Saturday, March 7, 2009


Jodhpur - rustic, yet regal

Rajasthan's second largest city where once walked the valiant Rathores looks bedazzling indeed when viewed from the ramparts of its hilltop Fort, with lamp-lit caravans and tired camels, bustling lanes with vendors and eager tourists bargaining over that sensuous leheriya sari and ornate sky scrapping palaces and havelis. Jodhpur is indeed beautiful and as you lark through the winding lanes following that luscious aroma of kachouri, bumping into localites more than often, you will be amazed at the warmth this templed city exudes.

Tale of the City

Founded in 1459 AD by the Suryavanshi Rao Jodha, Jodhpur was the former capital of the princely state of Marwar. The old city is enclosed within a 10 km long wall and the new city begins where the old ends. The wall has six huge gates called Nagauri gate, Merati gate, Sojati gate, Jalori gate, Siwanchi gate and Chand pol.


Mehrangarh Fort: It means 'Majestic Fort' and a sweeping look at its facade will convince you how rightly was it named. Roosted right in the middle of the city atop a 125 m hill, this unassailable landmark encloses within its 36m high and 21m wide ramparts some of the most beautifully crafted palaces like Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana, exquisite conglomeration of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. High on the rampart rests the second largest cannon in Asia, the recoil of which requires an area as large as a football field! Consider stopping by the museum shop which has a good collection of handicrafts, books and literature.

Jaswant Thada: As you climb down the Mehrangarh fort, watch out on the left for the white marbled cenopath of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The sequestered monument is beautiful carved to look like a temple and with the collection of rare portraits of ex-rulers within, it exudes a mystic aura.

Umaid Bhavan Palace (Open:9am-5pm/Monday closed): Maharaja Umaid Singh was so infatuated with western lifestyle that he got the President of the British Royal Institute of Architects, Henry Vaughan Lanchester to construct what finally became a 347 roomed marvel in red Chittar sandstone. The Palace, completed just before independence, stands peerless as India's last of the great palatial buildings and one of the biggest private residences in the world. The 105 ft. singular cupola, the Throne Room with its exquisite Ramayana murals, an elegant wood-paneled library, a private museum, an indoor swimming pool, a Billiards Room, tennis courts and unique marble squash courts make Umaid Bhawan Palace a sheer delight. Turned a heritage resort, overnighting at Umaid Bhavan gives you the feel of waking up feeling like some Maharajah yourself. The museum has weapons, stuffed leopards, a huge banner presented by Queen Victoria and an incredible collection of clocks. There is more to this palace that inspires admiration - the noble cause of providing employment to the famine-stricken people.


The ethnic items that can be bought from Jodhpur are tie and dye textiles, jootis, lacquerware, antiques, carpets and puppets. Most of the antique dealers perch in the road that runs between Ajit Bhawan and Umaid Bhawan. For exquisite tie and dye sarees, go to Sojati Gate. Station Road is where you get leather items and jooties (embroidered shoes). Head to Tripola Bazar for local handicrafts; to Mochi Bazar for lac works and bangles; to Nai Sadak for tie-and-dye fabrics, leather items, handlooms; to Clock Tower for handicrafts, textiles and spices. Check out Jodhpur Handloom House for beautiful Bandhni and Leheriya sarees.


A traditional Jodhpur palate is a tango of fiery spices and aromatic flavors emanating from the assortment of Mawa Kachori, Pyaaj Kachori, Hot & Spicy Mirchibada (made from potato, onion, chili and gramflour) and Panchkuta. Try On the Rocks (next to Ajit Bhawan) for its barbecue dishes, Haveli Guest House's rooftop or Mid Town restaurant for traditional cuisine and so on. And to balm your esophagus, incase the food was to spicy, wind up your meal with a tall glass of lassi (buttermilk). The best lassi can be had at Mishrilal Hotel.


* Marwar Festival: Incase you have dropped in during the Festivals, don't miss participating. The Marwar Festival held during September-October is a gala event. The bards sing praises of the valors of Rajput warriors, kalbeliya dancers swirling their black skirts glittering with mirrors, beads and sequins in tune to mesmerizing desert music and the numerous food-stalls make it a maverick fiesta.

* Umaid Bhavan Palace Jodhpur is where the baggy/tight horse riding trousers were born. The jodhpurs (kind of riding breeches) took their name from here.

* Kite Festival: The International kite festival of Jodhpur, held at Polo Grounds, celebrated every January 14, last for three-days, and kite fliers from across the nation and abroad frolic here to participate.


Mandore (9 km): The erstwhile capital of Marwar prior to the discovery of Jodhpur, is an interesting spot with a myriad old cenotaphs of the Rathore rulers, rugged caves, sprawling gardens amidst gurgling fountains and sights still waiting to be explored.

Osian (65 km NW): Some localites still refer to it with its old name 'Ukeshpur', while for tourists, whatever be it popular as, what scores the tourist-eye about this picturesque Thar desert town is some of the most spectacularly sculpted Brahmanical (16) and Jain temples. Camping right here in the deserland and touring the vicinity on the romping camel, samples an experience one would not like to forget easily.

Mahamandir (2 km NE): An old walled city that remains agog during the daytime with pilgrims coming to the 100 pillared Shiva temple here.

Balsamand Lake and Palace (4 km N): An old palace, frilled with a panoramic lake sums up for a quiet stroll in those muggy evenings. And if you have not forgotten your binoculars, head straight to the bird sanctuary just 3 km away. The palace is a luxury hotel now.

Wildlife parks: Sardar Samand Lake (55 km) is a wildlife center with herds of black bucks. The route has the Bishnoi villages (the Bishnois are the oldest conservationists in India) and a stroll in its placid lanes is a must. On the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer route, about 1 km from the Kalyana lake (near the Irrigation Dept. Dak bungalow), is the Machiya Safari Park with some amazing wildlife like deer, desert fox, monitor lizard, blue bulls rabbits, wild cats, mongoose, monkeys and rare birds.

Pali (SW of Jodhpur): Named after the Paliwal Brahmins who once inhabited the area, Pali once housed a highly evolved civilization. The ancient Naulakha Jain temple has elaborate carvings while Somnath Shiv temple is known for its handsome moldings.

Location :
In Rajasthan, 336 km E of Jaipur

Go there for :
Palaces, Forts

Climate :
20°-45°C (Sum); 5°-6°C (Win)

When to Go:

Local Tongue:
Marwari, Hindi

Literacy :

STD Code :
+91 - 291

No comments:

Post a Comment