Jodhpur

Jodhpur is a city with many names. Some call it the “Sun City” because of its warm and sunny weather through the year; the “Blue City” because of the colour of the houses that dominate the landscape; and even “Gateway to Thar,” as it is sits on the edge of the Thar Desert. However, don’t let the names confuse, Jodhpur isn’t a chaotic city still trying to find its way. It’s just a city with so much to offer that a single name will not do it justice.

The historic city dates back to the year 1459 AD when it was founded by Rao Jodha. Home to a number of important forts, palaces and temples, Jodhpur gives a glimpse of Old India, like never before. From the moment you enter the city, one structure will follow you, no matter where you go—The Mehrangarh Fort. One of the largest forts in Rajasthan, the Mehrangarh fort houses the Maharaja’s palace, several temples, and an impressive botanical garden that is still maintained well. Even Batman could not escape this fort’s glances! See if you can spot the locations where Christopher Nolan shot parts of the The Dark Knight Rises.

After a long day at the fort, come back to the present day and pamper yourself with a massage and meal at one of the most luxurious hotel in the world. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was the largest private residency in Rajasthan and this golden sandstone palace now welcomes visitors to ogle at the artwork, sit in its vintage cars, and wander through its private museum.

While in Jodhpur, the famous jodhpuri juttis, delicate traditional leather shoes must be picked up from the city’s main shopping area, Nai Sadak. The market is picturesquely lined with colorful shops and tempting restaurants with traditional Rajasthani food. Just like the city’s architecture, the cuisine has remained untouched for all these centuries. So take a seat and eat like a king.

Sights & Activities

Meherangarh Fort

One of India’s largest and most formidable forts, Meherangarh was built by the Rathore Dynasty between the 17th and 18th centuries, and offers breathtaking views of the city of Jodhpur through its cannon embankments. Within its imposing walls stand several magnificent palaces, including the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), and Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), each admired for its elaborate carvings, spacious courtyards and cobbled walkways. The gates of the fort still carry memories of the dynasty at war – like cannonball imprints left by attacking armies. Take a walk down Jodhpur’s history at the fort museum, which showcases paraphernalia from the royal lifestyle and heritage of the Rathores, and an exquisite collection of royal palanquins.

Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel

Built in exquisite desert sandstone above the city of Jodhpur, the Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the last grand palaces built by the Indian royalty. It is not only the largest private residence in the world, but a part of it is also open to travellers as the grandiose Taj Hotel – a perfect blend of the palace’s old-world luxury with modern day comforts. It took 15 years to finish the magnificent façade of this quintessentially Rajasthani palace, with a whopping 347 rooms, and it is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, who envisioned it to replace Mehrangarh Fort as the icon of Jodhpur. His grandson, the present Maharaja, still lives in one of the three parts of this magnificent palace – the second is the Taj Hotel, and the third is a museum featuring fascinating paraphernalia from 20th century Jodhpur, including a collection of vintage cars owned by the royal family over the years. If you have time for only one experience in Jodhpur, choose this.

Jaswant Thada

Though neither as grand nor as popular as the Taj Mahal, the Jaswant Thada is an exquisite memorial built painstakingly with thin, carved sheets of white marble, that exude a warm glow when the sun’s rays strike them. The cenotaph depicts the sheer genius of the marble sculptors with its striking jali (net) work. Like the Taj Mahal is a lover’s ode to his wife, the Jaswant Hada is a son’s ode to his father; the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Sardar Singh, built it in memory of his father, Jaswant Singh II in 1899. It then became a traditional cremation ground for the rulers of Jodhpur, and gradually came to be surrounded by a naturally layered garden, a small lake, and intricately carved gazebos.

LODGING IN Jodhpur

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