Jodhpur – The Blue City

Jodhpur – The Blue City

We visited Jodhpur in August 2017. It was hot in spite of having a month of rain until last week. We visited the Mehrangarh fort, jashwant thada and umaid bhavan palace on our first day in the sun city.

Day 1 : Mehrangarh Fort, Jashwant Thada and Umaid Bhavan palace

Mehrangarh fort: this fort is one of the most magnificent forts of not only Rajasthan, but entire India. It is located on the top of a rocky hill and took centuries to get fully constructed. Given the height and width of the fort, it gave protection and strength to the city in true sense. The name means sun (Mehran) and fort (garh). The most interesting thing about the fort is that govt has made it very tourist friendly with brilliant quality audio guides and elevators at a little extra cost. Inside the Fort are nested temples, throne of the rajaji, traditional marwadi paintings,  arms and ammunition’s of the army etc. On the top of the fort we were awestruck to see “topo ki qatar” i.e. A queue of cannons to protect the city from invaders and enemies. While heading back, we took the slope way and were mesmerized with the views of the Blue city the fort offered. It was breathtaking and supreme!!!
Entry fees : Rs 75 for Indian nationals and Rs 500 for foreign nationals 
Time taken: 2 hours 
View of Blue city from Mehrangarh Fort
Jashwant thada : located a kilometer away from Mehrangarh fort, this is a cenotaph built for raja jashwant singh II. You will have to walk down a rocky road to reach this place. Cenotaph is derived from a greek origin meaning kenos (empty)  taph (tomb). This place is rightly and famously called the taj mahal of marwar, reason being it has got remarkably awesome carvings on very thin sheets of marbles giving it the feel of a temple . The structure looks beautiful when rays of sun strike its milky white marble. Portraits of the Maharajas of Jodhpur adorn the walls of the memorial. In the front are minutely and beautifully carved gazebos,  garden and a small lake.
Entry fees : Rs 15 for Indian nationals and Rs 30 for foreigners. Camera and videography Rs 50 extra. 
Graaaaand Umaid Bhawan Palace
Umaid bhavan : Grand , Modern and Beautiful!!! This sums up our visit to umaid bhavan. This palace is named after umaid singh maharaja between 1929 and 1944. The palace is built in Art deco style since the maharaja liked the western architecture. The palace consisting of around 350 rooms is divided in three parts : first part resides by Maharajas family, second part converted into a hotel (managed by the Taj group) and a very small part kept open as a museum for visitors. The museum has depictions of the maharaja times like collections of cutlery, clocks, paintings, furniture etc. What’s different here from other city palaces of Rajasthan is the royal family owned vintage cars which is exhibited right opposite to the palace.  Museum is Ok-ish but this place is a must visit to see the Grand and modern structure of the palace.
Entry fees: Rs 30 for Indian nationals and Rs 100 for foreigners
Time taken: 2 hours
Day 2: Osian village, shopping and Balsamand Lake
This was our second day in Jodhpur and we decided to start it the religious way. Off we went to sachiya mata’s temple in osian village who is our “kuldevi”(mother goddess). The place is 60 kms away from Jodhpur and the roads are good for a pleasant drive. We hired a cab and went to the temple which was luckily empty. While there were too many stairs to be climbed to reach the temple, the stairs had beautifully carved arches to make the ascent exciting. The temple is an old classic and is damn peaceful. No photography allowed inside. Sachiya mata,  also referred to as Oshiyaji is the mother goddess of people from many regions of the country. (mostly is known to be origin of oswal jains) This place is frequented by foreigners too due to its architectural bliss. Food and stay options are there but limited so plan your travel accordingly.
Alternate plan : post visiting the temple you could also plan to stay back in the desert camps of osian village. They offer events like camel safari, folk dance, bonfire at night, jeep safari. We didn’t opt for it since we didn’t have that much time.
Osian Desert Camp
How could a trip in Rajasthan end without shopping. Once back to Jodhpur from the temple, we visited the nai sadak near clock tower and sardar market for some authentic Rajasthani shopping. The place looked like some mela due to its vibrance and so many hues.. Bandhej sarees and dresses along with traditional jootis had flooded the markets. A bit of bargain can make u buy awesome stuff.. I usually quoted 200-300 less than the offered price. A good experience.
Our evening was spent at Balsamand lake. We were also staying at the Balsamand lake palace. People could  come only for bird watching and picnicking to the lake. Our evening was very well spent given the windy breeze, the stroll of the gardens and the beautiful view. Its not necessary to stay at the hotel you could come just for dinner as well at their garden area.
Balsamand Lake Palace
We stayed in Welcome heritage Balsamand Lake palace. Since we booked well in advance and probably for their off season, we got a bumper discount. It was the summer palace of the royal family and is now owned by members of royal family. The palace turned hotel is simply humongous in area. It has got lush green gardens with the trees and plants tagged with their names. There is also a facility of baggi to do the tour of the palace but we found it very expensive at 800 bucks for 30 minutes. There are more than 20 horses in the hotel and the staff helps  visit the superbly maintained stable area. The highlight of the place is the variety of birds (we saw around 10 different species) and sooooooo many peacocks (the place is said to have 200 of them) . Since we visited in monsoon,  we could see one peacock every 200 metres we walked. They were seen and heard everywhere: on the trees, at the main gate, near the lake, dancing gracefully in the garden.. The view was delightful, colorful and wonderful.. Staff was very friendly, rooms clean and spacious, breakfast delicious and varied, toiletries (of kama aturveda 🙂 ) great!! We stayed in garden view rooms (all such rooms) offered similar view. Cottages with lake view were expensive and apt for families. Atmosphere around the lake in mornings and evenings is damn pleasant. It looks like the palace is built on waters of the lake and the view is simply superb.. There are huge farms where vegetation is grown depending on the season and we were able to see healthy big lemons around us on the trees and the ripe ones fallen on the ground. The only drawback about the place is that they don’t have many entertainment options other than swimming pool and cycling. Given the huge area to their benefit, It is recommended that they introduce indoor games like table tennis, carrom board,  foos ball, snooker etc and outdoor games like badminton, volleyball,  a small play area for kids with swings and slides to make this hotel just beyond perfect.. All in all, thumps up and kudos to Welcome heritage!!!
Places to eat in Jodhpur

 

Rajasthani food and traditional living is famous throughout the country for its richness and uniqueness. Though we were on a short trip of just 2 days to Jodhpur we had quite a lot of delicacies. Here goes the list..

Makhaniya lassi
The creamy sweet curd served at makhaniya lassi at mishrilal sweets. It is super creamy and duper heavy so make sure you have enough space in your food belly to have all of it..

Janta sweets
The mava kachori ghevar and pyaz kachori, mirchi badas at janta sweets are lip smacking. You can try other snacks items too.
Gypsy restaurant- this place is a must visit while on a trip to Jodhpur. The restaurant is very well known for its sumptuously delicious thali it offers with around 31 dishes and costing just 300. Got to try it.
Jharokha – a rooftop restaurant in haveli hotel, old Jodhpur, this place offers splendid views of the lit Mehrangarh fort and the blue city at night. Not heavy on the pocket this restaurant offers awesome rajasthani and north indian cuisine.

Indique ristorante – another roof top restaurant offering view of the market area of Jodhpur. Providing a view of the fort on one side, gulab sagar lake on the other and clock tower on the third, this place is very famous for its lal maans and other regional dishes. Slightly on the higher side as far as cost is concerned, its worth a visit for the view.

Pro tip reach there by evening so that u could see the setting sun and lightings of the fort(lighting are only till 10 at night)
Like all other places of North India, Jodhpur also lived up to the expectations in food for sure. It was a delight savoring its specialties.

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