When I got off the overnight train in Jodhpur it was as if I stepped onto the set of the Disney movie of Aladdin. I arrived not knowing what to expect from the Blue City, a nickname given due to the blue dye that covers many of the houses. The city has modern conveniences but the historic sites and culture are so well preserved it is as if you have one foot in the past and one in the present. What makes Jodhpur special is that its location in the state of Rajasthan is the west of India, the land of the maharajas. The following are the top 5 places to experience the grandeur of the past and make the most of your first visit to Jodhpur, India.
First up is the Mehrangarh Fort, whose name means “‘fort of the sun,” a reference to the clan’s mythical descent from the sun god Surya. While the fort was started in the 15th century, the main entrance, the northeast gate of Jai Po, was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1808 after invading forces from Jaipur. Upon entering Jai Po, you will come across what is left over from the old, damaged gate. Once you pass the main gates, it is as if you have walked into a maze of grandeur where room upon rooms are elaborately decorated and the outer hallways are simply beautiful. For more information on visiting the Mehrangarh Fort, click here.
Located at just over half a mile northeast of the Mehrangarh Fort is the Jaswant Thada. In honor of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, this cenotaph, a commemorative tomb, was built in 1899. The Jaswant Thada is decorated with portraits of Ranthore rulers and more noticeably white marble lattice throughout. The views of the city are worth the trek.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
A more recent addition to the Jodphur sights is the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, which consists of 200 acres of restored land next to the fort. Take a stroll around on the walking trail to encounter some of the 80 native plants grown in the park.
Streets of Jodhpur
For a more unique and spontaneous experience, wander through the streets of the Blue City to catch a glimpse of local experiences. The photography opportunities are endless with the colorful clothing against bright blue backdrops. Also, don’t forget to keep a look out for village life when traveling to and from stops as there the clothing is just as ornate as those in the city, even the site of women chatting is a worthy photo op.
Old City Market
End the day by treating yourself at the Old City Market. With the clock tower at its center, buy traditional textiles or handicrafts for yourself or a friend. There are many options for affordable custom tailored pieces. Once you are ready for a break from the sun, cool off with a saffron lassi from one of the many stands.
The easiest way to get to these places is to rent an auto rickshaw for a day, which will cost around Rs 500, less than $10 USD. Write down a list of the places you want to go before settling on a price, so there is no question on what you agreed to at the end of the day.
About the Author
JJ Berman is the photographer and writer behind the travel and photography blog Urbane Nomad, which chronicles her adventures abroad as well as the unexpected encounters in everyday life. When she is not gulping down copious amounts of coffee, you can find her in dance class, from ballet to Bollywood.
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