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Jodhpur is easy to fall in love with. Coined the “Blue City” of India, its name holds true and is a photographer’s dream with its bright blue backdrops. We found the “Pink City” of Jaipur not that pink, but Jodhpur is definitely blue!
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan and as one of Rajasthan’s royal cities it should be on your itinerary. It is best known for the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that towers over Jodhpur, one of the most magnificent forts in India. Beneath the Fort, narrow lanes of blue buildings in the Old City are perfect for wandering. The winding streets are filled with residents going about their business, cows wandering, rickshaws chugging through, open kitchens creating delicious smells, markets and shops beckoning to their customers and even elephants strolling by.
- 1 Jodhpur Map
- 2 The Best Things to Do in Jodhpur
- 3 Getting To Jodhpur
- 4 Where to Stay in Jodhpur
- 5 Travel Insurance in India
- 6 Our Verdict
All of the locations in this post are referenced in the map below. For the most part, the tourist sights are located in the Old City, surrounding Mehrangarh Fort.
The Best Things to Do in Jodhpur
If you are looking for what to do in Jodhpur, here are our 11 highlights of our visit to Jodhpur.
Take in the Blue
Get lost in the blue! It isn’t hard to get lost in Jodhpur with its maze of streets that dead end, but that is the best way to experience Jodhpur anyway. We recommend taking a walking tour with Blue City Walks to fully understand the history of the city.
Mehrangarh Fort is the centre of Jodhpur and since the building materials were taken from the rock, the Fort merges with its base, rising up around the Old City. The Fort is still run by the Jodhpur royal family. Although the Lonely Planet guidebook say you don’t need a ticket to visit the Fort grounds, it is very difficult to get past the numerous employees who will tell you otherwise.
The Fort architecture is beautiful and the views from the top are stunning, overlooking the blue city below. The Fort’s original entrance has massive doors with spikes to deter attacking enemy elephants. The former palace is now the Museum with intricate stone lattice work on the outside and collections of textiles, military gear, paintings, palanquins (covered carriage for royalty carried by men) and other royal artifacts.
Practical Information: The entrance ticket is 600 INR/person, 400 INR/students, which includes entrance to the Museum and an audioguide tour (bring ID or credit card for the deposit). The Fort is open daily from 9-5 pm. You can access the Fort from either the Jai Pol Gate or Fateh Pol Gate.
TIP: Every day at 3:30 pm, the predatory kites (birds) are fed at the Fort flag pole, continuing a historic Rajastani tradition. If you aren’t at the Fort, look up from the Old City to see the kites circling the Fort.
Taste a Makhania Lassi
In the West we are most familiar with mango lassis, but a makhania lassi is creamy, sweet and salty and the perfect refreshment in the heat. The most popular place in Jodhpur to try these is the unassuming Shri Mishrilal Hotel at the southern gate of Sardar Market. These are so popular that there is nothing else on the menu – 35 INR.
Blue City Walks
If you are only going to do one tour in Jodhpur, make it the Morning Heritage Walk with Blue City Walks. The tour starts at the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park early, where we met our guide, Bhawani. We saw lots of interesting birds and learned about the different vegetation. It also had great views of the Fort. As we walked through the old city Bhawani shared lots of information (he grew up in this neighbourhood) including why the city is blue, the history of the Fort and Old City as well as his impressions of India today. The tour includes an incredibly delicious breakfast at a 400 year old Haveli with great views. This is a great activity to do on your first day as an introduction to the city and represents great value.
Practical Information: Tour cost is 900 INR, free for children under 10. The tour starts at 7 am and takes 3-4 hours and includes a filling breakfast.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
This 72-hectare park sits at the base of Mehrangarh Fort and offers a chance to escape the bustle of the city. The park is open daily from 7 am- 7 pm and there are walking trails throughout the Park. It is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset, before the heat of the day arrives. The Park has been planted with native species and you can get up close to the city walls and Devkund Lake, the water source of the Fort.
Visit on your own or the Blue City Walk tours begin here.
Sardar Market (Clock Tower)
This bustling area of the Old City leads to the commercial heart of Jodhpur. Vendors lay out their wares surrounding the gateways with vegetables, handicrafts, housewares, spices and more available for sale. Sardar Market is a local’s market full of colourful sights and even if you aren’t shopping, the lassis at Shri Mishrilal Hotel will bring you here.
Toorji Ka Jhalra (Toorji’s Step Well)
Toorji’s Step Well wasn’t in the guidebook, but is Instagram famous and should be on your Jodhpur itinerary. The stepwell was built in the 1740s with steps that allowed access to the ever fluctuating water levels. Toorji’s Stepwell was submerged and full of debris for decades until it was recently renovated. Besides being a great place for photos, there are intricate carvings and niches in the red sandstone.
Stay in a Haveli
A haveli is a historic centuries-old house or mansion built in classic Rajasthani style. Many have now been lovingly restored into hotels and there is no more atmospheric place to stay in the Old City than a haveli. On our last day in Jodhpur we stumbled upon Rani Mahal Hotel and were impressed by the beautiful building and its friendly owners. We had the best thali ever here!
For a really unique experience, book a haveli in the Old City of Jodhpur.
Watch the Sunset from a Rooftop
The views from any rooftop hotel or restaurant in the Old City is spectacular, especially at sunset. The Fort rises up out of the city of blue with the desert mountains in the distance.
We had a fantastic meal on the rooftop of the Rani Mahal Hotel, but also loved spending time on the rooftop of Jaswant Bhawan, our homestay.
If you aren’t familiar with a thali, it refers to a round metal plate made up of a selection of various dishes. We are total foodies when we travel and when we heard about the famous 31 item Jodhpur thali at Gypsy Restaurant, we knew we had to eat there. This is not somewhere that is in the guidebooks and the locals looked at us with a lot of interest when we arrived.
Gypsy is located in the newer part of Jodhpur so we took a rickshaw there. There is a take away area downstairs, but you want to go upstairs for the unlimited Rajasthani feast. It was busy, but they cleared a table for us and set about serving us the 31 Rajasthani dishes on our thali. The owner came over and explained each dish and was very enthusiastic for us to try everything. The thali costs 300 INR/person.
Bishnoi Village Tour
The Bishnoi are a Hindu sect originating in the 15th century that follow 29 rules, emphasizing the importance of protecting the environment. There are a number of southern villages near Jodhpur that can be visited on a “Bishnoi Tour”. These half day tours pick you up in the Old City and take you to the villages to show you their way of life and some of the handicrafts they produce.
We weren’t overly impressed with the actual tour we went on, but this tour gets good reviews. It is a nice way to get out of the city and into the countryside. On the jeep ride out, we saw numerous peacocks and blackbucks. We visited a local compound where they showed us the way they live, including demonstrating the use of an opium pipe. We then went to a pottery workshop, where we all had a chance to try our hand at the wheel. Lastly, we visited a durry (rug) workshop and had a home-cooked lunch.
Practical Information: Bishnoi Village tours start from 1,000 INR/person.
Getting To Jodhpur
Train – Jodhpur is serviced by train with popular destinations including Delhi, Mumbai and various cities throughout Rajasthan. The most challenging part is booking your tickets. You can book online if you register with IRCTC or you can have your hotel book your train for a small additional cost. We love travelling by train in India – definitely something all travelers should experience. We booked all of our train journeys when we first arrived in India at the International Tourist Bureau at the New Delhi Train Station. This was not an easy or efficient process, but we were able to get the tickets we needed with some flexibility.
There is no direct train service between Udaipur and Jodhpur, so we took a private vehicle. We did take the train onwards from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, which takes 5-7 hours.
Private Vehicle – If traveling with a group or family, it can be affordable to travel by private vehicle. We paid 4,000 INR ($75 CAD) for our trip between Udaipur and Jodhpur, stopping in Raknapur, an important Jain temple. It took 2 hours to get from Udaipur to Raknapur and 3 hours to get from Raknapur to Jodhpur.
If you are planning to stop in Raknapur, be aware that visitors are only allowed to visit the temple in the afternoons.
Bus – a bus journey in India would be our last resort due to the chaotic roads. There are government and private buses with frequent departures to various places in Rajasthan. You can book through your hotel or directly at the bus station.
Where to Stay in Jodhpur
Rani Mahal Hotel (Mid-Range) – gorgeous heritage haveli with historical rooms with all modern conveniences. They even have family rooms. The rooftop restaurant serves excellent food, with great views. The family that owns Rani Mahal is incredibly sweet and welcoming. Click here to check the latest prices.
Jaswant Bhawan Homestay (Budget) – good budget option in the historic Old City with picturesque blue buildings all around. They have a variety of rooms, including rooms suitable for families. The rooftop area has great views of the Fort and decent food is available. Click here to check the latest prices.
Travel Insurance in India
As soon as you start booking your trip to India, make sure you have good travel insurance. We use and recommend World Nomads because they know and understand travel in developing countries. They offer medical, evacuation and baggage coverage in 130 countries for adventurous travelers.
We absolutely loved our time in Jodhpur and are so glad it was on our Rajasthan itinerary. The beautiful blue city is stunning with its labyrinth of winding lane ways all centred around the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. And if you were wondering, yes this is where the riding jodhpurs originated from!
You might also like to read:
- Celebrating Holi in Udaipur
- The Best of Jaipur
- Visiting the Taj Mahal with Kids
- A Camel Safari in Jaisalmer
- Kerala Itinerary Guide
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