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6 Unmissable Monuments In Jodhpur And The History Behind Them
By Anushree Anantharaman
20 Sep, 2023
The city of Jodhpur is bathed in blue, surrounded by legends and filled with exciting stories. While travelling here, you come to realise that this hospitable city and its friendly residents truly embody the essence of Rajasthan Tourism's tagline, "Padharo Mhare Des," which translates to "Welcome to my land."
The people of Jodhpur will greet you with smiles
Amidst the maze of vibrant streets and the gracious smiles of its residents, Jodhpur invites you on an extraordinary journey. Selected from a treasure trove of exciting options, here's a handy list of the top 6 must-see monuments in Jodhpur. These historic landmarks have borne witness to epic battles and the opulent heritage of the Jodhpur royal family. But before we dive into the world history of these monuments in Jodhpur, let's unravel the captivating story of Jodhpur.
The History of Jodhpur
Explore and experience the charm of the city of Jodhpur
During the 14th century, Rao Jodha of Mandore ruled over Mandore, which was the capital of Marwar (now known as Jodhpur). He was the son of Rao Ranmal of the Rathore clan and was well-known for his illustrious military career. In 1459, he established the city of Jodhpur and went on to become its ruler. The name "Jodhpur" is derived from Rao Jodha himself. After its foundation, this city earned two intriguing nicknames: the "Blue City" and the "Sun City.”
Why is Jodhpur so blue?
Experience the vibrant blue hues adorning Jodhpur houses
Jodhpur's location in the parched Thar Desert results in blistering temperatures, particularly during the summer. The blue colour of the dwellings is functional in repelling the heat. The indigo pigment in the paint helps reflect the sun's rays and lower the temperature inside the homes. The blue façade works as a natural coolant, providing relief from the desert's scorching heat. The monuments in Jodhpur are surrounded by blue houses, which help to keep the monuments cool and bearable.
Wander through the blue houses of Jodhpur
This unique architectural characteristic is further attributed to the sacred and auspicious nature of the colour blue in Hinduism. Blue is closely associated with Lord Krishna, who is frequently depicted with blue skin, adding to its significance. The colour also represents the complexion of Lord Shiva, one of Hinduism's most important deities. As time passed, the tradition of painting houses blue extended and became a prevalent architectural style throughout Jodhpur.
It’s association with the sun
Explore the radiant charm of Jodhpur, famously known as the "Sun City"
It's also known as the "Sun City" due to a local belief rooted in mythology. According to this belief, Lord Surya, the Sun God, shows a special fondness for this city, spending an extended duration here. This belief has led to the city being called the "Surya Nagri," which translates to the "City of the Sun," owing to its longer daylight hours.
Now, let's embark on a virtual adventure, where we'll transport you to the enchanting world of the monuments in Jodhpur. Close your eyes and imagine the tales, epic battles, and the regal dynasties that once graced this land.
6 must-see monuments in Jodhpur
The majestic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
“Mehrangarh,” which means “fort of the sun,” is one of India’s grandest and most magnificent forts. Situated at an altitude of about 125 metres, the Mehrangarh Fort is spread over an area of 5 sq. km in the heart of the city. You’re probably thinking, “Oh no, not another fort… I’ve already seen a lot!” But the bird’s-eye perspective of blue from this fort beats them all!
A major religious and political upheaval in the 15th century affected everything in Asia and Europe. Jodhpur was no different. The development of gunpowder was a dramatic turning point! It swiftly became the weapon of choice for powerful rulers looking to expand their empires. Following that, kingdoms could no longer be protected with arrows, swords, and similar weapons. Kingdoms, and especially their capitals, required thick-walled houses; forts and castles were built. Like all other kingdoms, Jodhpur had to construct a fort to house the administration, royal family, and other significant people.
The splendid view from the Mehrangarh Fort
Forts remained significant for the next few decades, but they swiftly fell out of favour with the arrival of aviation, the Air Force, and modern combat. Mehrangarh, the royal family's home until 1880, was no longer required; therefore, the family relocated to more contemporary and western palaces like the Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur. And the fort went through architectural changes to suit the modern times.
Today, this monument in Jodhpur has gained popularity through its appearances in movies and magazine covers, making it a famous tourist spot. The Mehrangarh Museum Trust is founded and led by H. H. Maharaja Gaj Singhji, the present honorary king of Jodhpur. This fort gives a fantastic view of Jodhpur city and Pakistan very clearly. If you look closely, you can still see the impact of former wars when cannonballs were fired by the attacking armies of Jaipur!
Delve into the cultural richness at the Mehrangarh Fort Museum in Jodhpur
How to Reach
9 AM-5 PM
INR 100 for Indians and INR 600 for foreigners, which includes the audio concession.
This monument in Jodhpur encompasses a museum, several palace rooms and temples. So you'll need 2-3 Hours to explore the place well.
Don't forget to try the zip lining ride at the top of the fort organised by Flying Fox to get the best views from the top and get your adrenaline rushing.
Jaswant Thada- The Taj Mahal of Marwar
Discover the serenity of Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur
The Taj Mahal in Agra has captivated all of us since we were young. After all, Emperor Shah Jahan built this monument as a sign of love for his cherished wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose tomb is located within. But did you know there is another Taj Mahal in Jodhpur's Blue City that Sardar Singh constructed in loving memory of his father? Jaswant Thada is Rajasthan's marble marvel! The memorial has many domes and shikharas, which give it a temple-like appearance. Some parts are surprisingly similar to the Taj Mahal. That is why it is also called the Taj Mahal of Marwar.
The Taj Mahal of Marwar
Sardar Singh built this memorial for his father, Jaswant Singh II, the then king, in 1899. Along with some sculptured gazebos, a small lake, and a multi-tiered garden that provides a vista, the temple-like structure is surrounded by other features. A small memorial honours a peacock that unintentionally flew into Jaswant Singh II's funeral blaze.
The monument was inaugurated by the great Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi. This makes the Jaswant Thada one of the first monuments in Jodhpur and India to be inaugurated by Gandhiji. Today, the Jaswant Thada stands as a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of Jodhpur. Its beautiful structures and breathtaking views attract thousands of visitors every year. This monument in Jodhpur is a perfect example of the Rajputana style of architecture.
Cherish the creation of Jaswant Thada, a tribute made in loving memory of Jaswant Singh II
How to Reach
Jaswant Thada is just 2 minutes from Mehrangarh Fort and 10 minutes from The Hosteller Jodhpur.
9 AM-5 PM
INR 30 for Indians and INR 50 for foreigners.
It takes 30-40 minutes to explore this monument properly.
Toorji ka Jhalra Bavdi (Stepwell)
Take a dip in the water pond surrounded by Toorji's stepwells
Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi, or Toorji’s Stepwell, is one of the few stepwells in India and it must be on your Jodhpur check-list. This gorgeous structure has layers of 200 stairs fencing from all corners and eventually leads towards a water pond.
The historical marvel of Toorji Ka Jhalra
Toorji Ka Jhalra was built during the reign of Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore. He was in charge of Jodhpur from 1724 to 1749. The female members of the Royal families at the time, especially the Queens, would take part in and oversee efforts to erect public water systems. Toorji Ka Jhalra was created in the 1740s under the direction of the Queen of Marwar, Rani Tawarji (addressed as “Toorji”), the wife of Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore for the wellbeing of her citizens. It gives a glimpse into women's important responsibilities in royal families. This monument in Jodhpur was made using the world-famous rose-red sandstone found in Jodhpur.
Locals frequented the well for generations until the city underwent modernisation, and it was abandoned entirely. The water body was later cleaned, and the debris inside the well was removed to restore this historical legacy. Since then, the area has gained notoriety as a tourist destination
Immerse yourself in the architectural marvel of the stepwell in Jodhpur! (Picture Source- We Seek Travel)
How to Reach
Toorji Ka Jhalra monument in Jodhpur is just a few hundred metres from the Clock Tower.
Early morning is the best time to visit because, by midday, children and adults come here to dip in the water.
To explore and spend some time here it takes at least an hour.
Just 5-minute walk from here is a second step well in Jodhpur, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra.
Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower)
Uncover the timeless charm of the Clock Tower in Jodhpur
The Ghanta Ghar, the city's tallest clock tower, provides a bird's-eye perspective of the city from the top. It is worth visiting and a must-see monument in Jodhpur because the most significant and busiest bazaar surrounds it. Ghanta Ghar gives you a look at the Clock Tower from the inside and a view of the bustling market below, with no entry fee.
Around 200 years ago, Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur constructed the majestic clock tower known as the Ghanta Ghar in the heart of the city. This clock is manufactured by the same company that manufactured the clock tower in London. As the only clock tower in Rajasthan, it's a celebrated landmark marking the gateway to Old Jodhpur, often referred to as the clock tower of Rajasthan.
The vibrant hustle and bustle of Sardar Market in Jodhpur
How to Reach
The clock tower is just 2 minutes away from Toorji ka Jhalra.
10 AM to 6 PM
It takes 30 minutes to explore the clock tower and 2-3 hours to explore the Sadar Bazaar.
You can also explore the adjoining Sadar Bazaar and browse through local goods..
Enchanting night of Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur (Picture Source- My Wedding Planning)
The last royal palace erected before India's independence was the Umaid Bhawan Palace. It is also known as the Chittar Palace because of its position atop Chittar Hill. Its foundations were established in 1929, and it was finished in 1943.The Taj Group of Hotels first allowed visitors to the palace who wanted to experience living in a royal house in 2006. In December 2018, Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra announced her wedding to American pop star Nick Jonas at this monument in Jodhpur, bringing the palace international attention once more.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the significant monuments in Jodhpur, was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh of the Rathore Dynasty. The Umaid Bhawan Palace is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh. He is Gaj Singh, the current owner's grandfather; Maharaja Gaj Singh still lives here.
Maharaja Gaj Singh (Picture Source- Indian Rajputs)
Umaid Singh invited Henry Lancaster, a famous British architect to design the palace. Harry used interlocking golden Chittar sandstone for the building's outer framework. Makrana marble and Burmese teak wood were used for the interior architecture, which blends Indo-Saracenic and Western Art Deco styles. Polish artist Stefan Norblin also contributed to this palace by creating the halls and unique frescoes of the palace.
According to famous folklore, this monument in Jodhpur is linked to a saint's curse who said that the good rule of the Rathore Dynasty would be followed by a period of drought. Call it a curse or a coincidence, but Jodhpur experienced a catastrophic drought and famine in the 1920s that lasted three consecutive years after Pratap Singh's nearly 50-year rule ended.
The grandeur of Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur (Picture Source- Tatler)
How to Reach
This monument in Jodhpur is 15 minutes away from the Ghanta Ghar and The Hosteller Jodhpur. You book a cab or take an auto to reach the palace.
10 AM - 4:30 PM
INR 30 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
It'll take 1 hour if you want to explore the palace and 2 hours if you want to explore the museum.
When you visit the palace, don’t forget to stop by the museum and take some time out to look at the ancient art and artefacts, stuffed leopards, paintings, and other royal memorabilia.
Rai ka Bagh Palace
Discover the royal legacy at Rai Ka Bagh Palace in Jodhpur (Picture Source- Japji Travel)
Jodhpur is home to the famous tourist attraction Rai Ka Bagh Palace, an enthralling architectural marvel. This monument in Jodhpur was completed in 1663, and its octagonal design makes it stand out from other buildings. Named after Maharaja Rai Singh, the Rai Ka Bagh Palace boasts Rajput architecture with intricate carvings, beautiful frescoes, and ornate balconies.
Rai Ka Bagh Palace was constructed about 500 years ago. People also call this palace "Aath Pehlu," which in those days meant "the Octagon." They adhered to conventional Hindu art styles, and the Rathore monarchs gave the design its original Octagonal shape. This palace contains circular, tiny domes on its four corners and a triangular-shaped central dome. This building is elevated, so the interior has good airflow and sunlight.
Rai ka Bagh Palace in Jodhpur
The palace was primarily utilised by the Maharaja and his family, serving as both their residence and a venue for recreation. Today, the Rajasthan State Government uses the castle, and the Income Tax Department's office is there. The Indian Archaeological Department looks after this monument in Jodhpur. A particular area of the lovely palace has been turned into a museum where items from the 16th century are exhibited.
Rai Ka Bagh Railway Station (Picture Source- India Rail Info)
How to Reach
Rai ka Bagh is just 7 minutes away from Umaid Bhawan.
9 AM to 5 PM
Around 1 hour to explore the entire museum.
For a memorable exploration of these Jodhpur monuments, we'd suggest staying at one of our two beautiful hostels in the city.
The Hosteller Jodhpur is the best budget h ostel to crash in. This hostel is closer to the city and overlooks the majestic Mehrangarh fort, which makes it the ideal choice.
Terrace view from The Hosteller, Jodhpur
If you’re looking for something a bit more regal yet budget friendly,The Hosteller Bijolai Palace Jodhpur is where you need to be. It is located in one of Jodhpur's oldest palaces, which Maharaja Takhat Singh constructed back in 1959 as his family's vacation home.. A large blue lake, palatial grounds, and lush green grass surround this hostel, making it appear to be taken directly from a historical account or a motion picture.
The Hosteller Bijolai Palace, Jodhpur
If you've come this far, you're probably curious about what Jodhpur has to offer beyond the mentioned monuments. Well, here's a list of must-try experiences in and around Jodhpur to enhance your travel adventure.
A foodie’s paradise
Savor the iconic Dal Bhaati Churma (Picture Source- StayEatSee)
Here's a list of must-try items when you're in Jodhpur: Makhaniya Lassi, Mawa Kachori, Malai Roti, Gulab Jamun Sabzi, Mirchi Vada and Gehu ki Kheech to name a few.
If you're interested in taking your culinary experience to the next level and learning how to prepare these fantastic Rajasthani dishes, Jodhpur offers a variety of cooking classes. These classes cover everything from basic food preparation to crafting a full-course Rajasthani Thali. Some of the top cooking schools in the city include Good Eats, Spice Paradise, and Incredible Krishna Cooking Workshop. We highly recommend trying your hand at creating these delightful dishes.
Discover unique souvenirs
Indulge in some retail therapy while shopping in Jodhpur! (Picture Source- Thomas Cook)
With Rajasthani fabrics bursting with colours, snazzy mojaris, genuine antiques, timeless handicrafts, and alluring traditional bling, Jodhpur is a shopaholic's paradise! Trying to leave the city without indulging in retail therapy is like trying to resist a freshly baked cookie. Don't miss out on these treasures that are generously spread across the city's vibrant bazaars. Here's your go-to guide for the hottest bazaars in town!
Sardar Bazaar in Jodhpur (Picture Source- PlanYourTour)
1. Clock Tower Market – Find the Finest Variety Of Spices
2. Sojati Gate Market – Rajasthani Handicrafts, Souvenirs And Mor
3. Mochi Bazaar – One-Stop Destination For Jodhpuri Jutis
4. Umaid Bhawan Palace Market – For Classic Antiques
5. Kapraa Bazaar – Best For Traditional Fabrics
6. Sarafa Bazaar – For Delicate Handicrafts Like Fabrics And Antiques
Learn Rajasthani artistry at Rajasthan Studio in Jodhpur (Picture Source- Rajasthan Studio)
For adventurous explorers seeking unique art-centric travel encounters, there are destinations that offer a smorgasbord of creative experiences. Dive into the world of Jutti making, master the intricate craft of miniature paintings, experiment with tie and dye techniques, explore the art of engraving Dhaals (shields) and Talwars (swords). Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Rajasthani artistry, acquire knowledge from talented artisans, and join forces to craft your very own masterpiece, creating a one-of-a-kind souvenir along the way!
Immerse yourself in the culture of the Bishnoi village in Jodhpur (Picture Source- Rajasthan Tour Packages)
The Rajas of Jodhpur established the Bishnoi Village Safari organisation to give Indian and foreign visitors a taste of the colourful cultural life in and around their state of Marwar. This village is 22 km (4-5 hours) away from the city. You can have a blast chatting with the locals, or embark on a wild village safari adventure.
Embark on a journey to discover the enchanting beauty of Jodhpur (Picture Source- Rjasthan Tour Packages)
Plan your trip now
Over the years, Jodhpur has managed to maintain the ideal balance between traditions and progress despite its illustrious royal heritage. The colourful festivals and fairs held in the city serve as an ode to its rich cultural past. The indigenous cuisine, puppet displays, and folk dancing are all essential components of these celebrations, preserving and advancing the city's cultural heritage. Jodhpur is an ideal tourist destination all year long but if you want to experience the city to the fullest, the best time to visit is October to March, when the weather is pleasant. Book now!