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.
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.
History & Culture of Jodhpur
Jodhpur 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 town. The settlement around the fort, it’s only this 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 is interesting about Jodhpur is that its touristic 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 Meherangarh Fort, towering over you and the inhabitants of Jodhpur may not seem as royal or luxurious but its beautifully refreshing in its own way.
While there is no one particular reason why Jodhpur was painted blue, the reasons that exist make sense. To begin with, the share of blue that’d you find on buildings and homes in Jaipur is a natural coolant that protects its residents from the harsh heat of the sun. It is also a color that does well repelling mosquitoes and other insects. Blue is also supposed to have therapeutic properties and helps lower and control the blood pressure. Whether it is one of the reasons above or something else, The blue painted houses are extremely pleasant to look at,
A lot of sight-seeing 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 Meherangarh fort. You are 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 how many viewpoints you see city from the fort or how many angles you get a glimpse of the fort from. The sights are just as beautiful
But that is not all that Jodhpur has to offer, it is home to some truly beautiful temples, a cenotaph and a palace that houses one of the best hotels in the world.
Jodhpur as the cultural capital of Rajasthan, 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 the fashion. You can see it in the various colorful turbans (Safa) that men wear. The turban is also a great way to cover and protect the head from the unforgiving Sun in the Thar. The colorful chunris and the various types of jewellery 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)
Jodhpur does not disappoint when it comes to food. You are 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 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 in its preparation and will leave you wanting for more. If you’re in Jodhpur in the winters order the Haldi (turmeric) ki Sabzi
How to get to Jodhpur
By Air – Flying to Jodhpur is an option, you are most likely going to be flying from Mumbai or Delhi it is not as well connected by air to some other big metro, however finding a flight with a stop in Delhi or Mumbai isn’t too tough.
By Rail – Jodhpur is extremely well connected by rail, there’s more than a few trains from Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai. The only place we do not recommend taking a train to Jodhpur from Udaipur, as the journey by road is prettier.
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 is Jodhpur just like the rest of Rajasthan is in the winter. Which 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 fervour and celebrations.
We don’t 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 will quite literally feel the heat
Getting Around Jodhpur
We recommend walking 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 ( always be negotiating). You are 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 Bhavan Palace ( a word renowned hotel and the residence of the royal family of Jodhpur) You would 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 fort : While the 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.
Meherangarh Fort – Head to the as early as you can, there’s a lot to explore in the fort which lay vacant not too long ago. Sitting on top of a rugged cliff, immense restoration work has gone into bringing back Meherangarh’s former glory days back.
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.
Meherangarh 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.
Jaswant Thada – Not too far away from the Meherangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada an homage to the rajput soldiers. Jaswant Thada also acts as the royal cremation ground of the Royal famly of Marwar
Ummaid Bhavan Palace – Palace, Hotel and Museum, The 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.
In contrast with the Meherangarh Fort and the sleepy old city of Jodhpur, the Ummaid Bhavan 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 veg restaurant that serves dishes you are only likely to find in a home in Jodhpur. Haldi (turmeric), Papad and Gulab Jamun (Milk Solid and Cottage Cheese) ki Sabzi are some dishes that you must absolutely try as you may not find them anywhere else, and if you do not as tasty.