My Visit to Rajasthan – Sights, Sounds & Shopping in Jodhpur
India is known for its rich cultural heritage. Each city and town in India has a distinctive story to tell; its history well preserved in ancient forts, temples, and soulful tourist destinations. The town of Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, is no different.
Looking Back – Jodhpur was founded way back in 1459 by Rao Jodha, of the Rathore clan after whom it is named. However, in the early days, Jodhpur was known as Marwar. Though Jodhpur has grown and developed tremendously over the years, glimpses of the past can still be seen as you visit the old city which is nestled around the Mehrangarh Fort; one of the most well known landmarks of Jodhpur.
Jodhpur, Today –
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan with titles such as the Sun City (due to the sunny weather it enjoys most parts of the year), and the Blue City (when you visit Jodhpur, you will see the landscape dotted with houses painted blue in colour).
Must-Sees in Jodhpur – Famous Tourist Spots
If you are planning a trip to India make sure to include Jodhpur in your itinerary. The city is a beautiful mix of old world charm and progressive development. Each tourist destination and landmark of Jodhpur holds true testament of the city’s rich historical, cultural and architectural heritage.
While in Jodhpur, do visit these famous landmarks for an up-close and personal tour of the city –
Mehrangarh Fort –
Known as one of the largest forts in India, the Mehrangarh fort (Mehrangarh ka kila) occupies the top most spot on the list of what to see in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Located atop a hill, nearly 130m above the city, the Mehrangarh Fort is a sight for sore eyes; bound to astound you with its sheer size, solid stone walls and overall magnificence.
Even before you reach the fort, you will be awestruck by the wondrous views of the city of Jodhpur as you go up the winding road that takes you to the fort (and back), from the city below.
The Rajasthan International Folk Festival takes place at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
For more information, visit: http://www.jodhpurriff.org/
How to Reach Mehrangarh Fort
Getting There – If you do not have your conveyance, you can hire an auto-rickshaw to take you to the fort. Make sure to fix the price for a round trip in advance.
Most of them will be willing to wait for an hour or two and take you back to your destination from the fort.
Capturing the Beauty – To click pictures of the fort, you must buy a pass. This pass will be valid for use of any one camera inside the fort premises.
NOTE: Since the fort complex is vast, there is quite a bit of walking involved, especially if you want to go all the way up to see the museum. Walk up the stairs is quite steep. Senior citizens may wish to rest on their way, and only go up as far as they can manage comfortably.
Alternatively, you may opt to take a lift (for a fee) to go up to the museum directly.
Seven Gates – There are seven distinct gates that engulf the fort including the Jaipol, Fatehpol, Lohapol, Surajpol & the Dedh Kamgra Pol. These were built to commemorate Jodhpur’s victories over enemy armies.
Jaipol is the main entrance gate of the fort that was built by Maharaja Man Singh, signifying his victory against the Jaipur army in which Jodhpur fought victoriously. As you go inside and walk a distance from the ticket counters, you can see the marks of the cannon balls on the fort wall dating back to 1808 AD.
As you enter the fort complex, you will be greeted by beautifully crafted palaces and stone carvings. The glimpses of the Rajput architecture and attention to detailing are truly breathtaking.
The Palki Shop, a unit of Mehrangarh Museum Shop – Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur: The Mehrangarh Fort complex also houses a Museum Shop that sells several interesting mementos and souvenir items. These make excellent gift items for your loved ones back home. Some of the items on display include jewelry, Jodhpur tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, fridge magnets, etc.
A small cafe is just what you need on a hot, sunny day for some much-needed refreshments.
The Mehrangarh Museum is worth the steep climb, (if you are experiencing the fort on foot). Once you reach the top of the stairs, you will get to see beautiful carved balconies and terraces, as well as courtyards. Inside the museum, there are collections of Mughal miniature paintings, palanquins, armor, weapons, manuscripts, and other beautiful artifacts, all reminiscent of a bygone era. Other attractions include the Chamunda Mataji Temple.
For details on the Mehrangarh Museum Shop, visit: http://www.mehrangarhmuseumshop.com/about.asp
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Another must-see in Jodhpur in Rajasthan is the sprawling Umaid Bhawan Palace. Build between the years 1928 and 1943; this palace is counted among the list of the largest private residences in the world. Incidentally, the palace was built under the supervision of H.H. Maharaja Umaid Singh, who is the grandfather of the current maharaja.
This awe-inspiring gold and yellow sandstone palace spreads across nearly twenty-six acres of green gardens and is a sight for sore eyes.
The Umaid Bhawan is divided into three distinct sections – the residence of Jodhpur’s royal family, the luxury hotel which is run under the Taj Palace Hotel and the Museum which gives a beautiful glimpse into the lives of the Royal Family.
Here you will also find a small yet well stocked Souvenir Shop for all your souvenir shopping needs. Items on sale include T-Shirts, Jodhpur Themed Jute Bags, Traditional Doll Key Chains, and more.
You can buy tickets for the museum at the main entrance gate.
The Clock Tower
Ask anyone in Jodhpur about some of the must-sees there for travelers and they will surely recommend the Clock Tower, popularly known as the Ghanta Ghar. The clock tower was constructed by Late Shri Sardar Singh of Jodhpur.
The intricate and beautiful architecture is worth admiring. And while you are there, don’t forget to visit the close by Sadar market or the Clock Tower market.
Shopping in Jodhpur
A visit to Jodhpur is incomplete without shopping. So no matter how pressed for time you may be, do take out sufficient time to visit the local markets and shopping centers of Jodhpur. From beautiful decorative handicraft items for the home, to ethnic clothes and jewelry, bandhni saris and lehenga suits, etc.; Jodhpur is truly a treasure trove for those of you who love to shop!
Here are some shopping destinations you should check out in Jodhpur Rajasthan –
- The Palki Shop, a unit of Mehrangarh Museum Shop, Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur.
- Thar Handloom, Gol Building Road, Jalori Gate Jodhpur – Clothes and Items for the home.
- Raju’s Fashion Mall, Jaljog Circle, Residency Road Jodhpur – Sarees, Suits, Lehenga Suits, Bandhnis, Kurtis, etc.
- Clock Tower Market
In addition, there are several hand-loom and crafts shops where you can purchase unusual handicrafts items like traditional Jharokhas, clay figurines, wall hangings, marble inlay work, gift items, etc.
My visit to Jodhpur recently was a culturally enriching experience, filled with visual treats. It was interesting to watch how the past and the present co-exist so beautifully with a promise of a beautiful future.
Have you been to Jodhpur? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.