The imperial city of Jodhpur, previously known as Marwar, lies at the edge of the Thar Desert. It was the capital of former princely sate of Marwar. This second largest city of Rajasthan is an island of marble palaces, cordoned off from the desert by a colossal wall. Founded in 1459 A.D. by Suryavanshi Rao Jodha, chief of the Rathore clan, Jodhpur gradually grew around the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort. A blooming trading centre of the 16th century, Jodhpur is still one of the major centres in trading wool, cattle, camels and salt. Flanked by the Mehrangarh fort, and the stately Palace of Umaid Bhawan, the monuments, temples and gardens of Jodhpur portray a versatile magnificence.
Jodhpur is one of the three major domestic airports in Rajasthan. Indian Airlines operates flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur. Jodhpur is connected by rail to Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Lucknow. Good roads connect Jodhpur to Delhi, Udaipur, Jaipur and other centres of the State.
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur Located at the very centre of the city, Mehrangarh is one of Rajasthan's three great hilltop forts; others are Kumbhalgarh and Chittaurgarh. The fort has seven gates and three of them each built to commemorate a certain event. Originally built in 1806, the fort has been added to, many times since. Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are fitting examples of medieval magnificence of Jodhpur. The palaces within the fort were built in an informal pattern and have their own unique style, with narrow staircases, serving as the only means of access to the royal residences within. The fort has a well-preserved collection of musical instruments, palanquins, furniture and cannons.
Umaid Bhavan Palace
Built in the modern times, this 20th century palace is quite western in its design. It was built, as a famine relief project that gave employment to people for 16 years. The Palace has more than 300 rooms. It has its own theatre, eight dining rooms, and a banquet hall. The palace is considered as one of the finest surviving examples of art deco in the world. This splendid creation in sandstone still the residence of the former rulers and part of it is converted into a hotel and as a museum.
Close to the fort complex lies a cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in 1899 AD in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Rare portraits of Jodhpur's rulers are, also, to be seen at Jaswant Thada.
Clock Tower and Sardar Market
A prime attraction of the city, is the Clock Tower and the colourful Sardar Market near it. Narrow alleys lead to quaint bazaars selling textiles, antiques, silverware and handicrafts.
Mandore, the former capital of Marwar, lies 9 kms north of Jodhpur. The gardens of Mandore house the royal cenotaphs or 'dewals' of the Maharajas. The impressive temple-shaped memorial to Maharaja Ajit Singh is the largest and finest of all. The Hall of Heroes has 15 figures carved out of a rock wall. The vividly painted figures represent Hindu deities or local heroes on horseback.
55 km from Jodhpur is Osian, a small town, on whose outskirts lie groups of early Jain and Brahmanical temples. Once a great trading centre, the town is a desert oasis and home to numerous peacocks. The largest of the temples is dedicated to Mahavira, the last of the Jain tirthankars. Thge Surya temple in the vicinity has fascinating images of Durga, Surya and Ganesh. The sculptural complexity of the Osian temples rivals that of any of the famous temples of the country.
Balsamund Lake & Palace
Located 7kms from Jodhpur, this lake and garden complex built in 1159 is a popular picnic spot. A palace constructed in 1936, looms over the lake. Now the lake is converted into a public park and bird sanctuary.
Kota lies along the eastern bank of the Chambal River with its centuries old wealth of impressive forts, magnificent palaces and fabulous temples. Kota is one of the major major industrial centres of Rajasthan.
During the 12th century AD, the Hada Chieftain, Rao Deva, conquered the territory and founded Bundi and Hadoti. In the early 17th century AD during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, the ruler of Bundi, Rao Ratan Singh, gave the smaller principality of Kota to his son, Madho Singh. Since then Kota became a princely state.
Several express buses operate from Kota to Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Chittaurrgarh, Jodhpur and Bikaner. Many trains from Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur operate to Kota.
Umed Bhawan Palace
Built in 1009 by Maharao Umed Singh II of Kota, Umed Bhawan is one of the most beautiful palaces of Kota. Sir Swinton designed the palace, which has an Edwardian drawing roomand a billiard room. Standing amidst a well-laid garden, the palace has long corridors, courtyard and Italian marble floors.
Brijraj Bhawan Palace
Situated on the bank of river Chambal, Brijraj Bhawan is a colonial style palace built in the nineties. A unique feature of the palace is that almost all rooms overlook the Chambal River providing a fascinating view.
Maharao Madho Singh Museum
Situated in the old palace, the museum has a rich collection of Rajput miniature paintings of the Kota school, exquisite sculptures, frescoes, armoury and other valuable antiques. The blossoming of the Kota School of paintings was an important milestone in the history of medieval Indian art.
Chambal Garden is a beautifully landscaped garden at the Amar Niwas with lush surroundings. It is a popular picnic spot and enjoyable boat rides can be arranged.
In 1346 by Prince Dher Deh of Bundi constructed this enchanting little palace of Jag Mandir in the middle of the artificial lake of Kishore Sagar The blue waters around the red-sandstone monument enhance its magnificence. Boat-rides can be arranged in the lake. The Keshar Bagh famous for its royal cenotaphs lies in the locality.
Darrah Wildlife Sanctuary (50 km.)
A former royal hunting preserve, Darrah is a thickly wooded sanctuary lying along the southeastern border of Kota near the mountain range. The wildlife includes panther, spotted deer, tiger, wild boar and bear.
Mount Abu is a green oasis and a hill station in the barren deserts cape of Rajasthan. Situated at the southern tip of the Aravali range, the hill retreat has a cool climate owing to the altitude of the plateau (1220 m above sea level) and surrounding forests, rich in flora and fauna. The winding Ghat road to Mount Abu is overlooking an arid region, strewn by huge rocks of weird shapes.
Mount Abu has been home to many sages and saints. Mt Abu was dedicated to Lord Shiva, before it became a Jain pilgrim centre. The greatest attraction of Abu is the magnificent Dilwara temples.
Udaipur is the nearest airport at 185km. Abu Road, the nearest railhead 29km away, links Ahmedabad, Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Abu is well connected with other centres of the state by road
Dilwara Jain Temples
Sculpture, Dilwara Jain Temple Built between the 11th and 13th centuries; these temples are famous for their sheer elegance in marble carvings. Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the first Tirthankara, is the oldest of these Jain temples. Built in 1031 A.D., in the village of Dilwara by Vimal Shah, it is a perfect example of Gurjar-Pratitar temple architecture. The temple has a central shrine, a room with a transept, a large colonnaded area, and an ambulatory lined by 52 small shrines, each housing a statue of thirthankaras. The Lun Vasahi Temple, dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankaras was built in 1231 AD.
Adhar Devi Temple
The temple is chiselled out of a huge rock formed by a natural cleft. A flight of 360 stairs takes one to the sanctum. It is a favourite tourist spot.
Shri Raghunathji Temple
Situated near the 'Nakki' lake, this temple is dedicated to Shri Raghunathji. Shri Ramanand, the famous Hindu preacher, placed the beautiful image of the deity, in the temple, in 14th century A.D.
Studded with little islets, the Nakki Lake is located beyond the Raghunath temple. Situated at 1200 m above sea level, as legend has it, the lake was dug out by the gods with their nails.
A natural stream flowing through the mouth of a sculpted cow gives the shrine its name. It is a beautifully sculpted hill temple of Arbuada. Nearby is the magnificent marble image of Nandi, the celestial bull rescued by Arbuada.
This viewpoint offers an enchanting view of the crimson colours of dusk, a spectacular sight of the setting sun covering the hills with a golden glow.
Honeymoon Point, also known as Andra Point, provides a pleasant view of the verdant valley and plains. At sunset it looks especially beautiful.
Trevor's Tank (5 km)
Trevor's Tank is a bird-watcher's paradise. Named after the British engineer who constructed it, the thickly wooded hills around it are teeming with pheasants, peacocks and partridges.
Achalgarh (8 km)
Built in the 14th century A.D. by Rana Kumbha the fort has some beautiful jain temples within. Among them are Achaleswar Mahadev Temple (1412 A.D.) and Kantinath Jain Temple (1513 A.D.). Mandakini Kund and a sculpture of Parmar Dharavarsh are situated close to the Achaleswar Mahadev Temple.
The peaceful township of the sacred lake of Pushkar lies 11 km from Ajmer. The Nag Pahar (Snake Mountain) separates Pushkar from Ajmer. This beautiful lake surrounded by bathing ghats, has great religious significance, rooted in a myth. Pushkar is one of the two pilgrim centres dedicated to Lord Brahma.
Jaipur is the nearest airport at 146km. The nearest rail head is ajmer, 11km away. Pushkar can be accessed via road.
Pushkar Festival, Pushkar A lovely and large fair is held every year, on Kartik Poornima (full moon in October-November). More than 1,00,000 pilgrims gather here, to take a dip in the holy lake. The biggest camel fair is also held on these days. Besides camels, horses and bullocks are sold here. The colourfully dressed people enhance the lively mood of the fair. The town reverberates with hectic activity during the festivities. Extensive arrangements are made to cope with the large attendance. A host of cultural programmes are staged to entertain the audience. The biggest draws of the events are the cattle auction and the camel race. Puppet shows are another major event.
This is a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma's first wife. It is located on the hill behind the Brahma temple, and one has to climb a long flight of steps to reach the destination. From the temple one can have a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding sand dunes.