HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN INDIA’S BLUE CITY
Did you know that you can find blue city in India? Yes yes, BLUE! I was absolutely stunned to find out that India has cities that are known by their color (pink city Jaipur, White city or City of Lakes – Udaipur, Golden city – Jaisalmer) so imagine how happy I was to find this one especially when Blue color is my all time favourite. Looking at my original travel route I feel so silly that I didn’t involve Jodhpur in my itinerary, but I’m glad that everything worked out differently and I got a chance to see it! And I really really hope that after reading this article you will go and see this magical city too!
A bit of history is a must! So long long time ago Jodhpur was the capital of the Kingdom of Marwar, nowadays Jodhpur it is the second-largest city in Rajasthan. Jodhpur is very well knows as a Blue city as there are quite a few houses painted in vivid blue. There is a few reasons why we see it today – some people say that it is to create cooling feeling during the hot days, some people say that it is to keep the mosquitoes away and there is also a legend saying that in the past Maharaja ordered to paint the houses in blue because he wanted to look out of the window from his fort and imagine looking at the ocean. Also, you can find that Jodhpur is called Sun city, because of its hot and sunny days all year round.
I actually want to share a few stories of a few adventures that I had here, but if you’re not interested in that you can skip these few paragraphs to an actual guide of Jodhpur. So I remember when I finally reached my hostel, dropped the bags and went for a first walk around the streets with one lovely girl from the Netherlands and suddenly two Indian boys started talking with us. It wasn’t a new experience, kids are really interested in foreigners and they usually engage a conversation or waves at. So, as always I thought it was lovely until we reached the point where we had to run and hide from them. From a warm and funny conversation suddenly it switched to bullying and aggressive words, they were trying to take our belongings and didn’t want to leave us for a very long time.
As we finally got rid of the boys we continued walking along a busy street in market area. There was a lot of shops selling all kind of stuff and a lot of local people buzzing everywhere around. While trying to keep up with the flow I’ve noticed an old guy standing on the other side of the street and shouting something in his language. He looked very poorly. His shabby clothes were covering lean body, greasy hair were everywhere around his dirty face… Anyway, when he saw us, he suddenly rushed towards us repeatedly shouting ‘Money, food! Money, food!’. I felt a little bit uncomfortable, I knew his attention was directed to us, and even if he followed I was pretty sure that he will stop on the way, but he kept on walking faster and faster! Both scared and stressed out we started running! Seriously. We were pushing away all the people on the street and running like crazy… It might sound silly but I was so shocked at that moment. My mind just kept creating all kind of horror scenarios. I don’t know what he wanted, well money and food, but I don’t know what he was thinking and what would he do if he would stop us. And honestly I don’t want to know…
But as we calmed down after those few stressful events and were going back to our hostel admiring the beautiful streets somewhere in Jodhpur when we heard a loud music. That’s not always happening so I told my friend that we have to follow the sound! And my oh my, this music lead us to one narrow street where we saw a bunch of women sitting together on a colourful handcrafted rugs and singing from the bottom of their hearts. They were praying. They were praying for one elderly lady who was sick. They gathered together to support their friend! A few ladies saw us and invited us to sit down with them. I don’t remember how long we were there, but it was one of the best experiences I had in India! There is no words to explain this, but it felt like something out of this world. It was so magical! You know that was one of those moments which makes you so happy to be alive!
OK, so that was a few adventures that are not included in the guide to see and do but you might accidentally be involved in that (haha).
HOW LONG YOU SHOULD STAY IN JODHPUR?
I think you can spend as long as you want, I met some people who fell in love with Jodhpur so much that they come here every year and spend at least 2 weeks at once. But if you’re trying to see as much as you can on a very tight schedule on your trip 2 days are more than enough to see the main attractions and to connect with this place!
WHERE IS IT AND HOW TO GET THERE?
Jodhpur is located in a western part of Rajasthan, 250 km from India border with Pakistan, and is located approximately 600 km from India’s capital New Delhi and around 970 km from Mumbai. There are a few ways how you can reach Jodhpur:
- Hire a private driver. Safe and expensive (comparing to other options). You can ask in your hotel about it.
- Flight. Jodhpur has its own airport, so it’s easy to reach city from Mumbai or Delhi.
- Bus. There are some buses that goes from bigger cities (check for tickets and journey time on 12go.asia or redbus). It takes 5-6 hrs to reach the city from Udaipur or Jaisalmer.
- Train. Jodhpur is well connected via rail from all big cities. Train ride takes around 5-6 hours from Udaipur and Jaisalmer. You can read more about Indian trains here.
- A one day (or more days) tour. You can book it in your hotel, or tripadvisor or any other travel agency that you like.
HOW TO GET AROUND JODHPUR?
I guess you’re wondering how to get around Jodhpur if you travel on your own or as a couple or with a few friends. So there are a few options for you. You can always use Ola app which is amazing, works exactly like Uber (which is also good to use), you are able see how much the journey will cost you and it’s pretty safe. Also on your way you can always hop on one of million auto-rickshaws, just don’t forget to haggle the price before you get on it! The best part about it is that you can always ask driver to wait for you somewhere near to bring you back!
Another option is to ask the staff in your hotel to organise and hire a private vehicle for you, price depends on whether its a car or a tuk tuk or any other.
JODHPUR TRAVEL GUIDE
This is my recommendations how to spend two days in Jodhpur. You don’t have to follow it blindly as I wrote it down, you are more than welcome to change it the way you’d see it more convenient for you!
DAY 1 – ROYAL VIBES
- MEHRANGARH FORT
So let’s begin exploring the best of Jodhpur by starting from the best thing – Mehrangarh Fort. Jodhpur is proud to say that it has one of the largest forts in India! It was built in 15th century by Rao Jodha, the head of Rathore clan. Mehrangarh Fort is located on a steep hill, spreading 5 kilometres on a land and almost 125 metres above the main part of city. Not only the views to the horizon will charm your pants off but also architecture and all the details – carved panels, latticed windows, ornamented walls of numerous palaces in it will take your breath away.
Opening times – 9 AM till 5 PM every day. Entry fee – 100 INR for Indians, 600 INR (6.30£; 7.20€; 7.90$) for foreigners. Audio guide is also included in the price!
2. RAO JODHA DESERT ROCK PARK
This is something unusual to do, but I will include in this itinerary anyway. So after strolling around the fort for a few hours, we went to stroll around a park for a few more hours! This is park is located next to Mehrangarh Fort (you can easily walk there) and it was created in 2006 to try and restore the natural ecology of a rocky wasteland. They have a few different walking routes around the park, they also do guided walks (for bird or nature lovers). You can chill on a fort wall observing the views or walk to see Ranisar Padamsar lake and buildings around it. A good walk is always a good idea!
Opening times – 8 AM till 5.30 PM. Entry fee – 100 INR for everyone (1.05£; 1.20€; 1.30$).
P.S. If you decide to walk to the park, don’t miss a chance to see some more incredible panoramic views. By walking along the road you will see a lot of steps leading up the steep hill. Go go go!
P.S.S. Do take a lot of water with you.
3. JASWANT THADA
A short drive from desert park and you reach a beautiful white marble royal cenotaph built in 19th century in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and serves as a cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar.. Beautiful green area around and rare portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur inside. Popular tourist attraction, but worth a visit.
Opening times – 9 AM till 5 AM every day. Entry fee – 30 INR for Indians, 50 INR for foreigners (0.50£; 0.60€; 0.65$).
4. UMAID BHAWAN PALACE
Want to see the where the royal family of Jodhpur lives? Go to Umaid Bhawan Palace! It’s not only the fact that they live there but also it is the sixth largest private residence in the world! Part of this palace is opened as a museum, displaying items which belonged to the Maharaja and the royal family, like weapons, antiques, clocks, crockery and trophies. The other part is a 5 star hotel where you can stay a night or two if you want. And there is also an old car display outside. Honestly I wasn’t really impressed visiting it, as the museum was pretty small and there was literally nothing else to do there, but I like a quote ‘It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times’. You will feel the royal vibes there, but don’t expect too much from this place.
Opening times – 10 AM till 4.30 PM every day. Entry fee – 30 INR for Indians, 100 INR for foreigners (1.05£; 1.20€; 1.30$).
SUNSET RECOMMENDATIONS – you will notice that in Jodhpur they have a lot of rooftop terraces, so find yourself a nice and cosy restaurant with one and it will be amazing!
DAY 2 – REAL JODHPUR
- MANDORE GARDEN
I was super amazed with the beauty of this park. Not only the hall of Heroes where you will see sixteen huge figures which have been carved out of a single rock, the shrine of 330 million Gods and the royal cenotaphs, but also the serenity of the place. It felt so good to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and to dive in the ancient discoveries. At the time there wasn’t a lot of people around maybe because Mandore Garden is located 8 kilometres away from the main city, so tourists are not bothered to come that far, but it’s really worth it.
Opening times – 8 AM till 8 PM every day. Entry fee – free entry to Garden, 50 INR for museum (0.50£; 0.60€; 0.65$).
P.S. Quick word about travelling to and back – I booked a cab on Ola app to go there, but I had to take a crazy expensive auto-rickshaw to come back as there were no available cabs around… If I could turn back time – I would ask my Ola driver to wait.
2. GHANTA GHAR (CLOCK TOWER) AND MARKET
There is no better way to know the place but walking around the streets and finding yourself in its beautiful markets. I think you will agree with that. Ghanta Ghar, also known as Clock Tower or Rajasthan, is located in the busiest area of Jodhpur, at Sadar Bazaar. This area, especially market, is well known among the tourists and you can also head there to purchase Rajasthan tectiles, clay figurines, all kind of marble souvenirs and silver jewellery.
Opening times – market starts its work at around 10 AM till 6 PM everyday. You can come here earlier and walk around while no one is around!
3. STEPWELL – TOONWAR JI KA JHALRA
And the bonus of visiting Clock Tower and Sadar Bazaar Market is that you can continue wandering around typical Indian streets and end up at another wonder – Toonwar Ji Ka Jhalra. Stepwells are something that you will see a lot in Rajasthan, but it’s something about them that attracts and surprises all the time.
Opening times – I think it’s opened forever. Entry fee – free.
4. EXPLORE THE BLUE CITY AND SUNSET AT FORT
So the whole Jodhpur doesn’t really have blue buildings, just the little of part near Fort is blue. They call it an Old Town and I will tell you a secret – it’s a very nice place to be. While the main areas of Jodhpur are very busy with tourists, this part is very quiet. That means – you can take as many pictures by the blue walls, green doors and colourful windows as you want without anyone interrupting!
After a good stroll around and millions of gorgeous pictures make your way to Gayatri Shaktipeeth Shri Chamunda Mata Temple (good luck pronouncing that) for fascinating sunset views. It can’t be better than this, I promise!
WHERE TO STAY IN JODHPUR?
Backpackers – Zostel in Jodhpur is amazing! A good location (near Clock Tower market and 1 min away from Toonwar Ji Ka Jhalra stepwell), very comfy rooms, amazing staff and rooftop restaurant with stunning views to fort. I also heard a lot of good reviews about Moustache Hostel.
Budget private – Rani Mahal hotel – located near the Mehrangarh Fort, have a rooftop terrace, cosy rooms.
Luxury – Hotel Umaid Bhawan Palace – if you can afford it, why not to stay at the best place that city has to offer? 5 star hotel with highest class rooms and extremely good service. Treat yourself with all the best!
GENERAL TIPS FOR SAFE TRAVELS:
- Travel insurance is a must!
- Apps to help on your way:
- Maps.me – amazing app for using the city map while you have no connection to internet.
- Ola app – for booking cabs (or even auto-rickshaws)
- There is a general dress code for female travellers while wandering around India. I am sure you heard that India is known as more conservative than western countries in all ways, so keeping your shoulders and legs from the knee upwards covered would not only show the respect for the culture but also saves you from unwanted attention.
- Be aware of common scams. If it seems to be to good to be true – it’s a scam.
- Pickpocketing is a thing all over the world. Especially in the busy places, near tourist attractions keep your belongings close to you.
Send You loads of Love!
Stay adventurous and see you on the road! x