Pretty, pretty Jodhpur. My expectations for this city were high. Just do a Google search for Jodhpur and you will understand why. This city is known for its blue houses. However, Jodhpur has actually a lot more to offer. A gigantic fort, a majestic palace, various viewpoints, colorful markets, and friendly locals. It was the combination of this all that left a really positive impression on me. Just like that, Jodhpur landed in my top favorite cities. In this blog post, I will share 7 great things to do in Jodhpur.
Jodhpur things to do
1. The grand Mehrangarh Fort
The skyline of Jodhpur is dominated by the gigantic Mehrangarh Fort, one of the biggest forts in the world. It is located 120 meter above the city. Not only the location is impressive, also the walls along the fort. The thick sandstone walls show that the fortress was not easy to conquer. Of the seven fortress gates, there is one I won’t forget. The loha pol, an entrance with a cruel story. Enemies used elephants to breach the gates. The maharaja knew a trick for this: he put iron pins on the door that would kill the elephant. Just behind the loha pol, there are a couple of hand marks on the wall. These are the Sati hand prints, referring to an old tradition where the royal widow would sacrifice herself when her husband had died. According to tradition, a women should not outlive her man.
It can be chilly inside!
Within the walls of the Mehrangarh Fort you will find various palaces, like the Moti Mahal with the colorful stained glass windows. A little preparation tip: it can be cold inside the palaces. The architect designed this place in a way that the wind could always get in. And that is something you will notice. While in the fort don’t forget to visit the Chamunda Mata temple, a small white pagoda with a remarkable location on the city wall. From here you have a beautiful view of the ‘Blue City’.
2. Enjoy the quiet at Jaswant Thada
From the gate of the Mehrangarh Fort, it is a 5-minute walk to the next highlight: the Jaswant Thada. A memorial for the maharaja Jaswant Sing II, built in 1899. The white marble is a stark contrast to the dark brown color of the fortress. Another contrast is the tranquility: every tourist visits the Mehrangarh Fort, but most skip the Jaswant Thada. This memorial doesn’t have the grandeur of the fort, but it has an eye for detail and blossoming green garden. Moreover, you also get a nice view on the fort from here.
3. The extravagant Umaid Bhawan palace
Jodhpur is the city of superlatives. You cannot only find the biggest fortress in India here, but also the largest palace of the world is located in Jodhpur. This is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, built between 1929 and 1942. The king had a noble goal in his mind with the construction: it created employment for the farmers who were hit by famine. And it did: about 3,000 people worked at the construction of this grand palace. With the soft pink color and the Beaux-Arts architectural style, the palace is a striking appearance. Today the palace houses a museum, the well-known Taj Palace Hotel, and the private residence of the former royal family. The museum is nice to visit, but you come here to see the building.
4. on the hunt in the blue city
Jodhpur is known for one distinct feature: the blue colored houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. The reason for the blue color is unknown, but there are several theories trying to explain it. Take an afternoon out of your schedule and just wander the streets looking for the blue houses. What really surprised me was how friendly the locals were. No one tried to sell us something. It is a regular area where people live and work and children go to school. People were really relaxed.
5. Relax on the steps of the step well
Rajasthan is a dry desert region and that’s why you will find many ‘Baoris’. These water wells are monumental masterpieces; the architecture is comparable to a reversed pyramid. The shape also has a practical goal: people could easily get to the water. Make sure to visit the Toor Ji Jhlara Stepwell in Jodhpur. It is a smaller version than the Chand Baori near Jaipur, but it is located in the heart of Jodhpur. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the late afternoon sun and relax.
6. Find the tiniest shops of Jodhpur
I love strolling through a city and Jodhpur is the perfect city for this. Of course, you always have to be on the lookout for rickshaws, scooters, cows, and dogs. I mean, it’s still India so there is daily chaos. When you get used to that, then you will see the beauty. Jodhpur is a lively city and its streetlife is full of photogenic details. One of my favorite things to do in Jodhpur is to look for tiny shops. Not because I wanted to shop, but because I was fascinated by the sizes. For instance, I saw a vegetable shop under the stairs. I really wonder how the owner got into his shop?
7. Hit the market at the Sardar Bazar
Last but not least: experience the hustle and the bustle at the Sardar bazaar. This colorful market is organized every day and is located around the striking 19th century Clock Tower. Here you can buy saris, bracelets, spices, and vegetables. The crowds can be overwhelming. Watch out for the (sometimes very young) vendors, they can be pushy at times. My tip: observe the market from the sideline. I sat down at Cafe Royale and took the chaos in with a masala chai in my hand. The service is a bit slow here, but the food and drinks are good.
And there you have it: a list of things to do in Jodhpur. Would you visit this city?