Jodhpur is the second largest city of the state of Rajasthan. It has been drawing the attention of tourists from all over the world. Standing as the sentinel of the country's western border, Jodhpur is famous for its magnificent forts and palaces.
Jodhpur is situated at the edge of the Thar Desert with Jaisalmer on its west, Barmar, Jalor and Pali on its south, Bikaner on its north, and Nagaur on the eastern side. It has a typical desert climate, dry and hot. The ideal time to visit this place is the period between November and March. The city is like an oasis in the vast desert, with a variety of thorny shrubs all over the area. It also has some of the animal species that can survive in an arid and dry environment.
The Rajput chief Rao Jodha founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Earlier, it was the capital of the Marwar state of Rajasthan. A 10-km-long wall made of stone surrounds the city. Eight doors stand all through the wall leading to different places of Jodhpur. The city has about 100 towers most of which are surrounded by defensive battlements. The guards' chambers, constructed high up above the ground and fitted with iron spikes on top, could be seen alongside these walls.
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Situated in the middle of the city, the Mehrangarh Fort is a living testimony of the military might of the Rajputs. With the strategically located cannons on the walls, the fort is spread over an area of 5 km at an altitude of about 125 meters. Thousands of tourists visit this fort every year to have a glimpse of the artillery system of the Rajput warriors. A bird's eye view of the city from above the fort is fascinating.
Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur
Umaid Bhawan Palace, the only 20th-century-built palace, was constructed to give employment to the famine-struck population of Jodhpur. Made of sandstone, it took 16 years to complete. This majestic building is presently the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum.
Jaswant Thade Palace Jodhpur
Another example of Rajput glory is the Jaswant Thade, which is a shrine built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant II in 1899. A story goes that Maharaja Jaswant succumbed to injuries in this place while fighting the Mughal king Jahangir.
Mandar Garden, Jodhpur
Mandar Garden was the ashram of Rishi Mandu. This garden has a gate known as the Ajit pole. It is decorated with paintings of the gods and goddesses of Indian mythology.
Giridkot and Sardar Market
Giridkot and Sardar Market, located in the heart of the city, are popular for a wide range of handicrafts.
Balsamand Lake and Garden
About 4 miles away from the Jodhpur lay the Balsamand Lake and Garden. It is an artificial lake built in AD 1159. It is an ideal place for picnics and excursions.
The Mahamandir Temple
The Mahamandir Temple (9 km) is another site to visit. The architecture and the cutwork on the stone are amazing. Built in 1812, it has 84 carved pillars.
Kailana Lake, 11 km from Jodhpur, is an idyllic picnic spot.
Situated on the Jodhpur - Bikaner highway diversion, Osian (58 km) is an oasis in the desert area of Rajasthan. The Osian sunset point is famous for its panoramic view of the setting sun over the golden sands.
Dhawa Wildlife Sanctuary, Jodhpur
There is also a wildlife sanctuary at Dhawa (45 km). It has the largest number of cheetal and sambhar.
The Nagaur Fort is situated 135 km from Jodhpur. The Badal Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, and Hadi Rani Mahal are beautiful specimens of Rajput architecture.
Luni Fort and its environs (20 km) are also worth visiting. The fort has now been converted into a heritage hotel.