Jodhpur, one of the best tourist places in India
If you are traveling to India for first time, and have a week to spend, Jodhpur should be on your itinerary ! Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, its history, its architecture, Umaid Bhavan Palace, Rajasthani food, Rajasthani crafts, paintings will mesmerize you for sure.
Map of Jodhpur places of interest
Please click here to see the map of Jodhpur, showing places of interest in one place
Best places to visit in India
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Things to do in Jodhpur India
Before you travel to Jodhpur, please ensure you book into one of the great hotels available in Jodhpur. It can be expensive, but the reception you get, quality of food & ambiance is worth it. It also gets you in the mood for the royal sights you will experience in Jodhpur.
I suggest you start in the following sequence. Visit Umaid Bhavan Palace as your first stop, it sets you right for the biggest event ie visiting the Mehrangarh Fort. Keep a full day for the fort, start your day by stopping by Jaswant Thada, and then head to the fort, ensure you reserve place in the cafe for the dinner, and enjoy the blue city whole day from the fort.
Spend afternoons & evening shopping, visiting painting galleries, silver shops, furniture shops, eating nice food, drinking masala chai (spiced milk tea).
Whatever are your expectations may be, this place is going to exceed them !
Be brave to start with and do not take any guide. Buy your tickets and just go to the audio tour ! As you enter the fort, audio tour welcomes you at every stop as if you are one of the Maharajahs who resided there. Please take your time at every point, take lots of photos, observe and read the information, painting, craftsmanship on every step, wall & corner.
Inside the fort, you will see "Havelis", which are buildings, where the walls are arranged & crafted in such a way that air passes through the entire building all the time. One can see outside from the buidlings, but you cannot recognize the person standing inside. Mehrangarh ia great piece of architecture, where the havelis are also arranged 3 dimensionally and connect to each other at different angles.
Slowly as you walk your way up the fort, the blue city unveils ! All the houses surrounding the fort are painted blue, giving you the majestic view. Best story why the house were painted blue is like this. People back in the old days started painting the walls with lime with a dash of copper sulphate to keep the termites at bay. Not sure if that worked, but it started this tradition there - and even today houses are painted all blue.
As you go through places on the fort, you get to see the lifestyle of "Ranas" (kings), journey of this fort through the history. Audio tour is so nice, you almost feel like things are happening around you at times. You get good insight into times, when people valued their tradition and honor more than anything else in the world.
Cafe Mehrahgarh on the fort serves excellent rajasthani and continental food. Its a good idea to reserve table there for dinner, and watch the blue city turning into sea of lights as you enjoy you dinner.
This is a cluster of "chatris" or cenotaphs of the royal families made up of marble. It has its own beauty, but most people come here to take pictures of the fort, and see some great views on your way up to the fort!
Useful books on Jodhpur
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid Bhavan Palace is something built very recently, in the early 1930's, but with the same royal set up like one would have done during the period of rajahs (kings).
A part of the palace has a small museum, while most of it has now been converted into a 5-star hotel (Umaid Bhavan Palace hotel managed by Taj group in India), to which the public doesn't have access. If you spend about 100 USD, you get to visit the palace cafe and if you can fork out around 600 USD, you get to stay overnight in the palace.
Must do shopping in Jodhpur
Please visit the National Handloom shops, to buy everything that is made in Rajasthan, from the "Bandhani" fabrics, to block prints, wooden handicrafts, "meenakari" articles, silver jewellery, durries!
Make sure you spend an hour or two in the jodhpur miniature painting shops. You will definately find something worth spending money, on something worth keeping from this historic place.
Silver jewelry in Jodhpur is really good, and relatively inexpensive for the artwork we see.
Quick tips for Jodhpur
Hire a local car to take you around. It just saves so much time, and they come at unbelievably cheap rates. Spend time in the market near the clock tower, have the local masala chai (tea) and "mirchi vada". There is no need to carry lots of cash, as there is ATM at every corner. Carry lots of memory chips for the photos you will take.
Planning to travel to India, here are some ideas for India vacations
When you travel to India, you will not be able to cover much ground in one trip to India, unless you stay there for a month, hence you should pick an area of your interest and spend all the time available to you. These are also great places for honeymoon in India !
Please click her to see the map of top places to visit in India
- Golden Triangle : Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, should be the first place you visit in India. Delhi is historic, it is the place to trace back great moments in Indian history, it is also nice place for food & shopping. Taj Mahal in Agra requires no introduction ! Jaipur is royal, known for its forts and palaces, Rajasthani crafts, food and shopping. These 3 places are in close proximity and can be covered in 5-6 days by road/train or air
- Goa : Goa was with Portuguese, as rest India was in British rule for long. So you can see touches of that past everywhere. It is a great beach resort, almost like Bali at times. You can have a very cheap holiday spending almost nothing, or you can be in resorts nothing less than paradise. It is closer to Mumbai in state of Maharashtra, and can be reached quickly by air, train or road. Road journey is the best, followed by train..and then by air
- Kerala : This is India's "Venice of the East". Kerala has amazing places to offer like backwater tours (you can spend like a day or days all by yourself on house boat, which are like luxury palaces on water). Kerala has some of great resorts in India, places for yoga, ayurvedic massages and so on. Kerala also has Moonar tea gardens, which is very cold and scenic. Tekadi in Kerala is the spice garden and also a place to have great eco-tourism holidays
- Leh, Ladakh : This larger than life place, offers some stunning mountain views. It is big, it is high up, it is untouched and pure. It has monasteries and all to visit, but the beauty of it lies in traveling across the terrain by road, it also has the highest motoring road in the world !
Jodhpur to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer - golden city of India as it is called, is a great combination along with Jodhpur on your travel itinerary to India. It is also THE place for Camel safaris, Sand dunes and home to Thar desert national park
Jaisalmer does not have commercial airport. It is 60 km from the India-Pakistan border, which is heavily guarded on both sides, and the airport is mainly used by air-force. So your nearest airport is Jodhpur, from where you travel about 3-4 hours by road to Jaisalmer. Below are things you should not miss on this nice journey
- Osiyan temples : These are slightly out of the way (60 km North of Jodhpur), but worth visiting. These are ancient temples, good carving on stones
- Visit the desert villages in Khichan, to spot the migratory Kurja (Crane) birds and also visit the one and only Red haveli near Khichan
- Eat in road side Dhabas (restaurants) for some authentic local food. Keep your camera ready all the time as you spot wild deers, and see patches of sand dunes
- Pass through the town of Pokhran, where India conducted the nuclear tests in 1970s and 90s, sparking international attention, sanctions and almost a war with Pakistan
See map of Jodhpur to Jaisalmer journey here