At the entrance to the Thar desert stands the bustling city of Jodhpur, which owes its prosperity and great wealth in medieval times to its strategic location on the Silk Road. The massive Mehrangarh Fort looms over the city and the red sandstone palaces it contains form one of the most impressive complexes in Rajasthan. The Brahmins’ blue-washed houses that lie in the fort’s shadow give the city its distinctive colour and lend the city its epithet, the ‘Blue City’. In Jodhpur, life revolves around the colourful bazaars near the clock tower, where you can shop for everything from leather mojaris (shoes) and dentures to ornamental swords based on designs seen in the fort. The 1920s maharaja’s palace – the Umaid Bhawan, now a hotel – is a more recent icon of grandeur.
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Top things to do in Jodhpur
A Taste Trail Through Jodhpur
The Thar desert has its own unique twist on Rajasthani cuisine, the result of its melting pot of cultures and historical influences. Visit some of the traditional eateries in Jodhpur, some of which are centuries old. Your accompanying culinary expert will narrate stories about the area and the various dishes.
Bishnoi Village safari
Bishnoi tribes have shot to international prominence on account of their conservationist religious beliefs. They protect their flora and fauna with reverence and live in tiny hamlets, farming large agricultural tracts where they keep parts fallow for the benefit of wildlife. Their history and customs are legendary and as far back as the 16th century they are known to have resisted royal edicts ordering the felling of trees by wrapping themselves around them.
Champagne sunset tour of Mehrangarh Fort
Accompanied by Karni Singh Jasol, the curator of the Mehrangarh Museum, this private champagne tour of ancient Mehrangarh Fort at sunset is an enchanting experience. The forbidding ramparts of the fort contrast to the richly decorated palaces within. The royal apartments form part of the outstanding museum that displays paintings, thrones, banners and weapons, which are adorned with marvellously carved panels and latticed windows. Proceed for cocktails amidst the 200-year-old blossoming gardens of Chokhelao, where sweet smelling flowers, chirping birds and dazzling moonlight enhance the romantic setting of the fort, once described by Rudyard Kipling as the creation of angels, fairies and giants.
Explore Jodhpur's bazaars.
A walk around the streets of Jodhpur reveals the most vibrant and colourful of Rajasthani cities. The bazaars sell all manner of goods, with locally made specialities including tie-dye fabrics, puppets and lacquered jewellery. The old city is still surrounded by 15th-century town walls and a walk beginning at the Fateh Pol (Victory Gate), past the Jetha Bera Tank and along the colourful lane of Jaisalmerion ki Gali, is like a step back in time.
The artisans of Singhasni
Explore the rural side of Jodhpur and embark on a tour of Singhasni village, home to generations of potters who make a living producing beautiful and intricately designed pots. Interact with the locals and study the pottery making process before trying it yourself.
Walking tour of the Blue City
The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort is set high on a hill overlooking the city and offers stunning views of the blue-painted Brahmin houses for which the city is famous. Beyond the ramparts lie an array of intricate ornamental palaces with exquisitely carved panels and latticed windows. The palaces have evocative names: the Moti Mahal, or Pearl Palace; the Phool Mahal, or Flower Palace; and the Sukh Mahal, or Pleasure Palace. On your way down from the Mehrangarh Fort visit Jaswant Thada, a beautiful white marble cenotaph built in 1899 to honour the late Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. To this day many locals believe that the maharaja has retained his healing touch and regularly offer prayers and flowers at his shrine.
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