Jodhpur was historically the capital of the Kingdom of Marwar, which is now part of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts, and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. It is popularly known as the “Blue City” among the people of Rajasthan and all over India.
Why is Jodhpur called Blue City?
Copper Sulphate is effective in repelling insects. The Copper Sulphate under certain conditions turns blue, giving the houses their famous uniform blue color. One can get a bird’s eye view of Jodhpur and its iconic blue houses in the old town.
Places to visit in Jodhpur
Rising perpendicular and impregnable from a hill that is 125 meters above Jodhpur’s skyline is the Mehrangarh Fort. This historic fort is one of the most famous in India and is packed with history and legends. Mehrangarh Fort still bears the imprints of cannonball attacks courtesy of the armies of Jaipur on its second gate. Chiseled and sturdy, the fort is known for its exquisite latticed windows, carved panels, and intricately decorated windows and walls of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal.
Moti Mahal, as the name suggests, is the Pearl Hall where the royal families held their audience. The hall is known to have glass windows and five nooks that enabled the queens to listen to the proceedings taking place in the Sringar Chowki, The Royal Throne of Jodhpur.
Situated within the compound of Mehrangarh Fort is the glass palace of Jodhpur, popularly known as Sheesh Mahal. This magnificent piece of architecture is adorned with walls of mirrorwork that stretch across ceilings and to the floors. It is superimposed by the mirror work of brightly painted religious figures cast in plaster.
Going by the name, the Phool Mahal or Flower Hall is the most exorbitant of all the halls in the palace. This beautiful chamber is said to be the pleasure dome for the Maharajas. The gold used for constructing the Mahal came from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
MEHRANGARH FORT AND MUSEUM
Mehrangarh, the fort of Jodhpur, crowns a rocky hill that rises 400 feet above the surrounding plain and appears both to command and to meld with the landscape. One of the largest forts in Rajasthan, it contains fine palaces and preserves in its museum many priceless relics of Indian courtly life. Jodhpur is named after its founder Rao Jodha, a fifteenth-century chief of the Rathore clan. In 1459, Rao Jodha (r. 1438-89) began to build a new fort six miles to the south of Mandore, his then capital. A strategic location was chosen for the new fort: an isolated rock providing high elevation and good natural defenses. The fort was named Mehrangarh, meaning ‘fort of the sun’ – a reference to the clan’s mythical descent from the Sun god ‘Surya’.
Over five hundred yards long, the fort wall is seventy feet wide and rises in places to a height of one hundred and twenty feet. Today Mehrangarh Museum has a unique importance as a repository of the artistic and cultural history of the large areas of Central Rajasthan and Marwar-Jodhpur. The museum boasts exemplary examples of 17th, 18th, and 19th-century collections in the fields of Miniature Paintings, Arms and Armours, Textiles, Decorative Arts, and Furniture. The Museum has also participated in many international exhibitions all over the world, displaying and sharing the rich heritage of Marwar, and interacting with prestigious institutions in the field.
CHAMUNDA MATAJI TEMPLE
Chamunda Mataji was Rao Jodha’s favorite goddess and so her idol was bought to the Mehrangarh Fort. Thus, the fort became a place of worship and was turned into a temple. Since then, locals have followed the culture of worshipping Chamunda Mata. In fact, to date, the goddess remains the Isht Devi (the adopted goddess) of Maharajas and the royal family.
Located near the Fateh Pole in Mehrangarh, the Ranisar and Padmasar are adjacent lakes that were constructed in the year 1459. Ranisar Lake was built on orders of Queen Jasmade Hadi, Rao Jodha’s wife while Padmasar Lake was ordered by Queen Padmini of Rao Ganga, daughter of Rana Sanga of Mewar.
Located 85 kilometers from the main city, the 400-year-old Khejarla Fort is situated in a rural setting. The stunning red sandstone monument, now a hotel, is an example of Rajput architecture. Visitors will be mesmerized by the fort’s picturesque settings, latticework friezes, and intricate Jharokhas.
UMAID BHAWAN PALACE
Umaid Bhawan Palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh in 1929 to counter a famine that had hit the state at the time. It was also known as the Chittar Palace while being constructed thanks to the use of stones drawn from Chittar hill. The palace was designed by HV Lanchester, a renowned British architect, and was completed in 16 years. Built with sandstone and marble, the architecture of the palace is described as a blend of Indo-Saracenic, Classical Revival, and Western Art Deco styles. It is recognized as one of the largest private homes in the world and also one of the more spectacular buildings. It is the only palace built in the 20th century.
JODHPUR GOVERNMENT MUSEUM
The government museum, located in Umaid Garden, houses a rich collection of relics including armory, textiles, local art, and crafts, miniature paintings, portraits of rulers, manuscripts, and images of the Jain Tirthankaras. Wildlife lovers can also visit the zoo, which is located close by.
This milky white memorial built towards the end of the 19th century as a tribute to the leader Jaswant Singh is a huge tourist attraction. Jaswant Singh, who ruled Jodhpur, invested well in his state. He made attempts to bring down the level of crime, subdue dacoits, built railways, and broadly worked on raising the economy of Marwar. Jaswant Thada is managed and looked after by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust (MMT) and is open to the public. The Trust is operating a Museum in Jaswant Thada displaying portraits of Marwar rulers along with informative didactics – the information serves as orientation space to understand the history of Marwar through the Portraits. Its grounds serve as a serene venue for morning concerts during music festivals such as the Rajasthan International Folk Festival and the World Sacred Spirit Festival.
Ghanta Ghar, also known as the clock tower of Rajasthan, is situated in one of the busiest areas of Jodhpur, the Sadar Bazaar. It was constructed by Shri Sardar Singh Ji of Jodhpur. The Sadar Market is quite popular among tourists, who throng the streets to purchase Rajasthani textiles, clay figurines, miniature camels and elephants, marble inlay work, and classic silver jewelry.
Mahamandir, meaning great temple, is a sanctified spot where tranquillity reigns supreme. Situated on Mandore road, the temple is an architectural wonder. It is supported by 84 pillars and ornamented with detailed designs and figures depicting various postures of Yoga.
Towards the north of Jodhpur is the ancient capital of Marwar, Mandore. This area is of major historical importance and you will find the dewals or cenotaphs of Jodhpur’s former rulers. Unlike the original chhatri-shaped cenotaphs that are typical patterns of Rajasthan architecture, these are built along the lines of Hindu temples.
Osian is an ancient town located in the middle of the Thar Desert. Often known as the “Khajuraho of Rajasthan”, Ossian is famous as the home to a cluster of ruined Brahmanical and Jain temples dating from the 8th to 11th centuries. One can enjoy the view of 18 shrines, out of which Surya or Sun Temple, the later Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple, and the main Jain temple dedicated to Mahavira stand for their grace and architecture.