After exploring the restless streets of the pink city, Jaipur, I decided to move on to my next destination. Jaipur is well connected to all the major cities of Rajasthan and travelling from one city to another is convenient. Presented with multiple options, I decided to visit the city of Jodhpur, the ‘Blue city of India’.
Jodhpur, the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan, was founded by Rao Jodha, a Rajput chief of the Rathore Clan back in the 15th century. Rao Jodha also concurred nearby territory and was successful in building one of the most famous dynasties of India, the Marwars. Jodhpur is located in the heart of Rajasthan and is a renowned tourist attraction.
How to Get to Jodhpur:
Located at a distance of about 335 km from the capital city of Jaipur, Jodhpur is also notably known as the ‘Sun City’. Being famous for attracting foreign as well as local tourists, the city is well connected with most of the other cities in Rajasthan.
Buses, trains and shared taxies to Jodhpur are easily available. I travelled to Jodhpur via a state-run AC bus (RSRTC) from Jaipur for 900INR. The bumpy journey was about eight hours long. You can book buses to Jaipur from the RSRTC Website, RedBus (Web, App), or MakeMyTrip (Web, App). Trains, on the other hand, can be booked via IRCTC (Web, App).
Note: Only Indians are allowed to sign up on the IRCTC website for booking train tickets. Foreign tourists can ask their hotel owners or local travel agents to book it for them at a small price.
Where to Stay in Jodhpur:
Being an eminent city, Jodhpur is flooded with backpacking hostels to serve foreigner travellers. I stayed at a hostel named goSTOPS. The place had great facilities but I couldn’t help notice the absence of the soul of a true backpacking hostel. There were specific caretakers who managed the place and it felt more like a hotel or guest house instead. I did have the chance to meet some amazing people there, which made my stay more enjoyable. Apart from goSTOPS, there are many other hostels in the city such as Zostel Jodhpur, The Madpackers, etc. To find more hostel accommodations in Jodhpur, click here.
Things to Do in Jodhpur:
The Mehrangarh Fort:
One of the most magnificent and biggest forts in India is the Mehrangarh Fort. The fort was built in 1460 by the founder of the city Jodhpur, Rao Jodha. Built about 415 feet above the city, the fort works as the borderline between old and new Jodhpur. It gives you a glorious view of the old city of Jodhpur on one side and the new city on the other.
The fort has been a favourite filming location for many Bollywood movies and has been the destination for multiple high-profile weddings. The fort was made famous in Hollywood, post the shooting of the “The Dark Knight Rises” by Christopher Nolan. The price of entry ticket is 600INR for international guests and 100INR for domestic guests.
The fort has an inbuilt museum that magnifies the scale of beauty and historical importance of the structure. The museum has an incredible collection of historical artefacts associated with the history of Jodhpur as well as Rajasthan as a whole. The Mehrangarh Fort turned out to be my personal favourite amongst all the other forts in Rajasthan. It should definitely be on your list of things to do when in Jodhpur!
The Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum:
The Umaid Bhawan Palace has been named in the honour of the grandfather of the current King, Maharaja Gaj Singh. Just as the Jaipur Royal family have relocated to the City Palace from their previous abode at the Amer Fort, the Jodhpur Royal family have vacated the Mehrangarh fort in favour of the Umaid Palace. This striking building is one of the world’s largest residencies. The palace also houses a museum situated at the front. The famous Taj chain of hotels manages part of it as ‘royal hotels’. A first glance of the Umaid Bhawan struck me as being similar to the famous ‘Victoria Memorial’, situated in Kolkata, but in red.
Old Jodhpur (Blue City):
Just as Jaipur is famously known as the ‘Pink City’, Jodhpur is known as ‘Blue city of India’. Old Jodhpur is full of houses painted in white and blue and together they give a magnificent view. These contrasting houses attract a lot of attention from budding street photographers. The blue colour is said to work as a bug repellant as well as a coolant during the scorching summers.
Walking through the narrow alleyways of old Jodhpur, enjoying a cup of steaming tea and the famous local ‘onion kachori’ of Rajasthan, beats all 5-star meals. I wandered around the blue city for over an hour while taking pictures and capturing the rich textures that the city had to offer. The ‘Chefchaouen’ of India, the streets of Old Jodhpur sure do deserve your time.
The Step Well – ‘ToorJi Ka Jhalara’:
In olden times, Indian Queens used to work with local women to build wells around the city to solve the water crisis. Toorji Ka Jhalra (Toorji’s Step Well) was built in Jodhpur during the 1740s, by a Queen, Maharaja Abhay Singh’s Consort. This continued the age-old tradition of Royal women building public water works. As with all step wells, the steps follow down the fluctuating water table to provide easy all-year round access to water.
The Step Well café just above the Jhalara is a highly-rated café in town and quite popular with tourists. The chic restaurant is a great place to enjoy a light brunch overlooking the Step Well.
The City of Jodhpur had been a great host to me and what made this place even more special were the people I met at the hostel. All of us were supposed to be heading to the same destination within the next few days and so we decided to tag along together and booked the same hostel at Jaisalmer too. But before I went to Jaisalmer, I had one more place to visit‑Rajasthan’s city of joy. Find out in my next post what that place could be.