Jodhpur popularly known as ‘The Blue City’ or ‘The Sun City’ was named after its founder RaoJodha, who was the chief of the Rathore clan. It is the second largest city in Rajasthan, after Jaipur. The old Jodhpur is separated from the new city by a stretch of a long 10 km wall. In the past, Jodhpur was the capital of the Marwar state but after independence it was annexed to the state of Rajasthan. During the British Raj, Jodhpur was the largest in Rajputana. It prospered greatly with its merchants known as Marwaris who flourished tremendously under the British Raj.
It is set at the edge of the Thardesert and was once a major trade center. It is called the ‘Blue City’ due to the several blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. When the city is viewed from the top of the fort, the dominant blue color is clearly visible on the houses surrounding the fort. Jodhpur has also gained popularity from the movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as it was one of the prime locations for its shoot. The movie crew with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale spent several months at the Mehrangarh Fort.
The history of Jodhpur revolves around the Rathore Clan. The Rathores enjoyed good relations with all the Mughals, except Aurangzeb. Maharaja Jaswant Singh supported Shahjahan in his struggle for succession. The Rathores were forced to move out of their original homeland, Kaunaj, by the Afghans. They fled to Pali (near Jodhpur) and RathoreSiahaji married the sister of a local prince. This helped the Rathores to establish and strengthen themselves in this region. Rathores felt the need for a secure capital which lead to the formation of Jodhpur.
After handicrafts, tourism is the second largest industry of Jodhpur. Gypsum and salt are mined. The city serves as an important marketplace for wool and agricultural products. The Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Border Security Force maintain training centers at Jodhpur. The city progressed and grew into a developed modern city under the reign of Maharaja Umed Singh.
What to See
Travelers visit Jodhpur primarily for its magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and the Umaid Bhawan Palace which has been converted into a hotel but one can see the palace museum if not staying at the palace hotel. Mehrangarh Fort addressed as ‘the work of giants’ by Rudyard Kipling is undoubtedly magnificent! Adorning the blue city, this fort was named in honor of the mythological ancestors of the SuryavanshiRathores, as the word ‘Mehr’ means ‘Sun’. The Sun-deity has been the chief deity of the Rathore dynasty. The architecture of this grand fort is spectacular and even today it portrays the glorious lifestyles of the Rajputs. A major highlight of the Mehrangarh fort is the Mehrangarh Fort Museum with the royal palanquins, miniature paintings, furniture, and historic armory.
JaswantThada is located to the left of the Mehrangarh Fort complex. It was built in the 19th century by Maharaja Sardar Singh, in the memory of his father - Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It is basically a traditional cremation ground of Jodhpur rulers. This architectural landmark in Jodhpur is a classic example of the famed Rajputana style of architecture. The main cenotaph comprises of ornamented sculptures, domes and pillars. There is also a separate section of cenotaphs dedicated to the brave queens and concubines who committed ‘Sati’ (self immolation) on the pyre of Jaswant Singh. It is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble and the lattice work demonstrates the craftsmanship of the sculptors. These stones are extremely thin and polished due to which the outside surface of the monument emits a warm glow when the sunrays fall on its surface. The cenotaph displays portraits of the rulers of Jodhpur. The main memorial has been made like a temple. The grounds also house carved gazebos, a multi-tiered garden and a small lake.
Best Time to visit
The city of Jodhpur gets very hot during the summers between April to June with temperatures crossing 40 degrees celsius. Monsoons from July to September are pretty humid but sometimes pleasant if there is sufficient rainfall. However, temperatures range between 36 degrees celsius to 42 degrees celsius, with monsoon temperatures being at the lower side around 36 degrees celsius. December to February sees comparatively cooler climate with temperatures ranging between 10-26 degrees Celsius. Hence, best time to visit is between December to February. For those not in favor of paying the super peak season rates during Christmas and New Year, can avoid these dates to travel i.e. between 20th December to 10th January.