My first visit to Jodhpur was more than 18 years back with a group of friends. Those days Google was not used for research. We use to refer to guidebooks and ask hotel’s front “What are the best places to visit in Jodhpur”. Gone are the days and now it’s much easier to plan the travel.
After all these years Jodhpur was still fresh in my mind when I planned my recent solo trip. Over the years I matured as a traveler and gained the confidence to travel alone. I knew what I have to see in Jodhpur and what things I want to do in Jodhpur. This time I have not planned day wise because I have the flexibility to do things as I wish. Still, I have a list in my mind for the places to visit in Jodhpur.
This is my list of 16 must do things and places to visit in Jodhpur.
Visit the Majestic Mehrangarh Fort
I have been to many forts and exploring a fort is one of favorite activity when traveling. Based on my experience I can say one thing for sure that Mehrangarh Fort is by far one of the best forts I had visited so far.
There are entrances to the fort, one is from the old city side and another is the main gate where they have a car parking and ticket window.
The climb to the fort is steep and people who don’t want to stress themselves or have weak knees can use the elevator. The ticket for the elevator is available next to fort’s enter ticket counter. It costs only 40 INR for up & down. During the peak season and rush hours, there is a waiting time to use the lift. I went up by elevator and came down walking. In this way, I saved the time and energy. And saw everything on the way to the top of the fort.
There are boards and signs everywhere providing information. You can skip the audio guide because it provides more or less the same information at slow speed.
I took the elevator and reached the top of the fort. Don’t rush to see the art gallery and museum. The view of Blue city of Jodhpur is best from here, so stay here for some time and enjoy the view with the breeze. The Magnificient Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhavan, and the lake look beautiful from the top of Fort.
I spent little more than 3 hours to explore the Mehrangarh Fort. There were 3 groups of musicians sitting on sides as I climbed down and they start playing the music as they saw tourists approaching.
Visit Magnificient Jaswant Thada
This is popularly known as Taj of Marwar. It is the final resting place of late kings and the other family members. This cenotaph complex is approximately 1.5 Km from Mehrangarh Fort. The Jaswant Thada was made next to a lake and hill in memory of King Jaswant Singh II, who was cremated here. Later on, some other members of the royal family were cremated here and their cenotaphs were made around the main Cenotaph. There is a royal cremation area next to the Jaswant Thada complex.
It is a small complex and can be explored in an hour’s time.
P.S. If you are more adventurous then go to the hill across Jaswant Thada. From the hill, the view is spectacular with Mehrangarh Fort in the background of Jaswant Thada.
Read more about Jaswant Thada.
Explore the Royal Residence Umaid Bhavan Palace
A part of this royal palace is developed into museum and rest of the palace is converted into a luxury hotel. It is operated by Taj group of hotels and is considered one of the best in India. The royal family also lives in a small part of this beautiful palace.
It is situated 6 km from Mehrangarh Fort on the other side of Blue city Jodhpur on a small hill. This beautiful palace is surrounded by lush green manicured gardens.
The palace is very popular among tourists and remains crowded most of the time. The car museum of the palace is one of the main attraction of Umaid Bhavan.
The museum has displayed the different items used by Kings and the royal family in past.
The Umaid Bhavan Palace hotel is a beautiful 5-star property if your budget allows then it is a great place to stay. Otherwise, go for a Rajasthani dinner in the hotel’s restaurant Risala for a royal experience.
Ghanta Ghar is the Clock Tower
This clock tower is located near the busy Sadar Bazar market. This tall tower is situated at a busy square and is visible from a distance. The Ghanta Ghar of Jodhpur looks vibrant at night.
Bishnoi Village Safari
The Bishnoi community of Jodhpur inhabits in the nearby villages. The people of Bishnoi community worship the nature in all forms. They don’t cut trees and treat the animals with respect. Legend has that people of this community sacrificed their lives to protect the Khejari trees in this area when King ordered to cut the trees. There is a memorial in the memory of those people.
The Black Buck is a scared animal for them. I remember when I first time went for the village safari many years back, I was surprised to see Black Bucks running in the middle of crops without any restriction.
The most interesting thing about this village safari is that I saw Black Bucks, Peacock, Mongols in their natural habitat. Also saw the rural life and traditional workmanship. During this village safari, I visited a potter’s hut and saw him at work. Afterward, I went to see the traditional printing and weaving process. The tour ended with a rural lunch in a village house, which was simple yet tasty.
P.S. If you can manage to convince them then you can experience the Opium ceremony, in which the elder of the house will make a drink and offer you in his hand.
A Visit to Osian Village
This is the place for you if you have not seen a sand dune or want to spend an evening away from the city or want to visit the famous Osian temple of Goddess. There are the main temple and a few small temples.
Osian Mata temple is very popular among local people and it is not crowded usually.
Around sunset time the small sand dunes of the village come alive with the activities. The camel rides, jeep safari or rides a dune buggy is available here. The only resort in the area had lost it charm over the year.
This is a place for you if you are not visiting Jaisalmer with Jodhpur. If you are visiting Jaisalmer then you can avoid this place.
Temples and Cenotaphs of Mandore Garden
This garden complex is on the outskirts of the city. There are beautiful cenotaphs and temples surrounded by garden areas. The architect is beautiful but the maintenance is bad. Mandore is one of its own kind in Jodhpur so visit it to see the workmanship.
Avoid the small kids or adults trying to sell different things to you as when you enter the garden. There are Langoors in garden area but they were sleeping on trees when I went post lunch. I have been told that in the morning and evening when it is cooler they roam around freely. Despite all these, it is a place worth visiting.
Sardar Market for Shopping in Jodhpur
This is the market where local people buy everyday stuff and the best place for shopping in Jodhpur. The main market is on both sides of the main road. The shops on the main road are bigger and a bit expensive, go to the shops in the inner lanes.
This is a vibrant local market where you can shop like a local. The textile, artificial local jewelry, fashion items, footwear, and souvenir are the main things to buy in this market. Be prepared to bargain for better prices.
Rao Jodha Desert Park
This park is developed and opened for public few years back. It is located next to the iconic Mehrangarh Fort. The Rao Jodha Desert Park contains distinctive volcanic rock and sandstone formations. In this 70 hectares park, one can see different varieties of plants, birds and huge volcanic rocks. This is a very peaceful place and best explored with a guide. You can also enjoy snacks or lunch in the garden cafe inside the park.
Zipline at Mehrangarh Fort
This is the only adventure activity in Jodhpur if you are looking for some adrenaline rush. In one zip line, they took me for 6 different lines which go over the battlements and crenellations of the Mehrangarh Fort, two desert lakes, and over the trek of Rao Jodha Desert Park. I saw the Mehrangarh Fort from a different perspective and it was quite interesting.
During my ziplines, I wished that I should have carried the GoPro. Go for early morning ziplines because it gets hot even in winter months.
Dinner facing Mehrangarh Fort
There are many cafes and restaurants in Sardar market and surrounding areas. Go to a rooftop restaurant and have dinner facing illuminated Mehrangarh Fort.
If you are looking for a romantic evening then go the Chokelao Restaurant inside Meherangarh Fort. It is advisable to book in advance so that they can arrange the pickup from the gate as fort closes after sunset.
Exploring blue houses lanes
Go to the old city and explore the lanes. You will see the front of the houses painted with different traditional motifs. In some of the lanes, most of the houses are painted in the tone of blue. It’s a unique experience exploring the narrow lanes and sees the local life.
Jodhpur is also known as Blue city because most of the houses in the old city are painted in blue color. Interestingly the blue color of houses varies from house to house and there is no uniformity. It is believed that Blue color is used to ward off evil and insects.
Stay in a Haveli
There are many Haveli’s which are now converted into hotels. Stay in a haveli for unique local experience and feel. These Havelis are beautifully restored in the traditional style. The bed, dressing table, artwork on the wall, lamps, the chandeliers and almost everything else in the room are kept in Rajasthani style. It gives the feeling of staying in a grand local house which has all the basic amenities. Since these Havelis are maintained by the families so there are personal touch and warmth.
The Omelette Shop in Market
If you are an egg fan like me than this the place to be. The name of the shop is the Omelette shop and it next to Clocktower square. This small shop has a few plastic stools outside the shop for sitting. This shop came to prominence when Lonely Planet mentioned it as a place to visit in Jodhpur. The shop has mentioned this outside on the board. This shop makes around two dozen variants of Omelettes and serves these as a sandwich with bread. It’s a good place to snack or has a complete meal at a cheap price.
Eat a Traditional Thali
When in Jodhpur have a traditional Rajasthani or Marwari Thali at Gypsy restaurant in Sadarpura. They serve unlimited vegetarian thali, in which you can have different varieties of snacks, vegetables/Dals and different types of Rotis. Don’t eat any things before going for a Thali lunch or dinner because there are so many food items to try, you should have an empty stomach. If you are a heavy eater then this is the best place for you, even if you are a light eater go for experience and to taste different dishes because you won’t get these things everywhere.
Janta Mishtan Bhandar
There is no sitting arrangement in the shop and you have to eat standing. The place remains crowded throughout the day as it is very popular among locals and tourists. They sell many items but the shop is famous for its Pyaaz (Onion) kachori’s, Aloo Michibada and sweet Mawa kachori. These are high calories dishes but do taste these for the experience. I get the sweet and savory kachori’s packed for home when returning from Jodhpur. Other then these I get a few of the snack varients, which last for a couple of weeks.
How to go to the Blue City of Jodhpur –
* Delhi to Jodhpur is 600 Km and from Jaipur to Jodhpur is 335 Km.
* There are direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Jodhpur.
* Jodhpur is well connected by train network from all major cities of India.
* Rajasthan Roadways operate buses for Jodhpur from all major cities in Rajasthan and Delhi.
How to Travel in the Blue City of Jodhpur –
* If you are staying in the old city then you have to walk in lanes to reach the main road or ask your hotel for a tuk-tuk.
* Autorickshaw (Tuk-Tuk) are easily available everywhere in Jodhpur. Most of the drivers are ok but some of them try to extract money from false stories about buses or stations problems. Be aware of scams. It is mandatory to have a name, license number and other basic information written on a board behind the driver’s seat. You can note this and complain to the police in case of a problem.
* Ola and Uber are available in Jodhpur. The waiting time is usually 10-15 minutes.