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North India Travel Guide » Jodhpur Travel Guide

Jodhpur Travel Guide
Jodhpur Travel GuideSet at the edge of Thar Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales od antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the marwar state, it was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha - Chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descednants of Rama- the epic hero of the Ramayana. The Massive 15 the century AD Mehrangarh fort looms on the top of a rocky hill soaring 125 mts. above the plains. The city is encompassed by high wall - 10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions. A major trade centre of the 16th century A.D. the fortress-city of Jodhpur is now the second largest city of Rajasthan.

While the graceful palaces , forts and temples strewn throughout the city bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts , folk dances music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city. The jumble of wide winding streets are flanked with pavement stalls.

The lifestyle in jodhpur is unusually fascinating with folks wearing lovely multihued costumes,artistically designed. Women folk wear wide gathered skirts and a hip length jacket, with three quarter length sleeves , covering the front and back. The colorful turbans worn by the men folk add more color to the city . It was from here that the popularity worn baggy - tight , horse riding trousers- ‘ Jodhpurs’ took their name.
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PLACES TO VISIT

Mehrangarh Fort : The 5 km long majestic Fort on 125 m high hill is one of the most impressive and formidable structures. Although invincible from the outside, the Fort has four gates approached by winding road, within the fort are some magnificent palces with marvellously carved panels, latticed windows and eocative names. Noteworthy these are the Moti Mahal, the Phool Mahal, The Sheesh Mahal, The Sileh Khana and the Daulat Khana. These palaces house a fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including superb collection of palan qunis, elephant howdahs miniature paintings of various schools, musical instuments, custumes and furniture.

Jaswant Thada : A cluster of royal cenotaphs in white amrble built in 1899 AD in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. With in the main cenotaphs are the portraits of various Jodhpur rulers.

Umaid Bhawan Palace : The only 20th century palce bulit under the famine relief project when Maharaja Umaid Singh started a food for work program to famine struck population. This exquisite palace is also known as Chittar Palace because of the local chittar sandstone used. The Palace was completed in 16 years - no wonder, then with its 347 rooms, its is one of the largest private residencess in the world. It is a splendid example, of Indo-colonial and art deco style of the 30s. A unique feature of this palace is the fact that the hand chiseled sandstone blocks have been put together in a special system of interlocking, there is not mortar binding. A portion of the palace has been converted into a hotel, the other remains on view to visitors in form of excellent museum which houses model airplanes, weapons, antique clocks and bob watches, priceless crockery, and hunting trophies. Both sections retain the ambience of royal splendor .

Government Museum, Jodhpur Government Museum : Nestling in the middle of the Umaid Public Garden, this museum houses a rich collection of exhibits - armoury, textiles, local arts and crafts, miniature paintings. Portraits of rulers, manuscripts and images of Jain Tirthankars. Umaid Public Garden houses a zoo also.

Girdikot & Sardarkot Market : Throbbing with activity, the colourful bazaar, near Clock tower, has narrow lanes dotted with tiny shops selling exquisite Rajashani textiles, handicrafts, clay figurines of camels and elephants, marble curios with inlay work and exquisite Rajasthani silver jewelry.

Maha Mandir Temple : Leterally, the great temple, a place where sacred glory reigns in a peaceful tranquility. Situated on Mandore road, the temple is an architectural splendor, supported by 84 pillars and ornamented with detailed designs and figures depicting various postures of Yoga. The entire structure is marked by a unique and original style.
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EXCURSIONS

Balsamand Lake & Palace is an artificial lake/water body that is the source of freshwater for the region. A mere 7 km from the main city, it is a picturesque picnic spot with summer palaces along the embankment and a bird sanctuary. Both Bal Samand and Sardar Samand have top quality accommodation for overnight stopovers or for those who like to stay away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Mandore, the former capital of Marwar lies 8 km southwest, a true oasis in the desert, with its greenery and pretty gardens. The ancient capital has cenotaphs of Jodhpur rulers. The main attraction here is the ‘Hall Of Heroes’, where you see sixteen huge figures of popular Hindu and folk deities carved out of single rock.

Guda Bishnoi are the picturesque villages of the Bishnoi community, 25 km from the city limits. The Bishnois are great conservationists, who believe staunchly in the sanctity of animal and plant life and renowned for nurturing and protecting local flora and fauna. The Bishnois will protect wildlife at the cost of their own lives, if necessary. As a result, herds of blackbuck and chinkara roam freely. Go there for an interesting insight into the traditional ways of rural India and meet some true conservationists.

Sardar Samand Lake and Palace is the former hunting lodge and summer getaway of the erstwhile ruling family of Jodhpur. Little Rajasthani villages and hamlets, drying fields of red chilli peppers and herds of black buck and chinkaras enliven the 55 km drive.

Osian Osian - The ancient town of Thar desert an archaeologists delight surrounded by Golden sand dunes, a drive to ancient township takes one past undualting terrain, punctuated by desert stretches and little hamlets. it has sixteen Brahamanical and Jain temples beautifully sculpted and designed. Of thse the most outstanding ones are the earlier surya or sun temple and later Kali temple, Sachiya Mata temple and main Jain temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira.

Rohetgarh - 40 km from Jodhpur, this 16th century Champawat fort has been renovated & converted into a premium heritage hotel. It houses some of the finest Persian carpets as well as some dazzling chandeliers dangling from ceilings, with the interiors having an impeccable collection of local arms, paintings & other hunting trophies.

Khimsar - Perched on the edge of the great Thar desert in the heart of rural India lies this unique 16 th century fort that offers experience after exhilarating experience. The battle- scarred walls & turrets remind of the glorious past. Hundred of years histort folds as you glance at its battle - scared walls and stroll down ramparts. A true rarity of any desert in the world. Pecocks, Parrots and as many 46 species of bird greet you to add to the charm and splendor of this ancient Fort.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Marwar Festival - July/Aug., This two day long colourful extravaganza celebrating the Maand style of folk music brings out the romantic lifestyles of Rajasthan's rulers. Folk artists performing under the full moon bring alive the legends and the folkores of the area.
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