Rao Jodha, the chief of the Jodha clan, is credited with the founding of Jodhpur in 1459. Driven out of their homeland Kanauj by the Afghans, the Rathores occupied Pali, the region that came to be known as Jodhpur. During the British rule, the city prospered. Anyone visiting Jodhpur for the first time will be struck by the wave of blue that seems to occupy every nook and corner. As per government stipulation - and a practice initiated several decades ago - all houses in Jodhpur have to be painted a uniform shade of blue. Hence the name, ‘blue’city. There are several attractions, so make sure you have time in hand!
Mehrangarh Fort: Built by Rao Jodha, the fort stands on a 150-m-high hill. Visitors need to cross seven gates to reach the citadel. Subsequent kings added the gates to the fort during their reign. For instance, while Jayapol was built by Maharaja Man Singh to celebrate his victories over the Jaipur and Bikaner armies, Maharaja Ajit Singh built Fatehpol to commemorate his victory over the Mughals. Also, look out for the sringar chowki, the royal throne of Jodhpur, as well as the once-opulent palaces located within the fort.
Umaid Bhavan Palace: Built between 1929 and 1944, the palace continues to be the residence of the royal family, headed by Maharaja Gaj Singh, but part of it was open to the public as a luxury hotel in 1972. A fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the palace has 347 luxuriously appointed rooms and a museum focusing on the history of Jodhpur’s royal family.
Jaswant Thada: Built by Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of Maharajah Jaswant Singh II, this royal cenotaph is made of marble. When the sun’s rays are reflected off the surface, the stones seem to emit a warm glow.
Jodhpur’s culinary splendour is legendary. Although you can get all cuisines, do sample the local snacks. Kachauri served with chutney, melt-inthe mouth laddoos and lassi are traditional favourites. It’s common to see tourists and locals standing in queue for a breakfast of pyaaz ki kachauri, or for those with a sweet tooth, the delicious mewa kachori. And if you can withstand the fire of green chillies, the fluffy mirchi bada, made from potato, onion, hari mirch and besan is not to be missed.
Where: Mishrilal Mishtann Bhandar, near Clock Tower; Janta Sweets, Nai Sadak
From textiles, silver jewellery and pottery to metalwork, marble figures, paintings, antiques, ivory and bed covers, Jodhpur’s galis are packed with souvenirs and bric-abrac that will have every shopper mesmerised. Also, look out for old furniture, chests, cabinets, sculptures, doors, windows, old photographs, memorabilia and rare books. Jodhpur also has a wide range of antiques - both original and other replicated to look real - on sale. Most of these shops are located near Umaid Bhawan Palace. Another must-buy is the bandhini fabric. The tie and dye method of colouring is used to make vibrant patterns on sarees, shawls, dupattas and salwar suits.
Where: Kapra Bazaar, Sadar Bazar, Tripolia Bazaar, Sojati Gate Market, Nai Sarak Market
Jodhpur’s jootis, usually handcrafted, create a perfect foil for Indian wear. Prices begin at a modest 150 to 200 and can go up to a few hundred, depending on the finish. Choose from beaded, embroidered or just plain mojris.
Where: Old City’s Mochi Bazaar; Jutti Corner on Station Road
Celebrate Holi in Jodhpur this year. Join the vibrant processions, apply gulal on each other and sing songs in praise of Radha and Krishna
By Road: The highway between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is well connected to Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur.
Tip: Keen to buy antique pieces? You can get door handles, photo frames, carved windows and doors, jharokhas, utensils and even balconies! Take an expert along to get a good bargain.