Located on the edge of the Thar Desert in western Rajasthan, Jodhpur continues to be a global tourist magnet. Jodhpur has been given several epithets such as Blue City and Sun City. The Rajasthanis affectionately call it Jodhana. The former capital of the Marwar kingdom is home to Rajasthan’s largest fort and several grand palaces, temples, gardens and markets full of old world charm and offers an amazing travel experience. Here we present you the best things to do in Jodhpur. By Karan Kaushik
Things to do in Jodhpur
Walk through the pages of history at Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh, often touted as the citadel of the sun, stands tall and proud as Rajasthan’s greatest fortress. It was built by Rao Jodha in 1459. Perched on a sheer bluff 400 feet above the city, this burnished red sandstone structure is backed by many stories. Its beauty has attracted many admirers such as Rudyard Kipling; he called it “the work of giants.” Today it is widely regarded as one of the best preserved forts in India. The main attraction of the fort is its Museum. Miniature paintings, palanquins, weapons and valuable mementos of the royal family are on display here. The main attractions of the fort are Sangar Chowki, Zenana Mahal and Phool Mahal.
Go ziplining over the Blue City
The Flying Fox Zipline Tour in Jodhpur is an exciting experience that will stay in your memory forever. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described this zip line as Jodhpur’s best part. “The zip lines send you around the moats and pinnacles like Batman,” he had said. The zipline takes you over two desert lakes and the Rao Jodha Ecopark, offering stunning views of Mehrangarh and the Blue City.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
Located near the famous Mehrangarh Fort, this 72-hectare ecologically restored desert came back to life in 2006 after careful reconstruction. Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, once an arid, decaying, barren land of vegetation, now boasts a local nursery, convenience store and cafe. Visitors can even hike trails amidst the 250 native plant species here and embark on a mission to spot several species of reptiles and over 200 birds along the way.
Revel in the Umaid Bhawan Palace
The magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace has hosted prolific figures from around the world over the past few decades. The palace is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architectural style and was named after and built by Maharaja Umaid Singh. It is also known as the Chittar Palace due to the use of Chittar sandstone in its construction. Interestingly, no mortar was used in the entire construction. Instead, hand-carved blocks of sandstone were interlocked. Today is part of the palace doubles as a hotel, while the others house model airplanes, guns, antique clocks, and priceless crockery for the public.
Admire the architecture of Rajasthan at Mandore Garden
Like Jodhpur itself, Mandore Garden has many names. Maddodara, Mandowar, and Mandavyapura-Durga are some of the oldest names all believed to have descended from Rishi Mandavya. Locals believe that the gardens were originally tended by Nagas, followed by Pratiharas, Chahamanas, Sultans of Delhi and finally Rathores. Today the garden is the site of many magnificent antiques temple, monuments and high rock terraces. The monoliths here date from the early fifth century. Indeed are two intricately carved monoliths depicting scenes from Krishna Leela were excavated in 1909-10. On the other side, the hilltop Mandore Palace and Fort date back to the sixth century. The highlight at Mandore Gardens, however, is the government-run museum, which houses artifacts and relics of historical importance.
Explore the twin lakes of Ranisar-Padamsar
These interconnected pristine waters are considered the twin lakes of Jodhpur and are located near Mehrangarh Fort. Both lakes date back to 1459 and were built with the intention of natural water conservation. Although it’s in a largely deserted area Condition, these lakes have a very unique quality – they rarely run out of water. Head here at the height of dawn to enjoy the water in all its glory and watch the towering fortress dance in the waves.
Take gram worthy photos in Jaswant Thada
Dating from 1899, Jaswant Thada is a famous cenotaph. While it now serves as the cremation ground for the Marwar Rajput royal family, it was originally built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. That cenotaph is built entirely of thin and intricately carved marble slabs. They have been polished to shine under the summer sun. The main cenotaph – that of Maharaja Jaswant Singh – is surrounded by portraits of rulers. In addition, the Jaswant Thada site features pavilions, a tiered garden, three other cenotaphs and a small lake.
Shop at the Clock Tower Market
No trip to Jodhpur is complete without going on a Shopping Spree. Enjoy hot Pjas Kachoris and Mirchi commander before you start splurging on everything Rajasthani. The Sardar Market in Girdikot is centered around the famous Ghantaghar or Clock Tower. The market sells everything from Jodhpuri mojaris to Lehariya Sarees, Dupattas, Safas, ethnic jewelry and more.
Plan a detour to Osian
Ossian or Osiyan is an oasis town in the Thar desert of Jodhpur district. Often referred to as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan, this historic city is famous for its Hindu and Jain temples. While here, visit the Jain Mahavira Temple which houses an idol of Mahavira made of cow’s milk, mud and a gold cloak. Then there is the Sachayee Mata Mandir, the most important Hindu temple in Osian. You may also fancy a camel safari or an ATV ride in the sandy terrain of Osian.
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock; Hero photo credit: Makm Photography/Unsplash