Jodhpur: Short Guide to India's Beautiful Blue City
Last year, I created a popular post about traveling solo in Jaipur, AKA the pink city and meant to create a follow-up post about Jodhpur, but I totally forgot! In any case, here’s a quick post on what you should know about visiting the blue city.
Jodhpur is also located in the state of Rajasthan and isn’t too far from Jaipur. However, the cities have completely different vibes. The most obvious difference is the color of the buildings. Jodhpur is distinctly blue everywhere you go. It is also sometimes referred to as “the Sun City” because it’s known for having warmer weather year-round. I’m not sure why the buildings are all painted blue, but one theory suggests that it helps keep temperatures down in the city’s perpetually warm climate.
Another theory of Jodhpur’s blueness is that this color is, according to the Times of India, ‘closely associated with Brahmins, India’s priestly caste.’
If you don’t know, the Brahmins were at the top of Indias now antiquated caste system. Although there are now laws which have abolished discrimination of caste as of India’s independence in 1947, classist and/or elitist attitudes are still largely present throughout society.
Getting to Jodhpur
The main railway station in Jodhpur is Jodhpur Junction. You can book tickets to/from the station using the IRCTC website, but you’ll need to create a username and password. The site can be a bit confusing and to be honest, I was never able to get a handle on it. If you are already in India, my suggestion would be to visit a ticket shop. There are many scattered throughout the major cities. The main thing is to make sure you get a receipt and a ticket that correctly states all of your information. This is just to ensure that you don’t find yourself in a scam situation. It is also relatively easy to get there by bus, although I would not recommend doing this for time periods over two hours, it’s an experience, albeit a very uncomfortable one.
Tips on Exploring the Jodhpur | The Blue City
Mehrangarh Fort is the top tourist destination in Jodhpur and for good reason. The architecture is exquisite, particularly the latticework windows. When you visit, be sure to get the audio guide as it gives a lot of useful information on the history of the fort and all of its rooms open to the public. More information on visiting Mehrangarh can be found here.
Sunrise and Sunset Walks - Finding the Ultimate Cityscape View of Jodhpur
By far my favorite part of visiting Jodhpur was getting to experience it from above. Unfortunately, I have no clue how I got to these view points, as I was with a guide who knew how to best navigate the windy alleyways of the city. I can give a rough idea of where they were located.
These photos were taken at sunrise and was close to the base of Mehrangarh Fort.
Singhoria Hill: Jodhpur’s Sunset Spot
After some Googling and looking at my saved spots, I figured out that the below photos were taken at a spot known as Singhoria Hill.
Singhoria Hill was one of the places I got to see the sunset from. It kind of reminded me of the Great Wall of China. Don’t ask me how to get there because I couldn’t tell you! Here is a pin-drop location saved from my Google Maps.
The #1 Food to Eat in Jodhpur: Omelette Shop
Surprisingly, the recommended food-to-try in Jodhpur was not a curry dish or samosa, but an omelette. The place that I went to was literally called “Omelette Shop” which is as straightforward as it gets. This particular place was located just behind Jodhpur’s famous Clock Tower. Because I was there a year ago, I don’t remember exactly what I ordered, but I remember it being very greasy, cheesy, and delicious. Since I didn’t take any photos of it, these pictures and reviews from TripAdvisor will have to do. This place might look very no-frills, but it is extremely popular as is evident from the number of tourists waiting in line for orders and the lack of seating. It’s great as a grab-and-go snack on your way up to / down from Mehrangarh Fort.
What to Buy: Handmade Goods & Embroidered Textiles
Around the Jodhpur’s Clock Tower, you’ll see tons of markets and shops selling embroidered and handmade goods. If you’re in this area, you’re bound to walk through Sadar Market. Keep your eye out for small shops selling cheap leather goods. I think I bought a leather bag here for around USD $8. Be sure to bargain so you don’t end up paying the tourist price. Another markets that I did not go to but heard about was Sojati Gate Market (famous for Henna designs, bangles, and antique goods).
Same as most places in India: Tuk-Tuk, Uber or Ola (India's Uber), or walking. In Jodhpur, I would just suggest walking as the alleyways are extremely narrow in some parts making it pretty unlikely that a cab would be able to get through.
Take a Break: Stepwell Cafe
As I mentioned in my Jaipur post, there are a few famous stepwells scattered throughout the state of Rajasthan. In Jodhpur, there was a mini one, and right above it was the Stepwell Cafe. It was in a highly-trafficked touristy area (close to the Omelette Shop), but nevertheless, a sweet spot to take a break and escape from the noisiness of Jodhpur’s never-ending honking noises.
Here’s a short video diary of my trip in Jodhpur (taken on iPhone 7+):
A Note On Solo Travel in India / Dress Code for Women:
I truly believe that women can and should be able to travel on their own. The world is still a bit slower to put men and women on the same plane of equality, and this is still blatantly apparent in many countries around the world. India is no exception.
Personally speaking, I didn’t experience much sexism to my knowledge while traveling alone in India. I did receive some unwanted advances, but that happens everywhere, and not just in India. To respect the culture, it’s expected for women to cover up their shoulders, chests, arms, and legs with loose-fitting attire so as not to draw unwanted attention. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to purchase inexpensive cover-ups all over the country. It’s really easy to find clothing and textiles in places like Jaipur and New Delhi, but in Jodhpur you’re more likely to find hand-crafted and/or embroidered goods. Typically speaking, Jodhpur is not often the first spot that tourists go to on a trip in India, therefore, I would recommend purchasing appropriate clothing either before you arrive there or in another city beforehand. You can, of course, find appropriate clothing there, but it might be more expensive there.
I didn’t really explore outside of the old city area, so this is just a brief overview of the highlights in a very touristy area of Jodhpur. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed it!
P.S. - If you enjoyed this post, check out my travel tips for visiting Jaipur.