Jodhpur is indeed the second-largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan and the state’s second metropolitan city. It was previously the capital of the princely state of Jodhpur State. Jodhpur served as the capital of the Kingdom of Marwar, which is now part of the state of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is a tourist hotspot with many palaces, forts, and temples set in the harsh Thar Desert landscape. In Rajasthan and throughout India, it is popularly known as the “Blue City. It serves as the administrative center for the Jodhpur district and division. If you are ever planning a visit to Jodhpur, here’s a guide for you !!
Best places to visit in Jodhpur
The fascinating history of Mehrangarh Fort dates back to 1459, when Rao Jodha, the 15th Rathore ruler, founded Jodhpur. Rao Jodha, the son of Raja Ram Mal, ruled the city from Mandore but relocated his capital to Jodhpur. He then built the fort on Bhaucheeria hill, which was only 9 kilometers from Mandore. The Fort was named Mehrangarh Fort because the Sun was the chief deity of the Rathores and the meaning of ‘Mehran’ is the sun.
Apart from the main structure, many other additions were made by Jodhpur’s rulers, including Maldeo Maharaja, Ajit Singh Maharaja, Takhat Singh, and Maharaja Hanwant Singh. There were so many clashes between both the rulers at the time, and forts like this one were a cause of great influence and power.
Mehrangarh, also known as Mehran Fort, was built in 1459 in Jodhpur by Rao Jodha and is one of the biggest forts in the country. It is perched on the ridge of a 410-foot-high hill and is fortified by massive walls. One of the most recognizable forts in Jodhpur, it has appeared in various Hollywood and Bollywood films.
The fort’s entrance, which is atop a hill, is magnificent, with seven gates. The fort’s entrance, atop a hill, is majestic, with seven gates. Victory Gate, Fateh Gate, Gopal Gate, Bhairon Gate, Dedh Kamagra Gate, Marti Gate, and finally Loha Gate are the names of these gates. All these were constructed at different times and served a specific purpose.
While one still bears the marks of cannonballs, the other has spikes that safeguard it from elephant and animal breaches. Victory Gate, on the other hand, was built to honor Maharaja Man Singh’s victory over the armies of Jaipur and Bikaner. The fort also has opulent palaces like the Sheesh Mahal (Glass Palace) and the Phool Mahal (Rose Palace).
Some of the fort’s well-known artifacts include:
- Armory-great rulers’ swords, such as those of Akbar and Timur, are on display. Aside from that, there are emerald-studded shields and gold or silver-worked guns.
- Paintings-This section is the subject of an entire gallery. In the fort, you can see beautiful Marwar paintings.
- Turbans-The Mehrangarh Fort displays a variety of turbans worn by Rajasthani people during various festivals.
- Palanquins-The royals used these as a form of transportation. The fort has the most exquisite palanquin designs, including Pinjas and Rajat Khasa.
- Winter is the perfect time to visit Mehrangarh Fort. From October to March, the weather is cool and pleasant, providing a great chance to explore the entire fort. Winter mornings are the best time of day to visit the fort. Set out to the fort immediately after breakfast, as it opens to tourists at 9:00 a.m. After two or three hours, you can spend the rest of the day at nearby tourist attractions. There are some spectacular festivals that take place in the fort, reflecting Jodhpur’s rich culture and heritage.
- Among them are:
- Gangaur- This festival is held every year in April, and a splendid procession of Gangaur Mataji is carried out from the fort.
- Rajasthan International Folk Festival- This musical festival brings together some of the best singers and artists in the state of Rajasthan. Mehrangarh Fort hosts magnificent concerts and musical events.
- Dussehra- To commemorate Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, a procession leaves the fort and ends in the city.
Jodhpur has well-established rail, road, and air network connections to all of India’s major cities.
- Railways: The railway station in Jodhpur is well connected to major Indian cities, and trains run on a daily basis. The Rai ka Bagh railway station is the closest one.
- Airways: One of Rajasthan’s most important airports, Jodhpur, is being converted into an international one. There are daily flights from all over the country.
- Roads: Jodhpur is connected by road to all of Rajasthan’s major cities as well as those in neighboring states. There are express and deluxe bus services to the city. Auto rickshaws, buses, cycle rickshaws, and taxis are all available in the city.
A trip to the desert would be flawed without a camel safari across the seemingly unending sand dunes. Rajasthan is India’s desert state, so a visit to this cultural oasis would be incomplete without a camel safari. Jodhpur offers a variety of packages with varying durations for its visitors. The shortest of these safaris takes you 70 kilometers across the Thar desert’s shimmering sheets of golden sand to the ancient city of Osian, which is rich in cultural history for both Hindus and Jains.
If you’re feeling particularly daring, there are packages available that allow visitors to make the amazing journey from the blue city of Jodhpur to the golden city of Jaisalmer, which spans roughly 250 kilometers of the mesmerizing desert.
Despite the name “Camel Safari,” tour operators go above and beyond to help ensure that their visitors have an unforgettable experience. Depending on the time and budget allotted for this activity, it may include meals, a stay (in the case of overnight tours), and socializing with the locals through conversation, folk music, and folk dance, in addition to the main attraction of riding the famous desert ship.
The difficult task of traversing the desert, confronted with the reality of the arid region and the splendor of the golden dunes and vast stretches, will provide travelers with the opportunity to live the authentic life of a desert dweller, and it is an experience not to be missed.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid Bhawan Palace, voted the Best Hotel in the World, is indeed a major tourist attraction in Jodhpur. Other than being a historic and cultural hotel, it is also a museum and the home of the current owner’s Royal Family, Raja Gaj Singh. It is also known as the Chittar Palace due to its location on Jodhpur’s highest point, Chittar Hill.
The palace, which was built in 1943 after being commissioned in 1929, was built to provide employment to the area’s drought-stricken farmers and thus took longer to complete. Umaid Bhavan Palace provides incredible hospitality, as well as heritage walks and unforgettable dining experiences.
The 347-room palace is currently divided into three sections. One section is the royal family’s residence, which tourists are not permitted to enter. The second contains a museum with a massive selection of photographs, arms, clocks, stuffed animals, and other royal family possessions. The third section of the palace has been transformed into a five-star hotel, which provides its guests with the most luxurious services. It is one of Jodhpur’s most popular hotels. This palace, perched on top of the mighty Chittar Hill, is also known as the Chittar Palace. To complement the beauty of the palace, there is a lovely garden outside with lush greenery and various flower varieties.
While visiting the Umaid Bhawan, you can engage in a variety of rejuvenating activities. You can go to the Jaswant Thada, which is a delicately carved marble structure. It is named in honor of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and is set against the beautiful backdrop of Jodhpur.
This memorial features domes, portraits, and a section dedicated to the peacock that is said to have flown into the Maharaja’s funeral pyre. Another activity to try here is the “Heritage Walk,” which takes you on a journey through Jodhpur’s glorious past. You can go on a guided tour of the property and hear incredible stories about the Rajas of Jodhpur.
The best time to visit this location is in the morning. The winter months of October to March are the best. Government buses, as well as luxury and private buses, travel throughout Jodhpur. Taxis, autorickshaws, and tongas are the most convenient modes of local transportation. The Umaid Bhawan Palace is 3 kilometers from the main bus station.
Jaswant Thada, a magnificent marble cenotaph monument that also serves as a mausoleum for the Marwar kings, is located in the royal state of Jodhpur. The memorial was built in 1899 in honor and memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II by his son Maharaja Sardar Singh and is still used as cremation grounds by the Marwar Royal Family. The stunning structure is made of intricately carved marble, which contrasts sharply with the red steps leading up to the entrance.
The Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur is an architectural landmark that everyone should see. Local musicians and folk dancers entertain visitors on the steps leading up to the monument. Along with the monument, the cenotaph has a brilliantly maintained garden that visitors can explore. The intricate craftsmanship of the carved marbles can be explored. The expertly carved thin sheets of marble are worth admiring. The entire structure is stunningly beautiful, resembling a temple. It is also known as the Taj Mahal of Marwar and draws visitors from all over the world.
The best time to visit Jaswant Thada is from October to February because it is winter and the hot summers can be avoided. It is best visited in the early morning or evening when the temperature is still pleasant. As it is located on the way to Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada is easily accessible by road from any part of the beautiful city of Jodhpur.
To get to the cenotaph, tourists can take public transportation. Auto-rickshaws and buses are popular modes of local transportation in this area, but tourists can also hire cabs. Those who prefer to drive themselves can reach Jaswant Thada via NH62 in about 30 minutes from the city center.
Toorji Ka Jhalra
Toorji Ka Jhalra, also known as the Jodhpur stepwell, was built in 1740 and is an intricate design of stepwell, one of the few remaining structures portraying Jodhpur’s traditional water management systems. This architectural marvel was built by Maharaja Abhaya Singh’s queen-consort, a testament to the region’s age-old tradition of royal women overseeing public waterworks.
The design and structure help onlookers understand the lifestyle of previous generations who used it when it was at its peak, with the site serving as the local watering hole at the time. This 250-year-old structure was built with Jodhpur’s famous rose-red sandstone. It was once more than 200 feet deep and embellished with intricate carvings of dancing elephants, medieval lions, cow waterspouts, and deity niches.
There were two levels of access and a separate tank to receive water from the bullock-powered wheel system. Its remarkable design attracts many tourists, and it is regarded by locals and visitors as a fun place to engage in harmless, recreational water games to beat the heat.
The Stepwell’s History:
During the reign of Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore, Toorji Ka Jhalra was constructed. Between 1724 and 1749, he ruled Jodhpur. During that time, female members of the Royal families, particularly the Queens, would take part in and lead projects to construct public waterworks.
The Queen of Marwar (Jodhpur), Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore’s wife, oversaw this project, and thus Toorji Ka Jhalra was built in the 1740s and was used by the locals for centuries until the city was modernized and the well was completely abandoned. The debris inside the well and the waterbody were cleaned up to restore this historical heritage. Since then, the location has been designated as a tourist attraction.
Toorji ka Jhalra is located on Sutharo ka Bas Road in Jodhpur, in Gulab Sagar Makrana Mohalla. The attraction is about 4.5 kilometers from the city center and can be reached via the NH 62 – Ratanada Road route. There is another, longer route to the stepwell that takes you through NH 62 – Harish Joshi Marg (6.2 kilometer stretch from the city center).
Toorji Ka Jhalra is about 6 kilometers from the Jodhpur Bus Station and the Jodhpur Airport. The Railway Junction is only about 2.5 kilometers away. Tourists can reach the attraction using public transportation. Many people walk to the main location of Sardar Market or Ghanta Ghar and explore the region until they reach the stepwell. However, taxis and auto-rickshaws can be conveniently hired in Jodhpur, and a local bus ride is also an option.
Mandore Garden, home to famous royal cenotaphs, is located just 9 kilometers from Jodhpur in Mandore, which was once the ruling seat of the Pratihara dynasty. The garden is part of the larger Mehrangarh Fort, which also houses the famous Hall of Heroes and the temple of Three Hundred Million Gods. There is also a Government Museum in the garden, which is full of artifacts and old relics.
The most striking feature of the garden is the beautiful cenotaphs or ‘dewals’ that can be found throughout the Mandore Gardens. The most beautiful and well-known of these cenotaphs is without a doubt Maharaja Ajit Singh. The structures within the garden, such as the Hall of Heroes, are without a doubt its most striking feature.
The Mandore Gardens are best visited during the winter months of October to March. Mandore is located very close to the Thar Desert, so the heat can be unbearable during the summer months. Many people walk to the main location of Sardar Market or Ghanta Ghar and explore the region until they reach the stepwell. However, taxis and auto-rickshaws can be conveniently hired in Jodhpur, and a local bus ride is also an option.
Balsamand Lake was built in the 12th century and is famous for being the location of the Bal Samand Lake Palace, a heritage hotel. It is only 5 kilometers from Jodhpur and feels like a world away from the city’s crowds and hustle. The Gurjara-Pratihara rulers built the lake in 1159 AD to protect Jodhpur from droughts. In exchange for his exceptional services, Maharaja Sur Singh, the creator of this artificial lake, was bestowed with the title of Sawai Raja.
It is surrounded by lush gardens and contains a wide variety of trees such as mango, papaya, and pomegranate. Balsamand Palace, built on the lake in the 17th century, is a red sandstone architectural marvel that overlooks the lake. The enthralling lake was popularised by the adjoining estate, which serves as the summer residence of the Jodhpur Maharajas.
It not only provides a luxurious stay experience, but it also provides an idyllic setting for sunset views and lakeside picnics. Long walks along its water are possible, as are dinners at the Balsamand Palace restaurant, which overlooks the lake. The lake is free to enter, but getting to the gardens may cost a few dollars depending on the season. If you want to treat your tastebuds and your eyes, Balsamand Lake Restaurant you must visit!
There are a variety of activities available near the lake. Some of them are as follows:
- Walking around the Garden- This lovely lake is surrounded by gardens with a variety of trees, including mango, pomegranate, lime, plum, papaya, and banana. The water from the reservoir flows into the gardens via a beautiful waterfall, which is a must-see sight. Peacocks, blue bulls, jackals, and hundreds of fruit bats have also been spotted in the trees. The lake is also surrounded by a promenade, which is ideal for casual or evening walks with a unique view.
- Village Safari and Horse Riding- The hotel provides horseback riding, a village safari, and a dune experience, distinguishing it as a unique and extraordinary vacation destination.
- Handicrafts Shopping- There are large bazaars nearby where you can go for handicrafts shopping. The vibrant markets will undoubtedly take your breath away.
- Maha Mandir- It is located 3 kilometers from Balsamand Lake. The temple is well-known for its magnificent architecture. It was built in 1812 and has 84 pillars ornate with carvings and frescoes depicting various yoga postures, intricate motifs, and other types of artworks. Furthermore, its elegant royal hall is used for peaceful yoga classes.
Maha Mandir is open daily from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
A meal here will set you back INR 2500, but every penny is well spent. The restaurant serves delectable Indian fare, with a focus on North Indian cuisine, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The interiors are designed in a warm and vintage style, and with brick interiors, the restaurant is ideal for a romantic meal with your loved one!
The most convenient way to get to Balsamand Lake is to book a cab ahead of time or to arrange transportation with the hotel where you are staying. Traveling from the airport, you must first reach NH 65, from which you will take a left onto NH 114, which will take you to your destination. For your convenience, local buses are also available.
The Sheesh Mahal in Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, a characteristic feature of royal Rajput architecture, is a sight to behold. This magnificent piece of architecture, also known as the Glass Palace of Jodhpur, is adorned from ceiling to floor with intricate mirrorwork. These decorative ornaments are nicely complemented by the brightly colored plaster paintings of various religious figures.
The numerous decorative panels depict deities such as Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and Parvati, Lord Krishna playing the flute, and Lord Rama, among others, demonstrating the strong influence of religion and culture on the art of the time. The room’s ceilings and floors are inlaid with mirrors, earning it the nickname “Hall of Mirrors.” The blue, green, silver, and gold ornaments suspended from the ceiling, as well as the grand European chandelier, were later additions to this hall. The Sheesh Mahal in Mehrangarh was Maharaja Ajit Singh’s bedchamber during his reign over Jodhpur from 1679 to 1724.
- The time for visitors is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Parking costs are INR 50.
- Entry to the fort and the various museums is INR 250.
- Camera charges are free of cost.
Auto Rickshaws or shared Tuk-Tuks will take you to the fort from the city center, and as usual, they haggled with me about the fare, so I started with one-fourth of the quote and ended up paying half of the demand.
Moti Mahal Palace
Moti Mahal is the largest and brightest of the Mehrangarh Fort’s five historic rooms. The phrase “Palace of Pearls” literally translates to “Palace of Pearls.” It has earned this title because the finely crushed seashells and lime plaster brilliantly combine to give its magnificent surface a pearly, polished appearance. The marvelous room is an aesthetic dream come true, with complimentary design elements such as gold leaves, seashells, mirrors, and colorful windows all working together to please the eye.
History buffs will be interested to learn that the five alcoves in the room were actually hidden balconies through which the Maharaja’s five queens would silently observe the proceedings. This is the fort’s largest and grandest room, serving as the king’s main hall for carrying out his daily duties regarding his subjects. The walls are made of lime plaster and finely crushed seashells, which gives it a pearly finish, hence the name Moti Mahal.
These walls are punctuated with colorfully stained glass windows, which add a splash of color to the space. The royal throne was placed in the center of the chamber, with cushions provided along the walls for ministers to sit on during private meetings. The finishing touch is the ceiling, which is embellished with gold leaves, seashells, and mirrors to give the room a complete air of regality. This magnificent hall is said to have hosted the coronation ceremonies of many Jodhpur rulers.
To Get there Jodhpur Junction, the nearest railway station is only 1 km away. There are several open transportation options to get to the Moti Mahal. Although the location is well connected by roadways with major destinations and nearby places to Jodhpur, you can reach Moti Mahal via cabs and auto rickshaw from any location.
The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. every day of the week. Because it is in Rajasthan, which gets extremely hot during the summer, the best time to visit the Moti Mahal is from November to February.
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