Top 13 Things to Do in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Cityscape of Blue City and Mehrangarh Fort - Jodhpur, India
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Jodhpur, the second-largest city in Rajasthan (albeit pleasingly unspoiled by haphazard development), has a fascinating past. Located on the edge of the Thar desert, about 155 miles from the border with Pakistan, Jodhpur is, in fact, where the eponymous pants got their name from! These unusual pants were designed by the Maharaja of Jodhpur's son, Pratap Singh, and worn by his polo team when visiting the Queen of England in 1897. It is famous for its blue buildings, initially painted to signify that they were occupied by Brahmins, the highest caste in India.

This list of top Jodhpur attractions and places to visit will give you a diverse city experience. Jodhpur Heritage Walk conducts an immersive three- to four-hour guided tour through the city. If you have a spare day or two, visit nearby Bishnoi village or Osian, where you can see carved temples and go on a less-touristy camel safari. 

01 of 13

Explore Mehrangarh Fort

Fort Meherangarh, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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P.B # 165, The, Fort Rd, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006, India
Phone +91 291 254 8790

Imposing Mehrangarh Fort, which rises above the "Blue City," is one of the largest and most famous forts. As impressive as it is, as a well-preserved heritage structure, there's so much more to discover inside. The fort has been privately restored, and its museum has an outstanding display of royal memorabilia, including about 15,000 items from Maharaja Gaj Singh II's collection. It also has the only professional museum shop in India. The cultural performances that happen daily at various places inside the fort, as part of the particular focus on folk art and music, are another highlight. Plan your visit with this complete guide to Mehrangarh Fort.

Want a romantic evening dinner? The Chokelao Mahal Terrace restaurant serves traditional Rajasthani cuisine, which sparkles below. The Fort is also an evocative setting for music festivals. Don't miss the annual Rajasthan International Folk Festival in October and World Sufi Spirit Festival in February.

02 of 13

Ride the Jodhpur Flying Fox

Jodhpur Flying Fox
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Flying Fox Jodhpur Mehrangarh Fort, Jai Pol, Main gate, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 80039 15989

Adventure lovers can't pass up the unique opportunity to zip-line with Mehrangarh Fort as the backdrop. The circuit has six zip lines and takes around 90 minutes to complete. Groups of up to 12 people depart at appointed times. It's located on the north side of the Mehrangarh Fort.

03 of 13

Relax at Jaswant Thada

Guard standing in courtyard, Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur, India
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Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Blue city Tour, Jashwant Thada, Lawaran, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342002, India

In honor of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, this intricately crafted cenotaph (empty commemorative tomb) was built in 1899. It features white marble lattice screens and whimsical domes, while the inside is adorned with portraits of Rathore rulers. It's a peaceful place to relax and enjoy stunning views of the Fort and city. Many a tired tourist sprawls on the front lawn to recuperate after sightseeing.

04 of 13

Wander Through Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

Man standing on rock in Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
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Mehrangarh, 8237+5QG, Fort Rd, Kabir Nagar, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 95712 71000

The Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was developed in 2006 to restore the natural ecology of a large rocky wasteland area next to the Fort. Neglected for many years, the park was overrun by an invasive thorny shrub. After the bush was eradicated, more than 80 native species of rock-loving plants from the Thar desert were grown there. The Park extends 70 hectares (around 200 acres) of rehabilitated land and has a walking trail. It's interesting to explore at different times of the year, as its foliage changes with the seasons.

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05 of 13

Check Out the Clock Tower and Old City Markets

Jodhpur market.
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A trip to Jodhpur wouldn't be complete without visiting the bustling Old City. Many people choose to stay in this area, too, as some of the best budget hotels in Jodhpur are located there and have fabulous Fort views. The Old City's famous landmark, the clock tower, stands at the heart of it—and it's still working! Next to it, Sadar Market retains a traditional village bazaar feel. It's chaotic and colorful and sells almost everything, including handicrafts, spices, saris, and fabric. If you feel uncomfortable in crowds, you might prefer to take a walking tour rather than explore the market area yourself, as the congestion can be overwhelming. These walking tours offered by Jodhpur Magic and Virasat Experiences are two recommended options.

06 of 13

Dine Overlooking the Step Well

Step well in Jodhpur.

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Makrana Mohalla, Sutharo Ka Bass Rd, Gulab Sagar, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India

An exciting Urban Regeneration Project is being undertaken to transform the Old City into its former glory, but with a vibrant and hip spin. As a result, Jodhpur has a newly restored yet ancient stepwell, located just north of the clock tower. Built in the 1740s and called Toorji ka Jhalra, it sat stagnant for years until the owners of the new heritage boutique RAAS hotel purified the pool and sandblasted the steps. The area has been turned into a contemporary square with cool cafes and shops, including a Good Earth home decor store and a branch of Jaipur-based Gem Palace. A secret door at the RAAS hotel will take you directly to Step Well Square. Step Well Cafe has the same owners as RAAS and provides the best view over the stepwell. It serves Continental and Indian cuisine, plus alcohol. However, its menu is quite limited.

07 of 13

Stroll Along the Streets of the Blue City

Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
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Navchokiya, Ramdeo Ji ka chowk, Navchowkiya, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 98280 32515

Unlike the crowded clock tower area, the blue part of Jodhpur behind the fort, known as Navchokiya, is refreshingly quiet and devoid of tourists. Don't miss spending some time leisurely strolling along its streets. It's also possible to go on a guided walking tour of the area to learn more about it. You can even stay amid the blue houses: Some of the top options in the area are Singhvi's HaveliJewel Palace Haveli, Rani Mahal, and Jaswant Bhawan Homestay.

08 of 13

Tour the Area Around Gulab Sagar

Gulab Sagar, Jodhpur

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About 10 minutes walk north of Toorji ka Jhalra stepwell is Gulab Sagar. This 18th-century lake played an essential role in Jodhpur's traditional water management system. Not only does it provide a superb spot for photographing Mehrangarh Fort in the background, but there are also many interesting step wells and temples hidden in the lanes around it. They include Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra step well and Kunjabihari Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. You can discover them on this Step Wells and Temples walking tour.

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09 of 13

Marvel at Umaid Bhawan Palace

Umaid Bhawan
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Circuit House Rd, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006, India
Phone +91 291 251 0101

Magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace, completed in 1944, was one of India's last grand palaces to be built. The royal family of Jodhpur still occupies a section of it. Most of the remainder has been converted into a luxurious palace hotel, and unfortunately, it's off-limits to anyone who's not staying there. If you can't afford $600 or more per night for a room, you can still get a glimpse inside the palace by having a pricey dinner at one of its restaurants or visiting the museum. The museum mainly displays old photos of the Maharaja and his family. There's a vintage watch and car collection as well. If you're into that kind of thing, it's worthwhile going there. Otherwise, you may be disappointed as you'll get to see very little of the palace.

10 of 13

Take a Cooking Class at Spice Paradise

Indian spices.
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72WF+85V, Clock Tower Rd, Rawaton Ka Bass, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 94609 57995

Spice Paradise is a spice shop run by a kindhearted husband and wife team (their unique masala chai blend has been refined and perfected over the years and is highly recommended). In their humble kitchen, they also conduct Indian cooking classes, which are hugely popular with foreigners. Along with delicious recipes, you'll get to meet a lovely family and gain priceless insight into Indian culture. If you don't have much time in Jodhpur, do book in advance as classes are often full.

11 of 13

Sample Some Indian Sweets

Kachori, Indian snacks.
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3, Nai Sarak, opposite Priya Hotel, Chauraha, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 291 263 6666

If you love not just Indian sweets but all kinds of Indian snacks, you'll want to visit the iconic Janta Sweet Home, renowned for making some of the best treats in Jodhpur. They're fresh and delicious, and the range is vast. Try the Mawa Kachori, a prestigious dish that originated from Jodhpur.​

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Shop at Sambhali Boutique

Sambhali Boutique, Jodhpur
Courtesy of Sambhali Boutique
Bungalow No. 1, A K, N. College Road, Rai Ka Bagh, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
Phone +91 78499 07439

Sambhali Boutique is the perfect place to pick up some high-quality Jodhpur handicrafts and clothing in Indian and Western styles. All products are made by underprivileged women taught and employed by the Sambhali Trust. Items include silk and cotton camels and elephants, block-printed scarves and curtains, and shoulder bags. Custom orders can also be placed.

If you're looking for cheap accommodations, the Sambhali Trust operates from a very charming little guesthouse (the Durag Niwas Guest House) that's a hit with backpackers. Long-term stays with all meals provided are possible.

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13 of 13

Visit Mandore and Mandore Gardens

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923P+244, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342007, India
Phone +91 94140 78789

Mandore was the capital of the Marwar region before Jodhpur was founded, but now it's in a neglected state. There's an old fort, an eclectic collection of temples and cenotaphs, and a small museum in the Mandore Gardens. The gardens are beautiful, albeit unkempt in places, and used as a local picnic spot. They're worth visiting for the fantastic architecture and history of a bygone era. The best time to go is during the week when it's quietest. If you love monkeys, you'll find plenty there! But be careful that they don't snatch your food!

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Top 13 Things to Do in Jodhpur, Rajasthan