Known as the Blue City of India, Jodhpur is the second biggest city in the Indian province of Rajasthan. It is additionally lovingly known as Sun City because of the extensive heat waves that enters the city all year. This is one reason for the indigo painted homes you found in this Blue City. The indigo color acts as a natural coolant during the hot summer months.
Jodhpur Travel Guide – Best Things To See and Do in This Blue City of India
The magnificient Mehrangarh Fort that overshadows the Blue City of Jodhpur, is a brilliant exhibition of architectural design. A little bit un-touristy, it’s a bit of an injustice to skip this beauty out when travelling through Rajasthan on your India trip. It’s simply an awesome place to visit and you won’t regret spending a day or two exploring the lanes of this Blue city.
Obviously, the main fascination and what tops interest for travelers is the astonishing ‘blue city ‘ which incorporates many blue-painted houses spread everywhere; also as a sign of the high caste Brahmins living in those houses. According to the local stories, the Brahmin community (the priestly caste of India) painted their houses blue in order to differentiate themselves from the lower-caste communities, and since that time, blue houses are linked with the Brahmins.
Past this, there is additionally a heap of cool activities in Jodhpur being the very meaning of customary Rajasthani culture, you’ll certainly have an experience investigating this old gem of the city.
Here’s a definitive Jodhpur travel guide for the Blue City of India!
How to reach the Blue City of Jodhpur?
The Blue City of Jodhpur is located right in the middle of the ‘golden triangle’ route. You can easily reach here by train or bus from Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra or Ajmer. It also has a domestic airport which has daily flights from Delhi and few other places.
The easiest, most stress free way to reach Jodhpur is to hire a personal driver. There are many companies which will provide these services and typically you will pay a fee per kilometre in return of travel at your ease.
Getting Around Jodhpur
By far the easiest way to get around Jodhpur is to use UBER. You can also download and use OLA, which is India’s local version of UBER. You can also easily grab a tuk tuk or rickshaw anywhere in this city in you wish, however don’t forget to haggle and negotiate the price before.
Best Things to See in Jodhpur
Rising opposite and invulnerable from a rough slope that itself stands 120m over Jodhpur’s horizon, Mehrangarh is one of the most grand fortresses in India. The structure materials of this majestic fort were etched from the rock on which the fort stands, the structure converges with its base. Still run by the Jodhpur regal family, Mehrangarh is pressed with history and legend. As perhaps the biggest stronghold in India, the Mehrangarh Fort was previously a royal residence and now a museum. It is the most well preserved fort that you can explore in India.
Located at short distance to north of the focal point of Jodhpur, Mandore was the capital of Marwar before Jodhpur. Its nurseries, complete with rock porches and home to perky dim Langurs, contain an assortment of dim red cenotaphs of Jodhpur’s rulers.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Maharaja Gaj Singh II actually lives in part of this ridge castle, built in 1929 for Maharaja Umaid Singh. It was planned by the British draftsman Henry Lanchester and took in excess of 3000 laborers in 15 years to finish its 365 rooms, at an expense of around INR 11 million in those times. And yes, this castle is the place the well known couple Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra got hitched!
The Museum (9am to 5pm), which incorporates photos of the elegant art-decor interior plus an amazing collection of elaborate clocks, is the only part open to casual visitors.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
This 72-hectare park – and model of ecotourism has been affectionately reestablished and planted with local species to show the characteristic variety of the district. The park is befuddled with walking trails that take you up to the city walls, around Devkund lake, spotting local and migratory birds, butterflies and reptiles.
Located a short distance from the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph built in 1899. This white marble mausoleum serves as the cremation grounds for the royal family of Marwar. The cenotaph has some beautiful carved-marble lattice screens and is hung with portraits of old rulers going back to the 13th century.
The century-old clock tower is a city landmark surrounded by the vibrant sounds, sights and smells of Sadar Market. The clock tower is a great place to shop and also a souvenir heaven. There are loads of shawls here as well as silky scarves. Other than that you can find antique artifacts, wooden furniture, silver, gold, carpets, scarves, puppets, dyes textiles, bangles, shoes and bags here all full of Rajasthani colorful touch.
Toorji Ka Jhalra
This geometrically magnificient step-well (also known as a baori or wav) has been rejuvenated after decades as a rubbish dump. Its clean lines and clear, fish-filled water will leave you mesmerized. Built in the 1740’s, this step well was one of the main sources of water during ancient times. Like all of the step wells you will see throughout India, the Toorji Ka Jhalra has multi-level steps allowing you to reach the water at any level.
Activities and Experiences in Jodhpur
Get Lost Wandering the Blue Streets
Spend the day wandering aimlessly through the blue colored streets and admire all the stunning architecture which dates back to more than 150 years. You can easily walk from the main clock tower, through the alleys and all the way around to the back side of the Fort. Jodhpur old city area is best explored on foot.
Climb Rooftops for the Best Views
There will no doubt be plenty of rooftops where you can capture those stunning shots of the Mehrangarh Fort and the iconic blue houses of Jodhpur. A lot of these views can be found by heading up to one of the many rooftop cafes. Numerous rooftop cafes can be found around the Fort area which offers the excellent view with tasty food.
Bishnoi Village Safari
Started by Kings of Jodhpur to give their Indian and foreign guests a glimpse of rich cultural life of Rural Village Tour Jodhpur, Rajasthan, around their state of Marwar. This Royal passion has evolved over the years as the famous Bishnoi Village Tour which is an attraction around Jodhpur.
The Bishnoi’s are an eco Friendly sect of Hindu religion. It is one of the different community of Rajasthan famous for their rich cultural Rajasthani life and their true love for nature and animals. Bishnoi’s come out as the true protectors of the wild life, the flora & fauna and the culture. There’s also opium ceremony to experience here during the tour where the head of the house will offer you handmade opium to drink out of respect.
Camel Safari in Osian
The ancient town of Osian is located in the Jodhpur district in western India of Rajasthan. This little town is often known as the ‘Gateway to Thar’ because of its location that is on the border of the Thar Desert. You can go on a day tour for this dessert safari. This thrilling activity is good for enjoying a unique desert experience playing with sand dunes or sleeping under stars in the desert. The camel ride over the sand dunes is safe and quite enjoyable too.
Where to Eat in Jodhpur
Have dinner overlooking the fort. So many places will have dancers or snake charmers come in and put on a little show for you with traditional dance and folk songs.
Enjoy a Rajasthani Thali
For those who are unaware of what actually a Thali is, it’s basically a meal served on a platter with an array of little dishes. Depending on the region where you’re in, the platter will typically have plain rice or breads in the middle (roti, parantha, puri or naan), and then you’ll have a selection of curries, dry vegetables, Lentil, curd, pickle etc.
The idea behind the Thali is that you get many different flavors in one plate: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy. It’s basically a party for your taste buds, which makes it very fun to eat!
Don’t forget to eat Mirchi Vada – the most famous food of town!
Castle View, which is a haveli (mansion) that also happens to have a rooftop restaurant. Reaching Castle View involves navigating a maze of blue narrow streets and climbing a series of staircases, but once you reach the top, you have Mehrangarh Fort directly in front of you. It is a great little spot to watch the sunset with a drink in hand while the whole city was set aglow.
For something a little more upscale, Indique is a very popular choice for sunset drinks or al fresco dining. This restaurant is located in the Pal Haveli Hotel, which is a luxury property just north of the Clock Tower. This restaurant is a bit further away from the fort, so you don’t get those close up views, but it’s a nice little splurge.
Risala at Umaid Bhawan Palace is another fine dining but expensive place to eat, although it’s luxury at its best. Blue Bird Cafe & restaurant is highly popular with the tourists here.
Baradari – This partly al-fresco restaurant at RAAS Jodhpur, serves up a range of cuisines from Thai, Mediterranean and regional flavour.
Chokelao Mahal- How about eating a meal sitting at Mehrangarh Fort with a bird’s-eye view of the city to boot! This restaurant is situated within the fort’s walls and is accessed by a special jeep that ferries you from the gate. Order the Silver Thali meal that comes in silverware.
On The Rocks Near Ajit Bhawan, On The Rocks serves Indian cuisine. But the main reason to visit it is the cosy bar, which has a decent wine list and good cocktails to sip while listening to the melodious tunes of Rajasthan.
Jodhpur Festivals and Fairs
When it’s about celebrations and festivities, Jodhpur takes the central stage in whole of India. This historical blue city becomes more lively during the festivals full of colours, folk music, dances, bazaars, local delicacies and sweets. It is best to plan your trip around September to October when major festivals take place.
Marwar Festival or Maand Festival.
Held on the eve of Sharad Poornima, in the grounds of the Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhavan Palace and Mandore, this two-day festival is celebrated as a tribute to the heroes of Rajasthan. The celebration is done mainly through music and dance performances by the local artists who have managed to keep alive the memories of the mighty and valiant rulers, and the battles fought by them on this great land.
Masses of crowds gather to listen to the haunting melodies depicting the saga of these long lost warriors and watch the live performances of artists coming from the different corners of the country. Apart from this, you can also enjoy the Polo matches and the Camel Tattoo Show, which is a camel cavalry procession of the Indian Border Security Force.
Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival (14th to 16th January each year)
Well, this one is quite a new entry in the list of Jodhpur celebrations and quite a hit too! As the name suggests, it is a kite flying festival (more like a contest, really) where best kite flyers from all across the country (or even abroad) come to the Polo Grounds each year, to participate and show off their skills. The idea is to try and cut off your opponent’s kite while soaring higher into the sky. The higher you go without getting cut off by someone else, the better your chances are of winning.
Jodhpur Rajasthan International Folk Festival is a not-for-profit roots music festival endorsed by UNESCO as a “Peoples” Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development”. The current King Gaj Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur is the Chief Patron of Jodhpur RIFF, Sir Mick Jagger, main lead of the rock band The Rolling Stones is International Patron of Jodhpur RIFF.
Timed to coincide with “Sharad Purnima” the brightest full moon of the year in north India, Jodhpur RIFF features a series of spectacular concerts and events based in and around Mehrangarh Fort, voted “Asia’s Best Fortress” by Time Magazine. This festival is held around October every year. Check the dates here.
Gangaur Festival (March to April)
Celebrated all over Rajasthan and some parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Gangaur festival is a very colourful and vibrant festival celebrated with great fervor and dedication predominantly by the women. Today thousands of unmarried women in Rajasthan dress up in colourful garbs and fast for 18 days (one meal a day) in the hopes of finding a suitable husband, while the married women worship Gauri and fast for the health and long lives of their husbands.
During the final couple of days, colorful processions wind their way through the blue city accompanied by the local bands. There is a lot of singing and merriment involved. Apart from marital fidelity, Gangaur is also the celebration of spring and harvest. This 18 day festival usually commences the day after Holi.
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