Jodhpur: the blue city
I am so excited to write about Jodhpur! It was one of my favourite places in India. The city is very photogenic with many of it’s townhouses painted Jodhpur blue. People here were so friendly and we discovered so many hidden shops and beautifully carved buildings whilst wandering through the old maze of the city. We stayed here for 5 nights and came back after visiting Jaisalmer to attend the world famous Riff Festival.
Where to stay
Yogis Guesthouse – For 800 rupees per night Yogi’s is a 500 year old haveli and was one of our favourite guesthouse’s in India. Inside it is beautifully decorated with Indian antiques and the rooftop had a perfect view of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. But the real reason why we loved it so much was Mrs Yogi, the most welcoming, kindest person we met in India.We stayed on the first floor, our room was quite dark but that didn’t matter as we weren’t in there very much. The rooftop restaurant is separate from Yogi’s, it was great for breakfast pancakes. Wifi was good all over the guesthouse. It’s just a 5 minute walk to the Clock Tower whilst passing lots of tempting shops.
Bal Samand Lake Palace – Two of our friends stayed here and invited us over. It’s about a 15 minute car journey from the Clock Tower and entering through the gates you immediately feel like royalty. The grounds are huge and you’re greeted by well dressed staff in exceedingly high turbans. I felt like curtsying. Inside it’s like walking through a time warp, a shining gramophone sat in the corner and the old fashioned furniture looked pristine. You can imagine the British arriving here with their leather suitcases and fine outfits. We swam in the luxury swimming pool and drank cool beer as the sun set over the lake.
Where to shop
Shri Manglam – This was our favourite shop! We visited every day to sit with the owner and drink chai. They let us make a complete mess of their shop letting us take out all the bedspreads. We bought many clutch bags from here and even commissioned holdalls to be made out of beautiful patchwork fabric for around 600 rupees. Fran paid 1500 rupees for a decorated white bedcover.
Student Shop – We went here by recommendation though found the prices weren’t actually that student friendly so left empty handed.
Sari Market – By the clock tower is a great market to buy second hand sari’s, we paid as little as 50 rupees! We walked past the women selling the sari’s every day and would always go up to them and say hello and buy more sari’s of course.
Spice World – We had such a wonderful time in this shop smelling all the exotic spices. I bought about 3000 rupees worth and posted them home to find they were missing. Very sad.
Maharaini Art Explorers – By recommendation we decided to visit this huge dusty stop. Fran and I exchanged quite a few looks as the salesmen showed us many fabrics giving us their never ending sales talk. We were told many celebrities have visited though it was hard to imagine Prince Charles climbing the rickety wooden staircase. Go here if you are laden with rupees and a large suitcase. We went back to Shri Manglam for a fraction of the price.
Where to eat
There are so many great places to in Jodhpur! So much so I am writing a dedicated blog post to it.
Two you have to visit are: Fifteen AD for the most delicious cakes and Indique for delicious curries with an awesome view of the fort and city.
What to visit
Mehrangarh Fort – This mighty fort is known as the best in Rajasthan and we couldn’t agree more. Majestic in size and strength the fort dominates high above the city. Our Indian friends drove us on their Royal Enfields up the winding roads, I had one of those ‘wind in my hair’ moments. As a tourist you pay for the audio tour which I highly recommend. The best views of the city are from the tall battlements and you can almost imagine life as a woman hidden away in the beautiful Zenana apartments.
Jaswant Thanda – Just a 1km walk from the fort, the Jaswant Thanda is a marble memorial to the ruler Jaswant Singh. We walked here one afternoon relaxing in the peaceful garden overlooking the blue city below. Just after Fran took my picture sitting in a white temple like structure we were surrounded by a group of Indian guys wanting our photo. The leader of the pack then proceeded to follow us around until we told him it was time for him to leave. He took it well.
Flying Fox – We had such a great time here! The Flying Fox is a zipwire course over the Mehrangarh Fort. You are given a short introduction into correctly using the wires then you are off with a tour guide flying over the fort. They save the best and longest zipwire till the end where you fly over two desert lakes. I booked our tickets online here.
How to get there
We took a train from Ajmer after visiting Pushkar. There is a frequent bus service running in and out of the city. You can also fly to and from Jodhpur airport. Lydia flew from here to Delhi to get catch her flight back to London.