What to see in Jodhpur
India | Rajasthan
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan and is particularly known for the Mehrangarh Fort which dominates the whole valley from the top of a rocky hill. The fort houses several old palaces and museums, not to be missed on any tour to the city.
JODHPUR: WHAT TO SEE, INFO AND PHOTOS
With its population of over one million inhabitants, Jodhpur is the second city of Rajasthan and is more or less equidistant from the other cities normally visited on most Rajasthan tours, such as Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Udaipur and Jaipur (about 5 or 6 hours by car). Visitors not traveling in India by car and driver, may get to Jodhpur by one of the daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai or other major hubs served, alternatively, there are also long distance trains and buses, although they may require several changes on a whole day long trip.
Jodhpur is also known as the blue city, for its traditional houses painted in this color, although this practice is slowly disappearing. The city was founded in the fifteenth century, when the construction of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort also began, favored by its geographical position along the main trade routes between west and south. Jodhpur also became an important cultural and artistic center in India and is the best place in Rajasthan to admire and buy intriguing Rajput miniature paintings. Currently the city lives on trade and on a quickly increasing tourism.
The main attractions in Jodhpur not to be missed are:
- Mehrangarh Fort. The imposing Mehrangarh fortress rises on a flat rocky hill 122 meters (400 feet) high which dominates the whole city from top. Its mighty walls and ramparts up to 40 meters (131 feet) tall in some points, seem the natural continuation of the rocky walls above which the fort rises and makes a highly picturesque image not to be missed. Inside the fortress there are several palaces with sumptuous courtyards, housing museums with items of inestimable historical and artistic value.
- Jaswant Thada. Jaswant Thada's mausoleum stands on a red sandstone platform and is built entirely of white marble. It dates back to the late 19th century and was commissioned by maharajah Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in memory of his father. The structure also houses the royal family cemetery.
- Jodhpur bazaar. The Sardar Bazaar is located in the old city of Jodhpur, the alleys teem with commercial activities of all kinds, while the fortress of Jodhpur dominates the landscape from a short distance. In the central point we find the Clock Tower built by the Maharajah Sardar Singh between the 19th and 20th centuries, in English style.
- Umaid Bhavan. Umaid's palace dates back to the last century and is a mix of architecture in various styles since the maharajah Umaid Singh who wanted to build it, was attracted by the modernity of western design. The structure, in red sandstone, houses a luxury hotel and a museum with numerous items belonged to past royal families.
- Mandore. A few kilometers from the center of Jodhpur, on the outskirts, Mandore houses a large garden where there are numerous red sandstone temples reminiscent of the architecture of Hindu temples, with richly carved colonnades and domes.
How long is suggested to stay in Jodhpur? To visit Jodhpur it is required a full day, therefore, considering the normal travel times from the other cities of Rajasthan, it is advisable to plan two nights in the city. The various attractions are quite distant from each other (except the fortress and the Jaswant Thada mausoleum), to move around visitors may use the tuk tuk or taxi.
What is the best time to visit Jodhpur? The best time to go to Jodhpur is from October to March, as for the rest of northern India, because this period gives more comfortable and drier weather, with lower temperatures.
But now let's see some photos of Jodhpur taken during our trip in Rajasthan.
The Mehrangarh Fort
dominates the city of Jodhpur from the flat top of a 122-meter (400 feet) rocky cliff. The walls, up to 40 meters (131 feet) tall, as well as the buildings of the fortress, seem to be a natural extension of the rocks above which the structure stands.
The access to Mehrangarh Fort
is through a steep street that crosses seven imposing gates, giving impressive views onto the massive walls protecting the fortress.
If you do not feel good enough to climb to the fort on foot, a lift service is available not far from the external parking and shortly after the ticket office (but during peak times the queue can be a bit long).
Eventually, the road through the portals can be walked downhill when leaving the fort at the end of the visit. However, the fact is that at least in one of the two directions, it is absolutely worth walking this road, for the beautiful views onto walls and outermost buildings.
Upon reaching the top of Jodhpur Fort
, visitors may enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city open, which is also called the blue city
, due to the color of the houses in the historic district (although the tradition of painting the houses in blue is slowly disappearing).
Once in the Mehrangarh Fort, visitors will find themselves in a courtyard surrounded by palaces made of sandstone and marble finely carved. These palaces house the Mehrangarh museum
and the marble throne
of maharajah Sangar Kochi.
Along the facade of the buildings, many amazing latticework windows
will not go unnoticed. The dense pattern through the stone was used to allow court women to see from inside what was going on outside, but without being seen.
Among the various items stored in Mehrangarh museum
, some of the most impressive are the rare Rajput miniature paintings
dating back to past centuries, which are so detailed, to constitute real photographs of the most important historical events. Rajput miniatures
are so finely painted, to require a lens to appreciate all the details. The excellent conditions of paintings dating back to the 17th century, therefore so old, are also impressive. Making Rajput miniature paintings
requires great skill, surgical precision and months of patient work. Jodhpur
is the most important city in India for this kind of art, there are several schools teaching the techniques and the city is one of the best locations where to buy miniature paintings
The Rajput miniature painting requires brushes made of squirrel tail, while the colors are mainly obtained from minerals easily available in the region. For the golden color, authentic gold leaf are used, as they add shine and brilliance difficult to obtain differently.
The Mirror Palace
, or Sheesh Mahal
, shows a mix of frescoes and bas-reliefs decorated with precious stones, which are reflected among countless mirrors on walls and ceiling.
One of the most interesting rooms of the Mehrangarh fortress
is the Flower Palace
), so called because the walls and ceiling are full of flowers represented on frescoes and bas-reliefs. It is estimated that several kilos of pure gold was used to decorate the whole room. The function of this room was to offer a private, exclusive and sumptuous location to the royal family. It was built by the maharajah
Abhaya Singh between 1724 and 1749.
Another photo of the spectacular Flower Palace
and its decorations made by sheets of pure gold.
Also very interesting is the Takhat
(Takhat Vilas) hall built by the maharajah Takhat Singh in the 19th century, the last royal in power in Jodhpur who used the Mehrangarh Fort as a residence. Very interesting is the floor that seems covered by a carpet
, but is actually painted wood
Moving among the various palaces of the fortress, visitors can often enjoy nice panoramas of Jodhpur
Another beautiful palace is the Pearl Palace (Moti Mahal) with a courtyard surrounded by facades of marble finely carved and intriguing latticework windows.
The interior of the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) is equally intriguing. But why was it called Pearl Palace if there is no trace of this element in the decorations?
The answer is simple: the numerous niches along the walls, were used to hold candles, which once lit, the flames were reflected everywhere by the mirrors under the ceiling, making everything shine as if there were real pearls.
Another attraction not to be missed during a tour in Jodhpur, is the magnificent Jaswant Thada
, a mausoleum standing on top of a hill not far from Mehrangarh Fort. Built entirely of white marble, the structure was commissioned by maharajah Jaswant Singh II to commemorate his father, but later became a cemetery for the whole royal family.
The garden surrounding the mausoleum of Jaswant Thada
houses in fact numerous chapels, with the urns of the various members of the royal family.
The marble platform
on which the Jaswant Thada mausoleum stands.
The interior of Jaswant Thada mausoleum, also all in marble.
The tour in Jodhpur continues visiting the historic district of the city, starting from the famous Clock Tower
built between the 19th and 20th century by maharajah Sardar Singh in English style (the last maharajahs in Jodhpur were quite fascinated by western architecture).
From the Clock Tower, small streets enters the Sardar Bazaar
, an open-air market where everything is sold, from typical Indian spices to clothes.
The Mehrangarh Fort
dominated the downtown of Jodhpur from the top of the hill.
The Umaid Palace
) dates back to the last century and is a mix of architecture in various styles since the maharajah Umaid Singh who wanted to build it, was attracted by the modernity of western design. The structure, in red sandstone, houses a luxury hotel and a museum with numerous items belonged to the past royal families.
A few kilometers from the center of Jodhpur, Mandore
has a large garden (Mandore Gardens
) with numerous monkeys wandering around.
But the real attraction in Mandore gardens
are these temples, remains of the ancient capital of the Rathor clan and cenotaphs of the maharajahs, who continued to erect the funeral monuments here. As architecture, the Mandore Temples
look like Hindu temples, they are made of red sandstone and have finely carved domes.