Jodhpur, the second-largest city in the state of Rajasthan, founded in 1459 AD by Rajput Chief Rao Jodha of the ‘Rathore’ clan, is also popularly known as the “Blue City” owing to its built structures, especially houses, in cascading shades of the colour blue – calm and serene like the daytime sky. Being the largest Rajpur state during British rule, the city flourished to a position of dominance in the Indian trade market. The city encapsulates the significance of the state’s rich cultural heritage left by the Marwar rulers and is a delightful haven for architects and travellers with a plethora of magnificent forts, palaces, lakes, etc. 

From magnificent royal architectural marvels to exquisite hotels and cuisine, Jodhpur is a paradise for someone who is longing to experience colour and culture and give their taste buds something that they’ll never forget! Here is a list of places a travelling architect must visit in the “blue city”.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

A royal palace, a hotel, and a museum, the Umaid Bhawan Palace was built between 1929 – 1943 and named after the then-king, Maharaja Umaid Singh. To help the farmers, devasted by the three-year-long droughts, the Maharaja decided to build a lavish palace to provide them with a chance at surviving the harsh conditions. Henry Vaughan Lanchester, a contemporary of Edwin Lutyens, was commissioned to prepare the plans for the structure. He adopted the elements of domes and columns to project a blend of western technology and Indian architectural features.

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Mahamandir Temple

One of the most popular places and temples to visit in the city, the Mahamandir Temple is a 19th-century  exquisite architectural marvel dedicated to Lord Shiva. The structure stands on 84 beautiful and intricately carved pillars depicting various yoga postures with well-designed traditional motifs studded onto the pillars and walls of the sacred place. The place is a must-visit not just for its religious sanctity but for witnessing its beauty and ambience.

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Mahamandir Temple_©https://jodhpurtourism.in/mahamandir-jodhpur
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Mehrangarh Fort

The beautiful Fort situated on top of a 400-feet-high hill is a testament to the rich cultural history of the erstwhile ruling dynasty and is home to one of the best museums of the state with prized exhibits – artwork, arms and armoury, textiles, etc. With the foundation for the Fort laid in the mid-15th Century by the Rajput Chief Rao Jodha, the extravagant structure’s construction took over 500 years to complete to become the piece of architectural brilliance and grandeur it is today, the crown jewel of Jodhpur. The Fort also consists of important palaces like the Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal, Moti Mahal, etc., and provides breathtaking views of the entire city.

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_Mehrangarh Fort_©https://www.reddit.com/r/castles/comments/hunwf3/mehrangarh_fort_jodhpur_rajasthan_india_one_of/
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Mehrangarh Fort_©https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jodhpur_mehrangarh_fort.jpg

Khejarla Fort

This 400-year-old picturesque Fort is situated in a rural setting approximately 80 km away from the heart of the city. Made up of stunning red sandstone, the mesmerizing monument is an example of Rajput architecture with a rugged exterior and a striking blend of art and architecture. The Fort, now a hotel, offers a glimpse of the ruling dynasty’s valour and chivalry, providing an enlightening experience.

 

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Khejarla Fort_©https://www.yatra.com/hotels/hotels-in-khejarla/fort-khejarla
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Khejarla Fort_©https://www.flickr.com/photos/irestylianou/4830535700

Mandore Gardens

Among the best-preserved sites of Jodhpur is the magnificent Mandore Gardens in the ancient town of Mandore. The town served as the capital of the erstwhile ruling dynasty of Marwar until it was deserted in 1459 CE. The Mandore gardens still stand strong after fighting the trials of time to narrate the tale of the town’s rich heritage. It houses several memorials, ancient temples, cenotaphs of the previous rules of the city, and a museum which makes it a sight to see if one visits the blue city!

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Jaswant Thada

Built in the 19th century by Maharaja Sardar Singh in memory of his beloved father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph that serves as the royal Marwar family’s cremation ground as well. The majestic structure consists of extremely thin and polished sheets of marble carved intricately, emitting a warm glow upon the Sun’s illumination. The Cenotaph is spread across a large area featuring beautifully carved gazebos, a lake, and a garden which enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure.

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Jaswant Thada_©https://jodhpurtourism.in/jaswant-thada-jodhpur
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Jaswant Thada_©https://ebnw.net/travel/jaswant-thada-beautiful-memorial-in-marble-often-described-as-the-taj-mahal-of-marwar/

Phool Mahal Palace

An integral part of the Mehrangarh Fort, the Phool Mahal is a beautifully decorated hall that is believed to have served the Maharajas as a pleasure dome where numerous entertaining events for the kings took place. As the name suggests, the design of the hall was done in a manner to make it look as beautiful as a beautiful blossoming flower. The ceiling of the hall consists of delicate gold filigree work along with remarkable paintings and portraits (like the raga mala series) and pristine furniture from the British era, which glorifies the essence and the aesthetics of the room.

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Sheesh Mahal

Another notable structure within the walls of the Mehrangarh Fort is the ‘Glass palace of Jodhpur’ otherwise popularly known as the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ which was part of the private chamber of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Marwar in the 18th Century. This extravagant architectural marvel is embellished with inlaid glass panels and mirrorwork across the walls, ceilings, and floors superimposed by religious figures cast in plaster. The convex mirrors are designed with colourful foil and paint that would shimmer bright under lit candles or oil lamps.

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Sheesh Mahal_© https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheesh_Mahal_at_Mehrangarh_Fort,_Jodhpur.JP
Sheesh Mahal_© Keith MacGregor Photography https://www.keithmacgregorphotography.com/sheesh-mahal-mehrangarh-fort-jodhpur

Moti Mahal

The largest room of the Mehrangarh Fort, known as the ‘Moti Mahal’ was built by Raja Sur Singh. The palatial hall consists of coloured window glasses and has decorated ceilings adorned with gold leaves, sea shells, and mirrors. The five alcoves within the hall lead to the hidden balconies, which were believed to be the spot for the Raja’s queens, who used to sit there and listen to the proceeding, not visible to others. The royal throne, known as Srinagar Chowki, is placed in this hall.

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Moti Mahal_©https://www.mehrangarh.org/mehrangarh-2/museum/period-rooms/
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Moti Mahal_© https://www.localguidesconnect.com/t5/General-Discussion/The-Moti-Mahal-Pearl-Palace-in-Jodhpur-Rajasthan/td-p/2945177

Balsamand Lake

Planned as a water reservoir to cater to Mandore, this artificial lake was built in 1159 AD by the Gurjara-Pratihara rulers to save Jodhpur from droughts. Followed by the construction of the red sandstone wonder ‘Balsamand Lake Palace’ along its shore in the 17th Century, the lush green gardens with exquisite flora and fauna make it a must-visit for travelling architects to quench their thirst for aesthetics and experience the essence of the place’s natural beauty and appeal.

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Ranisar Padamsar Lake

Located near the Mehrangarh Fort, these picturesque lakes are one of the most famous water bodies of the city. Almost 500 years ago, the Ranisar lake was built by the Rajput Chief Rao Jodha’s wife, Queen Jasmade Hadi, mainly for water conservation. The lake never runs out of water, even during parched climates and offers peaceful waterside sceneries while the Fort offers spectacular sunrise and sunset sights.

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Osian Temples

The Osian Temples are situated in the ancient desert town of Osian (also known as Osiyan), which is about 60 km away from the city of Jodhpur. The destination is famous for the cluster of Hindu and Jain temple ruins which date back to the 8th Century. The city was a major religious centre during the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty, and the beautifully sculpted temples are a testament to the architectural abilities of ancient India. 

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Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Built from a large rocky wasteland, the aim of the ‘Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park’ was to prserve the degraded terrain’s natural ecosystem. The park is densely populated with the indigenous flora of the Thar Desert, with over 200 different species. With the park being one of the only few places where the state’s real landscape and vegetation can be observed in its natural setting, the place is a haven for nature lovers and geologists.

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Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park_©https://jodhpurtourism.in/rao-jodha-desert-rock-park-jodhpur

Toorji Ka Jhalra

A sight that you certainly should not miss while visiting Jodhpur is the ‘Toorji Ka Jhalra’, a 250-year-old stepwell made of the famous rose-red sandstone. The elaborate structure depicted the remains of the traditional water management systems of the blue city and was designed by Maharaja Abhaya Singh’s queen-consort, which symbolizes the region’s age-old custom where the women from the royal family were responsible for overseeing the public water works. Submerged for decades in the past, the structure showed evidence of intricate carvings over 200 feet in size of medieval lions, portraits of deities, dancing elephants, etc.

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Umed Garden

A lush garden spread across an area of over 33 hectares with sprawling lawns, fountains, and a library, the Umed Garden was built by Maharaja Umed Singh and offers tourists a chance to witness the beautiful flora and fauna of the place systematically. The garden is situated close to the Umed Palace and is a visual treat for visitors with multifarious blooming flowers, a zoo, and a ‘Walk-in Avery’ where various animals and exquisite birds can be seen in their natural environment. 

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Reference List

  • Mehrangarh Museum Trust (2018). Mehrangarh Museum Trust [online]. Available at: https://www.mehrangarh.org/ [Accessed 12 October 2022]
  • The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (2016). Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/umaid-bhawan-palace-jodhpur/ [Accessed 12 October 2022]
  • The Culture Trip Ltd. (2017). The Story Behind Jodhpur’s Abandoned Mandore Gardens [online]. Available at: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/the-story-behind-jodhpurs-abandoned-mandore-gardens/ [Accessed 12 October 2022]
  • Rajasthan Tourism – Government of Rajasthan (2022). Best Places to Visit in Jodhpur, Attractions and Points of Interest- Rajasthan Tourism [online]. Available at: https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/jodhpur.html [Accessed 12 October 2022]
  • Exoticmiles.com (2020). Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park | Exotic Miles [online]. Available at: https://www.exoticmiles.com/jodhpur/rao-jodha-desert-rock-park/ [Accessed 13 October 2022]
  • Exoticmiles.com (2020). Osian Temples | Exotic Miles [online]. Available at: https://www.exoticmiles.com/jodhpur/osian-temples/  [Accessed 14 October 2022]
  • Exoticmiles.com (2020). Ranisar Padamsar Lake | Exotic Miles [online]. Available at: https://www.exoticmiles.com/jodhpur/ranisar-padamsar-lake/  [Accessed 14 October 2022]
  • Exoticmiles.com (2020). Toorji Ka Jhalra | Exotic Miles [online]. Available at: https://www.exoticmiles.com/jodhpur/toorji-ka-jhalra/ [Accessed 13 October 2022]
  • Exoticmiles.com (2020). Balsamand Lake | Exotic Miles [online]. Available at: https://www.exoticmiles.com/jodhpur/balsamand-lake/ [Accessed 14 October 2022]
  • Trawell | Tripzy Vacations Pvt. Ltd. (2017). Mahamandir Temple, Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.trawell.in/rajasthan/jodhpur/mahamandir-temple [Accessed 12 October 2022]
  • RajasthanDirect.com (2013). Umed Garden Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.rajasthandirect.com/tourism/gardens/umed-garden-jodhpur [Accessed 15 October 2022]
  • Rajasthan Tour Planner (2017). Umed Garden in Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.rajasthantourplanner.com/Monuments-Citywise/Umed-Garden-Jodhpur.html [Accessed 16 October 2022]
  • Rajasthan Tour Planner (2021). Ranisar Padamsar Lake [online]. Available at: https://www.rajasthantourplanner.com/blog/ranisar-padamsar-lake/ [Accessed 14 October 2022]
  • Tour My India Pvt. (2016). Phool Mahal Palace Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/phool-mahal-jodhpur.html  [Accessed 15 October 2022]
  • Tour My India Pvt. (2016). Moti Mahal Jodhpur [online]. Available at: https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/moti-mahal-jodhpur.html  [Accessed 15 October 2022]
Author

A dedicated spatial planner enthusiast by day and a wishful writer by night. He has a keen interest in the field of environmentally sustainable architecture and integration of sustainable transportation as an approach towards climate-responsive planning of cities. He enjoys watching Sci-fi documentaries/films and pondering over complicated concepts of life as well as the occasional sitcoms from time to time.

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