All you need to know about Jodhpur
Jodhpur, the infamous blue city of Rajasthan, should be on everyone’s bucket list, for its beautiful architecture, phenomenal lassi, vibrant shopping, and the friendliest people! When you are in Jodhpur, there won’t be a moment of boredom; come ready to fall in love with the blue city!
If you had heard the hype about the lassi at Lassiwala in Jaipur, and wasn’t blown away by it (it was a good lassi, but, I’ve had good lassi), you have to try the lassi in Jodhpur!
1. Start your day with Makhaniya Lassi!
The most popular spot for lassi in Jodhpur is at the clocktower market at a joint called Mishrilal Hotel. The makhaniya lassi here is the most popular item on the menu, and it is what people come here for. It is a thick custard like drink with cardamom, saffron, and sugar. It was good, but it was a little rich for my taste, but it would be a great dessert after a spicy meal.
I found a much better lassi, at a small joint down the road, it was perfectly balanced with the right amount of cardamom, sugar, and saffron, and kept going back there for more. The joint isn’t much of a looker, but it made me realise that the inconspicuous is sometimes more worthy of a hype!
So if you are at the clocktower market, be a little adventurous & try the lassi at the hole in the wall shop down the road from Mishrilal hotel.
2. Shop at Ghantaghar Bazaar (Clocktower Market)
The Clocktower market is the visitor’s official initiation to Jodhpur! The chaos, the crowd, the roaming cows, the food and the irresistible shopping, all make this market the beating heart of Jodhpur!
All the markets in Jodhpur can be accessed from this market, so it is definitely worth starting from here. Clothes, spices, handmade bags, shoes, jewellery, fruits, vegetables, sarees, and everything else you can think of, are available at extremely reasonable prices. It goes without saying that when in a market in India, BARGAIN!
3. Marvel at Mehrangarh Fort
Your trip to Jodhpur isn’t complete without a visit to the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that overlooks all of Jodhpur. The many pictures of the clusters of blue houses that you would have seen of Jodhpur, are clicked from here.
The fort built in 1459 is one of the largest in India, and is beautifully maintained. At the entrance, you can choose to rent audio sets for a more immersive experience. There are a couple of restaurants on the premises for much needed breaks, though the food is just alright, and fairly expensive.
There are musicians, puppeteers, and other performers who regularly put on shows for tourists, so keep an eye out for them, and do tip them at the end of their performance.
There is also a zip line across the fort, over the blue houses and the lake, for those in the mood for adventure.
The architecture of the fort, true to Rajasthani style, is opulent and intricate, making it a photographer or instagrammer’s dream!
The museum is worth the visit to see beautiful palanquins, weaponry, and other artefacts from the royal treasure trove.
4. Take a quiet stroll around Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada is a majestic cenotaph built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, and is also the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar.
It is a quiet spot to visit, away from the noise and crowds of Mehrangarh Fort, and the Clocktower market. Walk around and take in the intricately sculpted marble, and enjoy the tranquility.
5. Hunt for the infamous blue houses
Finding the blue houses are a lot harder than expected. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all in one place, so the hunt for them is real!
The search for the blue houses can either start from the Clocktower market, or from behind the Mehrangarh Fort.
I started from the clocktower market, but I think the houses will be easier to find from the Fort.
I had the best time walking around the neighbourhood, you can read about my experience, and get a detailed account of how to navigate the Blue city in my blog:
6. Have coffee overlooking the step-well (Toorji ka Jhalra)
Toorji ka Jhalra was built in the 1740’s, and it is one of the most instagrammable spots in Jodhpur. It remained submerged and unnoticed until the recent past, after which it was drained, cleaned, and restored. The excavations brought out beautiful hand carved sculptures of lions, elephants, and much more.
The area around the step-well now houses boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.
The Stepwell cafe is perched atop the stepwell, offering the best view.
7. Date night at Umaid Bhavan Palace
A part of Umaid Bhawan Palace is now managed by Taj hotels, and it is one of the most luxurious hotels of the country. It recently received a lot of media attention courtesy the celebrity wedding of Indian actor Priyanka Chopra to American singer Nick Jonas.
The palace museum is open to public, but to explore the grounds and the splendid interiors, it is mandatory to have a meal there. Call and make reservations before you go.
8. Take a day trip to Bishnoi Village
Bishnoi village is 22km from Jodhpur, and there are several tour operators that organise day trips to experience the village, meet local families, and spend time interacting with them, to learn more about their culture.
The Bishnoi faith is an offshoot of hinduism, and founded on 29 main principles, most of which promote environmental conservation.
In 1730, when the Maharaja of Jodhpur wanted to build a new palace, he sent his troops to the village of Khejarli to gather the wood required for construction. A Bishnoi woman, Amrita Devi, literally hugged a tree, and encouraged others to the same, proclaiming that a chopped head is cheaper than a felled tree. She couldn’t bear the destruction of her faith and the village’s sacred trees. 363 people were killed whilst trying to protect the scared trees of the forest. When word of the atrocity got back to the king, he rushed to the village to apologise, and declared Bishnoi as a protected area, forbidding harm to animals and trees. The legislation still exists in Bishnoi.
I spotted deer and black bucks on my trip into the forest.
The Bishnois regularly consume opium, and I participated in the Amal Sabha, a celebration of friendship and brotherhood, the highlight of which is the brewing of opium! According to the villager, opium in small doses is not harmful, but gives strength to the body. Apparently, they give opium in small doses to women before they go into labour!
I tried a few drops of it, as part of the ceremony, but I didn’t feel any different.
To read more about my experience in Bishnoi Village, and how you can visit, read my blog
9. Desert Safari and visit to Osian
After exploring all of Jodhpur, if time permits, take a safari into the desert, ride a camel, and stop by the beautiful temples of Osian. There are regular tours from Jodhpur to Osian and the desert- a quick internet research will get you the contact information of the service providers.
Have any questions? Leave me a comment below!