What to see in Jodhpur in One Day

Sindhu Murthy

Our recent trip to Rajasthan in India has been mostly about exploring offbeat destinations. However, we could not ignore visiting some of the popular destination on the regular tourist circuit. One such visit was to the beautiful city of Jodhpur located on the fringes of Thar desert. We chose to stay at a feudal home in Chandelao located at around 40 km from Jodhpur and kept aside one full day to explore the wonders of Jodhpur. We covered all the famous monuments of Jodhpur and managed to do so in one day. So here is our travel guide to Jodhpur- telling you about the important attractions of Jodhpur.

Some trivia about Jodhpur:

The historic city of Jodhpur is one of the most popular destinations in Rajasthan, India. Located on the fringes of Thar Desert, the city remains sunny and basked in golden hues throughout the year thus getting popular as The Sun City of India.  Jodhpur is named after its founder, Rao Jodha, the Marwar ruler who built the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort on a rocky hill called Bakhurcheeria. Though initially Jodhpur was contained within the walls of the fort, it outgrew in size within 50 years of construction of the fort as people migrated from different regions of Thar. Jodhpur is also popular as the Blue City of India because of the brahmanic blue houses located in the areas surrounding the Jodhpur fort. We would rather love to call it as The Sun City than The Blue City because there are more places like Bundi in Rajasthan which have similar blue hued houses.

Tourist Attractions of Jodhpur:

Umaid Bhawan Palace

This sandstone structure built on a rocky hill named Chittar is one of the largest private residences in the world. Umaid Bhawan was built by Maharaj Umaid Singh to provide employment to thousands of people when the Marwar region was hit by famine and there were no means for people to generate income. The Palace is divided into three portions to house the royal residence, a luxurious hotel, and a grand museum. The museum wing has a beautiful collection of photographs, artifacts, clocks, miniature locomotives, and windmills and is the only portion of the Palace open for public visit.

Start your tour of Jodhpur with a visit to the museum at Umaid Bhawan Palace which opens at 9.00 am. Do not forget to explore the collection of vintage cars put on display in the gardens of Umaid Bhawan Palace. You may have to spend around 1 hr to explore the Umaid Bhavan palace.

Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Mehrangarh fort or the Citadel of Sun is one of the most popular monuments of Rajasthan. Located on a rocky hill called Bakhurcheria, this fort is visible from any vantage point of the Jodhpur city.  While at the fort, do not miss exploring the ornate red sandstone carvings of Shringar chowk, the gallery of paintings, Ornate palanquins in the Daulat Khana, intricate mirror work in Sheesh Mahal, the exquisite gold paintings of Phool Mahal, the Lavish interiors of Takhat Niwas, the Jharokhas of Jhanki Mahal and the Brahminic blue houses surrounding the fort. The fort is also popular for its patronage for art and culture. Music and dance performance are arranged every day in the courtyards of the fort to promote the folk culture of Rajasthan.

This is one place which takes most of your time while in Jodhpur. Make sure you keep aside at least 3 hrs to explore the magnificence of the fort. Check our post about the Mehrangarh to discover some interesting facts about the fort.

Rao Jodha Desert Park

Rao Jodha Desert park

Towards the leeward side of the Mehrangarh fort is the Rao Jodha Desert Park consisting of the ecologically restored vegetation of arid and desert land of 72 hectares. The area surrounding the desert park encompasses many volcanic rocks and sandstone formations from about 600 million years ago. The park also has a visitors gallery, cafe, and a native plant nursery. Strolling in the park, one can see some of the local birds, butterflies, and reptiles while gaining more insights about the flora and fauna of the deserts.

The desert park is open from 8.00 am and closes at 6.00 pm every day. You need around 1 hr to explore the park.

Jaswant Thada

JaswantTada, Jodhpur

 

Jaswant thada is a cenotaph built on a small hill near Mehrangarh fort in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. It is built in white marble and is often referred to as the Taj Mahal of Marwar. The cenotaph is located in a beautiful vantage point offering a breathtaking view of the Mehrangarh fort on one side and the Umaid Bhawan palace on the other. It is surrounded by a lake and small hills and has a beautiful garden in its premise. it would not be exaggerating to say that this is by far the most beautiful monument in Jodhpur. The electric green doors and windows along with the ornate carvings on the cenotaph are excellent for photography.

Jaswant Thada is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm for public. You can spend around 45 mins exploring the cenotaph.

Mandore Garden

Cenotaphs at Mandore gardens

Just around 10km from Mehrangarh fort is the lush green garden of Mandore which was the earlier capital of the Rathores of Marwar.  When the Rathores moved base to  Mehrangarh fort, the people from Mandore migrated to the new capital in Jodhpur leaving the city of Mandore to gradually fall into decay. However, the old capital of Mandore continued to be the final resting ground of the late rulers of Marwar until 1873 AD  post which the royal cremation ground was shifted to a small hill close to Mehrangarh fort.

What you see today in Mandore is a lush green garden hiding some of the most intricate carvings made on the royal Cenotaphs.  To read a detailed account on the royal cenotaphs, please check our post on Mandore. Mandore gardens are open between 4.00am and 6.00pm for visitors.

Osian

sand Dunes of Osian

Osian, also spelled as Osiyan is a little hamlet known for its temples built in Brahminic and Jain architectural style.  It has about 20 temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Mahaveera- most of which are in ruins except for the Sachiya Mata temple and the Jain temple of Mahaveera which are still worshiped. The temples of Osian mostly date between the 8th and 11th Century.  Osian is also popular for its golden sand dunes which are the closest to Jodhpur.

Tough Osian is located at about 60 km from Jodhpur, it can still be covered on the same day as your Jodhpur trip. The best time to visit Osian is during sunset. You can also choose to camp in the sand dunes in Thar. This might need you to extend your stay to 2 days in Jodhpur.

What to buy in Jodhpur:

Jodhpur, with its diverse culture and traditional crafts, is a paradise for shopaholics. Spices, textiles, bed sheets, carvings, paintings, juttis or mojaris, pottery, puppets, bangles, earthen lamps, jewelry, and jodhpurs are some items that you can try buying in Jodhpur.

Below are some of the major market areas in Jodhpur popular for shopping:

  • Clock Tower market for spices and tea.
  • Kapra Bazar for garments and dresses
  • Sojati Gate Market for Textiles
  • Mochi Bazaar for Juttis or Mojaris
  • Sarafa Bazar for handicrafts and jewelry
  • Tripolia Bazar for antique, wooden, marble and brass artifacts

Best time to visit Jodhpur:

Due to its proximity to the desert, Jodhpur experiences extreme conditions in Summers and Winters. The best time to visit Jodhpur is between October and March when the climate is moderate or cool.

How to reach Jodhpur:

Jodhpur is very well connected with all major cities of Rajasthan by road, trains, and airways.

Driving distance from major tourist attractions:

Jaipur: 340 km
Udaipur: 260 km
Jaisalmer: 290 km
Bikaner: 250 km
Kumbhalgarh: 190 Km
Ranakpur: 165 km

Tips:
  • The villages surrounding Jodhpur are the best places to experience the Rajasthani hospitality and culture. Stay in one of the village homestays to experience it.
  • If you have more time and can keep aside two days for Jodhpur and its surroundings, try including a safari to Bhisnoi villages to know about the Bhisnoi culture and principles.
  • If time permits, take a stroll in the blue city of Jodhpur. The blue homes of Jodhpur look amazing when viewed from the Mehrangarh Fort and they look equally interesting when you explore them on a walking tour of the Blue City. [ Note: If you love photography, this should be a must-do activity for you.]
  • For breakfast and lunch, try Rajasthani delicacies such as dal bhati churma, paranthas with lasooni chutney and ghatte ki khichdi in many food joints located across the city. make sure you are hydrated well by drinking enough water or flavored buttermilk (locally called chaas).
  • Wear comfortable footwear and carry a scarf to protect yourself from sun or dust.
  • Jodhpur provides you ample opportunities for photography. make sure you have enough charge in battery and memory for clicking pictures.
  • If you are adventure lover, make time to try the zip line at Mehrangarh fort. Zipping along the cascade of 6 lines is an experience to remember.

There are a lot of beautiful and historic locations surrounding Jodhpur which can be covered on full day trips from Udaipur. Below are two separate day trips you can cover with Jodhpur as base.

Osian can be covered on a separate day trip  ( 65 km from Jodhpur). To make your day eventful, you can include desert camping to your itinerary and also try exploring the offbeat and pristine sand dunes beyond Osian.

Kumbhalgarh Fort(around 190 km) and Ranakpur Jain Temple( around 165 KM by road) are two amazing locations which are located close to each other and can be covered in one day.

If you are visiting Jodhpur on a road trip covering other major cities like Udaipur, Bikaner or Jaisalmer, it is good to cover the above-mentioned places on the way. Osian can be covered while driving from Bikaner to Jodhpur. Kumbhalgarh, Ranakpur, and surrounding places can be covered during the journey between Udaipur and Jodhpur. However, make sure you start early so that you will have enough time to cover the places in between and reach your destination city by late evening.

That was our short stint at the Sun city of Jodhpur. Would you choose to visit all these places when you are in Jodhpur? Do you have any other favorites other than the above? Do let us know. We are all ears!

Jodhpur Destination guide

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Explore the history and intricate architecture of the Royal Cenotaphs in Mandore

Osian, Rajasthan

Explore the pristine sand dunes and the carvings of ancient temples of Osian

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