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The Tailor-Made Guide to the Blue City of Jodhpur, India

Updated: Mar 28


**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

Author: Barry Pickard

Contents

The Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Moti Mahal, Mehrangarh Fort

  

Jodhpur, the second-largest city in Rajasthan, is a vibrant and colourful city that offers a plethora of attractions to explore. Also called the "Blue City," Jodhpur is a perfect destination for independent travellers. The city offers an exciting blend of history and culture, beckoning you with a kaleidoscope of azure hues. The city’s appeal lays in its magnificent fort, impressive palaces, and beautiful temples, while a wander through its labyrinthine alleys allows you to stumble upon its vibrant street art.


the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
The Blue City, Jodhpur

Jodhpur's roots stretch back to 1459, when Rao Jodha, a Rajput warrior king, defied the Delhi Sultanate and carved his kingdom from the Thar Desert's unforgiving embrace. Mehrangarh, his impregnable fortress perched on a rocky crag, became a symbol of Rajput defiance, weathering centuries of Mughal onslaughts and Maratha challenges. Within its walls, a vibrant city blossomed, its merchants trading silks bringing to Jodhpur a golden age. Join me and discover echoes of that past which now mingle with the city's modern pulse, creating a tapestry woven with tales of resilience, regality, and the enduring spirit of Rajasthan.

 

the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Mehrangarh Fort

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Jodhpur appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the stunning sights of the Blue City of Jodhpur, India, or indeed, a general tour of Rajasthan state.



What to Visit in the Blue City of Jodhpur, India


5. Mehrangarh Fort


Mehrangarh Fort was built by Rao Jodha in 1459 and is perched on a cliff, about 400 feet above the surrounding old town. Its imposing thick walls have withstood battles and cannon fire throughout the years. The fort has remarkably diverse architecture from different periods, right up to the 20th century, due to the various phases of its construction by subsequent rulers. These phases were commonly linked to the tumultuous timeline of the rulers’ defeat and victory. Upon regaining control of the fort, they would expand and upgrade it to meet their needs.


the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Mehrangarh Fort

The fort has several palaces and a museum showcasing the elegance and extravagance of past days. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, including paintings, costumes, and weapons, that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region. The fort also has breathtaking panoramic views of the “blue city” below.

 

the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Mehrangarh Fort

Buying a ticket to the museum will get you access to the splendid royal rooms within the palace, and these are essential for your visit.






Sheesh Mahal: A room with intricate mirror work and glass windows that reflect light in a beautiful way.


the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Sheesh Mahal, Mehrangarh Fort

Phool Mahal: A room with beautiful frescoes and intricate carvings.


Phool Mahal, Mehrangarh Fort

Moti Mahal: A room with a beautiful pearl-coloured ceiling.


Moti Mahal, Mehrangarh Fort

When you have finished seeing the museum and palaces, continue your exploration by walking to the western tip of the fort plateau and visiting the Chamunda Mataji Temple. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Chamunda, who is believed to be the protector of the fort.

Chamunda Mataji Temple, Mehrangarh Fort

Tailor-Made Top Tips:


The fort has a couple of lovely cafes, ideal for having lunch or just a drink or snack.


When I visited in August, the fort was not too busy, so I just purchased my ticket at the main gate. You can book your ticket online, which may be more advisable during peak season.



Plan in some time to relax in the Chokhelao Garden and Terrace on the northern slopes of the fort complex. I found that during my visit, most people skipped this area, leading to this garden to being a much-appreciated oasis from the bustle of the palaces and museum.


Chokhelao Garden and Terrace, Mehrangarh Fort

There is a large carpark just outside the fort, which takes only a couple of minutes to walk from. There is an area outside the fort’s main gate where you can hop out of your taxi or auto-rickshaw.




4. Jaswant Thada

 

Jaswant Thada is a beautiful white marble cenotaph located on a ridge across from the Mehrangarh Fort. It was built in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The monument is a true representation of traditional Rajasthani architecture, which is renowned for its opulence and grandeur. The monument is also referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar.” 


the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Jaswant Thada

The interiors of Jaswant Thada are just as impressive, with its beautiful marble walls and ceilings featuring intricate designs. It also features a cenotaph that contains portraits of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and his ancestors. 


Jaswant Thada

Tailor-Made Top Tips:

 

The beautiful, landscaped gardens around the monument not only create a serene and peaceful atmosphere, but also provides one of the best views of the Mehrangarh Fort.

 

The monument is only a ten-minute walk from the fort, or just a couple of minutes by one of the many auto-rickshaws available outside both sites.





3. Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi

 

Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi is an ancient stepwell located in the Blue city of Jodhpu. It was constructed in 1740 by Maharani Tanwar Ji, the spouse of Jodhpur’s ruler Maharaja Abhay Singh Ji. The stepwell was part of the water harvesting system of the city and was designed in an exquisite manner. Viewing galleries also known as Jharokas are constructed around the steps that were used to keep lamps to illuminate the place at night.

 

the Blue City of Jodhpur, India
Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi

Tailor-Made Top Tips:

 

Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi is open to visitors all day and is free to visit and no additional fee is there for photography and videography.



The Stepwell Café has a beautiful view over the site. An excellent compliment while having a well-deserved beverage during an exhausting day of sightseeing.


Stepwell Cafe (in the background)

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2. Blue City

 

Jodhpur is famous for its blue-painted buildings, which are mainly located in the old town area below the southern cliff of the Mehrangarh Fort. The reason behind the blue colour is not clear, but there are several theories. One theory suggests that the colour blue is associated with Lord Shiva, who is believed to have saved the planet by drinking a poisonous substance that turned his body blue. Another theory suggests that the blue colour is linked to the Brahmin community, who painted their houses blue to differentiate themselves from the lower-caste communities. Regardless of the reason, the blue landscape is aesthetically pleasing and a delight for the eyes.

 


In addition to these striking blue buildings, this area of Jodhpur is also famous for its colourful street art. I was unable to find out the story behind impressive artistry, so I can only assume that the city is home to several talented artists who have transformed the city’s walls into beautiful canvases.

 

Blue City of Jodhpur, India

Tailor-Made Top Tips:


The blue buildings and street art are spread out around the labyrinth of alleys south of the fort. If you check Google Maps, you will see points such as ‘Blue Corridor Jodhpur’, ‘Bluecity Paint Wall’ and ‘Blue city photo lane main’. If you walk around this area, you will capture much of the beauty and chaos of the Blue City. If you head east, towards the Ghanta Ghar clocktower and the Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi stepwell, you won’t see much street art, but there are many blue buildings to admire.




1. Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum

 

The Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum is a part of grand palace that serves as the royal residence of Maharaja Gaj Singh II. Located on Chittar Hill, the palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh to employ thousands of villagers distressed due to droughts. Although the construction was painstakingly slow, it was an important practical gesture by the Maharaja to keep thousands of his subjects employed during difficult times. On completion in 1943, the palace became of the world’s largest private residences. 


Umaid Bhawan Palace

Today, a part of the palace has been set up as a museum opened to the public. The museum is well-maintained and displays the antiques belonging to the maharajas and the royal family. You also get a glimpse of the luxurious rooms that the Maharaja lived in. The palace is also home to a heritage hotel, which is managed by the Taj Group of Hotels.

 

Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum

Tailor-Made Top Tips:


As you approach the palace, take note that there is an extensive garage to your right. This garage displays the Maharaja’s classic car collection. You can also get a great view of the palace frontage from this vantage point.



Also on the approach to the museum is a handy café and toilet facilities. There are no facilities once in the museum, other than a small gift shop.



Despite being quite central, the palace is a bit isolated on the hill. There is a good-sized carpark for visitors and an auto-rickshaw stand.



How to Get to Jodhpur


By Air: Jodhpur Airport (JDH) is a medium sized airport that only operates domestic flights to ten Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Chennai. There are plans to transform the airport into an international one.




By Rail: Jodhpur railway station is well connected with major Indian cities like Alwar, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Pune, Kota, Kanpur, Bareilly, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhopal, Dhanbad, Guwahati, Nagpur, Lucknow, Gwalior, Jaipur etc.



By Road: There are deluxe and express bus services to cities within Rajasthan. There is also a bus service to Delhi and Ahmedabad. The city is connected to National Highway Network, with three National Highways running through Jodhpur.



Hire a Driver: Hiring a driver is a more economical and personalised way of travelling around Rajasthan than booking with a bus tour operator. This is my own preferred mode of transport when travelling in India, and Rajasthan in particular. I used the excellent services of Vivek at Just To Travels to organise this for me – website & email.



Getting Around Jodhpur


Uber is an easy way of getting around Jodhpur. Aircon is standard (don’t be scared to ask them to turn it up!), its comparatively cheap (if you are from Europe/America), and there is always one just a couple of minutes away.





For short journeys, the auto-rickshaws are a handy alternative, and an exciting experience that you need to have at least once on your trip. If you are exploring the old ‘Blue City’, then auto-rickshaws will be your best option, due to the narrow nature of the streets.



If you have never driven in an Indian city before, do not even contemplate hiring a car. I am a very confident, experienced driver, who has driven in many countries over the years, but having travelled around India, I would never consider driving here. It takes a special set of skills to drive here which are only learned if you have grown up on these roads.



Where to Stay in Jodhpur


All the major hotel chains are available in Jodhpur such as the Radisson Jodhpur and the Fairfield by Marriott Jodhpur. Although I didn’t actually stay there, my meal at the Taj Hari Mahal was excellent and I could tell that this is a very special hotel, if you are looking for a little luxury.


My focus, however, was more on the budget end, and I spent three nights in The Prem Beacon, Jodhpur. It was cheap and cheerful, clean and friendly, and I found it adequate for working remotely.



The Best Time to Visit Jodhpur


Summers in Jodhpur, and in Rajasthan in general, tend to be very hot and may not suit most travellers. I visited in August and, although it was hot, it wasn’t too humid (like New Delhi and Agra!) and there were few tourists.


Winters tend to be mild and sunny during the day, so this tends to be the best time, weatherwise, to visit.



The monsoon comes to Jodhpur in July and can last till mid-September, however, due to its geography, the monsoon here does not last long. Jodhpur tends to be one of the driest cities in India, so I wouldn’t let that put you off from visiting during this time.



How Long Should You Stay in Jodhpur?


You should stay at least two nights in Jodhpur. That would give sufficient time to see the five attractions mentioned above. Jodhpur can also be a handy base for visiting the surrounding destinations, so you could consider staying an extra night in Jodhpur. One such excursion would be to Osian, which is just over one and a half hours drive north, where you can experience a desert safari.



Conclusion


I would definitely recommend a visit to Jodhpur. It suits the independent soul, and is a city that rewards the curious. A highlight of Rajasthan, you need to come here and lose yourself in the blue labyrinth, and discover your own Jodhpur, one magical encounter at a time.



Related Blog Posts


If you would like more information on the Golden Triangle or Rajasthan, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:




Comment below and let me know what your favourite place was to visit in Jodhpur.

 

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Jodhpur appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the stunning sights of the Blue City of Jodhpur, India, or indeed, a general tour of Rajasthan state.


Join me next time on my adventures when I visit Udaipur. Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.

 

Barry

 

 

Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itine

raries for adventurous and curious travellers.


These self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.





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