Experience the real charm of the bustling Blue City through the recommendations of a local to truly appreciate its offerings.
By AVIJIT SINGH
Jodhpur has been my home for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Jodhpur and have seen the city evolve manifolds. The way I have experienced this city as a child, teenager, and an adult, has transformed me in more ways than one. In my opinion, Jodhpur is the epicentre of Rajasthani culture and tradition, but it is also where you’ll find path-breaking experiences. The juxtaposition of the two is what makes it so mysterious and appealing to explorers. Here’s my list of recommended experiences, from a pure Jodhpuri point of view.
Visit the temples in the old city
A true sight to behold, these are mostly unexplored by the tourists because they are tucked away and take some time to get to. However, the level of details, artwork, and history on the walls of these temples is spiritually astounding. The Kunj Bihari temple in the old city market, Jwalamukhi Mata temple under the fort, or the Panchmukhi Hanuman temple with its giant statue of Hanuman carved into the rock face of the Mehrangarh fort are all worth a dekko.
Gorge on sumptuous street food
The culture of eating out in Jodhpur dates back to more than a century ago. Both sweet and savoury snacks prepared by various vendors throughout the old and now the new city are truly spectacular. Jodhpur classics like the mirchi vada and pyaaz ki kachori as well as the namkeens of Jodhpur that are on par with the Bikaner namkeens (run by the same families, settled in the two cities) are beyond expectation. As for sweets, there are numerous options including mawa kachoris, rabdi ladoos and Chaturbhuj gulab jamuns—all, famous and loved across the country. There are several shops where families have been making only one dish for generations and have truly mastered it, like Mishri Lal’s fantastic lassi or Chaturbhuj’s amazing gulab jamuns and Jodhpur Sweets’ rabri ladoo and ghewars.
Experience heritage with an adrenaline twist. For the more adventurous ones among us, the zipline behind the Mehrangarh Fort—operated by Flying Fox—is a fantastic experience. It gives you a broad view of the entire city and the fort—an experience to remember. There are six different lines that connect from point to point over the hill on which Mehrangarh Fort is situated. It even takes you over the two lakes and the water reservoirs on top of the hill which gives you a sense of flying like a bird.
Take a village safari
Rural Rajasthan at its finest is on display in and around Jodhpur. The village safari, a concept pioneered by the House of Rohet back in 1990, is aimed at offering an inside view of what life is like in Western Rajasthan. The idea was to let travellers experience the culture, traditions and customs of the region by interacting first-hand with the locals. You’ll meet local tribes like the Bishnois, who are the first ecologists of the world as well as the Pali village Brahmins who have an important part to play in the history of the region, pre-dating the Rajputs and after whom the city of Pali is named. You can even witness wildlife with blackbuck antelopes found here in abundance and a plethora of indigenous and migratory birds that flock to Marwar throughout the year.
Shop for the perfect drape
Jodhpur has a thriving textile industry with the finest mirror works to amazing dhurries and floor covering and the most exquisite pashminas—all available here. Buyers from all around the world come here to source for top brands like Hermés, Kenzo and Anthropologie amongst others. There are several warehouses around the city like Shree Ganesham, for instance, that stock every measurable textile or those like Maharani and Lati Handicraft who have a more curated collection.
Deck it up
Jewellery in Jodhpur is also of repute. Both traditional and modern collections are inspired by the city’s unique style. Here jewellers and designers are constantly creating something truly special. I would recommend Chhatrala Jewels as well as Gems and Arts Plaza for their fantastic pieces, both traditional and contemporary and I am sure everyone will find something here.
Explore the folk side
One of the highlights of Jodhpur, which has recently gained international recognition is the Jodhpur RIFF (Rajasthan International Folk Festival). A celebration of the folk and culture of our beloved Rajasthan, it has been an inspiration for several other music festivals in the country. The RIFF, under the patronage of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, has put Jodhpur on the world map, attracting artists from various disciplines from across the world. The festival is organised around the Mehrangarh Fort and is timed to match Sharad Purnima, the brightest full moon of the year.