Are you planning a trip to the magnificent city of Jodhpur, India? Read this now for everything you need to know before you go to make the most of your time.😊😊😊
Known across the world as the blue city of India and that place with all the monkeys in it, Jodhpur effortlessly sparks thoughts of the exotic.
In reality, neither of those statements are true anymore. All those monkeys have been relocated since they were a nuisance and as you can see from the picture above, it is not especially blue either.
Despite a massive drive to restore the town to its former blueness, every time I come here, that is changing. It is, however, one of India’s most delightful towns to visit. In fact, to go to Rajasthan and not come to the state’s second-largest city is pretty much a crime, or at least it should be.
What is Jodhpur famous for?
Jodhpur has a little of everything you look for in a holiday destination. The city was founded in 1459 and was once the capital of the Marwar kingdom.
The Mawar kingdom left behind an impressive legacy of architectural wonders. Jodhpur is also home to a vibrant culture and a healthy dose of wildlife to boot.
The sprawling old town is full of ornately decorated Havelis, temples, historical monuments, courtyards and timeless market places.
All of that is interlinked with an intricate web of alleyways and narrow roads that are a lot of fun to get completely lost in. There are even a couple of step-wells that youngsters use as a swimming pool that is a delight to explore.
No other state in India is quite as vibrant and colourful as Rajasthan, and few other major cities personify that better than Jodhpur.
Is Jodhpur a safe city?
I have been to Jodhpur multiple times and I can honestly say that I have never encountered any problems with my safety and security.
Jodhpur is, however, a major city in Rajasthan and where there are lots of people,, there will be lots of crime. That is surely inevitable anywhere, right?
I have to say, with the standard precautions you should be taking in any city, you are unlikely to encounter any issues as the Rajasthani people are incredibly hospitable and as a whole, it is no different in Jodhpur.
The best tourist sites in Jodhpur.
Here is a short guide to just some of the top tourist attractions in Jodhpur Rajasthan. There are so many places that make Jodhpur a stand out city in Rajasthan it is hard to know where to start, but here goes. 😁
As you can probably deduce from these pictures, Mehrangarh fort looks radically different in the changing seasons. It never gets old as it is just so gorgeous.
Mehrangarh fort was built-in 1459 under the rule of Rao Jodha. Mehrangarh Fort is an imposing structure that must have taken such a vision to accomplish. I mean, someone had to have been looking at a big rock in the desert and could see in their mind’s eye a big fort sitting on top of it.
Mehrangarh Fort is a steep walk up from the old town and gives you a feel of what it would have been like for any enemies trying to capture the place.
Today Mehrangarh fort houses an impressive museum and a gallery. However, only a tiny portion of the fort is open to the public. I found that incredibly frustrating as I wanted to explore, but it was not possible. You are simply herded through Mehrangarh fort on a set route, albeit around an incredibly well thought out display.
Photographing Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort has to be one of the most photogenic places in India. There are a lot of angles to make the most out of it and it greatly depends on the season what you will get.
The ultimate shot that you see at the top is from Rao Jodha from behind the lake. You will need a guide for someone to show you where. In fact, most of the best angles are from Rao Jodha, although you can find some good angles if you just follow the battlements along.
Entrance fee for Mehrangarh Fort
|senior citizens, students and military||₹ 50|
|foreign students||₹ 400|
There is also a 100 rupee charge for a still camera, including your phone, so just be warned.
Wandering the Blue City of Jodhpur
It will take some time to see the impressive Blue city of Jodhpur, so I would budget at least four days to take it all in. The whole of the blue city is strewn with historical treasures that will grab your attention.
A walk around Jodhpur’s old city can feel like you are stepping into another time (if it wasn’t for the motorbikes that seem to get everywhere.) In all reality, the streets are pretty grubby with rubbish and cow poop at every turn. It is, however wonderful, with stunningly painted blue Havelis and courtyards.
India Blue City Walking Tour
It is possible to take a guided tour around the blue city, but it is fun just to get lost and find your way out again.
Unless of course, you want information on what you are seeing that is. If you do want to learn about the culture and history of the place, Jodhpur heritage walks offer insightful tours of the area.
Why is Jodhpur called the Blue City?
There are many reasons why people say Jodhpur is blue. Among the most popular is that the colour is sacred to the Brahmin caste of the city. They are very high in the caste system, so this is definitely a possibility.
Some say it is blue because it keeps the inside cooler in the desert sunshine. Some say it was to ward off termite infestations. Whatever the case, blue it is. well, kind of anyway and unfortunately the true answer is forever lost to history
Is Jodhpur really blue?
Instagram is often used to distort our expectations for viral content. You will probably be upset if you try getting these same shots as they can be hard to find as they are heavily manipulated.
Jodhpur definitely has a theme of blue. However, it is certainly not the Chefchaouen of India. The majority of the buildings in Jodhpur do not feature a blue painted finish.
The Sardar Market is also well worth checking out. For centuries, Jodhpur has been a trading town, and I suspect it will be for many more. It is not really tourist orientated as much of it is for local people who are keen to pick up the next deal.
The clock tower of Jodhpur
The square’s focal point is the Ghanta Ghar (the clock tower.) It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh (1880-1911), from whom the market took its name.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
One of the most conspicuous buildings in Jodhpur is the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace. It sits proudly on a rocky plateau that overlooks the city of Jodhpur. It is the home to the Jodhpur Royal Family.
Much of the building is off-limits and it doubles up as a luxury hotel that the Taj group manages. Despite this being true, it is well worth checking it out.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park.
The tiny nature reserve was established in 2006 and it was set up to protect Rajasthan’s indigenous flora and fauna. Jodhpur is known as the gateway to the Thar desert and the native wildlife in this part of the world is both surprisingly abundant and unique.
The Thar desert is very visibly being overrun by Baavlia (Prosopis juliflora.) A very invasive plant that originates from Central America and now covers a vast portion of the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan so this is a rare sanctuary.
What is in Rao Jodha?
This little slice of Jodhpur has been transformed from a wasteland into a thriving oasis for wildlife. It is also a beautiful place to walk in the shadow of Mehrangarh Fort, offering spectacular views as you walk around the clearly marked trails. You will also be given a free map that is super useful.
I am always amazed at the tenacity of nature. Some species of animals can not only live in our hostile cities but can thrive there too.
Spread over an impressive 70 hectares and hemmed in by the fort’s battlements. It is now home to 250 species of native plants that will be hard to see elsewhere. Plus two hundred species of birds, including an impressive number of raptors.
Mammal species to be found here include the Indian Mongoose, Crested Porcupine, Five stripped Northan palm squirrel and many more.
It is 100 rupees to get in and 200 rupees for a knowledgeable guide, which I thought was well worth the money, to be honest. You can literally walk over the wall and get in for free, but please don’t. It is not a lot of money to visit, and it supports a very noble cause.
Ziplining with the flying fox
The tiny park also houses a place for ziplining. Flying fox offers a series of high wires across the moats and gullies of the park.
While I have never done it myself, many people seem to give it rave reviews. If not anything else, the views would be spectacular. Check the link provided to book online. Many agents in town will book it for you, but obviously, you will have to pay them a commission.
If you are watching your pennies, the office is on the way up to the fort from the old city, so you can save yourself a few rupees.
The blindingly white marble cenotaph of Jaswant Thada is in stark contrast to the rest of the blue city of Jodhpur.
The intricately carved building was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in commemoration of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It features Gazebos and manicured garden that is attached to a very scenic lake.
Entrance fee for visits to Jaswant Thada
|Indian All||Foreigner All|
|INR 15||INR 30|
Attractions outside of Jodhpur Rajasthan
While the blue city has plenty of its own attractions, there are many more just outside waiting for you to discover. Here are my top two recommendations.
The Mandore gardens were abandoned way back in 1459 and have been empty ever since. There is more than one beautiful temple inside the grounds and it houses a small museum.
Today it is essentially the domain of monkeys, yet it makes for a very relaxing break from the city. It is easy to get to as it is only a few kilometres from the old city.
Mandore Gardens is easily accessible by local transport available in Jodhpur, like auto-rickshaws or private taxis. The gardens remain open daily, from 9 am until 10 pm. Entry to the garden is free. However, the museum visit will cost around INR 50 ($ 0.78) per person.
Bishnoi village tour
Bishnoi (also known as Vishnoi) is a Hindu community found in India’s Western Thar Desert and northern states. They follow a set of 29 principles/commandments given by Guru Jambheshwar (also known as Guru Jambhoji, Guru Jambha Ji) (1451-1536).
The Bishnoi people feed the local animals when times are challenging since they follow the 29 teaching of the Guru Jambheshwar who needless to say was a very good man.
He taught many positive and insightful lessons of his time and one was to love the natural world. There are many teaching we could do with the following today.
It is easy to get on a tour and visit some of these extraordinary villages for yourself. However, taking tours to see villages will almost always end in an inauthentic experience and I would not recommend one.
Plan Your Trip To Jodhpur
We have covered a little of what there is to do in Jodhpur and the surrounding area. Now I will talk about what you need to know before you go.
When to visit Jodhpur Rajasthan, India?
As I mentioned earlier, Jodhpur is located in Western Rajasthan and it is baking hot, so sightseeing when it’s 50 degrees outside is no fun. To say it is an arid region at this time is not doing it justice.
I have been to Jodhpur during every season and by far my favourite time to visit is in October when everything is green.
The high season for tourists is from November to February when it is at its coolest.
During these months, it may be wise to book your accommodation well in advance as Jodhpur’s tourist industry is exploding at this time.
Places to eat in Jodhpur Rajasthan
The restaurants inside the blue city tend to cater to tourists and is an excellent place to get pasta and a latte. If that is what you are craving, then you are in the right place.
Local food in Jodhpur
Outside the old parts of town are some incredible places to eat if you want good Indian food. I found Priya hotel to serve excellent vegetarian food at very affordable prices. Try the aloo paratha, puri or my absolute favourite, Chola Bhature.
In all of my years of travel in this country, this hotel sells some of the best food I have ever had, and that is a big statement. To find this place, walk through the south entrance of Sadar market and follow the street down to the crossroads and which is on the left-hand side.
Right across from the railway station is a line of grubby Dhabbas that serves delicious vegetarian food that I would recommend. But if it is a meaty curry you want, the more expensive hotels across from the train station usually have restaurants attached.
They are geared towards domestic tourists, so they will be making them the Indian way. I recommend paying the extra if you want to eat meat for something slightly more sanitary. Bacteria breed very well in these conditions.
The famous lassis of Jodhpur Rajasthan
Jodphur produces some fine lassis, and Shri Mishrilal Hotel is regarded as the best around.
It is a small restaurant near the entrance to Saddar market. Lassis are served in plastic cups in this no-frills restaurant. It is all about the lassi here. The shop is on the left-hand corner of the south entrance, just inside the market.
Places to stay in Jodhpur Rajasthan.
Most of the budget accommodation is in the old town, and there are some charming places to stay. My favourite is the Kesar heritage boutique homestay.
It is a fancy name and costs are a little more than others. However, it is worth the extra rupees. Some of the rooms, particularly those on the first floor, can feel like a museum.
Booking a room in Jodhpur Rajasthan
The price fluctuates greatly depending on the time of year, the room you want, your length of stay and your bargaining skills. There is a vegetarian rooftop restaurant that serves decent tourist food. The truth is if you wish for decent Indian food, I have found you will have to go outside the old city.
If you want to save money, don’t book online as you have more room for bargaining face to face. Unless it’s the high season, then it is better to book ahead to secure a bed as Jodhpur gets really busy.
Transport in Jodhpur Rajasthan
Getting to and from Jodhpur could not be easier. It may be at the gateway to the Thar desert, but as the second-largest city in Rajasthan, it is very well connected.
Train travel to Jodhpur Rajasthan
Jodhpur sits on essential railway lines, giving it good connections to cities like Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Dehli, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. There is a railway booking office with a tourist window (that means access to the tourist quota) near the train station.
A rickshaw from the clock tower to the train station should cost around 50 rupees. To avoid the hotel hustle (drivers trying to sell you a hotel they get a commission for.) Ask to get dropped at the clock tower and walk from there.
Getting the bus to Jodhpur Rajasthan
The government bus stand is a little further away and should cost no more than 130 rupees in an auto. There are fast busses to Jaisamier and Udaipur from there.
If you are heading to Udaipur (no trains anyway) and if you want to visit Ranakpur, this bus route is ideal, as you can get off and break the journey up. When the trains are complete, the long haul busses will do nicely.
You can buy tickets from agents in town, and they tend to be reliable, and they are more comfortable than the public buses.
if you would like to know any more about tourism in Rajasthan, then please feel free to check out my in-depth blog on this. Lord knows there is a lot to keep you coming back again and again. ❤️
India has many more attractions and I wholeheartedly recommend looking around to see what appeals to you most. One place that really is special is the Andaman Islands. Check out this post and start planning your trip to tropical paradise today!