I have been to a city covered in blue Chefchaouen in the land of One Thousand and One Nights of Morocco, so before going to Jodhpur I did not expect much, because I simply wanted to fill in the gap of 3 days in my India itinerary for 10 days. However, Jodhpur not only has blue walls, but more than that makes me linger when leaving here on the night bus. So, what to do in Jodhpur and where to go in Jodhpur — The “blue city” of India? Let’s check out our Jodhpur travel blog with the ultimate Jodhpur travel guide to explore best places to visit in Jodhpur, top places to visit in Jodhpur as well as top and best things to do in Jodhpur to find out the answer!
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There are many explanations for the unique blue color of this city. Some theories suggest that because Jodhpur is located so close to the Thar desert, the climate is hot all year round, so people paint blue to make it cooler and more pleasant.
Some have suggested that it is related to Balamonism and even that it was once a city cursed by priests, so King Rao Jodha rebuilt the city in the hope of a fresher color by painting it blue as a color of hope.
Jodhpur travel blog: Why do I love Jodhpur?
- Because Jodhpur is a bit hustle and bustle but not noisy, there are small corners that are extremely quiet, lovely nooks and crannies.
- Because the locals invite me to use their service but do not solicit.
- Because Jodhpur is just enough, it is possible to walk on my feet everywhere and make strangers can remember the roads of the city.
- Because the food in Jodhpur is both delicious and cheap, there are also many beautiful rooftop cafes to watch sunset.
- Because I met the owner of a homestay who is extremely enthusiastic.
That’s already enough to love Jodhpur. Life is too short, love it, just because of love!
Jodhpur travel guide: A few lines about Jodhpur
Jodhpur was built in 1158, with exquisitely carved ancient structures. This place is famous for many palaces, mausoleums and old structrures such as Mehrangarth fortress, Khejalar, Umaid Bahwan palace …
Also known as “Blue City”, “Sun City” and “The gateway to the Thar desert”, Jodhpur is famous for its majestic Mehrangarh Fort, blue houses, temples, sweets and snacks food. In addition to the fortress, there are many temples, lakes, and quaint shopping streets.
The former capital of Marwar, Jodhpur is one of Rajasthan’s most enchanting cities, with its majestic Mehrangarh Fort overlooking the city. The city is dubbed the Blue City because when viewed from the air Jodhpur has a refreshing blue color. Nearby is Jaswant Tada and Umaid Bhawan Palace are also among the top attractions in Jodhpur. However, the magic lies in the old city itself with its hundreds of shops, guesthouses, eateries and vendors making it a vibrant, bustling city, especially the area near the clock tower and Sardar Market.
Jodhpur became even more famous when it appeared in the movie The Dark Knight Rises, that make the city is more famous and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. Jodhpur is conveniently located in the heart of Rajasthan, making it easier for visitors traveling to Jodhpur to explore other Rajasthan destinations. Jodhpur is also the city with the first international airport in India connecting to London & Melbourne because of its strong trade activity when it was under British rule.
Jodhpur blog: When to visit?
Jodhpur is almost hot all year round, peaks can reach 45 degrees, so another name for the blue city is “Sun City”. You should go in late autumn or winter, early winter the weather will be more pleasant.
Jodhpur travel blog: What to do in Jodhpur and where to go in Jodhpur?
Below are best places to visit in Jodhpur and best things to do in Jodhpur for the first time.
It can be said that the fortress occupies the entire skyline of the city, towering and majestic. No matter where you are wandering in Jodhpur, just looking up, you can easily see the fort. To visit Mehrangarh Fort you need to spend from two to three hours or enven a whole day to explore all the outdoor nooks and crannies and its museum, cafes… This place has appeared in many famous movies of both Hollywood and Bollywood, as previously mentioned as the filming location for The Dark Knight Rises.
There are many galleries and restaurants here, quite expensive to serve visitors. Unless you are very hungry, you should eat here, if not, you should take a walk for a kilometer or two back to the city, you will have delicious and cheap food right away. Near the fortress, there is a zipline service which is also quite interesting, if you have time, you should try it.
In my opinion, the fortress is most beautiful when viewed from afar. I will suggest some best spots to see the fortress:
- Casa de Jodhpur: This is the homestay I stayed in, the owner of the hotel is very cute and it has a rooftop for guests to see the whole city, if possible, you can stay here and watching scenery every day, save money rather than going to a cafe.
- Via Jodhpur shopping area: Visiting this place is completely free, you don’t have to spend for cafe to have a fortress view, on this rooftop there is also a cafe to sit and drink and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
- Open House Cafe: If you want to sipping a cup of coffee, this is also an option, but in my opinion, the cafe in Via Jodhpur is more beautiful, I don’t understand why this place is recommended a lot.
To visit the fort, you have to buy a ticket. The ticket price to visit is 600 Rupees, however, if you want to take pictures you have to pay more for each camera is 100 Rupees, take the elevator service, you need to buy a separate ticket.
And especially, remember to keep your ticket during your visit here because you could be suddenly checked for tickets at any time. When you leaving, someone also checks the ticket again at the gate and punches the hole. I wonder, why can it be so troublesome!
Located far from the city center is Jaswant Tada, a burial place of the Marwar royal family. I won’t go into the historical story because you can Google it easily, what I like the most is the delicately carved white marble architecture creating a work that is likened to the Taj Mahal of the Marwar royal family, set in a green space of the royal garden. In addition, you can walk around a natural lake in the middle of arid land creating a harmonious scene between human hands and nature.
King Maharaja Sardar Singh built Jaswant Thada mausoleum in 1899 to commemorate his father King Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Today, this landmark has become a splendid work of Rajputana-style architecture and is often referred to as the Taj Mahal of the Marwar region.
The entrance fee is only 50 rupees and is very close to Mehrangarh Fort, so you can combine to visit these 2 places on the same journey for convenience.
Toorji Ka Jhalra (Toorji’s Step Well)
Or simply called by tourists is Stepwell because this place is a well with many steps. This well is extremely big, there are fish living below. When I came, I witnessed many local young people jumping from above, it was also very interesting. And the well is also a photogenic spot, remember to ask your friends to take pictures from side to side of the well for you to take great photos. If you want to see the whole well, you can go to Stepwell Cafe in a nearby alley to see the best panorama.
This well was built in 1740 by Queen Maharaja Abhay Singh to provide water for the people in the area. There is no fee to visit Toorji Ka Jhalra.
Ghanta Ghar Clock Tower
The clock tower is located in the heart of Jodhpur and in the middle of the bustling Sardar market, here I actually find only a few beautiful angles to take photos, and in the evening it is also quite shimmering when the clock tower lights up.
However, what I like the most is that there are many restaurants around here:
- The juice shop on the right of the market gate is very cheap and delicious, only from 20 rupees.
- Omlettes Shop sells extremely delicious Indian-style egg sandwiches, a must try, located outside the market.
- Royale Cafe is my place I stayed, the food and drinks are normal but the owner is very cute, if you want to talk with locals, come here, the two owners will talk all day.
- Shri Mishrilal Hotel lassi shop sells famous lassi, for those who like to eat lassi can visit and try traditional lassi for 40 rupees.
Jodhpur blog: Getting to Jodhpur
You can getting to Jodhpur easily from Jaipur by train, which takes about 6 hours. I don’t understand why I couldn’t buy tickets online, so I had to go straight to the station to buy. The procedure is also relatively simple, just fill out the form and pay. However, foreigners are served in a separate area, you should ask the ticket counter staff its location to avoid being tricked by locals to buying tours or taxis.
In addition, there is an option is to take the Jain Travels bus, which cannot be purchased online because you must have an Indian payment card. I asked the homestay owner to use their card to buy it for me and I returned them with an additional fee. When taking the bus, remember to choose a bed, very comfortable for overnight trips.
I traveled to Jodhpur by train and left by bus, I like both. But if you go during the day, go by train, go at night, choose a night bus, it will be easier to sleep and less hustle and bustle.
Update: How to buy tickets
With one of the most dense and bustling train systems in the world, you can easily reach Jodhpur by train. Book a train ticket at 12go.asia if you don’t want to get in the way of complicated procedures when foreigners book trains in India. Must say extremely complicated and cumbersome!
If you travel by plane from New Delhi, you can book cheap tickets of SpiceJet, flight time is about 1 hour.
Jodhpur travel blog: Where to stay?
I highly recommend Casa de Jodhpur, book through Booking.com or Agoda.com, the owner is very nice and helps us to book bus tickets and enthusiastically instructs many things to go out in Jodhpur. Room price is only $39/room for 2 people. The minus point is that the hot water sometimes is turned off, so I have to take a cold shower. But this place has a very beautiful rooftop so you are free to come up and play, watching sunset.
In addition, there are 3 areas where you should choose a hotel.
- The first area is around Jodhpur Junction train station, there are many options, from here it is convenient to go anywhere, right in the city center.
- The second area is near Sardar Market, near the bustling market.
- The third area is quiet and many Westerners rent, it is around Step Well cafe.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Radisson Jodhpur (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Taj Hari Mahal, Jodhpur (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- WelcomHeritage Bal Samand Lake Palace (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Ratan Vilas (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Jodhpur travel guide: What to eat?
In general, the cuisine of Rajasthan does not vary much between cities like Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur or Udaipur. In Jodhpur, for breakfast you can find small roadside stalls with Omelette shop signs, fried eggs as shown above, or boiled eggs. This is a popular breakfast of most locals.
I mainly choose dishes with fried rice with eggs, chicken seems to be the “safest” of all the dishes that have a strong curry flavor. You can also try Creamy Culture’s pizza near the train station which I think is pretty good. This is actually a birthday cake shop, but it also has a menu like a restaurant.
Open House Cafe
Open House Cafe is located right in Toorji Ka Jhalra Stepwell area, next to the very famous cafe Stepwell Cafe, which has just opened so it’s still quite new. Open House Cafe has a diverse menu of both Indian and Western food, the taste is not too strong of curry, so it will be more comfortable for those who can’t eat Indian food.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Perched on the top of the highest hill in the blue city of Jodhpur, it was the palace of the royal family in Jodhpur and currently the sixth largest palace in the world. So from any position you can see Umaid Bhawan.
Umaid Bhawan is now partly used as a museum to display the collections of the kings of Jodhpur. These are collections of art deco furniture, antique clocks, dining sets, stuffed leopards and weapons, among other very luxurious artifacts.
However, now the majority of Umaid Bhawan is privately owned, which is the luxury hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace with 64 luxury standard rooms.
The entrance fee is 100 Rupees, with a pretty strict security check.
Note that when renting a tuktuk to come here, you can ask the driver to wait for about 2 hours, because the return trip to the center is quite expensive and there are few vehicles compared to coming trips.
Probably the busiest, most crowded and noisy shopping district in Jodhpur. The most prominent of this colorful market is the clock tower called Clock Tower.
You should spend a morning walking around the market, you will see very interesting surprises. It’s a market filled with vibrant colorful colors of sari, the typical dress of Indian women. The stalls selling bracelets and jewelry are full of eye-catching colors.
Also from Sardar Market, you will see Mehrangarh Fort towering behind, and from here to that fort is only about 20 minutes.
Another great experience when coming to Sardar Market is to visit the Omelette Shop restaurant right at the back gate of the market. It is a fried egg sandwich with toast, served with a very typical chai tea and quite crowded.
From Sardar Market to Mandore Garden about 11km, located on the outskirts of Jodhpur city, quite far from the center and few tuktuks going back. So, the tip is you should negotiate the price for both ways, waiting about 2 hours is reasonable for you to visit inside.
This Mandore area was formerly the ancient capital of King Rajputana from the 6th century, today it is a museum with many temples and trees embellished into a green park for locals to play.
There is a large temple worshiping 330 million Hindu gods, which is very impressive.
It is a remnant blue covered neighborhood located right below the foothills of Mehrangarh Fort. To sneak here, you need to show the picture to the tuktuk driver to identify this area, just say “Blue city” they will not know where.
However, to find out which clusters of blue houses are close together, you need to ask the people here.
You can find quite a few homestays in this Blue city area.
Blue city is a cluster of zigzag streets, damp with the smell of garbage and cow dung everywhere. Coming here, you can observe how people live in the tiny damp blue houses.
Currently, the number of houses painted blue is not much, they switched to paint in other colors.
- You can take the journey to visit Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur is reasonable because these 3 cities are quite close to each other.
- 3 days 2 nights is a reasonable time for Jodhpur.
- Ask the hotel receptionist to write down the address in Hindu to give the tuktuk driver, because most of them don’t know the latin script.
- Jodhpur is very dusty, terrible dust, so don’t forget your mask and sunscreen.