Amidst the sand dunes and thorny vegetation of Thar Desert towers a fort, 120 metres above the plain. The fort overlooks the imperial city of Jodhpur, which is a part of the Desert Tourist Triangle. A 10 km long wall surrounds the old Jodhpur city with eight gates serving as entrances. The new city is settled around this walled area. The Maruthal or 'land of death’ came into life when the Rathores of Kanauj moved in. But Rao Jodhaji founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459 AD. This city was on the silk route of the 16th century and hence was host to a number of travellers. In Jodhpur, the genius of its sculptors comes to life in its exquisite palaces, forts, temples and havelis, which stand testimony to the imperial grandeur. The most alluring part of Jodhpur is the traditional lifestyle, festivity and the smiling people who treasure this former princely state.
Situated on a steep hill, Mehrangarh fort is one of the largest forts in India. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrate a saga of hard sandstone’s yielding to the chisels of skilled Jodhpuri sculptures.
Umaid Bhawan Palace:
The only palace built in 20th century under the famine relief programs, has now been converted into a hotel with some parts being retained as a museum.
The 19th century royal cenotaph is built in white marble, in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Some rare portraits of the rulers of Jodhpur are also displayed here.
This museum has a rich collection of weapons, textiles, miniature portraits, local crafts and images of Jain Tirthankars. It is situated in the middle of the Umaid public gardens.
Clock Tower & Sadar Market:
In the old city, clock tower is a prominent landmark. But main attraction is the Sadar Market. The market has kept alive the old 'haat bazaar' culture.
Towards the north of Jodhpur is the ancient capital of Marwar, Mandore. It is just 8 kms from the city. Main attractions of the place are Hall of Heroes with sixteen huge figures carved out of a single rock, the shrine of 330 million Gods and the royal cenotaphs. But one cannot miss the caves in crags and the sprawling gardens, which are now shelter place for monkeys and peacocks. Greenery of the place makes Mandore, in true sense, an oasis.
65-km from Jodhpur, lay ruins of an ancient city called Ossian. This city is famous for Brahmanical and Jain temples, which belong to 8th and 11th century. Surya or Sun temple and the Sachiya temples are famous for their beauty. The 'shikhar' of Sachiya temple is clustered by two rows of turrets, an ambulatory and a large assembly hall with an elaborate ceiling.
The Bishnoi tribes who are staunch believers in the sanctity of plant and animal life inhabit the villages. Villages are marked by Khejri trees and deers, which thrive there. 25 kms from Jodhpur.
LAKES AND PALACES
Balsamand Lake & Palace:
This picturesque artificial lake is 7 kms from the main city. A summer palace along the embankment and a bird sanctuary has made it a picnic spot.
Sardar Samand Lake and Palace:
Rajasthani village life and vibrant cultural colours come alive as you drive along the 55 kms stretch. The monotony of the drive is broken by Chinkaras and Black Bucks who frisk pass the road.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Jodhpur has its own airport and regular flight services connect the city with other major cities in and around Rajasthan.
Rail: The city is also well connected by the railway lines and trains are available for other major cities in the country from here. The 'Palace on Wheels' also visits this city of royal splendor.
Road: The state transport has bus services from other cities of the state and some services are interstate too.
PLACES TO STAY
The variety of hotels and guesthouses in Jodhpur makes one feel at home. Accommodation here is available to suit tourists of every budget. Hotel Karni Bhawan, Ajit Bhawan is a heritage hotel. The Rajasthan Tourism Department has the Ghoomar Hotel. The palace hotels options include the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Ratanada Polo Palace, and Rajputana Palace. Raj Basera also provides good accommodation facilities. There are low budget accommodations available too.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The Marwar Festival: Held in October, this festival brings alive the legend, folklore and romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan's rulers.
The Sadar Market near the Clock Tower gives immense shopping pleasure to the locals as well as the visitors. The colorful but hectic bazaar consists of many narrow lanes, lined with tiny shops. Look for the tie & dye textiles, embroidered leather shoes, lacquerware, antiques, carpets and puppets. Here, one can buy exquisite Rajasthani textiles, clay figurines, miniature camels and elephants, marble inlay work and classic silver jewellery.
Jodhpur has extreme type of climate with temperature range variation being very high. Average rainfall is 32 cm annually. The best season to visit the city is between October and March.