Jodhpur is the second largest city
in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was formerly the seat of aprincely state of the
same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Jodhpur is a popular tourist
destination, featuring many palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar desert
The city is known as the Sun City for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is
also referred to as the Blue City due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh
Fort. Jodhpur lies near the geographic centre of Rajasthan state, which makes it a
convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists. The old city of
Jodhpur is surrounded by a thick stone wall.
The area was part of the Gurjara - Pratihara empire and until 1100 CE was ruled by a
powerful Bargujar King. Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajput chief
of the Rathore clan. Jodha succeeded in conquering the surrounding territory and thus
founded a state which came to be known as Marwar. As Jodha hailed from the nearby
town of Mandore, that town initially served as the capital of this state; however, Jodhpur
soon took over that role, even during the lifetime of Jodha. The city was located on the
strategic road linking Delhi to Gujarat. This enabled it to profit from a flourishing trade in
opium, copper, silk, sandals, date palms and coffee.
Early in its history, the state became a fief under the Mughal Empire, owing fealty to
them while enjoying some internal autonomy. During this period, the state furnished the
Mughals with several notable generals such as Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Jodhpur and its
people benefited from this exposure to the wider world: new styles of art and architecture
made their appearance and opportunities opened up for local tradesmen to make their
mark across northern India.
Aurangzeb briefly sequestrated the state (c.1679) on the pretext of a minority, but the
rightful ruler was restored to the throne after Aurangzeb died in 1707. The Mughal
empire declined gradually after 1707, but the Jodhpur court was beset by intrigue;
rather than benefiting from circumstances, Marwar descended into strife and invited
the intervention of the Marathas, who soon supplanted the Mughals as overlords of the
region. This did not make for stability or peace, however; 50 years of wars and treaties
dissipated the wealth of the state, which sought and gratefully entered into subsidiary
alliance with the British in 1818.
During the British Raj, the state of Jodhpur had the largest land area of any in Rajputana.
Jodhpur prospered under the peace and stability that were a hallmark of this era. The
land area of the state was 23543 mi² its population in 1901 was 44,73,759. It enjoyed an
estimated revenue of £35,29,000/. Its merchants, the Marwaris, flourished without let or
limit and came to occupy a position of dominance in trade across India. In 1947, when
India became independent, the state merged into the union of India and Jodhpur became
the second city of Rajasthan.
Oswal Jains were mainly concentrated in Gorwar Region which was again ruled by
Maharaja of Jodhpur. And Oswal jains also played main role in strengthening foundation
of Jodhpur by donating mass wealth, gems to Maharaja of Jodhpur & in turn Maharaja
of Jodhpur used to honour these wealthy Oswal Jain Merchants as Nagar Seth or various
other honourable titles.
At the time of partition, ruler of Jodhpur Hanwant Singh didn't want to join India, but
finally due to the effective leadership of Sardar Vallab Patel the then Home Minister
at centre princely state of Jodhpur was included in Indian Republic. Later after State
Reorganization Act, 1956 it was made part of the state of Rajasthan.
Geography and climate
Jodhpur is located at 26°17'N 73°02'E / 26.29°N 73.03°E
an average elevation of 232 metres (761 feet).
The climate of Jodhpur is generally hot and arid but with a rainy season from late June
to September (Köppen BWhw). Although the average rainfall is around 360 millimeters
(14 in), it is extraordinarily variable. In the famine year of 1899, Jodhpur received
only 24 millimeters (0.94 in), but in the flood year 1917 it received as much as
1,178 millimeters (46.4 in).
Temperatures are extreme throughout the period from March to October, except when
monsoonal rain produces thick clouds to lower it slightly. During these periods of heavy
rain, however, the generally low humidity rises and this adds to the normal discomfort
from the heat.
A number of historical monuments dot the city and surrounding region. Some of these
monuments are described here.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is not only one of India's most imposing palaces but also
among its most recent. This lavish art deco monument to royal living had an improbable
conception: it was built as a public relief and employment project during a long period
of drought. Over one million square feet (90,000 m²) of the finest marble was used in
the construction of the palace. A special type of sandstone, called Chittar sandstone, has
been used in constructing the palace and this gives it a special effect. For this reason, it
is also referred to as Chittar Palace by the locals. Its style of construction, with beautiful
balconies, charming courtyards, green gardens and stately rooms, makes it a fine example
of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The project employed three thousand artisans over a
period of 15 years (1929-1943). The palace is named after its builder, Maharaja Umaid
Singh (1876-1947), who was incidentally the president of the British Royal Institute
of Architects. In 1977, the palace was segmented into the royal residence, the Heritage
Hotel and a museum. It has total 347 rooms.It is the biggest private residence in the
world, out of which 98 air-conditioned rooms are elegantly decorated with antique
furniture as well as all the other amenities for a five star hotel.
The Mehrangarh Fort lies in the heart of the old city of Jodhpur and is located atop a
125 m high hill. The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur ka kila) is the most majestic
and one of the largest forts in India. It was originally started (c.1459) by Rao Jodha,
founder of Jodhpur. However, most of the extant fort dates from the period of Jaswant
Singh (1638-78). The walls of the fort are up to 36 m high and 21 m wide; they enclose
some exquisite structures. The fort museum houses an exquisite collection of palanquins,
howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. The
ramparts of Mehrangarh Fort provide not only excellently preserved cannons but also a
breath-taking view of the city.
The Jaswant Thada is architectural landmark found in Jodhpur. It is a white marble
memorial built in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The monument, in its
entirety, is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. These stones are extremely
thin and polished so that they emit a warm glow when the sun's rays dance across their
surface. Within this cenotaph, there are also two more tombs.
Girdikot & Sardar Market, Jodhpur
Tiny shops line both sides of the narrow lanes in these markets. One can find textiles,
silver, handicrafts, aromatic spices, vegetables and colorful Indian sweets in these shops.
This is one of oldest markets of Jodhpur. It is quite colorful and may have around 6,000
to 7,000 tiny shops, but you must be prepared to walk through the narrow lanes. The
market is in the heart of the city. Shops are popular for a wide range of handicrafts,
making them favorite haunt of shoppers. It was peak time in the summer when I visited
these markets, and the temperatures were nearing 40°C. There are shops selling sugar
cane juice and lassi ade og yoghurts. I savoured these drinks and also had local ice
cream, kulfi. The prices of the articles are very inexpensive when you compare them to
the prices in Mumbai or Delhi.
Mandore, 9 km to the north of Jodhpur, was the capital of Marwar before the foundation
of Jodhpur. It was founded in the 6th century, and passed to the Rathore Rajputs in 1381
after a marriage alliance between a princess of the original founders, the Pratiharas,
and the Rathode Raja, Rao Chandor. Today the main attraction here is the far-reaching
Mandore gardens with there high rock terraces. The gardens also contain the chhatries
(cenotaphs) of the Rathode rulers. One of the most imposing is the Cenotaph of Maharja
Dhiraj Ajit Singh, an enormous edifice with carved elephants, amalake (disk-shaped
flourishes with fluted edges), a pillared fore chamber with fine sculpture. You can climb
to the third storey up a peculiar set of staircases. Opposite is the 17th century Chhatri of
Maharaja Dhiraj Jaswant Singh, an enormous octagonal pavilion with a vast dome and
huge pillars. It achieves a remarkable symmetry, with a gallery supported by pillars and
sculptures of Krishna and the gopies (milkmaids).
At the rear of the complex, to the right is the small government museum. To the left is
the Hall of Heros, with 15 figures carved out of a rock wall. The brightly painted figures
represent Hindu deities or local Rajput Heroes on horseback. The Shrine of 33 Crore
Gods is painted with figures of deities and spirits.
Maha Mandir Temple
Laterally, the great temple is a place where sacred glory reigns in a peaceful tranquility.
Situated on Mandore road, the temple is an architectural splendor, supported by 84 pillars
and ornamented with detailed designs and figures depicting various postures of Yoga.
The entire structure is marked by aunique and original style.
An ancient temple, well worth the visit, lies in the village of Osiyan, about 60 km
outside Jodhpur. It is believed that all the Oswal (a Major Jain community) originated
from Osiyan. There are many sections of this temple, which was built in several distinct
How to get there?
Indian airlines & Jet Airways flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, and Jaipur. (Daily)
Direct rail connection with many important cities of the country.
Some important train connections are: Marudhar Express(Varanasi Jodhpur), Barmer
Express(Jodhpur-Barmer), Ranakpur Express(Delhi-Jaipur-Jodhpur-Jaiselmer), Surya Nagri Express(Jodhpur-Ahmedabad),
Hawrah Express(Hawrah-Jodhpur), Jaiselmer Express(Jaisalmer-Jodhpur) Bikaner-Barmer via Jodhpur
Jodhpur can also be reached through a dense network of road connections. Some key
distances are: Delhi 597km, Jaipur 336km, Udaipur 280km, Jaisalmer 300km, Ranakpur
200km, Osian 65 km, Pushkar 254km.