Jodhpur: The Blue City
— December 2018 —
I first visited Jodhpur in 2014 with my family but spent pretty much the entire time in bed with a bad case of gastro and could barely go out and explore. I was therefore super excited to finally be returning to Rajasthan’s Blue City four years later to be able to get a better feel for the city.
Jodhpur exceeded all of my expectations and is probably my second favourite place in India (Udaipur is my fave). I love how blue the Old City is and how authentic the city feels (it’s not really touristy at all). The architecture is amazing too.
What we did
In my opinion, Jodhpur has one of the most impressive forts in all of Rajasthan and is second only to Chittorgarh Fort. Built in 1460, Mehrangarh Fort towers over the entire city (it’s located high on a hill, 410m above the city). Entry is 600 rupees (~$12) for an adult, luckily with a student card it’s only 450 rupees (~$9AUD).
You can also go zip lining at the fort! My mum and sister Kate went zip lining when we were in Jodhpur in 2014 but I wasn’t able to go, so this time I was set on doing it (and dragging Jack along with me). It cost 1700 rupees for a student (~$34AUD) and 2000 rupees (~$40AUD) for an adult. I cannot recommend it enough - it was sooo much fun, and the views over the Blue City were really unique.
The Sadar Markets surround a towering clock tower and are the place to be. Hundreds of people bustle around the market, and sellers call out into the marketplace, advertising their products.
Only a 5-minute walk away from the Clock Tower is the amazing Toorji Ka Jhalra stepwell. Just like other Rajasthani architecture, the design is incredible. It’s hard to describe, but the pictures give you a sense of what it’s like.
Funny story: my friend Emma and I visited the stepwell one afternoon to hang out and take some photos. She was walking around the edge of it and stepped on a super mossy and damp bit and FELL IN the stepwell.
To top the story off, she ended up being on page 2 of the Rajasthan Times.
From the old city, we caught a tuk tuk up to Jaswant Thada for 100 rupees (60c each). Jaswant Thada is a beautiful white marble cenotaph with flower-filled gardens surrounding it. The perfect place to go and hang out in for a few hours (and entry is only 50 rupees!).
Jodhpur has some really decent shopping. If you’d like to buy saris, then Sadar Markets is the place! There are ladies selling saris for 50 – 150 rupees ($1 – 3) in every colour you can imagine. The area around the stepwell has some really nice boutique shops that sell beautiful cotton dresses with block print patters, fabric and scarves.
Any extra time in Jodhpur should be spent roaming around the Old City (this is also the part that is the most blue). The blue buildings are beautiful and there are also lots of puppies around.
Where we ate
Café Royale at the Clock Tower is a cute little café run by the loveliest family. They serve really unique and delicious food and have lots of vegan options (including a vanilla chai!).
We had lunch at Indique one day which in all honesty was overpriced and a little bit average. The view was great though - it's one of the only rooftops that you can see all three of the main sights from - Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada and the Clock Tower + Sadar Markets.
The Stepwell Café is a little more upmarket (you can expect to pay ~$6AUD for your meal) but it's worth it. It has a great view over the stepwell and also serves cocktails. We ate dosas here that were pretty good.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Jewel Palace Haweli and although the building itself was very nice and had very impressive architecture, I wouldn’t 100% recommend staying here just because the staff were very disorganised and quite overbearing.
Staying in the middle of the Old Town was really nice though and a lot quieter than if we stayed up near the clock tower. Staying in this area also meant that we had a spectacular view of the fort.
How we got there
We travelled to Jodhpur from Rishikesh which was a really long journey (it took around 25 hours). We got a taxi from Rishikesh to Haridwar which cost 1220INR (~$8AUD each). This was so overpriced (on our way to Rishikesh, the tuk tuk from Haridwar to Rishikesh was only 600INR (~$4AUD each) but when we were heading back to Haridwar, we couldn’t find any tuk tuks). Our train ticket cost 850 rupees per person (~$17AUD). Our train left Haridwar at 7pm and was supposed to arrive in Jodhpur at 4pm but we were held up by roadworks and didn’t actually arrive until 6pm.
Once you arrive in Jodhpur, make sure that you hop in a tuk tuk, not a car if you’re staying in the old city as the streets are so small that cars aren’t allowed through.
After Jodhpur, we headed to Udaipur. We were feeling lazy and had a little bit of extra cash to spend so ended up hiring a private car. It cost 3700 rupees (~$24AUD) and it was nice because we could leave at the time that suited us best. We could have gotten a bus that left at 4pm for 380 rupees per person (~$8AUD) which would have taken around 7 hours.
If you have the money, it’s worth traveling by car as you can stop off at both Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh along the way. Ranakpur has an incredible Jain temple and Kumbhalgarh is home to an impressive fort.