Rajasthan is a city replete with art and architecture and the forts in the state attract tourists from all over the world, almost all the year round. The palaces in Rajasthan all have their own stories to tell and there are a couple of forts and palaces to be visited in almost every city you visit. The grand architecture, the lofty design and the alluring tales of the bygone eras make Rajasthan a must visit.
Among all the cities in the state, the city of Jodhpur deserves special mention. Home to some of the most spectacular forts and palaces in the entire world, Jodhpur will simply blow your mind when you get up close and personal with the forts here. Most of the palaces here have been converted to high end, five star hotels, and you can get the royal Indian hospitality during the stay here. On the other hand, you might visit them and explore them for their history and heritage and the experience will be etched in your memory forever.
Also known as the Jodhpur Fort, the fort is synonymous with Jodhpur and happens to be one of the largest forts in India. It is so grand and colossal that the famous author Rudyard Kipling had said that the fort was the work of giants. It has also received numerous awards for being the best kept fort in India. Exploring the fort is sure to take you back in time. There are numerous palaces inside the fort that belonged the Ranas and the aristocrats of the period. The fort was built in 1459 by the Rana Rao Jodha, after whom it was named. The fort itself stands about 410 feet above the surrounding city and has huge thick walls which the enemies found it impossible to penetrate during the invasions. There are numerous courtyards inside the fort and there are alleys leading to temples, shrines and armories. There are still marks of canon balls on the walls. The fort boasts of seven gates and the Jaipol, a gate built by Maharana Man Singh to celebrate the victory over the armies of Bikaner and Jaipur.
The Mehrangarh fort and museum happens to be the most well stocked museum in the entire state and houses many artifacts from the bygone periods which reflect the rich history of the region. One of the most striking artifacts here is the royal palanquins that were used by the Ranas and their queens. The Mahadol palanquin was won from the governor of Gujarat. There are a large number of exhibits from the time of the Rathore’s, including costumes and turbans worn by them, the arms and weapons and paintings. Do not forget to visit the Daulat Khana as this is where most the precious items of the palace are kept. The Elephant Howdah is another important spot to visit.
Domestic guests can enter with an entry fee of INR 70 while for international tourists it is INR 600. The fort is open for tour from 9 am to 5 pm.
Among the other most beautiful places to visit in Jodhpur, the Jaswant Thada should be on your list. It is resplendent marble cenothaph monument that served as a mausoleum for the kings of Marwar dynasty. The Marwar Royal family still uses it as their cremation grounds. The entire structure is built from intricately carved marble sheets and the entrance has bright red steps leading to the main halls. There are local musicians and artists who are often seen performing on the steps. The garden around the cenotaph has beautifully maintained garden and the tourists can explore the monument from the outside. The garden is in factmulti- tiered and there are flowers in bloom at all times of the year. There are several domes to the structure. It is also called the Taj Mahal of Marwar because of its stunning white marble exterior and craftsmanship. One of the most notable aspects is the memorial of a peacock that had once flown into the funeral pyre when the rituals were on.
Voted as the best hotel in the world, the Umaid Bhavan Palace is now converted into a deluxe five star hotel which attracts celebrities from round the globe. It is perhaps the crown on the head of Jodhpur. The huge structure houses the hotel on one side, while a section has been converted into a museum and the remaining section serves as the residential quarters of the family of the present owner, the Raja Gaj Singh. Because it is located on top of the Chittar Hill, it is also known as the Chittar Palace. The museum, on the other hand, houses many artifacts which belong to the present owners of the palace and their ancestors. The hotel and palace has received many awards and accolades over the years and it well known for its impeccable hospitality and royal treatment. The palace houses 337 rooms in all.
Tourists can visit between 9 am and 5 pm and entry is INR 30 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
The Khejarla Fort in Jodhpur has today been converted into a heritage hotel but in its heyday, it was a formidable fort in the line of defense in the region. Living at the hotel today will offer you a glimpse as to how the kings and queens of India lived in their days. The fort was built in the 17th century and the 400 year fort still stands strong today. It was built by the Maharaja of Jodhpur and today houses all the modern amenities one could think of. It is the perfect blend of history, heritage and modernity, rolled into one. The fort is situated in one of the desert stretches in Rajasthan, which makes staying here all the more surreal. The fort boasts of signature Rajput architecture and has been built on granite boulders and red sandstones. Guided tours are also offered from the hotels, so that one becomes better acquainted with the history of the region.
Located at Luni, the Fort Chanwa is another magnificent example of Rajasthani grandeur andrich heritage. The fort was built by Maharaja Manish Soni and presently has been converted into a luxury heritage hotel. The hotel has the Thar Desert as its backdrop, and it is a treat to see such beauty in the midst of the desert, complete with landscaped gardens, magnificent fountains and lofty and ornate domes and doorways. The Luni River flows nearby and the banks are a splendid place to relax. The fort has traditional 18th century rajasthani architecture and is made of red sandstone. The ornamented jharokhas of the fort deserve special mention. One can catch breathtaking views of the land beyond from the terrace of the fort. There are antique and ancient paintings inside the fort. One can also buy some of the local products and handicrafts from the town just outside the walls. Village tours are organized from the fort, along with camel safari, jeep safari and horse riding.
While you go palace hopping in Jodhpur, do not miss the mouth watering, delectable cuisine of the land. The heritage hotels have elaborate dinners that serve authentic Rajasthani meal, with the recipes being handed down through the generations. There are both vegetarian and non- vegetarian options. On the other hand, while you go sightseeing, be sure to try out some of the street food sold by local vendors and that will be an all new experience altogether. Dal Bati Choorma, Lal Maas, Litt Chokha, Makai ki Sabzi, Bajrey ki Roti, Ghewar and Halwa and a number of lentil, vegetables, and sweetmeats can be enjoyed here.
As one explores the splendid forts and palaces of Jodhpur, one could also choose to stay in the heritage hotels that have been converted from palaces in the above mentioned. It is like being treated like royalty during your stay. However, such hotels can be extremely expensive and so you could just choose to visit them and choose to stay in the regular hotels in Jodhpur, of which there are many budget options. You can book the rooms easily through the Oyo app, according your convenience. If you choose to explore Jodhpur, you may also ask for a ride to be arranged from the hotel itself.
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