at the edge of the Thar Desert, Jodhpur is the largest city in Rajasthan
after Jaipur. This imperial city that echoes with tales of antiquity in the
emptiness of the desert, was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, chief of the
Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama, the hero of
the epic Ramayana. The Rathores ruled not only Jodhpur but also other Rajput
princely states. The Rathore Kingdom was then known as Marwar, the Land of
Death. The city is dominated by the massive Mehrangarh Fort, topping a sheer
rocky ridge right in the middle of the town. The old city is surrounded by a
10km long wall built around a century after the city was founded. From the
fort one can clearly see where the old city ends and the new begins. As one
of the closest major Indian cities to the border with Pakistan, Jodhpur has
a large defence contingent.
Jodhpur is affectionately referred to
as the 'Blue City' because of the indigo coloured houses in the old town.
These can best be seen from the ramparts of the fort. Traditionally, blue
signified the home of a Brahmin, but these days non-Brahmins have also taken
on the practice. Apart from looking fresh and lively, it is believed that
the colour works as an effective mosquito repellent. It is fascinating to
wander around the jumble of winding streets in the old city.
the graceful palaces , forts and temples strewn throughout the city bring
alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts, folk dances music and
the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city. The lifestyle
in Jodhpur is unusually fascinating with folks wearing lovely multihued
costumes artistically designed. The colorful turbans worn by the men folk
add more colour to the city. Part of the film Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book
was shot in Jodhpur and it was from here that those baggy-tight , horse
riding trousers, jodhpurs, took their name. Countless festivities celebrate
the rich past and culture of the princely state. The Marwar Festival held
annually is one such spectacular bonanza.
PLACES TO SEE
Fort -still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, this Majestic Fort is
sprawled across a 125m high hill. This is one of the most impressive and
formidable fort in fort-studded Rajasthan. The fort is approached by a
winding road from the city 5km below. There are seven gates that lead into
the fort. The Second gate is still scarred by cannon ball hits; the Jayapol
was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 following his victory over the
armies of Jaipur and Bikaner; the Fatehpol or Victory Gate was erected by
Maharaja Ajit Singh to commemorate his defeat of the Mughals. The Lohapol
(Iron Gate) is the final gate beside which are 15 hand prints, the sati
(self immolation) marks of Maharaja Man Singh's widows who threw themselves
upon his funeral pyre in 1843. They still attract devotional attention.
Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces. The palace
apartments with marvelously carved panels, latticed windows have evocative
names such as Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), the
Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). These
palaces house a fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including
a superb collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs (used when the Maharajas
rode their elephants in processions), miniature paintings, musical
instruments, costumes and furniture. There is even a display of rocking
cradles. The Chamunda Devi Temple, dedicated to goddess Durga, stands on the
southern end of the fort. There are also old cannons on the ramparts at this
end and the views from here are superb.
Jaswant Thada -located
a short distance from the fort, just off the fort road, is a white marble
memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The cenotaph built in 1899, was
followed by the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs that stand
nearby. There are some beautiful marble jali (lattice) work and fine views
from the terrace in front of the cenotaphs.
Bhawan Palace & Museum -built of marble and pink sandstone , this
immense palace is also known as the Chhittar Palace because of the local
Chhittar sandstone used. Begun in 1929, it was designed by the president of
the British Royal Institute of Architects for Maharaja Umaid Singh. It is
said that the palace was built under the famine relief project to provide
employment for thousands of local people during a time of severe drought.
This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former
rulers with a part of it running as luxury hotel and remaining part as a
museum. The museum has an amazing array of items belonging to the Maharaja
such as weapons, antique clocks, and dainty crockery and hunting trophies.
Balsamand Lake -located about 9km northeast of the
city is a picturesque lake surrounded by beautiful gardens.
An idyllic spot
for excursions. A splendid Summer Palace built in 1159 stands by the lake
side. The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel.
-located about 9km north of Jodhpur, this was the capital of Marwar
prior to the foundation of Jodhpur. Today with its extensive gardens with
high rock terraces and royal cenotaphs make it a popular local attraction.
The Hall of Heroes contains 15 figures carved out of a rock wall. The
brightly painted figures represent Hindu deities and local heroes. There is
also a shrine of 33 Crore (330 million) Gods painted with figures of deities
Rohet - is a fortified desert village located
about 40km south of Jodhpur. The Fort, the home of the descendants of the
Rathores has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Luni - is
another desert village and the site of Fort Chanwa, a red sandstone fort ,
which has now bee converted into a heritage hotel. The surrounding village
offers interesting walks.
Sardar Samand Lake -located 66km
southeast of Jodhpur, this is a wildlife centre and the route to it from
Jodhpur passes through a number of colourful villages. Some of the wildlife
to be seen include black bucks, chinkara and a variety of bird life.
- is an ancient Thar Desert town located about 65km north of Jodhpur. It
was a great trading centre between the 8th and 12th centuries when it was
dominated by the Jains. It is an oasis in the desert, situated on the
diversion off the main Jodhpur-Bikaner Highway. The wealth of Osian's
medieval inhabitants allowed them to build lavish and exquisitely sculptured
temples, most of which have withstood the ravages of time. The sculptural
details of the temples rival those of the Hoysala temples in Karnataka and
the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa. Of these temples the most notable are
the Sun Temple, the Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple and the main Jain
temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira.
Nagaur- located 135km
northeast of Jodhpur has the imposing Ahhichatragarh fort with beautiful
murals. It is also the venue for a week long cattle fair held in
January/February every year.
Suggested Itinerary :RAJASTHAN
- PEARLS OF RAJASTHAN - 16 DAYS
DELHI / MANDAWA / BIKANER /
JAISALMER / JODHPUR / ROHET / KUMBALGARH / UDAIPUR / PUSHKAR / JAIPUR AGRA
TIGERLAND SAFARIS & TOURS offers quality tailor made and small group holidays in the following areas of operation:
Wildlife / Fishing / Birdwatching Tours.
Elephant & Horse Safaris.
Cycling and Walking Tours.
Jeep Safaris to the unexplored Himalayas.
White Water Rafting and Camping.
Cultural & Tribal Tours....
TIGERLAND SAFARIS & TOURS invites you to see some of the most special parts of India through the eyes of the people who live here. Their empathy with the land, their respect for the wildlife and its habitat, and their deep-rooted beliefs in their traditional lifestyle will leave a lasting impression on you.
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