May 192013
 

This bustling desert city is the second largest in Rajasthan after Jaipur. It was founded by Rao Jodha, the leader of the Rathore clan, in 1459 AD. The mammoth, imposing fortress (Meherangarh) dominates the rocky ridge with its eight gates leading out of the fort. Sprawling below the fort complex, cornflower blue houses cluster around a network of alleyways and bazaars. Jodhpur has character and charm in abundance and I absolutely loved it!

  • Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

    Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

  • Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

    Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

  • City Walls & Bazaar, Jodhpur

    City Walls & Bazaar, Jodhpur

  • Bishnois

    Bishnois

  • Cornflower Blue Houses, Jodhpur

    Cornflower Blue Houses, Jodhpur

  • Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

    Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

  • Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

    Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

  • Local Musician, Jodhpur

    Local Musician, Jodhpur

  • Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

    Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

  • Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

    Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

  • Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

    Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

  • Jodhpur from Mehrangarh Fort

    Jodhpur from Mehrangarh Fort

  • Love this!

    Love this!

  • Inside Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

    Inside Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

  • Opium Man, Jodhpur

    Opium Man, Jodhpur

  • Fresco at Mehrangarh Fort

    Fresco at Mehrangarh Fort

  • Market Stall, Jodhpur

    Market Stall, Jodhpur

  • View of Mehrangarh Fort from Raas Hotel, Jodhpur

    View of Mehrangarh Fort from Raas Hotel, Jodhpur

  • Yellow Sari at Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

    Yellow Sari at Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

  • Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

    Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

Things to see

Mehrangarh Fort

p1240146Rising out of a sheer 125 m high rock, Mehrangarh Fort is perhaps the most majestic of Rajasthan’s forts. Its forbidding ramparts are in sharp contrast to the flamboyantly decorated places within. The sandstone fort was built mainly between the mid 17th and mid 19th centuries, some years afterr the city was founded in 1459.

Umaid Bhavan Palace

p1240250This immense palace, built of creamy-pink sandstone and marble was designed for the Maharaja in the late 1920’s. Interiors are opulent, with Art Deco touches, gilded furniture and colored murals. The Palm Court, with a soaring 105-foot cupola, stops many visitors in their tracks, as do the royal suites, the former residences of the Maharaja Umaid Singh.

Blue Washed Houses and Markets

p1240176Surrounding the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort lies the city of Jodhpur with its blue washed houses and fascinating markets. Actually painted blue to ward off insects, this is the reason why Jodhpur is often referred to as the ‘Blue City’.  This is a great place to wander through the maze of alleyways and experience the many curious aspects of India that make it so compelling.  Impromptu barber shops, dentistry taking place on the pavement and a swathe of colour provided by huge numbers of saris for sale in the market place.  When it’s time for a break, treat yourself to a Lassi at the world famous Lassi Hotel.  Delicious.

Jaswant Thada

jaswant-thada-jodhpur3The Jaswant Thada is an architectural landmark located in Jodhpur. It is a white marble memorial built by Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh.
The monument, in its entirety, is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. These stones are extremely thin and polished so that they emit a warm glow when the sun’s rays dance across their surface.
Within this cenotaph, there are also two more tombs. The Jaswant Thada is a traditional cremation ground of Jodhpur rulers. The grounds also include exquisitely carved gazebos, a beautiful multi-tiered garden, and a small lake.


Bishnoi Villages

BishnoisThe arid country side south of Jodhpur is dotted with villages, the mud and thatch huts inhabited by the 450 year old Bishnoi tribe with its distinctive way of life. The villagers practice many traditional crafts including pottery and weaving (using cotton or camel hair).They are environmentalists in the fundamental sense, preserving the wildlife in scientific and logical routines evolved over the centuries of living with nature.

 

Places to Stay

Mihirgarh, near Jodhpur

 mihir-garh-fort-hotelAs we sped through the Thar desert, sand clouds trailing in our wake, a hazy mirage of golden stone crenellations came into view. Standing alone in splendid isolation is Mihir Garh, the result of a 12-year dream by Rajput husband-and-wife owners, Sidharth and Rashmi Singh. This place is different. This place is special. This is quite possibly my favourite place to stay in the whole of Rajasthan.

Lakshman Sagar, near Jodhpur

lakshman_sagar_3 The quirkiest place to stay in Rajasthan. En route between Jaipur and Jodhpur, this place is a hidden gem and well worth a break from city sightseeing for a few days relaxing interlude. Part fairy tale castle, part stylish boutique hotel, there is nothing else quite like it. The gorgeous swimming pool is literally carved into the rocky plateau and has stunning views over the surrounding desert. The pink mattress day beds that adorn the rocks are typical of the bizarre and ‘shabby chic’ style of this fascinating property. For something completely different and in total contrast to the regal splendour of Rajasthan’s ancient forts and palaces, a stay at Lakshman Sagar is highly recommended.

Raas

Dining with a ViewOnce an urban noble residence in the heart of Jodhpur, Raas and has been lovingly and painstakingly brought back to life and up to date by the inspired owners. The combination of the old and the new works extraordinarily well. It is young at heart and different and has a pretty central swimming pool, an enchanting spa, an atmospheric dining room a cool café, and al fresco terraces. It is the only luxury hotel located within Jodhpur’s Old Walled City and the views of the mighty Meherangarh Fort looming above are unbeatable.

Ajit Bhawan Palace

Dining CourtyardThe Ajit Bhawan Palace was once the residence of the family of the late General Maharaj Ajit Singhji. The original palace building is now the grand entrance to the Heritage hotel and accommodates the indulgent luxury suites. My personal favourite however are the Garden Rooms which have a nice outside terrace and look out over the lawns and gardens towards the rather unusual swimming pool. Al fresco dining here is a delight and there is regular entertainment provided by local musicians and performers. A great property and at a very reasonable price.