Set in the barren atmosphere of Thar Desert, Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination sprinkled with forts, palaces, temples, and ruins of the former princely splendor. This second largest city of Rajasthan is located near the heart of Rajasthan and is a major route for trade and travelling. The city is called the ‘Sun City’ due to the sunny and bright weather, all round the year. The vivid blue-painted houses near the majestic Mehrangarh Fort also earns the name of the ‘Blue City’ top Jodhpur. Moreover, the attractions like Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, and Jaswant Thada, ensure a memorable trip in exploring the erstwhile royalty of India.
Around hundred feet of splendor, on a vertical cliff is the Mehrangarh Fort, which is 400 ft above the ground level of Jodhpur. Bright red sandstone makes the fort look highly invincible with beckoning beauty. The fort is praised as the best preserved Indian fort. The history of the fort relates to the 15th Rathore ruler, Rao Jodha, in 1458. The thousand years old Mandore fort was gradually and slowly getting into ruins. The thick walls of the fort also bear cannon marks, which paint the picture of the past.
The fort with walls of 21 meters width and 36 meters height could be entered only after passing through the 7 gates. The main gate is Jayapol, built by the Maharaja Man Singh during his reign in early 19th century. Similarly, another victory gate is Fatehpol, which was built in 1708 by Maharaja Ajit Singh, marking his victory over the Mughals. Lohpol (Iron Gate) is also the victory gate, which has restored the handprints of the wives of Maharaja Man Singh, which today are regarded as sacred. Within the fort, there are spacious courtyards and magnificent palaces like Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), and Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace).
These palaces today serve as museum, entering through the Suraj Pol, you may find collections of elephant carriages, lethal weapons, maharaja’s palanquin, small canons, covered palanquins for ladies and beautiful paintings. In the fort there also is Umaid Mahal that beautifully shines due to the glass tiles. In the private chamber of Maharaja Thakhat Singh shines with lac paintings. This private chamber is near Zhanki Mahal. Adding worth to the architecture of the fort, the Zenana Mahal also showcases about 150 designs of beautiful latticework.
Umaid Bhawan Palace is the largest of all private residences in the world. The palace was built between 1928 and 1943 for H.H Maharaja Umaid Singh. At that time, it was mainly built to provide employment to those who suffered a lot because of famine. The palace has 347 rooms and it serves as the residence of erstwhile Jodhpur Royal family.
Maharaja of Jodhpur Gaj Singh is the present owner of the Palace. Now, the palace is divided into three parts which include a luxury Taj Palace Hotel which is in existence since 1972, the residence of the erstwhile royal family and a Museum which focuses on the 20th century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family.
Jaswant Thada is a white marble memorial which was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. This royal cenotaph was built in the 19th century and it has two tombs inside. There is a royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs near the Jaswant Thada. To reach the Thada, tourists have to come through the rocky hills, which further make this visit a memorable one.
Jaswant Thada is famous for its brilliant architecture as it is built out of marble sheets which are intricately carved. The stones which are used are very thin and well-polished. On the cenotaph, one can also see beautiful marble jali work. The place offers some great views from the terrace which is in front of the cenotaph.
Built back in 1159 AD by Balak Rao Parihar, Balsamand Lake is a lake situated 5 km from Jodhpur on the Jodhpur-Mandore Road. Initially, it was a water reservoir which provided water to Mandore.
There are green gardens which surround the lake and these gardens have mango, papaya, pomegranate, guava and plum trees. The garden around the lake houses many animals and birds such as jackal and peacock.
Later, The Balsamand Lake Palace was built as a summer palace on the shore. The lake palace presents the traditional Rajputana architecture. The palace is completely built using Jodhpur red sandstone and it houses antique traditional furniture. Now, the palace has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Kalyana Lake was built by Sardar Pratap Singh in 1872. The lake serves as the main supply of drinking water for Jodhpur. It is believed that this lake is constructed on the ruins of the ruins of the palaces of two Jodhpur Kings, Bhim Singh and Takhat Singh. The lake receives water from Hati Nehar which connects to the Indra Gandhi Canal.
The place is perfect for bird lovers. This is because many migratory birds come here during winters. And, that is not all! People who visit here cannot miss the sunset which is completely phenomenal. At the time of sunset, the lake looks beautiful which makes people visit here especially at the time of sunset.