Jodhpur – Gateway to Thar. Previously known as Marwar, Jodhpur was the capital city of Rathores for a long time. Established in 1459, the city is named after its founder Rao Jodha of Rathore clan, and since then the city has seen its fine share of glorious days and tragedies. From its historical days, it has now grown to be the second largest city of Rajasthan.
Fondly referred to as the Princely State of India, Jodhpur is also known as “Suryanagari” or “Sun City”. The city is bathed in the golden glow of the sun throughout the year, and remains bright throughout the seasons, thus earning its title. The logical belief, which points to the fact that the houses surrounding the Mehrangarh fort were painted blue to keep the houses cool from the radiating heat, is dulled by the stories surrounding the earned title of Blue City. The folklore is as varied as one’s imagination.
The must visit fort built by city’s founder Rao Jodha, is built on a hillock. The entire city if Jodhpur surrounds the fort. History has it, that the fort has never been captured and stand majestically tall claiming its invincibility. The fortress, now a tourist place, has housed many kings and queens in its Maharaja Palace. The maharajas being Hindus believed in gods and built temples inside the fort to worship their favourite deities.
The palaces décor are enhanced by various spaces allocated for specific purposes
MotiMahal where the kings encouraged audiences
PhoolMahal – King’s entertainment chamber
ZenanaDeodi – Sanctum of queens
SheeshaMahal – Place of relaxation
The fort also has a cool and resplendent Chokelao Garden which are maintained to this day keeping the gardening traditions intact. At the garden, one can see a man or a boy feeding 200 and odd black kites in the noon between 15:30 -16:00 hours. If one has never witnessed so many kites at once, it’s a spectacle worth waiting for. While you are here, visit the Ranisar and Padamsar lakes which are well kept and are the main source of water to the city. The cool breeze from the lakes is sure to give you respite from the scorching heat of the sun.
Just about a kilometre away from Mehrangarh fort is the Jaswanttada, which has a mesmerizing multilevel garden and skilfully carved gazebos. The Thada boasts of fine carvings and the marble construction takes your breath away. The architecture does not fail to enchant your eyes while they fight to stay glued to the beautiful view of Umaid Bhavan from here.
Another popular tourist destination, Umaid Bhavan, is also a house to the royal family. A portion of the palace is kept for themselves by the royal, while part of it is taken care of by the Taj group of hotels. Staying at this hotel gives you a glimpse of the majestical era of kings and queens and the unparalleled hospitality that was bestowed upon its guest. It also has vintage car collection in its museum which takes you back to the yesteryears of the motor industry. The palace does everything in its power that it becomes hard for you to resist falling in love with the place.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
Formed in the year 2006, the main purpose of the park was to restore the rocky areas near the Mehrangarh Fort. The efforts of the ecologists are shown in the fact that the park now is home to more than 80 species of Thar Desert plants. The walking trails in the park offer you a glimpse of the hard work and efforts of the people that have gone into turning this 200 acres of rocky land into one of the finest greenery hubs.
Famous step-wells of Jodhpur
The step-wells were constructed by the kings as an external water source to the common people. These are synonymous with the Rajasthani architectural style. ToorjikaJhalra and MahilabhaagkaJhalra are often visited by the tourist. The former is quite popular compared to the latter and receives a lot of attention. Located inside the dwelling areas, there are numerous cafes and haveli’s surrounding the area.
Waterfalls during rainy seasons
The hidden gems of Jodhpur include the waterfall which comes alive during the monsoons. ArnaJharna and Kadamkandi are the two popular places among the localities and offer an amazing view of the region surrounding the falls. There are many more waterfalls situated on the hills close by which are worth a visit if you happen to be in Jodhpur during monsoons. Do check with the locals, for they know the places really worth visiting.
This popular tourist destination is worth your time if you are looking to have a glimpse of the bygone era. Apart from having a beautifully maintained garden, this place has a museum, “Hall of Heroes” and a temple dedicated to 33 crore Hindu gods. The artefacts and the statues found here are one of their kind, and the craftsmanship is praiseworthy.
Shopping at Jodhpur
NaiSadak is the city’s main shopping centre where you can find colourful saree’s and shoe shops. The market has a variety to choose from at bargaining rates. The shopkeepers are proud owners and are friendly people. A talk with them over the masala chai, offered as hospitality gesture to the customers enforces this point and makes you feel warmer from inside.
Jodhpur is well connected by road, rail and airports hence reaching the city is never a problem. If you have the patience to explore, the place never ceases to amaze you with its food and culture. The city stores volumes of stories that can only be witnessed in all its glory and splendour, when you visit the city of royals. Beyond doubts and folklore, this is one of the finest tourist destinations in India and a destination that doesn’t disappoint you.