Jodhpur city popular by the epithet as the Sun City came into existence in 1459 AD. By the dauntless courage and vision of Rao Jodha . It lies in the dreary and dross Thar desert of Rajasthan state of India. With a population of near about less than a million, the city boasts of being the largest in Rajasthan after the capital city Jaipur. As it had been the power center of the ruling dynasty of Marwar, it saw lots of ups and down and the subsequent architectural development. Presently this city is a popular tourist destination featuring elegant palaces, forts, mansions, temples, chhatris and colorful bazars.
How to reach Jodhpur?
Since the time immemorial Jodhpur enjoyed the privileges of the wonderful location. It used to fall on the famous silk route which was sprawling from Central Asia to the trade hub sea ports of Gujrat. If you intend to visit the heritage of Jodhpur you have all the options of rail, road and air travel. This city is well connected with all the major tourist destinations of Rajasthan with the wide network of national and state highways.
You can plan visiting this city by air as this place have an airport and well connected to the other metropolitans of India . Similarly, you can book your train tickets to Jodhpur railway station in case you decide to travel by train.
History of Jodhpur
It is considered that before the Rajput ruler Rao Jodha established the city of Jodhpur it was inhabited by the Abhiras who lived in scattered settlements in different parts of central and western parts of India. As the Rathore clan ruler Rao Jodha founded the city he expanded the empire by conquering and annexing the nearby kingdoms. Thus he initiated the Marwar Empire and culture and architecture.
During the dominion of Mughal emperor Akabar Marwar was subjugated by the Mughals and it had to accept the authority of Akabar. Later Aurengzeb sequestrated Jodhpur after the death of Jaswant Singh, but with the help of valiant and loyal noble Durgadas Rathor,Maharaja Ajit Singh was restored to power. After the decline period of Mughals, Marathas supplanted the mighy Mughals .In the British regime Jodhpur enjoyed peace and prominence. The trades men helped in the prosperity of the state.
“Sweets are the uses of adversity” is a popular dictum of Shakesperean play- As you Like It. This is very apt and suggestive on the history and birth idea of the famed Mehrangarh Fort.It was the time of crisis when Rao Jodha’s father fell a victim to the prevailing treachery and was slain in 1438 in Mewar .During this calamity Jodha had to flee towards Marwar ,leaving Mewar he was feeling unsafe and the enemies were after his life like the hunting dodgs. He had to remain more than 20 years as a fugitive until 1458 when after accumulating much power he forced the mighty Sisodias to leave his land.
This was the opportune time to strengthen his power and erect some forts, castles and palaces to display the regal show and safeguard himself. The forts and palaces built this time were equipped with the royal amenities and sheer luxuries. Besides they were also technically very sound and important from strategic point of view.
This fort named as Mehrangarh was erected 410 feet above the city and was surrounded by the thick walls. A winding road leads to the fort with the marks of the canon shots and the palm marks of the sati matas. The walls of different palaces housed inside the fort such as Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal are richly ornamented. The museum galleries are showcasing the vast treasures of miniature paintings, costumes, musical instruments etc .Worth mention is a wine pot known as Chuski. On the ramparts you can still witness the old canons and the remarkable system of water lifting.
This marvelous garden is located at Mandore which is nearly 9 kms far from the city of Jodhpur. The garden attracts the tourists on account of the lush greenery and the exquisite architecture of the cenotaphs. Initially Mandore was the capital of Pratihara rulers in 6 and 7 th century AD. This garden has the famous Hall of the Heroes and the Temple of Three Hundred Million Gods. This place also houses a government museum.
These gardens have magnificent Dewals (cenotaphs) scattered all around. Aong al lof these dewals the most famous is that dedicated to Maharaja Ajit Singh.
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Toorji ka Jhalra
This is a marvelous step well of Jodhpur which was constructed in 1740. The favourite consort of Abhay Singh built this age old step well which is a nice manifestation of the ancient Indian methods of water management .The queen devised it to solve the problem of paucity of water in the surrounding areas for the common folk. It has a depth of more than 200 feet and was made out of red sandstone with the decorations of the intricate carvings. A Persian wheel driven by the force of oxen were also fixed near to it and for collection of water from this Persian wheel another tank was mas made to hold water.
Flying Fox Jodhpur
Jodhpur city sightseeing avails you plethora of options to involve yourself in activities also. Flying Fox Zipline Tour is one of the most famous activity of Mehrangarh Fort. This sport is made for all adventure seekers who visit the Blue City. This is a well organized set up of 6 zip lines in which the tour of 2 hours is made of the bastions ,walls and lakes of the fort . In this heart throbbing activity you not only have the adventure feeling , but you also have the best choice to capture the beauty by your naked eyes and get the Instagram worthy pictures of the scenic beauty lying down .
The Flying Fox activity can easily be booked with their office which is located in Chokelao Garden Jodhpur. This activity starts with your arrival at the starting point where you are briefed about the safety rules and you also get a chance of short practice session with the instructions of the best instructors.
The breathtaking Marwar Festival is arranged 3 kms away from the city center. Jodhpur has been the dwelling place of the numerous musicians, performers and folk artists since ages. These artists found batter patrons in the erstwhile maharajas. Besides the performances by the local artists in this festival, tourists also enjoy the various other traditions of the region such as puppet shows, camel tattooing, horse polo etc. In this festival you can enjoy shopping spree of the Rajasthani dresses, paintings, musical instruments,ornaments etc.
Ummaid Bhawan Palace
The construction of this edifice was started in 1929 as a measure of famine relief and was complete in 1943. Thus it took almost 15 years for completion. This magnificent palace is set on a high altitude comprises of 347 rooms and balconies and has the credit of largest private palace of the world. This palace is also known as Chhitar Palace on account of the use of stone out of which it is made of. An amazing feature of Ummaid Bhawan is the underground swimming pool.
The palace architecture is based on the fusion of the Indian and European styles. The palace building can be categorized into three parts – in one part still the maharaja family resides while the other two are working as the Taj Palace Hotel and the museum respectively. Besides the magnificent architecture you get to see the stunning vintage car collection and the clock collection.
Jaswant Thadda is a19th century cenotaph and works as a memorial of Maharaja Jaswant Singh 2. It lies close to the Meharangarh Fort complex. Built of pure white marble it has a clear contrast to the fortress made of red sandstone. This Thadda houses the portraits of the Rathore rulers. Here you can soak into the intricate art work done in the marble and get a view of the nearby lake.
There have been a popular tradition in the British time to make a clock tower called as ghanta ghar by the common people and make some building office as the Municipal Corporation. Thus most of the Indian cities had impressive clock towers soaring into the skies. Many of these are still intact. The idea behind making such lofty towers was to give the facility of time keeping to the inhabitants of the city.
Many of such towers were erected by the maharajas of the princely states .Following such traditions Jodhpur city also has a famous Ghanta Ghar which is located close to Sardar market. This was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1880 and was complete in 1911.Presently this clock tower area is a famous haunt of the tourists on account of it’s close proximity to the local market. Sardar Market located close to the clock tower present a wide vista of shopping .One can look for wide ranging silver jewelry, textiles, handicrafts etc.
This famous lake is situated nearly 5 kms away from Jodhpur on Jodhpur Mandore road. This lake area was sunken artificially in 1159 by Balak Rao Parihar on the same reservoir which was the major source of water supply to Mandore area .The lake has the magnetic attraction of lush greenery and splendid royal pathways . Close to the lake another beautiful palace is set which worked as the summer retreat to the royal family members to fret away the weariness of the summer times while mercury rises up extremely.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
This park is spread in a large area of 72 hectares of landmass. The park was created in 2006 to sustain the ecology of a rocky area. In this park one is able to explore more than 90 different species of plants lying on the remains of a volcanic rock. This is open throughout the week from 9 am to 5.30 pm.
An encounter with the rural traditions of Vishnoi village
The celebrated Vishnoi village is situated nearly 25 kms. Away from Jodhpur.You can either visit it from Jodhpur or while driving towards Udaipur and Ranakpur temples. You can stop and enliven yourself with the traditions and culture of the Vishnoi community . As widely known this community is famous for their ideals of nature worship and protection of the nature’s bounties and wildlife even at the cost of their own life. They are against any animal hunting, poaching or killing.
Couple of years back Anita Desai along with the villagers started the movement to save the sacred trees from being hewn. Animals like Chinkara and black bucks and birds like Great Indian Bustard, peacocks and patridges are considered holy. In the Vishnoi village you can enjoy the activities like camel trek, desert excursion, village walk etc. You also get to see the wonderful art craft of the village people. The visit of the Vishnoi village also avails you the opportunity to explore the famous Guda Lake.
An excursion to Osian
In the annals of history Osian had been a flourishing town brimming with trade, commerce and architecture. If you have a plan to spend 2 or 3 nights in Jodhpur, do not miss the opportunity to see the famous temples of Osian. This place is located at a distance of 65 kms far from Jodhpur. The gorgeous temples of Osian which are nearly 15 in numbers date back to 7th to 9th century AD of the era of Gurjara Pratihara rulers. The most prominent of these temples are the Sun Temple and the Sachiya Mata Temple. In the Sachiya Mata Temple you see an impressive shikhra surrounded by the small turrets all around. In the ancient times in India the Sun worship gained popularity, thus many Sun temples were erected all over the country. With the Sun worship started the tradition of the worship of the other planetary bodies what is known as the Navagrah worship or the adoration of the 9 planets. Similarly the worship of Revanta, the demi god who is supposed to be the son of the Sun god and possess the powers to liberate people from the hardships. During Osian tour in case you desire you can take part in the activities of camel safari or the jeep safari in the sand dunes and enjoy the beautiful sunset.