Jodhpur is the second largest city of Rajasthan in India. The foundation stone for the marvelous city, an epitome of rich cultural heritage was laid by Rao Jodha in the 15th century. Jodhpur is known as ‘Sun City’ for the warm bright weather it basks in throughout the year.
An aerial view of the old city of Jodhpur depicts a sprawling blue city which is the reason for Jodhpur to get the descriptor of ‘Blue City’.
The reason being the blue color keeps the house cool in scorching hot summers. It is also believed that the founder of the city Rao Jodha asked the Brahmin houses to be painted in blue which could be easily distinguished with other castes. Later on, as the descriptor became a symbol of the city everyone started to paint their houses blue.
Jodhpur has several remarkable architectural masterpieces which articulate the amazing history and past glory of the former capital of Marwar Kingdom. Join us as we walk you through the must do things and top places to visit in Jodhpur:
How to Reach Jodhpur
Jodhpur has a domestic airport well connected with major Indian and is located about 5 Km from the city. The nearest international airport to Jodhpur is in New Delhi well connected with major international cities.
There is a good frequency of buses connecting Jodhpur with Delhi and other cities in Rajasthan like Udaipur, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. So once in Delhi, you can take one of these buses to Jodhpur, there are both AC and Non AC buses.
Jodhpur has a good network of railway connecting all the major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.
Our recommended option would be to drive on your own or hire a cab. The Jodhpur highway is in very good condition. There are plenty of places to see on the way between the cities of Rajasthan and plenty of photo opportunities of villages and wildlife.
Places to Visit in Jodhpur
The magnificent fort of Mehrangarh one of the largest castles in the world is perched on a hill outcrop and commands a splendid view over the city of Jodhpur. The Fort built in red stone houses several palaces which have some of the exceptionally intricate carvings of sandstone. The fort also houses a museum with a wide collection of palanquins, armors, paintings and other royal artifacts of historical importance.
At dusk, the fort is flooded with golden light which emanates its regal glow above the city of Jodhpur.
Close to Mehrangarh Fort is the wonderful 19th-century marble memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II which emanates a tranquil aura. Jaswant Thada also known as ‘Taj Mahal of Marwar’ is a place for royal crematorium surrounded by a peaceful lake and also houses several cenotaphs of the royal family. The marble used in the construction is of high quality with elegant carvings and glows with an orange glow when the sun rays fall on the monument.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid Bhawan Palace is the residence of the current King Gaj Singh and his family. The palace houses a museum which is open to the public and a major section is turned into a hotel managed by the Taj group. There is also a museum with an amazing exhibit of classic vintage cars which is definitely not to be missed. The museum displays several artifacts of historical importance like ornate clocks, elegant perfume bottles, impressive crockery and cutlery and photographs of the royal family.
Situated 9km north of the center of Jodhpur, Mandore was the capital of Marwar prior to Jodhpur. The Mandore garden houses some of the remarkable royal cenotaphs in Rajasthan. The cenotaphs showcase a wonderful blend of Buddhist and Jain architectural features.
The garden home to frolicking langurs and hawkers also has ruins of the Mandore fort, a Hall of Heroes dedicated to Rajput folk heroes and a temple to 33 crore Hindu gods.
Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower)
Ghanta Ghar was constructed by the Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur and dominates the market area named after his name. The working clock and the imposing tower is beautifully illuminated with colors after dusk. Clock Tower is a landmark popular for the local restaurants to try some lip-smacking local delicacies and to shop to the heart content for some of the exquisite handicrafts and fabrics.
Rao Jodha Desert Park
The Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park is located near the historic Mehrangarh Fort. It was opened to the public in 2011. The park consists of over 200 species of native desert plants, volcanic rock, and sandstone formations.
The trail starts from the Visitors Centre where you can get information on the park and walking trail maps. There is a small plant nursery, souvenir shop, restrooms and a cafe on the premises. There are different trails which let you explore the desert park on your own or hire a Naturalist for a guided walk. Do remember to carry hats, sunscreen, good walking shoes and plenty of water.
Best Experiences and Things to do in Jodhpur
Enjoy Majestic Views on Flying Fox
A visit to Mehrangarh fort is incomplete without experiencing the thrill of zip-lining. The swift glide rewards with a majestic view of the Mehrangarh fort and its ramparts and the stunning views of the old city of Jodhpur. The 6 separate zip lines have circuits that last up to 1.5 hours and operates throughout the year.
Explore the Old city Jodhpur – The Blue City
The old city of Jodhpur is a labyrinth of narrow alleys winding around the iconic age-old houses or mansion washed with blue. Women wearing striking bright colored skirts embellished with embroidery work and veiled face and men wearing sober or white colored dhoti kurta and a multi-colored turban portrays the real Jodhpuri culture. The guest house we stayed during our trip the Blue House was a 490-year-old family house located in the bustling old city of Jodhpur.
Indulge in Local cuisines
One of the best ways to experience the Marwari culture is to indulge in savoring the delicious traditional delicacies of Jodhpur. From Chaats to desserts and appetizing snacks Jodhpur offers with a wide range of delectable savories.
Go on a Shopping Spree
The bustling traditional market is an ideal place to satiate the fascinations of shopaholics. The vivid colors of the traditional garments, Rajasthani dresses, sarees, and shoes, the sweet wafting fragrance of the local spices and an assortment of bric-a-brac will spoil one for the choices offered. The prominent ones are the Tripolia Bazaar if you are looking for handicrafts and textiles and Sardar Market for spices and souvenirs.
Do a Bishnoi Village Safari
Hop onto a Bishnoi Village Safari if you are looking for an authentic experience of cultural aspects of rural Rajasthan. The unique tour will take through different communities like potters, weavers and provide an insight into their lifestyle and heritage especially the Bishnois. One can also some of the exotic wild animals in the Guda Bishnoi Village.
Stay in a Heritage House
During our visit to Jodhpur, we stayed in the Blue House Guest House which is a 490 years old traditional mansion (Havelis). The entire building is painted in blue with each of the rooms decorated with antique artworks and paintings collected by the host over the years. The host also owns a restaurant which serves delicious Rajasthani thalis. The dinner was served to us right on the terrace of our floor which offered a majestic view of the Mehrangarh Fort.
There are plenty of accommodation options in the old city of Jodhpur where the traditional mansions (Havelis) have been turned into guest houses and hotels. You will find plenty of them close to the Mehrangarh Fort in the Old City of Jodhpur. Check here for the options in the old city.
Jodhpur also has an array of luxury hotels and resorts for visitors looking for high-class comforts. Some of the top recommended ones are Fairfield by Marriott Jodhpur, Vivanta Hari Mahal, The Ajit Bhawan Palace, and Ranbanka Palace.
Explore Places near Jodhpur
The best way to explore the tourist places in Rajasthan is to do a road trip. You can visit places at your own pace and even get to explore some of the offbeat places, villages, wildlife in natural habitat and rural part of Rajasthan which is a great experience. On our road trip from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, we got visit some of the unique and interesting places which you can visit on a day trip from Jodhpur.
Also Read: Tips for Planning a Perfect Road Trip
About 3 hours ride from Jodhpur is the small quaint town of Khichan. The village is popular for the fascinating bird watching experience of Demoiselle Cranes. These birds that migrate to Khichan from Eurasia and Mongolia can be seen during the winter months from November to March. And travelers and bird enthusiasts from all over the country head to this small quaint to watch this spectacular flock of birds. Also, worth check here are the remarkable ancient Havelis with beautiful wooden doors and intricate artwork.
Another popular place to visit near Jodhpur is the ancient town of Osian couple of hours from Jodhpur. Osian known for the Osian temples consist of Jain and Hindu temples dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. The temples have intricate carvings on temples walls, towers and pillars and are decorated with remarkable sculptures.
Another interesting and unique attraction less than an hours drive from Jodhpur is the Om Banna Temple or Bullet Banna Temple. The shrine located in Pali district is dedicated to the Bullet Motorcycle and is visited by devotees for a safe onward journey.
Best Time to Visit Jodhpur
The best time to visit Jodhpur is the winter months from November to March when the weather is pleasant but it can get really chilly at night. These months are also the peak season and you can expect the tourist crowd. Some popular Jodhpur festivals like Marwar Festival held between September and October, Desert Kite Festival held in January, and Nagaur Fair held in winter months of January- February is something not to miss so plan accordingly if you want to experience the rich culture of the blue city. Check out this photo essay of Jodhpur.
July and August are the rainy months sometimes extending up to September. Jodhpur does not receive heavy rains so you can also visit during these months. These months are also offseason when the prices of hotels drop. The months to avoid are April, May, and June which are the summer months when the temperature can be very high up to 42 degree Celsius and humid too.
Suggested Jodhpur Tours
Have you been to Jodhpur to experience its cultural heritage? Do share your favorite things to do in Jodhpur.
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There are numerous Rajasthan Tour Packages which you can choose from and explore the best of ‘Land of Kings’ – Rajasthan.