Jodhpur is the second biggest city in Rajasthan. It is about 335 km west of Jaipur, the capital city. Since it lies on the geographic centre of the state, it has emerged as an important tourist transit base.
This city is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Thar’ because it is located right on the border of the Thar Desert. It is also popularly called the ‘Sun City’ because it experiences bright and sunny days throughout the year. Another name for this city is ‘Blue City’ because the houses around the Mehrangarh Fort are all painted blue.
History of Jodhpur
The history of this place dates back to the time when the Rathores were forced by the Afghans to leave Kaunaj, which was their original homeland. They settled in Pali, which is located close to present day Jodhpur.
Rathore Siahaji tied the knot with the sister of a local prince, which added to the power and strength of the Rathore Clan. After some time, they succeeded in driving the Pratiharas out of Mandore, which is located at a distance of about 9 km from present day Jodhpur, and made it their capital city.
However, after some time, they felt that they required a secure capital. As a result, Jodhpur was formed by Rao Jodha, the chief of the Rathore clan, in 1459, to serve as a capital city and the city was also named in his honour. Earlier this place was known as Marwar.
The Rathores shared healthy relations with all the Mughal kings, except Aurangzeb. After Aurangzeb's death, the Mughals were driven out from Ajmer by Maharaja Ajit Singh and it was made a part of Marwar (present day Jodhpur). Jodhpur started developing into a modern city under the rule of Maharaja Umed Singh. It further prospered under the British rule.
People & Culture of Jodhpur
The city of Jodhpur has lent its name to a type of trousers. Jodhpurs, as they are called, are loose around the thigh and tight at the calf and are mainly designed for horseback riding and playing polo. Invented in 1887 for use by Sir Pratap Singh, it caught the fancy of the British aristocracy and soon became popular.
The forts, palaces and havelis of the city are complemented by the various vibrant fairs and festivals that draw a large number of people. Some of the popular events of Jodhpur are Marwar Festival, Jodhpur International Desert Kite Festival, Nagaur Fair etc.
Things to do in Jodhpur
Food & Shopping in Jodhpur
Jodhpur is not only popular because of its palaces, forts and temples, but also because of its handicrafts, folk dances and folk music. The tie and dye textiles, lacquer ware, embroidered leather shoes, antiques, puppets, carpets, Rajasthani textiles, miniature camels and elephants, clay figurines, marble inlay work and classic silver jewellery found in Jodhpur are popular worldwide. Popular bazaars in Jodhpur include Mochi Bazaar, Sardar Market, Tripolia Bazaar, the market near the Clock Tower as well as the Station Road.
Also, no trip to Jodhpur is complete without tasting its local delicacies. Snacks like kachoris and the world renowned dal baati is a must-try. Other local specialities include mirchi bada, makhania lassi, Jodhpuri maas, gatte ka saag etc.
Travelling to Jodhpur
Jodhpur is well connected to major cities in India by rail, road and air. The airport here is very close to the city and has regular connections to major cities in the country. From the airport, auto rickshaws and taxis are available to reach the city centre. Located centrally, the Jodhpur Railway Station has trains bound to big and small cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Indore, Bangalore and Hyderabad among other destinations.
To reach Jodhpur
from cities within and outside Rajasthan, state-run buses are widely available. These buses leave from the Roadways Bus Stand. Services are also offered by private buses which mostly leave from the bus stand on Pal Road and some leave from Kalpataru Cinema.
Travelling within Jodhpur
Travelling within Jodhpur can be done with the help of tongas, auto rickhsaws and mini buses with auto rickshaws being the most popular. Most auto rickshaws do not run on metres and the price needs to be negotiated before boarding. A standard way of negotiating is to quote 60% of the offered price. Tongas are a leisurely way of moving around and are a good option if there is no hurry.
The best time to visit Jodhpur is between October and March, during winters.