Here’s a Look at the Top 5 Attractions of Jodhpur
The forts of Rajasthan are always impressive and Mehrangarh Fort, with its commanding presence over the top of a hill is no different. This formidable fort was started by Rao Jodha and added upon and renovated during the next 500 years by successive rulers. It is the pride of Jodhpur and usually, the first stop for anyone visiting the city. It towers over the surrounding area and makes one look up in awe and admiration. Walking through the various gates of the fort and exploring the different sections, the grandeur becomes even more evident.
The Period Rooms – Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Takhat Vilas and Moti Mahal – are mesmerising, every bit exuding royalty. The fort is also a museum and the exhibits displayed – howdah, palanquins, textiles, turbans, arms & armoury, cradles, paintings – take you down to a trip into the culture and history of Jodhpur. The audio guide makes the experience even more fruitful.
The cannons placed on the ramparts of Mehrangarh Fort are equally impressive. The views from the top of the fort are extremely rewarding. . What is also interesting is the presence of an elevator in the fort – a boon for those who would like to explore the fort but find it extremely difficult to climb up. There is also a small cafe inside in case you are hungry.
From Mehrangarh Fort, you can catch a glimpse of Jaswant Thada, a memorial built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899 in memory of his father Jaswant Singh II. Given its proximity to the fort, a visit to Jaswant Thada is usually clubbed up with the fort.
The main mausoleum is a white marble structure which houses pictures of various rulers of Jodhpur. The thin sheets of marble used in construction create a wonderful glow when rays of sun fall on them. A terrace around the main mausoleum offers views of the rocky surrounding. Then there is also a well-manicured garden that adds to the beauty. The place is also a burial ground for a number of other royal family members.
The entrance to Jaswant Thada also has quiet a few attractions. There is a natural lake fed by rain water – Devkund which has grown over the years owing to improvement in the surroundings. It attracts a lot of water birds and migratory birds during winters. Nature enthusiasts can take up a guided tour to know more about the plants of the place as well as the birds that populate the region.
A little ahead a musician sits on the sides of the pathway that leads to stairs of the memorial. The mellifluous sound of the stringed instrument – Ravanahatta –fills in the air and invites visitors to spend some time savouring the atmosphere around. Guides are available.
Umaid Bhavan Palace
More of royal heritage comes alive on a visit to Umaid Bhavan Palace. Built by Maharaja Umaid Singh, the construction of the palace commenced in 1929 and continued till 1943. It was essentially meant to provide employment to citizens of the region that was struck by a famine. The palace is one of the biggest and most opulent in the world and a part of it is still occupied by the royal family.
The palace has two other sections. First one operated by Taj Hotels welcomes guests to enjoy a lavish stay in Jodhpur while the other is open to tourists in general as a museum. The exhibits on display range from murals, miniature paintings and photographs to clocks and porcelain wares. There is also a display of antique cars outside. The hotel, in the past, has also won the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice award for Best Hotel globally.
Do not be either deceived by the name which has a ‘garden’ in it or be disappointed by the not so exciting entrance. Of course the place has a garden but the mythological and historical importance of Mandore far supersedes anything else. It is believed that Mandore was the birth place of Ravan’s wife Mandodari. Historically, it was the capital of Rathore before Rao Jodha shifted it to Jodhpur for better protection from invaders. A short walk from the entrance through a path populated with a number of langurs finally brings you to the beautiful monuments that are housed within the premises.
The place is home to numerous devals or chattris that are built like a temple. Prominent among them are the cenotaphs of Maharaja Ajit Singh, Maharaja Udai Singh, and Maharaja Sur Singh. Shoes have to be removed before going inside these devals. Other than devals, Mandore Gardens is also home to a museum, Hall of Heroes and a Temple of Thirty Three crore Gods. The former honours the local deities and heroes of the region while the latter houses images of Hindu Gods. There are also remains of the old Mandore Fort and palace.
Clock Tower and Sardar Market
This one is for shoppers and those who like to experience local lifestyle. The Clock Tower is century old and is surrounded by market area that extends into narrow lanes all around. Whether it is cloth, handicrafts, jewelleries or spices and vegetables you are looking for, Sardar Market is the place to go. Being the local market of the old city, the area is heavily crowded with people and vehicles and hence it is a good idea to park your car and explore it on foot.