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India >> Rajasthan >> Jodhpur >> Jodhpur - The Sun City
Jodhpur - The Sun City Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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The Gateway to Thar, as it literally sits on the edge of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur, is the second largest city and the administrative head quarters of Jodhpur district in Rajasthan. It is known as the Sun City for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year around. It is also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort.

 

Jodhpur is a historic city and its origin dates back to 1459 AD when it was founded by Rao Jodha, the Rajput chieftan of the Rathore clan. The Rathore kingdom was also known as Marwar and was the largest in Rajputana. The city was built as the new capital of the state of Marwar to replace the ancient capital Mandore, the ruins of which can be seen near what is now the Mandore Gardens. Thus the people of Jodhpur and its surrounding areas are also called Marwaris.

 

The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, colour and texture, a booming handicrafts industry, all add up to make this historic city worth  visiting.

 

History

Rao Jodha of Kanauj family, a Rajput chief of the Rathore clan, is revered as the founder of Jodhpur, which he founded in 1459. Rao Jodha, later succeeded in conquering the surrounding territories and thus founded a state which came to be known as Marwar – the land of ‘Maroo’ or death, thus named because of the region’s extremely hostile living conditions. Jodha originally hailed from the nearby town of Mandore, which initially served as the capital of erstwhile Marwar state. Jodhpur came into being as the new capital, after Mehrangarh fort was constructed. The city was very strategically located on the road link to Delhi and Gujarat which enabled it to reap good profits from a flourishing trade in opium, copper, silk, sandals, date palms and coffee.

 

Early in its history, the state acceded to Mughal Empire, owing allegiance to them while enjoying some internal autonomy. During this period, the state furnished the Mughals with several notable generals such as Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Jodhpur and its inhabitants largely benefited from this alliance. It was a great exposure to imbibe and embrace the new art forms and style of architecture, to seek the opportunities that came in the way of the local tradesmen and then establish their mark across northern India.

 

The decline of the Mughal Empire after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 in fact could not be utilized by the Jodhpur court to resurge and regain their control over the region as they were beset by intrigue; rather than benefiting from circumstances, Marwar descended into strife and invited the intervention of the Marathas, who soon supplanted the Mughals as overlords of the region. This did not make for stability or peace, however; 50 years of wars and treaties dissipated the wealth of the state, which sought and gratefully entered into subsidiary alliance with the British in 1818.

 

During the British Raj, the state of Jodhpur had the largest area in terms of land as compared to any other in the whole of Rajputana. Jodhpur prospered under the peace and stability that was a hallmark of this era. Its merchants, the Marwaris, flourished without let or limit and came to occupy a position of dominance in trade across India. In 1947, when India became independent, the state merged into the union of India and Jodhpur became the second largest city of Rajasthan.

 Orientation

Jodhpur spells magic. The very moment you set foot on its soil the lovely pink sandstone greets you and the crystal blue sky flecked with sunlight embraces you with all its warmth, an impressive scene that's etched forever in your mind. A tour of the city can be covered at a leisurely pace in two to three days, while three days are to be set aside for visits around the city.

 

Mehrangarh Fort

The most imposing structure in Jodhpur is also the biggest fort in Rajasthan. Built atop a 150 m high hill in 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort has withstood many a battle, as is evident from the marks of cannonballs on the fort walls. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrates a saga of the hard sandstones yielding to the chisels of skilled Jodhpuri sculptors.The fort lends a majestic view to the city panorama.

 

It was built in 1459, on the advice of a saint to establish an impregnable head-quarter for the kingdom. This fort is one of the best in India, the walls of the Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal have exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, elaborately adorned windows and walls A collection of musical instruments, palanquins, royal costumes, furniture and the cannons on the fort's ramparts are well preserved.

 

The museum showcases exquisite collection of artifacts, including some very fascinating war booty and even fancy armory, a wonderful collection of palanquins and elephant seats, the outstanding one being a silver one gifted by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan. A level up is a room full of excellent miniature paintings in the Marwar style of the 18th and 19th centuries. The royal splendor of the first family of the Marwar is evident from the array of costumes on display.

 

Umaid Bhawan Palace

The palace is a magnificent building made of Chittar sandstone that has been put together without the use of mortar. It has three hundred and forty seven rooms. The palace is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.

 

Umaid Singh, the then Maharaja of Jodhpur, ordered the construction of the palace in order to give relief and work to the people affected by the famine of late 1920s. The project took 15 years to complete and gave employment to 3000 artisans. In 1977, following the abolition of the privy purses, the current Maharaja Gaj Singh converted a part of the palace into a heritage hotel.

 

The palace is now segmented into the royal residence, the heritage hotel and the museum. The royal family of Jodhpur still lives in a part of the palace. While another part of the palace houses a well-maintained museum, displaying an amazing array of items belonging to the Maharaja and the royal family - weapons, antiques and fascinating clocks, crockery and trophies.

 

Jaswant Thada

Close to the Mehrangarh fort complex, lies Jaswant Thada. This 19th century royal cenotaph built in white marble in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and three other cenotaphs stand nearby. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh holds the rare portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur. A visit inside the cenotaphs, with some villagers of the region, would bring forward the reverence they still hold for their brave kings

 

Rai-ka-Bag Palace

This palace is situated near Raika Bag palace railway station. It was constructed in 1663 by Hadiji, queen of King Jaswant Singh-I. King Jaswant Singh-II was immensely fond of this place. He mostly stayed in the octagonal bungalow of this palace. In 1883 when Swami Dayanand Saraswati came to Jodhpur, his sermons were arranged for the public in the public ground of this palace. Even Jaswant Singh used to listen to Swami Dayanand in this palace only. Now the income tax office functions from here.

 

Umaid Garden

Umed garden developed by Maharaja Umed Singh, spreads on an area of 82 acres. It has well manicured lush green lawns with neat beds of roses and various seasonal flowers, beautiful fountains and towering Ashoka trees. The garden complex houses a museum, library and a zoo. In 1978 'Walk-in Aviary' was constructed, one can see birds of different types -  local, African and Australian parrots, ducks, etc; in their natural environment. There are large cages for bears, foxes, deer, lions, leopard etc. It is place frequented by children and adults with equal interest.

 

Raj Ranchhodji Temple

It was made by Queen Jadechi Rajkanwar after the death of her husband, King Jaswant Singh. Major part of the temple is made of red sandstone, carved with beautiful filigree work. The heart of the temple has the statue of Ranchhodji made of black marble. It has a beautiful main door made of stained glass in the colours of green, yellow and blue.

 

Achal Nath Shivalaya

Achal Nath Shivalaya, a famous Shiv temple was constructed by Nanak Devi, queen of Rao Ganga. The construction was completed on 21st May 1531. A large water reservoir (bawari), known as Ganga Bawari was made near the Shivlinga. The Garbh Griha, Mandap and Kirtan Bhawan of the temple are made of carved Chhitar stone.

 

Around Jodhpur

Mandore

Mandore - the ancient capital of Marwar, lies 8 Km the north of Jodhpur. This area is of immense historical importance but what makes it worthy of a visit are The Hall of Heroes- it has sixteen gigantic figures depicting popular Hindu and folk deities carved out of a single rock in brilliant colours, the shrine of 330 million Gods and the royal cenotaphs- to add on the natural charm are the beautifully landscaped sprawling gardens and the caves in crags which are shelters for troops of monkeys and muster of peacocks. A touch of green is so soothing to the eyes and Mandore has it all it an oasis in this vast desert.

 

Osian

On the silk route dating back to 8th century AD, 65 km from Jodhpur lies ruins of an ancient city called Osian. The city boasts of the famous, intricately carved Brahmanical and Jain temples, dating back to the 8th and 11th century. The Surya (Sun) temple and the Sachiya temples are famous for their beauty. The shikhar of Sachiya temple is clustered by two rows of turrets, an ambulatory and a large assembly hall with an elaborate ceiling. This town which was once a great trading centre is more like an oasis today and houses peacocks in abundance. The largest of the 16 Jain and Brahmanical temples is dedicated to Mahavira, the last of the Jain tirthankars. In the same area the Surya temple has beautiful images of Durga, Surya and Ganesh. The sculptural intricacy of the Osian temples rivals that of any of the famous temple of the country- be it the Sun Temple of Konark, or the Hoysala temples of Karnataka.

 

Balsamand Lake & Palace

It is a dream everyone dreams to be tucked away in a remote corner amidst hills in an ancient castle or a palace by the sea side or by a gurgling brook else besides a tranquil lake. Dreams do come true. There is such a place at Mandore in Rajasthan. The 19th Century sandstone palace built on a hillock facing the Balsamand Lake that will definitely win your heart.

 

Maharajah Sur Singhj built this eight pillared palace as a summer retreat. It has finely carved latticed windows through which blows the cool gentle breeze filling the interiors of the palace with sweet fragrance of the flowers in bloom. Encircling hills and lush green gardens add to the scenic beauty of the lake. An artificial cascading waterfall from the reservoir is a novel way of supplying water to the gardens. Mandore is a part of Jodhpur yet far enough from the city, so one can really enjoy its prevailing peace and solitude.

 

The beautifully carved palace has now been converted into a heritage hotel. The rooms and suites, the entire ambience lends a fairy tale like charm. A walks through the neat garden paths takes you past tall trees, beds of roses, shrubs of exotic flowers, pools covered with lilies and into the groves of mango, plum, banana, and pomegranate. In the grove you may chance upon a pride of peacocks, blue bulls, jackals and hundreds of flying foxes (fruit bats).

 

Kaylana Lake

Kaylana is an artificial lake located 8 km west of Jodhpur. It was built in 1872 by Pratap Singh. This lake is spread over 84 square km. In olden times this area had palaces and gardens made by two rulers of Jodhpur-Bhim Singh and Takhat Singh. These were destroyed to make the Kaylana Lake. Near the lake is a Dak Bungalow of PHED. Boating facilities are available for tourists here.

 

Guda Bishnoi

Located 25 km from Jodhpur, the Guda Bishnoi village is a desert oasis that beckons one with its charm and serenity. A perfect place to experience a tribal world and its rustic cultural grandeur. This village is inhabited by the Bishnoi community. The villagers are staunch worshippers of nature in all its forms, specially the sanctity of plant and animal life. They follow a set of 29 (bis and noi) principles, which include several norms related to the protection of animals and conservation of trees. The place is a home to numerous migratory birds and some wild animals like blackbucks and Chinkaras. A person interested in exotic wild life & nature should definitely visit this village.

 

Kheechan

Every winter, when the mercury dips below sub zero in central Asia, thousands of demoiselle cranes who dwell there migrate to Kheechan, a village 5 km from Phalodi. The cranes are fed and protected by the villagers. Locally the cranes are known as kurjan because of the sound they emit.

 Getting there

Location

Western Rajasthan.

Distances

255 km south of Bikaner, 280 km southeast of Jaisalmer and 340 km southwest of Jaipur.

 Fast Facts
Name Jodhpur - The Sun City Best Time To Visit October to March
Location Jodhpur   Rajasthan   West   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Historic City
Temperature Summar   42-48°C      Winter   4-8°C      Rainy   32-36°C
 Map
 
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