according to the need they were shifted to some other places , and halls were divided in small shops , which are still owned by the people who are working there from that time, now maintained by their lineage. This Old Bazar or Sadar market retains a feel of traditional village bazaar. It’s chaotic and colorful, and sells almost everything (including handicrafts, spices, saris and fabrics).
Mandore Garden: Mandore was once the capital of the Marwar and is 9 kms away from Jodhpur city. The extensive Mandore Garden has high rock hill terrace, making it a poular local attraction. The cenotaphs of former rulers of Jodhpur can also be seen inside the Mandore Garden. These cenotaphs are not of usual shape and are built along the lines of a Hindu temple. These are built of red sandstone and are four stories high, with fine columns and an elegant spire. The most attractive dewal is the dewal of Maharaja Ajit Singh and set in beautiful landscaped gardens. The cenotaphs of the Maharani are set on a rocky outcrop over the hill. The highlights of Mandore garden comprises of the graphic Hall of Heroes, a rock wall with high relief, bright paintings depicting scenes from the life of local heroes such as Pabuji and Chamunda and crowded current holy place of 30 crore gods. The hall is dedicated to various deities and Rajput folk heroes.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park: Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park is located at the foot of Mehrangarh Fort. It was created in 2006 for restoration of natural ecology of rocky wasteland and opened to the public in February 2011. The area in and around the park contains distinctive volcanic rocks and sandstone formations adapted to the arid surroundings. The park includes a Visitors Centre with Interpretation Gallery, a native plant nursery, small shop and cafe. The resilience and beauty make a walk in this park truly enjoyable.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS:
Marwar Festival: Celebrated in full moon of Sharad Poornima, between September-October, for two days, this festival is held in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan.Originally known as the Maand festival, features folk music centered on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan's rulers. This festival is devoted to the music and dance the Marwar region and offers a good opportunity to see the folk dancer and singers who assemble here and provide hours of lively entertainment. These folk artists provide a glimpse of the days of yore, of battles and valiant heroes who still live on in their songs. Other attractions at the festival are the camel tattoo show and polo.
Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival: Popularly held on Makar Sankranti (14th January), best kite flyers from India and rest of the world take part. This festival is celebrated by great pomp and show.
Nagaur Fair: Popularly known as cattle fair of Nagaur, Jodhpur Nagaur Fair is the second biggest fair in India. The fair goes on for eight days and held every year during the month of Jan-Feb.
SHOPPING: WHAT TO BUY?
Nai Sarak: Your shopping jaunt is incomplete without buying the traditional tie and dye fabric (also known as bandhej or bandhani) including bandhej suit pieces, sarees, dupattas, and turbans. Leather items are also wonderful souvenirs available at this market.
Sojati Gate Market: Lined with shops and stalls that offer traditional Rajasthani handicrafts, souvenirs, jewelry, and tie and dye fabrics, Sojati Gate Market is a shopper’s paradise.You must also stop at one of the stalls here to get your hands adorned with traditional henna designs.
Mochi Bazaar: ‘Cobblers Market’, this bazaar is the perfect place to buy famous Jodhpuri Jootis, popularly known as mojaris. Available in myriad colors, patterns, and range, these leather beauties add a punch to any attire appending royalty. No wonder, this footwear is high in demand, both in India and overseas. In addition to buying footwear, you can also shop for junk jewelry and lac bangles here. Adorning you from ‘hand to toe’ this is among the best places to shop in Jodhpur.
Umaid Bhawan Palace Market: This could be your favorite haunt for exquisite antiques, metal works, and designer furniture if you have a taste for classic splendor. Choose from handicrafts made of sequins, mirrors and beads, pottery, metal and marble works, brass and copper ware, paintings, textiles, puppets, silver jewelry and more.
Kapraa Bazaar: ‘Clothes market’, you can find flamboyant Rajasthani apparel – Leheriya. Originated in Jodhpur, this unique print is done on dupattas, suits, and sarees. Bandhej cloth material is also available largely in this market. So, if you are looking to buy traditional fabrics, head to shops of this market for beautiful leheriya and bandhej patterns on silks, chiffons, and cottons.
Sarafa Bazar: Splashed with shops selling traditional silver jewelry, Sarafa Bazaar is among the preferred Jodhpur shopping places where people flock to buy these silver charms. The market is not only about traditional jewelry but also sells a wide array of accessories.
Tripolia Bazar This market offers a huge assortment of wooden handicrafts, brass items, colorful apparels, metal furniture, marble statues, silver jewelry, and traditional artifacts. This is a perfect shopping hub where quality items are available at reasonable prices.
Clock Tower Market: Visit this market if you want to carry home the finest variety of spices, especially Mathaniya’s red chili. Other stuff that you can buy from this market includes handicrafts, flavored teas, hand-embroidered fabrics, and antiques.
CUISINES: WHAT TO EAT?
Jodhpur has a number of restaurants and eating-places. You can have every cuisine in Jodhpur, ranging from Indian to Chinese to Continental to Mughlai cuisine. While there, do not forget to try the famous Kachori (a snack eaten with chutney). Those with a sweet tooth should try laddoos, which simply melt in your mouth and do not forget to have a tall glass of buttermilk or 'lassi'.
A number of Indian delicacies have also originated in Jodhpur. Following are some of the famous Jodhpur cuisines- Pyaaz Kachori, Hot and Spicy Mirchibada (A preparation made with potato, onion, chili and gram flour), Panchkuta and Chakki ki sabji.Jodhpur is also famous for its sweets. Some of the popular sweets of Jodhpur are- Mave ki Kachori, Besan ki Chakki, Makhaniya Lassi, Mawa Kachori and Makkhan Vade.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air: Jodhpur has its own Domestic Airport which is well connected to the major cities such as- Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur. The nearest International Airport is IGI Airport, New Delhi which is connected to different cities across the globe.
By Bus: Jodhpur is well connected by Buses from Delhi. There are numerous private buses, Volvo coaches and deluxe buses running between Jodhpur and Delhi throughout the day. You can also board a government operated bus from Jaipur to Jodhpur.
By Train: Jodhpur is well connected by Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. You can also board the luxurious ‘Palace on Wheels’ to experience the royal heritage while travelling.
By Road: Jodhpur is well connected with National and State Highways that connect the major cities.