Jodhpur is set at the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. It was founded in 1459 A.D. by the chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs the descendents of whom still live there. Located on the foothill of a sandstone hill, Jodhpur rises like an oasis out of the vast desert and is an incredibly popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. Here, under the towering Mehrangarh Fort, you’ll experience the rich culture, history, and lifestyle of a people ruled by maharajahs for centuries. You’ll be able to shop for anything from tinsel to antiques and visit places that were designed for royalty.
Jodhpur’s highlight is Mehrangarh Fort, which is located on a high hill looking over the city and the graceful palaces, forts and temples are testament to the historic grandeur of this city.
The bazaars of Jodhpur have a range of items from tie dye textiles, embroidered leather shoes, lacquerware, antiques, carpets and puppets.
The Jodhpuri people are extremely hospitable and their lifestyle is fascinating. The women wear wide gathered skirts and a hip length jacket, with three quarter length sleeves and wear jewellery on almost every part of their body – head, forehead, ear, nose, neck, arms, wrist, fingers, waist, etc. Another feature of the culture of Jodhpur is the colorful turbans worn by men.
Things To Do
- Be awed by Mehrangarh Fort.
- Visit Mandore Garden – a garden of cenotaphs.
- Explore the riches of Umaid Bhavan Palace.
- Visit the markets around Clock Tower at night.
- Listen to the haunting sound of Rajasthani music.
- Relax at Balsammand Lake.
Gardens And Lakes
Although you wouldn’t associate gardens and lakes with India, Jodhpur has some beautifully landscaped gardens. Mandore Garden offers a rocky terrain and cenotaphs to Jodphur’s former rulers. Umed Garden has a zoo and an aviary, which will be popular with the children. Nehru Park has wonderful fountains and ponds.
Balsammand Palace with its lake offers you the chance to walk through trees, rose gardens and around pools covered with lilies. You’ll find groves of fruit trees and get the chance to see peacocks, bul-buls, jackals and hundreds of fruit bats in the trees. Maha Mandir, a hundred pillared temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is close to the lake. Kaylana Lake is an artificial lake that offers breathtaking sunsets. Sardar Samand Lake attracts countless varieties of migratory birds and is a great place to relax.
Thanks to the number of talented and skilled craftsmen in Jodhpur, shopping in Jodhpur is an exciting and rewarding experience. You’ll find textile dyers, metal engravers and die-makers. As one strolls through the streets of Jodhpur, you’ll be torn between what to buy – whether it’s hand-made furniture, embroidered clothing, soft leather or antiques. Or perhaps you’d like something that is the essence of Rajasthani culture like tinsel, beads, lehengas, or turbans.
The bazaars of Jodhpur are an antique hunter’s paradise offering many exquisite items such as silver jewellery, pottery, metal work, marble figures, paintings, ivory articles, wall hangings, famous Rajasthani puppets, clothes, books, sculptures, and designed furniture. However, your shopping experience would be incomplete if you didn’t buy a party of famous Jodhpuri breeches. Worn with traditional sherwani, it is India’s answer to power dressing of the west. The women can buy a beautiful tie-dye sari.
On Station Road you’ll find leather, embroidered shoes. Tripolia Bazaar offers handmade crafts and fabric Nai Sarak and Clock Tower will offer you great places to shop for leather, handicrafts and textiles.
When it comes to food and dining, you’ll have plenty of new foods to try and places to try them in. Jodhpur is no different from other world-class destinations in that you will find almost any kind of cuisine from Indian to Chinese to Continental to Mughlai. Don’t forget to try the famous Kachouri (a snack eaten with chutney) or, if you have a sweet tooth, try laddoos, which simply melt in your mouth. And you have to try a tall glass of buttermilk or ‘lassi’.
Whether it’s on a terrace of a palace or at the foot of a sand dune, there are restaurants, which offer superb Rajasthani cuisine and there are a host of other top places where the chefs will make sure your taste buds will leave satisfied.
This is a part of India steeped in history, tradition and culture and the museums and palaces offer you a wonderful insight into the grandeur of these bygone days. There are three main museums in Jodhpur – the Mehrangarh Fort Museum, the Umaid Bhavan Palace Museum and the Government Museum.
Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India and one of the most magnificent. It houses articles like arms (swords with jade studded hilts, rhino horn, ivory articles, shields studded with rubies, emerald and pearls), costumes and paintings, which form an integral part of the heritage. The fort also displays musical instruments and traditional clothing. The main attraction of this museum is the display of palaquins and pinjas (a sedan chair in which royalty were carried) – the craftsmanship of which will leave you gasping
Another fascinating section in the museum contains elephant howdahs. These wooden seats, used for riding on elephant backs, are mostly roofed with gold and silver embossed sheets. The fort has inside it several palaces, one of which, Pearl Palace, has the royal throne of Jodhpur, the Sringar Chowki.
The Government Museum, in the middle of the Umaid Public Gardens has a rich collection of weaponry, textiles, miniature portraits of various schools and local crafts.
Jaswant Thada is a royal cenotaph built to commemorate Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. It is a white marble memorial, built out of intricately carved sheets of marble which are extremely thin and polished.
The Umaid Bhavan Palace, which still houses the royal family, is made out of different coloured sandstone. Look out for the Throne Room with its exquisite Ramayana murals, a library, a private museum, an indoor swimming pool, a Billiards Room, tennis courts and unique marble squash courts. There’s even a zoo.