Jodhpur is the second largest ‘metropolitan City’ of Rajasthan. The ‘Sun City’ (named so because of the bright sunny climate around the year) boasts of a rich historical heritage since its inception in the 13th century. It was a popular princely state in ancient times with Marwar as the capital of the kingdom. It is flocked by thousands of tourists every year as it has magnificent palaces, forts, temples, lakes and bazaars (marketplaces) to visit. The name ‘blue City’ has rightly been coined for this place, owing to the obvious presence of typical blue painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort, also called as age-old ‘Brahmin Houses’. Set at the onshore of the great Indian Thar desert, glimpses of a typical desert folk culture (gypsy) can also be enjoyed here. Jodhpur is geographically divided into an old city (around the fort wall) and a new city outside it.
When to Visit
Typical desert weather prevails in Jodhpur, the climate being bright and sunny throughout the year. Summers are dry and extremely hot, winters are quite pleasant and monsoon is humid with average rainfall. You can choose to visit Jodhpur keeping in mind the following weather conditions at different times of the year:
Best Time to Visit (November to Mid-March)
The climate during this time is quite enjoyable, with the peak temperatures not exceeding 27 degrees. The days are comfortably warm and the nights are cool and cosy. It is the perfect time for conducting desert tours, and if you plan your Jodhpur trip in January, you might as well witness the vibrant Desert Kite Festival.
Okay time to visit (Mid – July to October)
A not-very-heavy monsoon typically continues during this period which makes the temperature fall a bit after the hot summers, but the days are still invariably humid which might not be very suitable for long sight-seeing tours. You can always look for great deals in hotels during this off-season.
Visit with Caution (Mid-March to Mid-July)
This is the time when the whole of Jodhpur faces the toll of severe heat, with temperatures rising up to 42 degree Celsius. The dry and arid air makes it difficult for tourists to enjoy during day time. If at all you are visiting, stick to your sunscreen and cotton clothes.
How to Reach
Jodhpur, the city of royal splendour, is well connected by rail, road and air networks to all major cities of the country. You can choose from a variety of options depending on which part of the country you are travelling from and of course, your budget!
Recently a domestic airport which is soon going to become an international one, the Jodhpur airport is 5 kms from the main city. Currently, there are daily flights to and fro from Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur, IGI airport Delhi being the nearest international airport.
Jodhpur is well connected via railway with regular and comfortable trains to and from all major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata and Bengaluru. If you want to step further from comfort to luxury, you can also plan a trip in the ultra luxurious ‘Palace on Wheels’ or ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ which have Jodhpur in the itinerary.
If you are travelling from Delhi, there are a number of convenient buses plying between both the cities, both government and private ones. Rajasthan Roadways runs Volvo and Mercedes Benz Bus services to Delhi, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Ahmedabad. There is a wide network of National and State Highways touching the city which makes travelling in buses or private cars quite comfortable and adventurous too.
7 Must See Points Of Interest In The City
1. Mehrangarh Fort
This royal fort is truly the most attention seeking place in Jodhpur. Standing at a stunning 400 feet from the city, this historical fort is one of the largest and best preserved of its kinds in India. You should look out for the eye catching carvings inside and the remaining marks of cannonball hits on its second gate.
It is inhabited by a colossal museum which is a fascinating exhibit of arms, costumes, paintings, musical instruments, furniture and decorated period rooms of the Rathore era. The Palanquins display is worth seeing. The Turban Gallery has a collection of various types of head gear prevalent during the ancient times. One of the palaces, Moti Mahal, exhibits the royal throne of Jodhpur, the Sringar Chowki.
Mehrangarh fort also houses the famous Chamunda Mataji Temple which is frequently visited by local people, and thronged by tourists during the famous Dussehra festivities. This 500 year old fort offers a breath taking view of the entire Jodhpur city and is a famous site for film photography and shooting. You will love the folk music which is played at its entrance. Enjoy eating at the traditional in-house restaurants and shopping at the colourful craft bazaars inside the fort.
Entry Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (all days of the week).
Entry Fees: Rs 500 (for international tourists, includes audio guide fees) and Rs 60 for Domestic tourists (camera and guide charges extra).
2. Jaswant Thada
This beautiful marble structure is a marvel in terms of architecture, made of intricately carved milky white marble sheets. It is situated just 1 km northeast of the Mehrangarh Fort. Its history can be traced back to 1899 when Maharaja Sardar Singh got it constructed to commemorate his father Maharaj Jaswant Singh II.
The marvellous memorial consists of carved tombs which have been well conserved and are inviting for tourists visiting Jodhpur. Its whiteness sometimes lends it the name ‘Taj Mahal of Marwar’. The flawless design and intricate carvings proudly showcase the craftsmanship of the expert sculptors of that era. The stunning cenotaph houses two more tombs within it and used to serve as the royal crematorium. There is also a sweet memorial of a peacock that flew into the funeral pyre.
If you enter inside, you will be immediately surrounded by a royal aura amidst the paintings and portraits of the royal rulers of Rajasthan. Actually, the excitement begins as soon as you start crossing the rocky hills in order to reach the Jaswant Thada.
You are bound to take endless pictures through your camera in this heavenly place in Jodhpur strolling in its multi-tiered garden and overlooking the small serene lake.
Entry Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (all days of the week)
Entry Fees: Rs 30 (for international tourists) and Rs 15 (for domestic tourists).
3. Clock Tower and Old City Market
Standing in the heart of the old Jodhpur city area, there stands a more than 100 years old Clock Tower. This imposing structure was built by Late Shri Sardar Singh Ji of Jodhpur who was a Polo Champ and apparently gifted his native town with this clock to show his gratitude. The Tower glitters with bright lights in the night time which might be visible from your hotel roof top as well. It is a three storeyed tower with an English Clock set at the top which still clicks perfectly!
The more exciting part of this monument is its surroundings. It stands in the city market square and around it is the sprawling clammy noisy and colourful Sadar Market. The Ghanta Ghar, as it is locally known, can be visited and then you can indulge in some good bargains in the street side stalls selling everything from Rajasthani handicrafts to Spices and Teas. You can take home some delectable locally made Indian spices to add to your kitchen. Rajasthani Mojris and Bandhani printed Saris are especially famous in this area. If you are looking for ethnic silver ware, this is just the right place to search for good deals. You can eat to your heart’s content in some of the famous restaurants in this area too.
4. Balsamand Lake
Originally designed as a water reservoir to provide water to Mandore in 1859, the Balsamand Lake now serves as a popular scenic picnic spot in Jodhpur. It is situated 5 kms from Jodhpur on the Jodhpur-Mandore Road. The picturesque lake is surrounded by lush green orchards of mango, pomegranate, papaya and guava. This ecologically rich place is also the home for various peacock and rare bird species and langoors too.
The Balsamand Lake Palace is a heritage property which has been developed on the banks of the lake and staying in this lavish resort is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is a fabulous garden retreat in Jodhpur, offering comfortable stay in the lap of nature with exciting and princely royal horse Safaris and some great traditional Jodhpuri food too.
The red sand stone palace is a colonial building set in the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding flora and fauna. It was built in the 17th century by Maharaja Jaswant Singh I as a residence for the royal family which still enjoys the year’s first rains in Bal Samand as a tradition.
5. Umaid Bhawan Palace
Imagine life living in a palace in the present world! Well, Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the largest private residences in the world. This magnificent royal palace was recently completed in 1944. It was also known as Chittar Palace due to the use of Chittar stones in its construction. It was built with the idea of giving employment to thousands of people during the famine. The royal family of Jodhpur led by Gaj Singh still occupies a part of it. The rest has been converted to a high-end heritage hotel owned by the Taj Group of Hotels.
You will immediately fall in love with this place if you are a die-hard vintage fan. The palace houses an exclusive vintage collection of watches and cars. There is a vast museum inside which exhibits paintings of the royal rulers of Rajasthan. This is open for general public to visit and admire the exotic paintings and expensive cars which were owned by the royal family previously.
If you plan to choose the hotel for accommodation, it will give you the true feeling of Rajputana hospitality.
Entry Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (open all days of the week)
Entry Fees: Rs 50 (for foreign travellers) and Rs 15 (for Indians).
6. Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
This innovative rock park has been created for tourists in 2006. The aim behind its creation was to preserve the ecological balance of a large, rocky wasteland next to Mehrangarh Fort. It was previously largely occupied by a wild thorny shrub locally named Baavlia (Prosopris Juliflora). This shrub originated from Central America but invaded and turned the rocky volcanic area into a wasteland. The extensive work done by Khandwaliya miners helped in killing the Baavlia and then re-plantation was done on the same tracks. The new plants were basically all those varieties which survived in the arid desert climate.
The vast rock park is spread in about 200 acres. There are numerous entry points to the park and you can also go down the Walking Trail from the Visitor’s Centre. You can avail comfortable facilities like tourist information, guide, restrooms and cafe here. This intelligent ecosystem has been developed in such a way that there are a variety of flora and fauna to be observed in almost all the seasons round the year. Just don’t forget to carry your walking shoes, drinking water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses when you plan to visit this rocky terrain. Bird Watchers can enjoy this awesome park which is now home to a plethora of bird species.
Entry Timings: 7 am to 7 pm (April to September), 8 am to 6 pm (October to March)
Entry Fees: Rs 30 for all visitors
7. Umed Garden Jodhpur
Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh who was its creator, this garden is one of the most popular ones in Jodhpur. Spread in huge area of 82 acres, the garden can be entered from any of its 5 entrances that connect it from all directions to the Jodhpur city. You will definitely like the natural aura created by lush green well maintained lawns and rows of seasonal flowers. The typical Ashoka trees give the garden a distinct look.
The best part within the campus is the Zoo. If you are travelling with kids, they will love this break from sightseeing and enjoy watching a variety of animals like crocodiles, foxes, deer, lions, leopards, rabbits and bears. All these animals are kept in their natural habitat. A ‘Walk-in-Aviary’ is worth seeing where a number of African ducks, Australian parrots and pigeons can be sighted.
Beautifully designed fountains add to the garden’s natural magnificence. It is usually a popular destination for the local crowd too.
Entry Timings: 10.00 am to 4.30 pm (all days of the week)
Entry Fees: Rs 10 (for foreigners) and Rs 3 (for Indians).
So, pack your bags and plan an enjoyable trip to this historical city of Jodhpur. You will be mesmerised with its rich heritage which is reflected in its monuments, architecture and culture. It is well developed keeping in mind the large number of domestic as well as international tourists it accommodates every year. Once you have witnessed the artistic destinations that the city has to offer, you will always want to come back looking for a pleasant stay in this Golden City.