Sunday, April 26, 2020

TOP 7 Things to Do in JODHPUR in Just 2 Days

Jodhpur Fort

Jodhpur, the Blue City of India, is definitely a must-visit place in Rajasthan, and in only two days, you can explore most of its top sights. So, based on my recent trip earlier this year, here are the top 7 things you can do in Jodhpur in a two-day itinerary.

Why we decided to visit Jodhpur

After spending five days in Pushkar, we took a five-hour bus ride towards our next destination, Jodhpur.

To be honest, we simply decided to visit Jodhpur because this was one of the very few cities in Rajasthan that I had not visited before.

I had previously visited Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaiselmer, Bundi, and Pushkar. They are all really beautiful cities but it was time to explore something new. So that left us with Jodhpur.

I was traveling with my friend Aly but neither of us bothered to plan this trip.

So, by the time we arrived in Jodhpur we didn't know anything about this city, except for that it is very blue and it's one of the most recommended places to visit in Rajasthan.

And we were not disappointed at all.

What to do in Jodhpur in only Two Days

We stayed in Jodhpur for three nights. The first day we didn't do anything because we were exhausted after the bus ride from Pushkar, and the last day we had to leave. So basically this is everything we were able to do in Jodhpur in two full days.

The video (with subtitles) is very brief but it includes a lot of nice clips around Jodhpur so you should definitely check it out. The text below includes a lot more information and tips to help you plan your trip.

1. Search for the blue houses in the old town

Jodhpur Blue City

Jodhpur, the second-largest city in Rajasthan, is known as the “Sun City“ because of its bright sunny days, but it is mainly known as the “Blue City” because many houses in the old town are colored blue.

It is said that the blue color helps to keep the temperature of the buildings down during the extremely hot summers, and it is also supposed to help to keep the mosquitoes away.

So the first thing that we decided to do in Jodhpur was simply to walk around the old town, searching for these blue houses, while we slowly made our way towards the fort.

Pretty much every corner you turn you'll find something interesting to see. If you are into photography you must visit Jodhpur.

Blue houses in Jodhpur

There is not so much blue as I thought there would be though. I think most photos you see online are photoshopped.

There are some areas in the old town that are very blue but is not all around the old town, and definitely not all around Jodhpur.

2. Practice yoga with a stunning view of the Fort

Yoga in Jodhpur

Since Jodhpur was much warmer than Pushkar I was finally able to wake up early in the mornings to do my yoga practice outdoors.

Luckily, the guesthouse where we stayed, which was definitely blue, had a roof terrace that I was able to use.

Just imagine practicing yoga outdoors with a fantastic view of the fort and the sunrise. Priceless.

If you have a yoga practice you should definitely try this, but it might not be that easy to find a guesthouse with a terrace you can use.

Our guesthouse was Jaswant Bhavan Homestay. It was very affordable. It has a small restaurant with an outstanding view of the fort and this small terrace that could easily fit two or three people. Very dusty though.

I must say, we had an issue with the boy working there, but we solved everything with the owner. I think it's still a really nice place to stay if you are traveling on a budget.

3. Visit the Memorial Jaswant Thada

Jaswant Thada

After walking a bit around the old town we headed towards the famous Fort.

We could easily see the fort from our guesthouse so we just walked towards it but instead by accident we ended up at this other beautiful place called the Jaswant Thada.

We had no idea this place even existed but once we were there, of course, we decided to pay the entrance fee which was very cheap even for foreigners, only 50 Rs.

The Jaswant Thada is a memorial built by the Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of his father. It is made of marble and it has a gorgeous garden and a small lake.

Jaswant Thada

You don't need to spend much time here, half an hour or an hour would be more than enough, but it is definitely worth the visit.

The Jaswant Thada is walking distance from the Mehrangarh Fort so you can plan to visit both sights on the same day. It would take you about 10 to 15 min walking, no need to take a rickshaw.

But depending on the time of the day it can get really hot and you might like to save some energy for the Fort where you'll probably like to spend at least three hours.

4. Explore the majestic Mehrangarh Fort (with an excellent audioguide)

Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

After visiting the Jaswant Thada we took a rickshaw to visit the Fort. Like I mentioned above, you can easily walk from the memorial to the Fort but it was really hot at that time and it was getting late.

The Mehrangarh Fort, also known as the Fort of the Sun, is incredible. It is definitely one of the most impressive forts I've seen during my travels around India. It is considered one of the largest forts in Rajasthan.

You can briefly see the fort in the movie The Dark Night Rises when Bruce Wayne (Batman) managed to escape the prison, and later on when Miranda tells the story of her own escape.

Mehrangarh Fort in The Dark Night Rises

The construction of the fort started around 1459 under the ruling of Rao Jodha and it was completed as it looks today somewhere in the 17th century.

The legend says that a man was voluntarily buried alive in the foundations of the fort, to break the curse of a saint because he was asked to leave his hermit to build the fort.

The entry to the fort museum for foreigners is 600 Rs., which includes the audio guide, and 120 Rs. for locals without the audioguide, which costs 180 Rs extra.

I think is totally worth it. You'll learn a lot about the history of the fort and of Jodhpur, although by now I can't remember anything. Lol.

The audio guide takes about 90 minutes, so make sure you have enough time before the closing hour. The fort museum is open from 9 am till 5 pm, every day of the week, but you can still walk around the fort. The fort website offers two suggested walks.

If you chose the audioguide in English you will hear at times the Maharaja Gaj Singh himself speak, telling you a bit of the history of the fort.

I mentioned in my vlog that Maharaja Gaj Singh was the last Maharaja since India became a republic in 1950, but it was rather in 1971 when the constitution was amended.

Gaj Singh was enthroned in 1952, at only four years of age, after his father died suddenly in a plane crash.

The fort is still run by the Jodhpur royal family although they now live in their own palace, the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The palace construction started in 1928 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and it was completed in 1943.

The palace is today divided into three sections. The royal family residency, a museum, and a five-star hotel.

Although the Umaid Bhawan Palace looks very impressive we decided not to go there. The museum showcases a collection of vintage cars and watches, but most of the palace is inaccessible to visitors.

The best way to enjoy the palace is to pay at least US$300 to stay at the luxury five-star Taj heritage hotel, for one night. If you would like to stay in a real palace and be treated like Royalty at least for one night, this might be your best chance.

Although India became independent in 1950 it was in 1971 when all the princes lost their titles, privileges, and remuneration. That's when Maharaja Gaj Singh decided to restore the fort and open it for tourism, and to give a section of the palace to the Taj Hotels.

5. Shop in the Sardar Market and visit the Clock Tower

Clock Tower Jodhpur

During our second day, we decided to once more walk around the old town, and to visit the Sardar Market and the popular Clock Tower.

You can literally spend hours and hours walking around, entering random shops, and perhaps even doing a bit of shopping.

By the way, when you go to Sardar Market you should stop by Shahi Samosa, just before entering the gate to the Market. I had there the BEST SAMOSA I have ever tried in India, seriously. Thank me later. Lol.

6. Cliff diving at the Toorji Ka Step Well

Toorji Ka Step Well

Once more by accident, while walking around the market, we discovered this beautiful site, the Toorji Ka Step Well which was apparently built almost 300 years ago.

It is a really nice place to chill for a while, especially after a long walk in the market.

Make sure you bring your swimming shorts. The water looks very clean and if you feel brave enough you might like to try cliff diving.

I didn't try diving only because I didn't bring my swimming shorts. Right!

Although I read somewhere that it is not really allowed by the police, when we were there, there was a local and a couple of foreigners diving without any issues.

Red Bull even completed its 2019 Cliff Diving World Series season at the Toorji Ka Step Well.

7. Discover the Royal Cenotaphs at Mandore Gardens

Mandore Gardens

The last place we decided to visit was the Mandore Gardens. Again, we didn't know anything about this place, we simply found it on Google Maps. It looked interesting so we decided to head there and explore.

It's about 8 km from the old town and it takes almost 20 minutes on a rickshaw.

I had no expectations and once more when we got there I was very impressed. It is definitely a must-visit place in Jodhpur, and the entry is free.

What I liked the most, besides the gardens and the hundreds of monkeys, were royal cenotaphs built for the Maharajas of Jodhpur. They were built during the 17th and 18th centuries.

“A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere.” Wikipedia.

There is also a government museum which costs only 50 Rs. Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we got there. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (Saturday-Thursday).

Mandore was actually the capital of the Marwar Kingdom but it was abandoned when the capital was moved to the Mehrangarh Fort because it offered more protection for the kingdom.

To learn more about the history of Mandore I suggest you visit The Story Behind Jodhpur's Abandoned Mandore Gardens, by TheCultureTrip.Com.

Jodhpur in 2 Days

After Jodhpur

So there you go guys, these are a few things that I can recommend you do whenever you visit Jodhpur.

Before you pack your bags make sure you visit my incredibly detailed India packing list for yogis. I'm sure you'll find it useful.

After Jodhpur, we headed to Agra and then to Varanasi.

I'm really looking forward to sharing everything about my experience visiting Varanasi. If you want to make sure you won't miss my next update, you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

Feel free to share any other interesting sights to see in Jodhpur, or feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.

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