Our first impression of India’s Blue City was a good one. Nestled amongst the tight streets and alleys in shades of blue, was our unique hostel and its rooftop, looking up at the imposing fort above.
I was expecting pure chaos but Jodhpur has a tranquil side to it, only minutes from the main streets full of tuk tuks, mopeds and cows. We were lucky with our hostel which had cute traditional rooms, lovely courtyard seating areas and so much stunning decoration, giving me interior inspiration for back home (I now want to paint everything blue basically). It really makes a stay when you have good accommodation, and a great host, and the Jewel Palace Haveli was perfect.
We set off on our first morning in Jodhpur with a hand-drawn map and a list of things to do from our guesthouse manager. He was amazing and took all of planning out of our stay which was lovely. Our first stop was the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort which, after seeing 3 now, is by far the best. It is actually one of my favourite things we’ve done on the whole trip. The fort is massive and has so much to offer including stunning views across the blue city, exquisitely decorated interiors and a vast history which is well explained in the audio guide, free with entrance. I felt like everywhere I looked wowed me.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
Something I didn’t know existed before our host recommended it was this Desert park. It’s only about a 10 minute walk from the fort, and it’s worth a look. It’s so quiet and out of the way and offers great views of the blue city, the fort and the city wall. Very hot at this time of year, but still a good visit!
Jaswant Thada (Mini Taj)
Again, only about a 10 minute walk away is, what is affectionately known, the Mini Taj Mahal. This small temple is really beautiful, and a peaceful place to rest out of the sun. It sits just beside one of the lakes within the Desert Park, and is surrounded by neat floral gardens.
Relaxing on rooftops
We found Jodhpur the perfect place to sit back, relax and just enjoy the scenery. We took a tuk tuk back to the hotel and popped out to sample some of the street food delicacies. We have no idea what we ate but we got it from a friendly old Indian man and it didn’t give us a bad belly so it must have been good. We particularly enjoyed the sweet treats we picked up after copying what an Indian lady bought (best way to get something traditional and tasty!). We read in our little courtyard lounge and lazed about on our rooftop before hopping a few rooftops over to another restaurant for dinner. It was delicious, cheap and the staff were great. Being out of season, a lot of restaurants are empty, so the chef has to make it completely fresh, which results in very tasty food. He also made us Gulab Jamun, a popular Indian sweet, which took him about 25 minutes, so we ate lots out of curtesy. We missed going up to sunset point, but that’s okay when it’s for food and a view.
Searching for the Clock Tower
On our second morning we decided to venture out to attempt to finish off the list of things that our host had instructed us to do. The first on the list was the Clock Tower and on his little map, it looked like a straight road from our guesthouse. Why bother looking on google maps or looking up what the Clock Tower actually looks like when we have a line drawn on a piece of paper? The reason why, is because nothing in Jodhpur is a straight line and this particular Clock Tower was rather difficult to locate. Paired with the fact that Indian’s don’t seem to believe in road signs, it’s basically a blue maze which you could walk around for hours. And we did. The pros of this is that Jodhpur’s streets are stunning; each building unique and beautifully decorated, and the contrast between the horns and chatter of the main streets and the quiet oasis of the lanes is a treat for the senses.
Finding the Clock Tower
After returning to our hotel to double check both what the Clock Tower would look like and how to get there, we set off again to find it. We quickly lost track of the loose directions we had in mind but ploughed on through The Blue City to get to the Clock Tower. More blue buildings, mopeds and cows later, we finally got there (somehow). What greeted us was a huge space, centred around a clock tower, with grand gates at either side, and filled to the brim with markets, people, food and noise. It was buzzing – and I loved it. We wandered briefly through the different stalls, which is hard when everyone and their brother tries to drag you over for just vaguely glancing their way, and picked up a few pieces.
Before heading back through The Blue City to pick up lunch and enjoy a siesta at our guesthouse, we visited the Stepwell. This was one of my favourite things in Jodhpur. I thought it was beautiful and so serene. The steps were mesmerising and I took a nice walk around the well, which I believe is pretty deep. In the height of the tourist season, it’s probably busy here, but there was hardly anyone there on this quiet April afternoon.
Evenings in The Blue City are quiet and the streets and it was nice to relax. No more festivals and fireworks, just dinner and a stroll. We ended up eating on our rooftop as we were enjoying sitting there so much, and the food at the hotel was really good. I particularly enjoyed the paneer masala and potato pakoras. Why not just watch the city go by beneath the fort?
Jodhpur instantly became my favourite (and still is, 2 more stops on) due to it’s relaxed nature, friendly people and stunning old city. It had the perfect balance of mayhem and serenity and there are so many great things to do that are way underrated. How people can miss out this little gem of a city, I don’t know, but it will certainly be on my list to come back to when I return to India.
We headed to Jaipur the next morning on a 6 hour train, which coincided with my mums 60th birthday. What a way to spend the day! I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate the station, find the right platform and then locate the right carriage and beds. The train was great, beds were pretty comfy and the pillows and blankets were much needed (as the aircon is too amazing). It flew by very quickly and before we knew it we were in Jaipur, which may as well be on another planet, let alone just another city.
Jaipur is crazy.
Costings (all approximate because I now can’t remember, and in rupees):
- Fort adult ticket 700
- Fort student ticket 400
- Desert Park ticket 100
- Mini Taj ticket 50
- Dinners 700-800
- Train to Jaipur (AC 3 berth) 600
PS. This would’ve been up ages ago but it’s taken about 217 hours to write and put together because the wifi is so bad here in Sawai Madhoper. Can’t complain though as we’ve been on 3 amazing safaris and (spoiler alert) have seen 4 tigers!!