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Jodhpur

Strewn with forts and palaces that date back to the 15th century, Jodhpur was the capital of the princely state of Marwar where the Rathor clan ruled. On top of a hill, at the edge of the town, looms the Mehrangarh Fort, giving it a touch of medieval majesty. Jodhpur is also home to the Bishnoi Tribals, the fierce custodians of nature.
Jodhpur is a historic city with origins dating back to year 1459 AD when it was founded by Rao Jodha, the Rajput chieftain of the Rathores. The Rathore kingdom was also known as the Marwar kingdom and was the largest in Rajputana.
In the 15th century, Rao Jodha was looking for a strategic place to build his fort and discovered this hill where the Meheragarh Fort is now situated. The hill was known as Bhakurcheeria, the Mountain of Birds, or Cheeriatunk; Its lone human occupant at the time was an old hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the Lord of the Birds. Even today the fort is home to thousands of birds, particularly the Cheel or Kite, the sacred bird of the Rathores.
Disturbed by the henchmen of Jodha,  Mehran Baba refused to stay anymore and cursed the Jodha that any structure built here would suffer from water shortage, unless a human sacrifice was offered. As a result, Rajiya Bhambi, a skinner was bricked alive into the fort walls as a human sacrifice. There’s a small memorial slab at Rao Jodha’s Phalsa, which marks the exact place. Every year on May 12th, the founding day of Jodhpur, the Maharaja worships and felicitates the kin of Rajiya Bhambi.
Jodhpur is also known as the “Blue City” due to the large number of houses painted in turquoise-blue colour. When the city was built, only Brahmins and upper cast members were allowed to paint their house blue, to underline their higher social status. However gradually caste discriminations became less pervasive, and people also discovered that the indigo and limestone mix used to paint the houses blue was a useful mosquito repellent. Gradually, more and more houses were being painted in indigo and what had once been an upper-class privilege was diminished.
The city was built as the new capital of the state of Marwar (now Rajasthan) to replace the ancient capital Mandore, the ruins of which can be seen near the Mandore Gardens. The people of Jodhpur and surrounding areas are also commonly known as Marwaris.
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. The city is divided into two parts, the old city and the new city. The old city is surrounded by a strong wall with 8 gates leading out of it. Beyond the walled old city, lies the new city of Jodhpur. The alleyways in the old city are unique to the place and overwhelm a visitor with endless bazaars, textiles, and other art and craft. The old city’s boundary wall is 16 km long and is a good place to wander around and enjoy the essence of culture and architecture.
Jodhpur clearly revels in the magic, romance and the essence of Rajasthan. The opulent world of Maharajas, magnificent palaces & imposing forts exude a distinctive aura.
The city has many natural lakes. Some of the famous lakes include Kailana Lake, Gulab Sagar Lake, Balsamand Lake and Ranisar Padamsar. The Ranisar and Padamsar lakes were built five hundred years ago for natural water conservation and rarely run out of water in this parched landscape.
Taking advantage of the city being on the trade route between Delhi and Gujarat, it grew into a flourishing city of trade and wealth. The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, color and texture, a booming handicrafts industry, all add up to make this historic city an enchanting place.
Bishnoi Village:
The Bishnoi Village is a perfect destination for nature lovers. Experience the traditional touch of India in one of the most natural, ecological and environmentally preserving villages of Rajasthan. A tour to the Bishnoi Village offers some stunning views of peacocks and migratory birds, as well as Blackbuck gazelles, which very important to the Bishnoi who worship this beautiful creature.
The legendary Bishnoi community is known for the extreme sacrifices they have made to safeguard nature from modern greed. Once 366 Bishnois chose to die in order to save the Khejarli trees of their village from being cut down.
Mehrangarh Fort
A tour of Jodhpur is incomplete without a visit to Mehrangarh Fort. The Fort lies on the outskirts of Jodhpur city and is located atop a 125m high hill. The magnificent Fort is one of the largest forts in India and the most alluring. Its construction was originally started (c.1459) by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur. The walls of the fort are up to 36m high and 21m wide; they enclose some exquisite structures. The fort embodies the very spirit of the Rathores and it is a treasure house of priceless relics, miniatures, paintings, howdahs, palanquins and arms all displayed with an astute eye for aesthetics and history. Seven gates have to be crossed to reach the fort. The gates still bear the marks of the various battles fought in the bygone era. Its second gate still stands witness to canon ball hits by attacking armies of Jaipur during wars. One of the gates is Jayapol, meaning victory. It was built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. Another gate, Fattehpol, again meaning victory, was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh as a celebration for defeating the Mughals. A must-see feature of the fort, are the hand prints' on the inner walls of the big Iron gate. The handprints mark the final passage of the faithful maharani and ranis into the flames when they committed Sati. This Hindu practice symbolizes the epitome of wifely devotion, especially among the Rajput caste of Northern India. In addition, some Hindus believe the act of self-immolation by a widow facilitates the attainment of spiritual salvation for her dead husband. Other attractions of Mehrangarh Fort include several smaller palaces inside the fort, with sprawling, huge courtyards. One of the fort's palaces, The Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace, houses the royal throne of Jodhpur, the Sringar Chowki. The fort also has galleries, temples, and more to discover.
Jaswant Thada
The most stunning monument in Jodhpur is the Jaswant Thada, a memorial made of bright white marble that is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. It is a 19th century royal cenotaph built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. It is a white marble memorial, built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. The carving shows the genius of the sculptors. The outside surface of the monument emits a warm glow when the sunrays fall on its surface. The monument of Maharaja Jaswant Singh displays portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur. The main memorial has been built like a temple. To visit the Thada you have to pass through rocky hills. This also lends a mystic aura to the whole visit.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
The Epitome of magnificence is reflected by the Umaid Bhawan Palace. Lush lawns and courtyards, picturesque ceilings, marble corridors, treasure troves, hunting trophies of yesteryears, along with exquisite royal heirlooms complete the regal picture. From the expanse of green grass, the huge central dome of Umaid Bhawan emerges most prominent, with the four corners peaked into columned minarets. Glowing in the late afternoon sun, this is another royal treasure of Rajasthan. This lavish art deco monument to royal living had an improbable conception: it was built as a public relief and employment project during a long period of drought. Over one million square feet of the finest marble was used in the construction of the palace. A special type of sandstone, called Chittar sandstone, was used in constructing the palace which gives it a special effect. The project employed three thousand artisans over a period of 15 years (1929-1943). The palace is named after its builder, Maharaja Umaid Singh (1876-1947). The present Maharaja, Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, is the 38th ruler of the lineage and chief of the Rathore clan. Although Maharaja Gaj Singh holds no official responsibility as ruler of the State, he is still affectionately called Bapji(father). The Umaid Bhawan Palace was converted into a heritage hotel in 1977. Today it is divided into 3 sections: the Royal residence, a Heritage Hotel and a Museum. The Palace has an amazing Central Rotunda, the cupola rising to a height of 32m. There is also a Throne Room with its exquisite Ramayana murals, a library, a private museum, an indoor swimming pool, a Billiards Room, tennis courts and unique marble squash courts.
Temples:
The beautiful Rasik-Bihari Temple which is dedicated to Radha-Krishna stands out with grand red sandstone pillars. It also has statues of Lord Vishnu, Garuda, Lord Hanuman and Ganesha. In the Chamunda Mata Temple the main deity of the royal family and commoners alike ‘Chamunda Devi’ is worshipped by devotees all around Jodhpur. In 1460 AD Rao Jodha brought the idol of the goddess from Mandore and installed it in the temple which lies in the southern part of Mehrangarh Fort. The temple is thronged by followers especially during the festival of Dusshera. Other temples include the Achal Nath Shivalaya, Raj Ranchhodji Temple and Ganesha Temple.
Bishnois of Guda
The Guda Bishnoi Village is located 25 km from Jodhpur amidst serene nature. This village is a perfect example of dedication to nature exhibited by the local people. Every house in the village is built in a traditional way with utmost cleanliness around it. People of the Bishnoi village rarely cut trees. They worship animals as a part of conserving nature. It is for this reason, that the people are considered the pioneers of the world’s green movement. The village is a perfect blend of Indian culture and traditions. The Martyrdom of Amrita Devi and Khejarli Massacre. The Bisnois narrate the story of Amrita Devi, a Bishnoi woman who, along with more than 366 other Bishnois, died saving the Khejarli trees. Nearly 2 centuries back, Maharajah Abhay Singh of Jodhpur required wood for the construction of his new palace. The King sent his soldiers to cut trees in the nearby region of Khejari. Amrita Devi protested against the Maharaja's men, who were attempting to cut green trees as it was prohibited according to Bishnoi principles. She offered her head instead. The axes, which were brought to cut the trees, severed her head. Amritas 3 daughters were not daunted, and offered their heads too. The Bishnois of Khejarli gathered and sent summons to their counterparts in eighty-three Bishnoi villages in the vicinity to come and decide on the next course of action. Since the supreme sacrifice by Amrita Devi and her daughters had not satisfied the royal party, and the felling of green trees was continued, it was decided that for every green tree to be cut, one Bishnoi volunteer would sacrifice his/her life. World Environment Day is celebrated every year on 5th June by the Bishnois and all fervent environmentalists around the world. The major event commemorating the World Environment Day is held at Bishnoi Bhawan, Delhi by the Bishnoi Community.
Mandore
Just 8 km from Jodhpur is Mandore, which was the ancient capital of Rajasthan. Visitors can admire the Mandore gardens, the Hall of fame and a shrine of Hindu Gods.
Popular items of Jodhpur, Rajasthan are: Antiques, Bandhini cloth, footwear and Mathaniya's red Chillies. Good places to shop include:
Sojati Gate for tie-dye Sarees.
Station Road for leather, embroidered shoes and utensils.
Tripolia Bazaar for local Handicrafts and Textiles.
Mochi Bazaar for lacquer work like bangles and jewellery.
Nai Sarak for tie-dye dresses, leather items and handloom goods.
Clock Tower for spices, handicrafts and textiles
Jodhpur is famous for its delicious onion or mirchi bada Kachoris and chilli fritters. Sweet Mawa Kachoris can be enjoyed as a dessert.
Other Rajasthani specialities include Gatta curry, Ker-Sangari, Lal Maans and Dal Bati.
Going to Jodhpur during festivals is an added pleasure as the city celebrates many festivals with great fervour.
The most popular Jodhpur festival is the Jodhpur Marwar Festival. It is held every year in memory of the heroes of Rajasthan. The Marwar Festival was originally known as the Maand Festival. The festival is held sometime between September-October. It is celebrated during the full moon of Sharad Poornima and lasts for two days.
The main attraction of this festival is the folk music centered on the romantic lifestyle of Rajasthan's rulers. The folk dancers and singers assemble at the festival and provide lively entertainment. These folk artists give others a peek into the olden days, of battles and of the heroes who still live on through their songs.
Among other attractions at the festival, are a camel tattoo show and camel polo. The venues of this festival includes the famous Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore and Mehrangarh Fort.
The Jodhpur Nagaur Fair is the second biggest fair in India. The fair goes on for eight days. The fair is held every year between January and February.
It is popularly known as the Cattle Fair of Nagaur, as it is mainly all about trading of animals. Approximately 70,000 bullocks, camels and horses are traded every year in this fair. The animals are lavishly decorated and even their owners dress up wearing colorful turbans. Some other attractions include the Mirchi bazaar (largest red-chilly market of India), wooden items, iron-crafts and camel leather accessories.
There are also many sports activities held at the fair. These range from tug-of-war and camel races, to bullock races and cock fights. The Nagaur Fair is also famous for its jugglers, puppeteers, and storytellers. For further entertainment, there is the folk music of Jodhpur echoing throughout the fair.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival is organised in October. It takes place in and around the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. This festival, a first of its kind in India, showcases regional folk music and crafts. Performers and storytellers from various Rajasthani folk communities, as well as nationally and internationally recognized artists come together for a celebration of culture and folk traditions.
The spring festival of Gangaur is one of Rajasthan's most important local festivals, which the celebrated in March-April. Dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, it symbolizes conjugal bliss and marital happiness. It is a festival of maidens and married women and begins the day following Holi and is celebrated for 18 days. While married women pray for the wellbeing of their husbands, young girls pray for a groom of their choice.
Wooden image of Gauri are colourfully dressed and bedecked with jewels. Offerings are made in every home accompanied by singing and dancing of women.
The festival is celebrated with great pomp especially in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Jaisalmer.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
JODHPUR 5 Km 00H 10m
Jodhpur Junction
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The sun seems like the holy red dot on the forehead of the sky, as it descends beyond the sand dunes turning the whole sky into a riot of colours and the city of Jaisalmer turns in for the day. There is a magical aura and serenity fused with traditions, culture, music, food and wilderness. A majestic fort, a multitude of temples, Havelis, a national park and very hospitable local people make it a dream destination for any traveller.
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Holding the grand legacy of a royal past, Jaipur is an integral part of the world famous Golden Triangle alongside Delhi and Agra. The famous Pink City of Rajasthan is a vibrant collage of grand palaces, desert culture and a rich history of Rajputana.
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Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 25 °C 43 °C
Winter 8 °C 26 °C
Very hot in Summer with the mercury shooting up to 44°C at times. Starting from pre Winter months till the Summer arrives (October - March ) is the best time to visit.
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