My home country, India, has 29 states and 7 union territories. We’re a huge country with a population of 1.35 billion and with these kinds of numbers comes diversity. Each state in India has it’s own culture, language, tradition and food. It’s like many different countries existing in one great nation. Travelling across India never gets repetitive or boring. Being an Indian I have the benefit of travelling to one sight, city or state at a time. For a long weekend I decided to take a trip to Jodhpur, an old cultural city in Rajasthan.
My Road Trip To Jodhpur
As I live in a neighbouring state we decided to drive the 450 km i.e. 280 miles approximately. The roads are really good and safe, so the drive was relatively easy and Google maps has solved the problem of navigation making the long drive fun.
The majestic Aravalli mountain range (that starts in Delhi and runs across the whole state of Rajasthan ending in Gujarat) lined both sides of the road. Adele, crooning her soulful songs in the background made the drive even more enjoyable. We left my place at 6 in the morning and reached Jodhpur at 1 in the afternoon after a very pleasant drive.
The first order of business upon reaching Jodhpur was checking into our hotel and having lunch. I had booked hotel Indana Palace for our stay in Jodhpur. Indana Palace is a hotel built in the heritage architectural style of Rajasthan using a lot of locally sourced red sand stone.
Upon entering the foyer of the hotel you get a very posh vibe with their elegantly dressed staff waiting to welcome you. By the time I checked in I was hungry and decided to have lunch at the hotel restaurant, I’m glad I did because the food was delicious. Now that I was refueled, I was itching to explore the city.
Jodhpur Day 1: War Planes, Mining and a Delicious Dinner (& Dessert)
All the historical monuments in Jodhpur close at 5 in the evening and it was already 3 by the time I was free, so I decided to just drive around the city and get a feel of it. As my hotel was just opposite the Indian Air Force base, it was a matter of pride to have look at all the war planes and tanks displayed on the roads of the Cantonment area. Driving across the city took me to the outskirts of Jodhpur.
Here is where I stumbled upon the first gem of my trip. Whenever I travel I look for offbeat places. My first offbeat experience was stumbling upon a red rock mining site. And to be very frank this proved to be a very different experience.
The harsh, angular beauty of the uncut mountains and the tamed beauty of the cut rocks ready to be shipped to a construction site was like seeing the personification of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’. For the first time I realized that the marble flooring at my home has gone through a lot to look its shiny polished self. I stayed at the site for about an hour soaking in the beauty of the landscape and enjoying the crisp fresh air of the city outskirts.
At around 5pm I decided to go to the walled city at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort. The walled city has a historic stepwell and a clock tower which luckily stays open after 5pm, so I decided to take advantage of this. Toorji Ka Jalara is the official name of the stepwell, it is a well preserved site and has a really nice café attached to it.
Sadly for me the café doesn’t serve many vegetarian options and I am 100% vegetarian so I decided to skip the food here. On my way out of the walled city I had a look at the beautifully lit clock tower.
Guys a general piece of advice, though taking a car in the walled city is allowed, do not take it as the roads are too narrow and driving a car in those conditions is a pain in the body part. Instead take a stroll in the walled city, enjoy the vibe, do some street shopping, this way you can kill multiple birds at the same time.
For dinner I went to a resturant called Gypsy. This place came highly recommended by a local friend and so I had really high expectations for food. Rajasthan is famous for it ‘Daal Baati Churma’, this dish consists of curry, a crispy form of Indian bread, lots of additional chutneys in various flavours and sweet. If you go to Rajasthan and come back without eating this, your trip isn’t complete. I ordered this at Gypsy, and the it was amazinggg to say the least. Do not miss this place on your next visit to the city. I kept on going back to this place for dinner throughout my time in Jodhpur and was never disappointed by any of my choices, be it stuffed paratha with cheese, or chole puri, or aloo tikka. To put it simply, everything on their menu is awesome.
Dinner is incomplete without desert and when it comes to desserts I am more partial to western desserts than Indian. Just opposite Gypsy, I stumbled upon a bakery called 15AD and ohh my god, the range of eggless deserts was amazing.
Though I wasn’t that hungry, I bought some sweet treats for later so I could pig out while reading late into the night in my hotel room. They were sinful and their Tiramisu was something to die for. Needless to say I visited this place every day.
Jodhpur Day 2: Umaid Bhavan Palace & Shopping
On the next day I visited the Umaid Bhavan Palace. This is one of the newest palaces in India and one of the largest private residences in the world. The palace was commissioned my Maharaja Umaid Singhji in 1929. Jodhpur was facing a drought and so the then king Maharaja Umaid Singh commissioned the palace to generate employment for his subjects.
The present king and his royal family reside in a wing of the palace and a part of the palace is managed by Taj group of hotels. Umaid Bhavan is one of the finest heritage hotels in the world. The palace has a museum where relics of the royal dynasty and their heritage is displayed and gives tourists in Jodhpur a sneak peek into the opulent lives of the royals.
There’s also a vintage car museum displaying the heritage cars like Rolls Royce, Mercedes etc, all owned by the king. The museum is well preserved and if you want a better understanding of the history just ask for a guide at the museum entrance. Guides explain really nicely and will take you to certain rooms or displays which are usually closed to the public. I left the palace wondering about the Netflix series ‘The Crown’ and I guess every Indian royal family has had their own version of The Crown.
Shopping at Jalori Gate
After taking a short nap and refreshing I headed back to the walled city, this time I drove to the nearest parking lot and then took a walk in the city. For all those interested in shopping local speciality clothing and souvenirs, Jalori Gate in the city area is your cheapest option.
This is where locals go shopping and so the tourist rates do not apply here. The museum shops tend to be costly and so it is always better to shop at places where locals shop. I am not much of a shopper, so I just walked through the streets, enjoyed the vibe and still came back with a vibrant pink colored dupatta (a traditional Indian shawl).
Read more about shopping in Rajasthan: Best boutiques and bazaars in Jaipur
This marked the end of day two. I must say it was two days well spent but this is definitely not the end of my Jodhpur trip. I’ll also be sharing my adventures at the Mehrangarh Fort in more detail and my experience Zip-lining and Paragliding in Jodhpur very soon.
Jodhpur Travel Tips
A general disclaimer guys, all those travelling to any part of Rajasthan, do not forget your sunscreen. As it is a desert it tends to get hot in the afternoon in all seasons. So do yourself a favour drink lots of water, carry an umbrella to shield yourself from the heat, wear light cotton clothes that cover your body from sun and use lots of sun screen.
For all travellers visiting India try Zomato for restaurant and food related searches. This is a restaurant discovery website and is present in almost all major cities in India. They have a really cool app, which makes searching easy. Zomato displays menus, specialities, cost for a meal for 2 people and reviews of the restaurants registered on Zomato. In my experience reviews are mostly accurate and they give you an insight into the local scene which your tour guides or Trip Advisor may not know about or recommend.