Jodhpur - rustic, yet regal
In Rajasthan, 336 km E of Jaipur
Go there for :
20°-45°C (Sum); 5°-6°C (Win)
When to Go:
STD Code :
+91 - 291
Rajasthan's second largest city where once walked the valiant
Rathores looks bedazzling indeed when viewed from the ramparts of its
hilltop Fort, with lamp-lit caravans and tired camels, bustling lanes with
vendors and eager tourists bargaining over that sensuous leheriya sari and
ornate sky scrapping palaces and havelis. Jodhpur is indeed beautiful and as
you lark through the winding lanes following that luscious aroma of
kachouri, bumping into localites more than often, you will be amazed at the
warmth this templed city exudes.
Tale of the City
Founded in 1459 AD by the Suryavanshi Rao Jodha, Jodhpur was the
former capital of the princely state of Marwar. The old city is enclosed
within a 10 km long wall and the new city begins where the old ends. The
wall has six huge gates called Nagauri gate, Merati gate, Sojati gate,
Jalori gate, Siwanchi gate and Chand pol.
It means 'Majestic Fort' and a sweeping
look at its facade will convince you how rightly was it named. Roosted right
in the middle of the city atop a 125 m hill, this unassailable landmark
encloses within its 36m high and 21m wide ramparts some of the most
beautifully crafted palaces like Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal
(Flower Palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana,
exquisite conglomeration of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures,
musical instruments, costumes and furniture. High on the rampart rests the
second largest cannon in Asia, the recoil of which requires an area as large
as a football field! Consider stopping by the museum shop which has a good
collection of handicrafts, books and literature.
As you climb down the Mehrangarh fort, watch out on
the left for the white marbled cenopath of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The
sequestered monument is beautiful carved to look like a temple and with the
collection of rare portraits of ex-rulers within, it exudes a mystic aura.
Umaid Bhavan Palace (Open:9am-5pm/Monday closed):
Singh was so infatuated with western lifestyle that he got the President of
the British Royal Institute of Architects, Henry Vaughan Lanchester to
construct what finally became a 347 roomed marvel in red Chittar sandstone.
The Palace, completed just before independence, stands peerless as India's
last of the great palatial buildings and one of the biggest private
residences in the world. The 105 ft. singular cupola, the Throne Room with
its exquisite Ramayana murals, an elegant wood-paneled library, a private
museum, an indoor swimming pool, a Billiards Room, tennis courts and unique
marble squash courts make Umaid Bhawan Palace a sheer delight. Turned a
heritage resort, overnighting at Umaid Bhavan gives you the feel of waking
up feeling like some Maharajah yourself. The museum has weapons, stuffed
leopards, a huge banner presented by Queen Victoria and an incredible
collection of clocks. There is more to this palace that inspires admiration
- the noble cause of providing employment to the famine-stricken people.
The ethnic items that can be bought from Jodhpur are tie and dye
textiles, jootis, lacquerware, antiques, carpets and puppets. Most of the
antique dealers perch in the road that runs between Ajit Bhawan and Umaid
Bhawan. For exquisite tie and dye sarees, go to Sojati Gate. Station Road is
where you get leather items and jooties (embroidered shoes). Head to Tripola
Bazar for local handicrafts; to Mochi Bazar for lac works and bangles; to
Nai Sadak for tie-and-dye fabrics, leather items, handlooms; to Clock Tower
for handicrafts, textiles and spices. Check out Jodhpur Handloom House for
beautiful Bandhni and Leheriya sarees.
A traditional Jodhpur palate is a tango of fiery spices and
aromatic flavors emanating from the assortment of Mawa Kachori, Pyaaj
Kachori, Hot & Spicy Mirchibada (made from potato, onion, chili and
gramflour) and Panchkuta. Try On the Rocks (next to Ajit Bhawan) for its
barbecue dishes, Haveli Guest House's rooftop or Mid Town restaurant for
traditional cuisine and so on. And to balm your esophagus, incase the food
was to spicy, wind up your meal with a tall glass of lassi (buttermilk). The
best lassi can be had at Mishrilal Hotel.
Mandore (9 km):
- Marwar Festival: Incase you have dropped in during the
Festivals, don't miss participating. The Marwar Festival held during
September-October is a gala event. The bards sing praises of the valors
of Rajput warriors, kalbeliya dancers swirling their black skirts
glittering with mirrors, beads and sequins in tune to mesmerizing desert
music and the numerous food-stalls make it a maverick fiesta.
- Umaid Bhavan Palace Jodhpur is where the baggy/tight horse riding
trousers were born. The jodhpurs (kind of riding breeches) took their
name from here.
- Kite Festival: The International kite festival of Jodhpur,
held at Polo Grounds, celebrated every January 14, last for three-days,
and kite fliers from across the nation and abroad frolic here to
The erstwhile capital of Marwar prior to
the discovery of Jodhpur, is an interesting spot with a myriad old cenotaphs
of the Rathore rulers, rugged caves, sprawling gardens amidst gurgling
fountains and sights still waiting to be explored.
Osian (65 km NW):
Some localites still refer to it with its old name
'Ukeshpur', while for tourists, whatever be it popular as, what scores the
tourist-eye about this picturesque Thar desert town is some of the most
spectacularly sculpted Brahmanical (16) and Jain temples. Camping right here
in the deserland and touring the vicinity on the romping camel, samples an
experience one would not like to forget easily.
Mahamandir (2 km NE):
An old walled city that remains agog during
the daytime with pilgrims coming to the 100 pillared Shiva temple here.
Balsamand Lake and Palace (4 km N):
An old palace, frilled with a
panoramic lake sums up for a quiet stroll in those muggy evenings. And if
you have not forgotten your binoculars, head straight to the bird sanctuary
just 3 km away. The palace is a luxury hotel now.
Sardar Samand Lake (55 km) is a wildlife center with
herds of black bucks. The route has the Bishnoi villages (the Bishnois are
the oldest conservationists in India) and a stroll in its placid lanes is a
must. On the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer route, about 1 km from the Kalyana lake (near
the Irrigation Dept. Dak bungalow), is the Machiya Safari Park with some
amazing wildlife like deer, desert fox, monitor lizard, blue bulls rabbits,
wild cats, mongoose, monkeys and rare birds.
Pali (SW of Jodhpur):
Named after the Paliwal Brahmins who once
inhabited the area, Pali once housed a highly evolved civilization. The
ancient Naulakha Jain temple has elaborate carvings while Somnath Shiv
temple is known for its handsome moldings.
Hop Next to: Ajmer
(211 km), Bikaner
(243 km), Jaisalmer