Jodhpur was a fun city to visit.
It’s known as the ‘blue’ city, because traditionally, during Rajput times, the Brahmin caste would paint their houses blue. Nowadays, anyone can paint their house blue, and some still do.
We stayed in what they told us was a 400+ year old ‘haveli’, or ornate mansion. We ‘re not sure if it actually was 400 years old or not, but it certainly wasn’t a recently constructed place! In terms of the havelis that you could stay in, ours was a bit of a cheap dive (still the most expensive place we stayed in, in India), but judging from some of the, what we think were original, features of the place, it must have been beautiful at some point (before half of the windows were broken and boarded up, and it was painted a rather ugly pink).
The wonderful thing about Jodhpur, is that the whole city is overshadowed by the Mehrangarh Fort. It sits at the top of a cliff, the highest point for miles, keeping watch over the city. It really is breathtaking. One of those places you really must visit, even though it is rather over-priced for foreigners.
The entry from the bus and train terminals leads you through a market and one of the city gates that is luckily still standing. Many times, in older sections of the cities, old walls, gates and buildings get demolished and the building materials reused. Jodhpur was a good example of this, but luckily the main square was still medieval-looking with it’s market area and clock tower (though this was possibly reconstructed for the tourists, at some point).
At the far end of the market by the clock tower there is an unremarkable-looking sweet shop, called Mishrilal Hotel, that sells the most remarkable makhaniya (saffron) lassi. We followed the recommendation of the Lonely Planet guidebook, and were so glad we did! Unfortunately we don’t have a photo of the place, or the lassi, but just trust us. As soon as you, as a foreigner, walk in, they will serve you up a nice big cold lassi. They serve other things, but it seems the tourists come there (along with many of the locals, because the place is always packed) for the lassis! (In case you don’t know, a ‘lassi’ is a thick, either sweet or salty yogurt beverage that is common in India. You can often find mango lassi on the menu of India restaurants in North America too).
Another sight we visited was the Jaswant Thada, which is a white marble cenotaph, built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. After visiting the Udaipur City Palace several days before, and then the Mehrangarh Fort earlier that day, we weren’t sure if we’d like it or if it would be worth it. In the end, however, we really enjoyed our time there. It was a beautiful, peaceful place, just a short walk from the Mehrangarh Fort, with lovely grounds, and only a few other tourists. After seeing the place, we took some time to relax and enjoy the serenity of the gardens.
We ended our visit to Jodhpur, almost accidentally, with a cooking class through Spice Paradise. We simply stopped at a shop for lotion, the same one we had stopped at the day before for soap, and got to chatting with the owner, Anil. He introduced us to his wife Rekha, who invited us in for a cup of masala chai. We liked her instantly, and when she mentioned that she taught cooking classes, and that she had a couple of spots available for the next day, we instantly agreed. It was a bonus for us to find out that her cooking school, not mentioned in any of the guidebooks, had just that day reached the #3 spot in Trip Advisor for Things To Do in Rajasthan, and it was fun to be a part of her joy that day.
We’ll write more about the cooking class in another post, so we can share the photos of all the wonderful dishes we made. Be in touch with us after we return to Canada, and we can make some of those dishes for you!
As you can surely tell, we enjoyed our time in Jodhpur. We filled with with lots of lassis and lots of exploring, and expanded our Indian cultural knowledge by learning how to cook Indian dishes the Indian way. Although Jodhpur doesn’t always rank as high as places like Jaipur and Udaipur on the ‘tourist circuit’, we highly recommend a visit!