Jodhpur General Information
- Area 78.60 sq. km
- Population 6,66,279
- Altitude 230 metres above sea level
- Languages Marwari, Rajasthani and Hindi
- STD Code 0291
- Best time to visit November to March
Introduction to Jodhpur
Call it by its many names and they will not do Jodhpur justice. An oasis in the arid Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan. Representing this colourful city with shades of blue, it has a history that is rich and a present that beckons strongly to the discerning tourist. Forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, colour and texture, Jodhpur has them all and in plenty. Situated in western Rajasthan, Jodhpur has long attracted both the domestic and outside tourist. It not only offers tangibles, in terms of what you can see and buy but also fills one with a sense of history and the splendors of an era gone forever. The hospitality of the locals, the demure women, the colourful turban -all set against the unmerciful desert is something to feel, not just see. Every pore of Jodhpur tells its own tales of heroic tales that made legends out of kings and soldiers, romances that continue to warm the heart and a time when epics were lived out on the streets by everyday man.
Places of Interest:
Considered one of India’s best forts, this invincible stronghold of the Marwars sits on a steep hill lording over a wonderful view of its surroundings. It is also a beautiful fort and undoubtedly, the jewel. Intricate latticed windows, elaborately carved panels and elegantly curved porches speak of beauty and taste. No matter what part of the fort you are in, its ambience will leave you in awe and your senses reeling. Take in the sight high up on the rampart where the second largest cannon in Asia rests, the recoil of which requires an area as large as a football field. The fort is visited by thousands of tourists every year who come to have a glimpse of the artillery system of the Rajput warriors. One can have a bird’s eye view of the city from the fort.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
If forts can be ornate, this is a palace we are talking about. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was built in the 20th century as a famine relief project, providing employment to its people over a time period of 16 long years. And if the Mehrangarh fort is the jewel, the Umaid Bhawan comes a very close second. A fabulous art-deco edifice, Umaid Bhawan is fabulously maintained and contains within, the museum – a veritable treasure-trove of memorabilia showcasing the royal past. Peek into a little of everything that royalty lived with – from tea sets and clocks to paintings and royal apparel. The palace now operates as a heritage hotel, though part of it is retained as the royal residence.
Close to the fort complex, this 19th century cenotaph was built in white marble, in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Rare portraits of this city’s past rulers are also displayed here. Walk around and savour the intricate work both on the lattices and the doors. The gardens and water tank built in front of the cenotaph provide this place the perfect setting for serenity.
About 8 km from Jodhpur, Mandore, the ancient capital of Marwar, has cenotaphs of this city rulers. The beautiful gardens with high rock terraces make it a popular picnic spot. The garden has a gate known as the Ajitpol, which is decorated with paintings of the gods and goddesses of Indian mythology.
While the shopping centres of Jodhpur may not technically fall under the category of ‘what to see’, the list would be quite incomplete without it. Renowned for its tie and dye textiles, jootis, lacquerware, antiques, carpets and puppets, make a trip to the Sadar Bazaar, where you will find all of the above and more. Jodhpur has many a unique thing to decorate your home and life with. Visit Mohanlal Verhomal’s store for Indian spices, the Umaid Bhawan/ Ajit Bhawan Road to shop for Antiques and don’t miss the Jodhpur Handloom House for beautiful Bandhni and Leheriya saris.
For those of you that cannot get through a holiday without sport, the Sadar Club at Ratanada offers a round of golf – Rs 100 for 18 holes plus Rs 50 for equipment and Rs 20 for a caddie. The club was built by the British about a 100 years ago and the ambience is wonderful especially if you like a round of golf.
This wildlife sanctuary is situated at about 45 kilometres. The main attraction here is the Indian antelope.
Around 92 km lies the Khimsar Fort which dates back to 1523. This fort has also been converted into a hotel.
One hundred and thirty-five kilometres away lies Nagaur, an imposing fort with beautiful murals. Every year in the month of January-February, a weeklong cattle fair is held here.
About 58 km from the city, on the diversion off the main Jodhpur-Bikaner Highway, lies Osian, an oasis in the desert. Fifteen beautifully sculptured Jain and Brahmanical temples dot the landscape of this ancient township. Of these the most outstanding ones are the Surya or Sun Temple, Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple and the main Jain temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira.
About 40 km lies Rohet Fort. The fort has now been converted into a heritage hotel. It is in this village that Bruce Chatwin wrote The Songlines and William Dalrymple began The City of Djinns.