The city has a fort like other cities in Rajasthan, yet the one here is truly remarkable. The city has a rich royal history like other cities in Rajasthan, yet theirs is truly unique. This city is associated with a color like some other cities in Rajasthan, yet the naming of this city is the most accurate.
Yes, you guessed it right! This special city is Jodhpur! But what makes Jodhpur truly stand out from its other Rajasthani counterparts? A lot of things, allow us to elaborate in this Jodhpur travel guide.
History And Culture Of Jodhpur
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan and is also situated in the Thar Desert. Barring Jaisalmer, Jodhpur is the closest city to the majestic sand dunes of Thar. The city was once the capital of the Mewar and does justice to the title of being the cultural capital of Rajasthan.
This city was built by Rao Jodha, a Rajput ruler who founded the Marwar Kingdom. Jodhpur has almost always enjoyed internal autonomy even during the Mughal and the British empires.
The city exudes a certain sense of royalty and flamboyance in its personality, yet it’s too contrasting to stick to one lane. Jodhpur is a big city which is divided primarily into the old and the new town. The settlement around the fort, is the only part that is blue and it’s a blue that is fading as most houses were painted a really long time ago. The newer part of the city is where all the infrastructure and the hospitals and the colleges are at.
What’s interesting about Jodhpur is that it’s touristy, but not at the same time, it’s really not! You’re extremely likely to spend most of your time in the old part of the city around the fort, since that’s where all the action is. Walking around the mazy lanes, looking into these blue beautifully rustic houses and catching a glimpse of the Mehrangarh Fort towering over you and the inhabitants of Jodhpur may not seem as royal or luxurious. But all the same, it’s beautifully refreshing in its own way.
A lot of sightseeing in Jodhpur is based on the idea of walking around the old town, witnessing the everyday life of the local while catching a glimpse of the impressive Mehrangarh Fort. You’re at some point either going to be doing this or the reverse – looking over the blue city from the various viewpoints from the Fort, and therein lies the beauty. No matter where you’re viewing the city or the Fort from, the sights remain just as beautiful.
But that is not all that Jodhpur has to offer; it’s home to some truly beautiful temples, a cenotaph and a palace that houses one of the best hotels in the world.
As the cultural capital of Rajasthan, Jodhpur has always been significant, right from the time when the city was the powerseat of the Marwar regime. One of the easiest ways to distinguish Jodhpur from its peers is its fashion. You can see it in the various colorful turbans (Safa) that the men wear. The turban is also a great way to cover and protect the head from the unforgiving sun in the Thar Desert. The colorful chunris and the various types of jewelry worn on the head, neck, arms and wrist are for most parts specific to the Jodhpuri culture.
Polo has also been associated with Jodhpur since the advent of the British empire and Jodhpur, apart from contributing to a top class Polo team has helped also reinvent the fashion side of the sport by inventing the Jodhpurs (The English riding pants, which are still widely worn).
Food In Jodhpur
Jodhpur does not disappoint when it comes to food. You’re likely to find the more widely popular Rajasthani dishes like the Laal Maas (slow cooked lamb in chillies), The Dal Baati and the Makhaniya Lassi ( A lassi that is toppled with a lot of butter and dry fruits). The onion kachori is a dish that is revered in Jodhpur and is a must try.
Try the Gulab Jamun Ki Sabzi and the Papad Ki Sabzi, which may sound wrong at first but is delicious! If you’re in Jodhpur in the winters, order the Haldi Ki Sabzi, which would not only satiate you, but also keep you healthy!
How To Get To Jodhpur
Getting To Jodhpur By Air
Jodhpur has an airport, but it’s not very well connected to all the metro cities except Mumbai and Delhi. So you may need to get connecting flights if you’re visiting from other cities.
Getting To Jodhpur By Train
Jodhpur is extremely well connected by train, there’s more than a few trains from Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai to Jodhpur Junction. The only place we do not recommend taking a train to Jodhpur is from Udaipur, as the journey by road is very scenic.
Getting To Jodhpur By Road
Jodhpur is about 8 hours away from Udaipur, 12 hours away from Delhi and within the 5-7 hour range from other Rajasthani cities like Pushkar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Driving to Jodhpur or taking the bus are both solid options.
Best Time To Travel To Jodhpur
The best time to visit Jodhpur, just like the rest of Rajasthan, is in the winter. This is anytime between October and March as the weather is extremely pleasant. If you can time your trip to be in Jodhpur for a festival like Diwali or Holi, you’re sure to witness a lot of fervor and celebrations.
We recommend avoiding Jodhpur from March to July as the weather can be quite unbearable, primarily owing to the extreme heat and a lack of monsoon. Rajasthan gets a little bit of rain from late July/early August onwards and the weather gets really pleasant so August is an option but if it doesn’t rain for a few days, you’ll quite literally feel the heat.
Getting Around Jodhpur
We recommend you walk around the old city. The lanes are too narrow to fit a car, your only option to navigate the old city are your trusted feet and the auto rickshaw (don’t hesitate to haggle!). You’re quite likely to get lost in the winding lanes of Jodhpur and when it’s just too tiring to figure out the way on your own, call for a rickshaw as the rickshaw drivers will help you navigate to the restaurant or hotel you want to go to.
Outside of the old city, Ola and Uber are both options to explore places like the Umaid Bhawan Palace (a world-renowned hotel and the residence of the royal family of Jodhpur) You’d most likely be picked up from the old tower at the outskirts of the city as there’s no way for a car to come inside.
Breaking Stereotypes About Jodhpur
“Jodhpur just has the Mehrangarh Fort.”
While the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is absolutely mesmerizing both from the outside and beautiful to explore from the inside, Jodhpur has a lot more to offer than just the fort.
Pay a visit to the Jaswant Tada, a cenotaph built to pay homage to the fallen heroes of the Royal Marwar Army. The Umaid bhavan palace and museum. The royal residence of the rulers of Jodhpur and a hotel that has been crowned the best in the world on more than one occasion. Even the museum inside the fort is amazing and hosts a car collection of the Maharajas that will leave you green with Envy.
If food is what brings you to Jodhpur, head to the humble Shaandar Snack house for the most unique and delicious dishes which are local to Jodhpur or grab an Onion Kachori at one of the street side shops.
Head to the Fort as early as you can, there’s a lot to explore here. Sitting on top of a rugged cliff, immense restoration work has gone into bringing back Meherangarh’s former glory days back.
We recommend that you take the audio tour, as you understand the history behind arguably the most important monument in the Marwar history. The Fort, even though it has fallen a few times, was one of the most insurmountable structures of its era.
Mehrangarh Fort is so stunning, Christopher Nolan came to Jodhpur to just get a glimpse of the fort in the background of The Dark Knight Rises.
Not too far away from the Mehrangarh Fort is the Jaswant Thada. This is a cenotaph which was built to pay homage to the fallen heroes of the Royal Marwar Army. Jaswant Thada also acts as the royal cremation ground of the royal family of Marwar.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Palace, hotel and museum. The Umaid Bhawan Palace is the primary residence of the royal family of Marwar and is one of the more recently-built palaces. The Hotel wing is run by Taj Properties and has been voted as the best hotel in the world on multiple occasions. The museum has a wide array of interesting artefacts transcending different eras. The garden houses a list of vintage cars owned by the Maharajas which would leave you green with envy!
In contrast with the Mehrangarh Fort and the sleepy old city of Jodhpur, the Umaid Bhawan Palace and its luxuries provide a sharp contrast to how you perceive this charming city.
Shandar Sweet House / Shandar Restaurant
The absolute favorite place to go to for authentic Jodhpuri cuisine. This is an all vegetarian restaurant that serves dishes you are only likely to find in a home in Jodhpur. The sabzis served here are something absolutely try as you may not find them anywhere else.
How Many Days Should I Spend In Jodhpur?
Two days would be sufficient for you to explore Jodhpur in its entirety. Here’s the itinerary:
On Day 1, Visit the Umaid Bhawan Palace and Museum in the day, the Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada in the afternoon.
On Day 2, you can explore the blue streets of the old city, and go shopping for souvenirs.
Is Jodhpur Worth Visiting?
Jodhpur is a city that’s steeped in Rajasthani history and culture. Apart from that, its location in the Thar Desert and the blue houses of the old city makes Jodhpur quite unique from the other cities in the state.
Is One Day Enough For Jodhpur?
One day may not be enough for you to explore Jodhpur in its entirety. We recommend that you keep aside at least two days for your trip to the Blue City.
Is Jodhpur Better Than Jaisalmer?
Jodhpur and Jaisalmer both have their own charm. While Jaisalmer radiates the majesty of the desert with its yellow sandstone structures, Jodhpur beautifully offsets the landscape with its blue buildings. Jaisalmer has fort, in which people still live and make a living out of, which makes for an interesting sight, while Jodhpur has multiple palaces and forts.
Why Houses In Jodhpur Are Painted Blue?
There’s no agreed-upon theory for why the houses in Jodhpur are painted blue. Some say that the blue keeps the houses cooler, some believe that it keeps termites at bay, while another theory links it to social status.
Which Is The Best Area To Stay In Jodhpur?
Near Mehrangarh Fort – Considering it’s the most iconic landmark of Jodhpur, it makes sense to stay here as it means being in close proximity to the Fort, Jaswant Thada and the Jodhpur Stepwell.
Ratanada – This is a good place to stay in if you’re interested in the many places of worship and historical spots in Jodhpur. One advantage Ratanada has is that it has great commute options.
Sardar Market – To blend into the day-to-day life of Jodhpur, consider staying around Sardar Market. You can explore the streets on foot and shop at your leisure here.
What Is Famous For Shopping In Jodhpur?
Bandhani – The vibrant colors of a Bandhani cloth is something that’ll remind you of Rajasthan. Make sure that you get your hands on them!
Juti – The footwear of Jodhpur are iconic, sticking to the colorful theme that’s quintessentially Rajasthani.
Silver Jewelry – Your trip to Jodhpur can work wonders for your wardrobe, thanks to the intricate silver jewelry you can buy here. There are silver artifacts and showpieces on sale too!
How Far Is Jodhpur From Jaisalmer?
Jodhpur is about 280 km away from Jaisalmer, and it’ll take you roughly five hours by road. There are buses and cabs that ply between the two cities.
Is Jodhpur Safe At Night?
Jodhpur is generally a safe city for tourists. But all the same, we recommend that you stay clear of shady areas of the city, especially at night.
How Far Is Mount Abu From Jodhpur?
Jodhpur is about 260 km away from Mount Abu, the most prominent hill station in Rajasthan. It’ll take you about 4-5 hours by road. You can also take a train from Abu Road to Jodhpur Junction, which would take you about the same time.