In India, Rajasthan has been coined as the “Land of the Kings”. Why? Well, there are more than 50 families in Rajasthan which signed a pact with Government, to include their Kingdom with the newly Republic of India.
Well, this also meant that after 1947, there would be no Maharaja in India. But still, there are many Maharaja’s in India, who don’t collect taxes but own some of the finest palaces & Forts which are now, rated in Top 100 hotels in the world, like Lake Palace in Udaipur.
So, when one of my good friend in Jaipur, suggest me to capture stories & pictures of Jodhpur, I was shocked to see that there is still a Maharaja in Jodhpur, who own’s a huge palace and one of the biggest fort in India. The name of Jodhpur Maharaja is Gajj Singh, and he is the Maharaja of Jodhpur, but not on technical terms 🙂
Day 1 – How I reached Jodhpur? &, How can you?
If you are in India, then you can catch a flight to Jodhpur, which won’t be cheap. Anther & the most popular transportation mode is railways, and Jodhpur is also well connected with roads.
I reached by road from New Delhi (my hometown) which is a 600 km ride, a long one but it has its rewards. While travelling by road for Jodhpur, I had the chance to visit Amber Fort in Jaipur (midpoint between Delhi and Jodhpur) and the beautiful city of Pushkar.
A piece of advice: Always prefer National Highways as they are well maintained as compare to state highways. Even if it means travelling an extra 100 km.
So, it took me a complete one day to reach Jodhpur, where I had booked a nice suite room at a palace style hotel. At Jodhpur, you can choose to stay in a hotel, which used to be a mansion of a royal court member of pre-1947 Jodhpur empire.
Day 2 – A tour of stunning Jodhpur
Jodhpur is known the Blue city as many buildings here, are coloured with indigo color. The science behind this is that mosquito’s don’t breed near indigo color. Now I’m not sure whether this science is 100% accurate or not but the view of the city does get an extra charm with these blue color homes.
I started my day with a tour of Mehrangarh Fort which was built by a very famous King of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha, in the year 1460 AD.
Rao Jodha wanted to shift his capital from Mandore to Jodhpur, as Mandore was not very safe from regular attaches from my Hometown, New Delhi 😊
1. Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort is massive and to reach the complex inside, I had to travel from 7 gates and almost ½ km walk on an inclined path. As per my guide, which I booked from the ticket counter, it was critical to have a zig zag entrance & multiple gates at forts, as even a small army sitting at the top of the castle could hold a huge army.
And it has happened as Jodhpur Fort was once attached by the Kingdom of Jaipur in the 19th century and the Jodhpur army didn’t allow the Jaipur army to cross the 2nd gate. They had to retreat from 1st one. There are still bullet holes near the 2nd gate of the Fort, which is now a palace attraction.
So, after crossing all seven gates and enjoying a 10-minute break by listening to local songs, I finally reached Shringar Chowk.
The Shringar Chowk in Mehrangarh Fort
The Shringar Chowk is the first entry point inside the Mehrangarh Fort, where I saw collections of Palanquin (at The Palki Khana), a traditional Jodhpuri hookah (bong), and the breathtaking collection of Daulat Khana.
At Daulat Khana there is a collection of royal swords, shields made of gold, small cannon, wine flask, Jodhpuri hookah (a bong filled with weed, used by the royal family) and a Golden Palanquin, which was a gift from the British Empire in Gujarat India.
Along with this, I also came to know about “Marwar Paintings” which is a school of painting developed in the central region of Rajasthan (known as Marwar), and are gorgeous. Most paintings are of the rich history of Jodhpur Empire and their kings who ruled this region for more than 700 years. From here I moved a floor up and reached Sheesh Mahal.
The Palaces inside Mehrangarh Fort
Inside this massive fort, there are four palaces, named as:
- Sheesh Mahal (Palace of mirrors)
- Phool Mahal (Palace of flowers)
- Takhat Niwas (The crown room) &
- Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls)
All these palaces were built by the different generation of rulers, like Moti Mahal the oldest palace room build in late 16th century, as a comparison to Sheesh Mahal which was built in the 18th century. And sticking with the policy of old is gold, Moti Mahal is one of the best palaces inside Mehrangarh Fort which was used as at the court Jodhpur Maharaja.
Apart from the palaces, there is Sileh Khana, a room full of weapons used by the Jodhpur army and Jhanki Mahal which has a beautiful collection of royal cradles.
It took me around 3 hours to completely explore this massive fort, and I could have stayed here a bit longer to collect more pictures but I couldn’t as I had to explore more monuments of the city.
2. Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph (empty tomb) which was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 AD, to remember his father and ancestors. The main reason that most travellers visit this site is its architecture.
Jaswant Thada is known as the Taj Mahal of Jodhpur (not that big in size) as the whole complex is made up of white marble.
Apart from the main complex, Jaswant Thada has gardens, small lake, and many independent cenotaphs which make this monument an irresistible site in Jodhpur. You can get some amazing pictures, as I did and have attached a few with this post.
3. Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid Bhawan Palace is a museum, residence of Maharaja of Jodhpur and one of the most luxurious hotel in India. This palace was the last palace built in British India (1943), and also has a noble story behind its construction.
In 1929, Maharaja Umaid Singh (after whom this palace is named) started the work on Umaid Bhawan Palace and made sure that the work continues at a very slow pace as the goal here was to give employment to locals who were facing severe drought for more than a decade.
In 1943, the work Umaid Bhawan Palace was concluded, and it employed more than 3000 locals for 14 years. Today Umaid Bhawan Palace is an iconic site in Jodhpur and a night stay here cost more than $1000 – $4000.
I was not here to book a room but to visit the museum which has a collection of classic cars, paintings, a real stuffed cheetah, unbelievable watches (especially the one which has a Loin statue) and many pictures of the royal family of Jodhpur.
The entry ticket here is just Rs 30, which is even less than 1/2 dollar but the view this palace offers is simply stunning.
Day 3 in Jodhpur
4. Toor ji ka Jhalra
I’m personally an admirer of stepwells, and Jodhpur is one of these cities which have been building stepwells since 6th century AD. Now for those who don’t know what a stepwell is, here is a small definition.
A stepwell is well, connected with lots of stairs which allow all to reach the bottom. Stepwell is a Made in Indian science which has been used for more than 4500 years to store rain water.
Toor Ji Ka Jhalra is a 6th century stepwell which even charges the underground water level of the big part of the city and the locals have also done a remarkable job to protect this historical site.
Nowadays stepwells are obsolete, as we all get water directly from our taps, but never the less the architecture and science behind these stepwells is very exciting, and I was quite happy to visit one more stepwell site from the state of Rajasthan.
5. Local food
Almost everyone in the city, and on the web, suggested me to try “kachori” and Rajasthani thali in Jodhpur. So, I picked a sweet shop called “Janta Sweats” to try a kachori.
Kachori is a baked mixture of spices, pulses and lots of onion, served with chutney. Now I’m not a huge fan of spicy snack but Jodhpur’s kachori is delicious, and a must try street food.
Later I tried an authentic Jodhpuri Thali to understand the local food. I picked the Gypsy restaurant which serves all you can eat.
A thali is dining system in India, where you are served with more than a dozen variations of local food.
At Gypsy, I had a thali which had 4 types of vegetable (all spicy), 2 types of locally grown pulses, 2 local breads, a glass of buttermilk, pickles, and sweets. If you ask me, you should skip a meal and then try this thali because it’s damn tasty.
And with this, I finished my 3-day voyage at Jodhpur. Now as compared to other tourist sites in Rajasthan or northern India, I didn’t meet or was disturbed by any roadside guide. And if you are planning to visit Jodhpur, then my advice will be to give two complete days to explore this royal city and give four more days for Jaipur and Jaisalmer.
Best time to visit Jodhpur is from the months of October to March, as the weather is quite calm, compared to summer months.
Now I explored Jodhpur as a solo traveller, but the city is couple paradise where you can enjoy great food, buy some amazing wooden handicraft and takes pictures of some beautiful sites. So do visit India and add Jodhpur in your bucket list.