Do you know about the history of Jodhpur? It is said that the chief of Rathore dynasty, Rao Jodha in 1459 AD developed Jodhpur – The Blue City of India. In the ancient times, it was known by the name of Marwar. Jodhpur City was also famous as ‘The Sun City’ as it had bright and sunny weather throughout the year. Jodhpur is one of the famous tourist destinations in India because of its havelis, temples, forts, and palaces. It lies in the Thar Desert of the northwest state of Rajasthan. Jodhpur – The Blue City of India has many stupendous places like Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Palace, Jaswant Thada, Rao Jodha Desert Park, and Mandore Gardens.
The Blue City of India is known for its rich culture. The special cuisines are unique in their way and different from other Indian dishes. The Blue City is famous for snacks like Onion Kachori, Daal ki Kachori, and Mirchi Bada. A lot of options are available for people who have a sweet tooth like Lassi, Mawa Ki Kachori, Malpua, and Jalebi.
Discover Jodhpur – The Blue City of India
While exploring Jodhpur – The Blue City of India, I witnessed many houses decorated with blue color. The local people (drivers or tour guides) had no idea about the historical relevance of blue color but there are a lot of scientific and psychological facts associated with it. These are:
- The blue color is considered to be sacred for the Brahmins and believed to have a direct relation to Lord Shiva who is also called Neel Kanth meaning Bluethroat.
- Jodhpur is hot throughout the year. It is said that blue color absorbs most of the heat.
- Limestone is cheap and is easily available in the locality. Therefore, maximum houses are painted blue.
Jodhpur Tourist Places
There are many excellent places to visit near Jodhpur – The Blue City of India and also a couple of weekend gateways. These include bird sanctuaries, hill stations, temples, lakes, and forts.
Osian is located 65 km north of Jodhpur. It is also known as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan mainly because of its aesthetic Jain temples. It is a famous pilgrimage for the Jain Community, and the magnificent golden sand- dunes surround the area. Some prominent and famous temples are:
- The Sun Temple
- Sachiya Mata Temple
- The main Jain Temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira
To know more about Osian please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osian,_Jodhpur
2 Khichan Bird Sanctuary, Khichan
Khichan Bird Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Khichan town. It is approximately 145 km from Jodhpur city and lies in Phalodi district. The Jain community dominates the village. The village is a perfect birding destination and a treat for bird lovers.
The people of Khichan with their open arms welcome the Demoiselle Crane. The bird migrates to the village in September (and October) to escape the cold and chilly season of Mongolia and North China. These special guests mark their return journey in February-march.
The villagers take utmost care in feeding the birds and provide a safe environment to this species. It is because of the villager’s love and affection, thousands of cranes are spotted in Khichan, and it has become one of the top birding destinations. The best time for birding is dawn and dusk.
Kumbhalgarh is approximately 190 km from Jodhpur – The Blue City of India. The legendary king Maharana Pratap was born here. We all have heard many stories of Maharana Pratap in our childhood.
Rana Kumbha built Kumbhalgarh in the 15th century and it was renovated by Maharana Fateh Singh in the 19th century. It is the second most prominent fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh. The Citadel took 15 years to complete and has a 36 km long wall to defend from various wars. It also resembles the Great Wall of China.
There is a magical array of temples, out of which the most attractive is the Palace of the clouds, popularly known as the Bada Mahal. It is a two-storied structure divided into two interconnected distinct portions i.e., Mandana Mahal and Zanana Mahal; these are graced beautifully with oil paintings all over.
The Lord Shiva’s Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple is also near the fort as you climb downwards to the plains. The temple is worshiped and maintained by local people. Do read here for more information about Kumbhalgarh.
Ranakpur is situated in the Pali district of Rajasthan and around 170 Km from Jodhpur – The Blue City of India. If you are planning to visit Kumbhalgarh, I would suggest you to also plan to visit Ranakpur, as it is only 33Km away from Kumbhalgarh.
Ranakpur is one of the famous pilgrimages of the Jain Community. The construction of these Jain Temples started around 1439 A.D. Ranakpur is renowned for its stunning and beautifully carved Jain Temples and is a popular tourist destination in Rajasthan.
To visit the temple from inside one must follow certain rules like covering his/her legs well below the knee. All leather products including wallet and belts are not allowed inside the temple. If you want to carry your camera and mobile phones you have to purchase a particular ticket of 200 rupees each.
I would definitely recommend you to visit the temple from inside to witness the intricately carved ceilings and pillars. After exploring the temple one gets lost in its architecture and beauty.
Points of Interest in Jodhpur – The Blue City of India
1 Mehrangarh Fort
Sun was the ruling God of the Rathores. Mehr meaning sun and Garh meaning fort. In 1949 Rao Jodha laid the foundation of what was destined to become one of the mightiest forts of all time; Mehrangarh, the Citadel of the Sun.
The Mehrangarh Fort is about one thirty meters above the Jodhpur skyline and stands thirty meters on a perpendicular cliff. This glazing red sandstone fort is one of the astounding forts in Rajasthan.
Today, the beautiful palaces (Phool Mahal, Moti Mahal, Zenana Deodi, Sheesh Mahal and Janki Mahal) and dazzling Period Rooms of the Fort have been converted into a unique museum that houses an impressive gallery of palanquin, elephant howdahs, cradles, miniature paintings (Entertainment, Diwali, Polo Players, Durga), weapons, and turbans collections. Jodhpur proves to be the magnificent heritage of the Rathores of Marwar.
The fort is open from 9 am to 5 pm. The entry fees in 180/- for adults and 120/- for senior citizens.
Read more about the Mehrangarh Fort here
2 Umaid Palace
Umaid Palace is one of the top points of interest in the Jodhpur City. Maharaja Umaid Singh of Rathore Dynasty built it. The construction of this Palace had an exciting tale behind. In the 1920’s the big famine hit the people of Marwar (now Jodhpur). The local people went for Maharaja Umaid Singh’s support and help. He proposed to construct a palace to employ the local people and help them survive in the most terrible situation. The castle took 15 years to complete, and it got completed in 1943. It is the last royal palace built before India’s Independence. Parts of the palace are:
- The residence of Maharaja Gaj Singh. He is the Maharaja of Jodhpur from 1952 to present. To know more about Maharaja please read here
- A Museum
- The Taj Hotel
3 Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada is one of the most phenomenal white marble cenotaphs built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the father of Maharaja Sardar Singh, in 1899. It is also known as the Taj Mahal of Marwar (now Jodhpur). This place is mystical, and during the sunlight, it gleams with pride. Jaswant Thada is just one km away from the Medangarh Fort and can easily be sighted from there.
4 Mandore Garden
Mandore was the capital of Maharajas of Marwar and finds its mention in the Ramayana. According to the history, Ravan got married to queen Mandodari from Mandore. The place was ruined and abandoned when the Maharaja left it and moved to Mehrangarh Fort.
Mandore is a major tourist attraction because of the beautiful temple-like structure and red sandstone royal cenotaphs of Marwar’s Maharaja. The entry to the garden is free of cost from 8 am to 8 pm. However, the museum is open from 9 am to 6 pm and the entry fee is Rupees 50.
5 Ghanta Ghar (The Clock Tower)
The Clock Tower in Jodhpur – The Blue City of India was constructed by Maharaja Sardar Singh. It is three stories tall with a huge English fashioned clock even ticking till date. The Clock Tower is commonly known as the Ghanta Ghar by the local people. It is one of the prominent landmarks and historical monuments of Jodhpur.
The Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur – The Blue City of India is also famous for its Sadar Market. There are a variety of options available for tourists. These include silver jewelry, Lac bangles, clothes, bags, footwear, local handicrafts, puppets, paintings, etc.
While strolling over the market one can also try some excellent food joints which are within one km from the Ghanta Ghar. The list goes as:
1.Mishri Lal’s Lassi–
The 91 years old shop serves a wide variety of sweets and Lassi (yogurt based drink). The thick creamy perfectly sweet and chilled Lassi served with yogurt butter is a must try. The Lassi is topped with dry fruits and cardamom powder. The price per glass is 35 rupees, and the shop opens from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm.
2.Motu Jalebi Wala–
This is a must visit shop in Jodhpur city for all the Jalebi lovers. The crispy and crunchy Jalebi cooked in desi ghee (clarified butter) will make you feel on cloud nine. The shop opens from 5 am to 12noon. The price of Jalebi was Rs 380 per kg in December 2017.
At The End
Do visit Jodhpur – The Blue City of India to witness the magnificent forts, mystical palaces, heavenly gardens, and last but not the least the mouth-watering Rajasthan cuisines.
There are many other famous destinations in the beautiful Jodhpur city which are not listed above. Add them in the Comments section below and share your experiences. Also, do read my previous article on Jaisalmer which you can visit along with Jodhpur if planning for a long journey.
Picture Courtesy- Mr. Ajay Pandey and Jyoti