Sightseeing in Jodhpur
When you’ve finished sampling Jodhpur’s urban gems, there are numerous day-long excursions from the city, which offer an insight into the ‘real Jodhpur’. Once outside the city limits, traditional pink stone homes make way for chocolate fields, brush and trees, or a bleak and brown landscape, depending on the season. If you’re visiting at the beginning of the monsoon, the landscape is surprisingly green – and if you keep your eyes peeled, you will spot deer, black buck, peacocks and camels foraging in fields. At least one excursion is recommended.
Bishnoi Village Tour :
The Bishnoi tribals have a unique philosophy that not only embraces nature but worships it in every form.
Not surprisingly, the fields surrounding the many Bishnoi villages here are replete with wildlife, notably deer, antelope, peacock and countless bird species. The Guda Bishnoi Lake, an artificial lake built as a watering hole for birds and animals, is a wildlife enthusiast’s delight. Take a guided tour that includes visits to Bishnoi homes and don’t forget your camera! Located 25 km from Jodhpur.
Mehrangarh Fort :
Stunningly beautiful, majestic and a keeper of a thousand royal secrets, the 450-year-old fort towers over the city. It is a symbol of Rajput valour and offers a tantalising glimpse into a slice of Rajasthan’s royal past.
Blue City :
Owned by the royal family, it is impeccably maintained and its many regal rooms and palaces have been converted into museums replete with paraphernalia. The audio guide is a must. Set aside at least half a day to soak it all in. Many return for a second visit! The fort lights up at night and the spectacle can be viewed from myriad rooftop restaurants at the base of this mammoth structure. If you’re on a whistle-stop visit to Jodhpur, try and make the time to visit Mehrangarh Fort. Absolutely our top pick.
Unfurled like an indigo canopy at the base of Mehrangarh Fort, the enigmatic Blue City is a sapphire jewel waiting to be unwrapped.
Clock Tower & Sardar Bazaar :
This is the original abode of the Brahmins who served royalty and the Rajputs of the ancient fortified city. Why blue? No one really knows. Legend has it that the Brahmins or priestly caste chose indigo to identify themselves as distinct from other communities. Accessible from within Mehrangarh Fort as well as externally. Stroll through the warren of lanes on your own or take a walking tour.
Built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in the 19th century, the Clock Tower or Ghanta Ghar is a beacon for Sardar Bazaar, the pulsating heart of the Old City.
Reverberating to the cries of vendors and bleating horns, and awash with colour, this bazaar has a distinct medieval flavor. If you have a penchant for chaos and navigating insistent vendors with equally insistent cattle and claustrophobic crowds, then Sardar Bazaar is your cup of tea – or masala chai! This is also where you can shop till you drop. Beware, they say you can never leave without making a purchase! Bargain hard.
Umaid Bhawan Palace :
Rising like a mystical mirage out of the desert is the home of Jodhpur’s royal family. Completed in 1944, this was one of the last great palaces to be built in India.
Jodhpur’s royal family occupies a section of the palace, the rest has been converted into a super-luxury hotel. There is a small museum – six rooms – which display mainly photographs of the Maharaja and his family, and a vintage car collection on the premises. Tip: Umaid Bhawan puts on a spectacular display from afar but with most of the premises off limits to visitors, you could give this one a miss.
Jaswant Thada :
Jaalis and jharokas, cenotaphs and chhatris… keywords in Jodhpur, whose architecture never fails to take your breath away. Jaswant Thada is a beautiful, white marble memorial with a large cenotaph at its centre.
Aptly called the ‘Taj Mahal of Marwar’, it was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in memory of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. This royal memorial is built of thin marble sheets that glow at sunrise and sunset. It sports sculptures, frescos, domes and pillars, two tombs, a royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs. Many a weary visitor welcomes its manicured gardens as a haven from the withering heat and to take in stunning views of the city. Located a stone’s throw from Mehrangarh Fort. Well worth a visit.
This ancient town was once the capital of Rajputana, centuries before Jodhpur became the royal epicentre.
It was given in dowry to the Rathore clan that later ruled Jodhpur and all of Marwar, when a princess from here married one of the Rathore rulers. Mandore thus became the seat of the Rathores, before they shifted their capital to Mehrangarh Fort in the mid-15th century.
There’s plenty to see in Mandore, which is an architectural delight. Don’t miss Mandore Gardens and its collection of well-preserved royal cenotaphs. Built of red sandstone, the cenotaphs are memorials to Jodhpur's former rulers. Climb the Mandore hill and stumble upon the old ruined city and its palace. Located 6 km from Jodhpur.
Once a rich trading centre, Osian is a faded version of its glorious past.
There are two main attractions – its many Jain and Hindu temples, and camel rides. The town’s ancient Jain temples, surprisingly small and all but claimed by foliage, are a delight to uncover. Located 60 km from Jodhpur.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) is a hugely popular cultural extravaganza celebrated in and around Mehrangarh Fort in October.
During this time, all of Jodhpur revels in the beats of local and international folk artistes, who celebrate the heritage of Rajasthan and create a new musical fusion.
World Sufi Spirit Festival: Celebrating Sufi music and featuring artistes from Rajasthan and overseas, this festival is held in Jodhpur and nearby Nagaur in February.
Marwar Festival commemorates the Rajput heroes of the Marwar region and shows off the art and culture of Jodhpur. In September-October, Mehrangarh Fort transforms into a giant stage and reverberates to folk music and dance performances.
Ker Sangri (made from the local Ker berry and Sangri bean), Laal Maas (a red curry that Maharajahs feasted upon after successful hunting trips) and Rajasthani Thali. Don’t miss the mirchi vada available at many street corners. Jodhpur is also noted for its sweet-meats.
Bandhni (tie-and-dye) and other textiles, chudi or glass and lac bangles, leather, antiques and spices (especially the famous Jodhpur chillies)