Jodhpur inspires a sense of awe. For centuries, it has stood as the final frontier before the Thar’s wilderness takes over the landscape. The history of the city is deeply intertwined with its aristocratic lineage. The royal family of Jodhpur inspires and motivates Jodhpur’s cultural community, to make it a global centre for the arts and heritage.
The rugged beauty of the landscape is the perfect backdrop for the raw power in the ramparts of Meherangarh Fort.
Many battles were fought on these massive walls.
Today, this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts a variety of festivals and events, such as RIFF – The Rajasthan International Folk Festival, which is held every October, and the Gypsy and Flamenco Festival in the spring. Built over a period of 500 years, Meherangarh is a maze of palaces, terraces, chambers and gates, and don’t miss the Meherangarh Museum’s exquisite collection, and the section devoted to the fortress’ restoration.
As dusk falls over the ramparts, an expertly guided walk exclusively for our guests, is by far our favourite way to experience Meherangarh’s grandeur.
Walk down the steep cobble-stoned pathways of the fort, and the pace of life seems to slow down when you step into the indigo tinted walls of the historic quarter, known as the Blue City, a maze of lanes that are a little like the Medina in Marrakech.
Why are the walls blue? There are several theories. Perhaps it keeps the limestone cool in the harsh desert sun. Some believe it once demarcated the homes of Brahmin priests who lived separate from the rest. Whatever it is, that soft blue tint reflects the colour of a cloudless sky, and inspires a sense of tranquility.
Head towards the main market place and a lively energy takes over. Jodhpur’s markets are its best-kept secret. What will it be today? A copper pot? A lac bangle? Or some heavy silver jewellery? Did a beautiful hand-woven rug catch your eye?
A little haggling over the price only makes the purchase that much sweeter. Beyond the sidewalk bazaars, step into fashion boutiques where you can buy a custom-made Bandh Gala or Nehru Jacket, chic stores like Nicobar and Good Earth where you can pick up quirky décor or accessories, and boutiques like Mahrani for gorgeous stoles and jewellery.
Feeling peckish? We love the Stepwell Café. Poised at the edge of an 18th century stepwell, the views are stunning (and the food is pretty good too). An ethnic vibe merges with a contemporary touch, to create an eclectic, elegant ambience that is very Jodhpur.
At the far end of the city, the sun glints off the massive domes of Umaid Bhawan Palace, home to the royal family. A seamless blend of Rajput and European architecture, and Art Deco interiors, Umaid Bhawan is one of the last grand palaces of India. It sets the tone for the city’s architectural signature — sandstone havelis, chattris (pagodas), intricately carved temples, and graceful palaces, that dot the skyline.
Beyond the city, an off-road 4X4 drive into the desert finds you in the desert wilderness, the native habitat of Black Buck and Bustards, amid the sand dunes.
Explore the life of the nomadic Bishnoi, and their customs, and discover the Thar’s vivid folk culture. Jodhpur is just a short drive away from Mihirgarh, a beautifully restored fortress well-known for stables and horses.
Dusk in Jodhpur is always spectacular. Sunsets blaze across the sky. Flocks of birds flutter to their roost. Lattice windows and pinnacles are silhouetted against the fading light.
Sit back, relax with a beverage, and enjoy a candle-lit dinner on the rooftop at Pal Haveli, or the chic environs of RAAS. As the moon rises over the Thar, soak up the magic that is Jodhpur.
Jodhpur is a great launch pad from where you can explore places like Jawai, Mihirgarh, Chattrasagar and Chanoud. Ask your Encounters Asia specialist to help you plan an itinerary.