Welcome back, guys!
My Travel Guide to Jodhpur is rather lengthy, so I’ll get to it right away. The Blue City of Jodhpur was the second city I visited on my trip to the colourful state of Rajasthan. While it was not as blue as I’d thought it would be, here’s my guide to Jodhpur, detailing everything you need to know about what to do in Jodhpur, where to eat, stay and more!
BEST TIME TO VISIT JODHPUR
Before I get into all the exploring I did, you’d probably want to know the best time to visit Jodhpur. Being situated in the desert state of Rajasthan, a visit in summer should be avoided at all cost, as temperatures soar up to 45 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Jodhpur would be from October to February, when the nights are cool and the days are sunny, but pleasant. I visited in the first week of March and while the nights were mild, the afternoons were uncomfortable.
THINGS TO DO IN JODHPUR
If you’re looking to explore Jodhpur, you can do it within 3-7 days, depending on how slowly you want to go. I spent 4 days there, and I didn’t soak up the city as much as I’d have liked to. A couple of eateries and monuments that I’d planned to visit were left out – but then again, I don’t rush, so I could have easily accomplished it if I was on a mission to tick items off my checklist.
Visit Mehangarh Fort – As obvious as visiting the Eiffel Tower on a trip to Paris, the Mehangarh Fort must feature on your itinerary of things to do in Jodhpur. This imposing fort can be seen rising to the sky from any corner of the city and is as massive from afar as it is from up close. While this Jodhpur Fort is colossal in stature, you can’t skip noticing its delicate features.
Visit as early in the day as you can, so you can see as much of the Mehangarh Fort as possible, before the desert sun quickly drains you of your energy. The gift shop has quirky (as well as expensive) items that make wonderful keepsakes and gifts. Spend some time in the museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of yore through old paintings, arms and ammunition, clothing, currency and more – something I enjoyed immensely. While I didn’t dine at the fort, there is a fine dining restaurant on the premises too. Another thing you could do (which I didn’t) is to go zip-lining over the bastions of the fort – from where you will supposedly see the best views of the city. Book in advance!
A climb to the summit of this ginormous fort can be exhausting; no matter what time of day you go. So here’s a tip, buy an elevator pass when you purchase your entry ticket. For Rs. 100, you will have a one-way ride to the top, and once you’re done exploring, walking downhill is a breeze.
As I meandered through Jodhpur’s choked lanes the day before, I wondered where all the blue was in this Blue City. Apart from a few splashes of blue on random houses, it looked pretty ordinary to me. That was until I saw the city from above from a vantage point at the Mehangarh Fort.
Jaswant Thada – I was amazed at how immaculately kept Jaswant Thada was, unlike most of the heritage monuments in India! Another must-do in Jodhpur, Jaswant Thada is a milky-white marble memorial built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, by his son. I spent much more time than I anticipated at this monument in Jodhpur, merely because the tall marble structure meant it was much cooler in and around this place. With a picturesque rock-pond, live Veena music playing at the entrance, and the sounds of coo-ing pigeons who make themselves known at every monument, it exudes peace and fantasy. In terms of beauty, it can be comparable to the Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi, Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad and even the Sanchi Stupa in Bhopal.
Ghanta Ghar – The heart of the city holds a clock tower called Ghanta Ghar. Visit the loud, dusty market that surrounds it and you will find hundreds of vendors selling everything from paan to fabric and vegetables to spices. It’s worth spending an hour around sundown, when the market isn’t too crowded, when you can get a feel of this lively spot in Jodhpur.
Stop by at the Step-Well – Also called the Toorji ka Jalra, the step-well in Jodhpur once again got me marveling at the architectural brilliance of the 1700’s! Just like the step-well in Hampi, it is designed to provide water all year through, but the Jodhpur step-well is definitely much more ornate. Surrounded by trendy cafes all around, it is quite a stark contrast and an outwardly feeling to be sipping coffee on a rooftop while imagining the labourers of that time, carve, dig and carry stones below.
Just Explore the Old City – It is here where you will find Jodhpur’s mystical havelis, spot a few blue-painted lanes for a photo op, stop in at cafes and restaurants, and much more. Most of the hostels in Jodhpur are located in this area and after taking a couple of rounds of the place, you will familiarize yourself with this maze-like place with ease.
WHERE TO STAY IN JODHPUR
If you have the budget, one of the lavish havelis in Jodhpur will give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If not, you’ll find plenty of hostels and Airbnbs to choose from. I stayed at Jog Niwas, which is outside Jodhpur City, before moving to an Airbnb just 500 meters away from the fort, overlooking the city.
If you’re travelling by car, I’d suggest staying on the periphery of Jodhpur, as it is IMPOSSIBLE to drive on Jodhpur’s narrow lanes, leave alone find parking. Finding your way via GPS is again, impossible, as the route changes every few seconds, thanks to the city’s insane amount of lanes. Beware of asking people for directions, as it was while doing this that we almost got scammed.
We happened to ask a man standing at a crossroad for directions to our Airbnb, and he not only insisted we follow him (to a place that was nowhere close to where our Airbnb was), but also tried telling us that our car wouldn’t fit through the lane, and that we park elsewhere and travel with him by rickshaw.
He suddenly did a u-turn when he said our car WOULD fit through the lane, but we should pay for his auto-rickshaw ride and he would guide us there. Not just that, but he tried to introduce us to another random man on the street saying that our Airbnb belonged to said man, who, by the way, was another rickshaw driver. Weird!
WHERE TO EAT IN JODHPUR – CAFES AND RESTAURANTS
I didn’t eat at a lot of cafes and restaurants in Jodhpur – I relied on street food for most meals. My most memorable dining experience was at Gypsy Restaurant where I indulged in a hearty, unlimited Rajasthani Thali comprising of 33 items! Woah! I skipped breakfast just so I could unleash my inner glutton for lunch. On another day, I tried out Kalinga Restaurant near Jodhpur Railway Station for their famed Laal Maas, but wasn’t too impressed.
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Some great cafés in Jodhpur that I tried out were Namaste Cafe that very Kasol-like ambience, with mattresses on the floor facing low-rise tables and served decent food. If you choose to sit on the rooftop, you’ll have a view of the city. I especially loved Open House Café, for their quirky décor, amazing coffee and unmatched top-view of the step-well on one side, with the fort on the other. This one is a must-visit in Jodhpur. Apart from these, you’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants in Jodhpur –and as per my policy, I won’t list them down until I’ve tried them out.
A highly recommended local tip is to visit Shri Mishrilal, a store near the exit of Ghanta Ghar market to try out the best Makhaniya Lassi in Jodhpur. This tiny restaurant offers a variety of lassis and savoury items. I ordered the Makhaniya Lassi and it was too sweet to even finish half. Considering I have a mega sweet tooth, you may want to consider ordering only one to split between two or more people.
That’s all from me! I hope this post was helpful, and if you’d like to know anything else, shoot me a line in the comment section or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, check out my travel guide to Pushkar, which you may want to visit as it’s a short drive away from Jodhpur.