8 ways to enhance your Jodhpur experience
Jodhpur is a gateway to the desert circuit of Rajasthan. It is renowned for the Umaid Bhawan Palace and Mehrangarh Fort and many tourists and travel agents perceive Jodhpur as a 1-night transit point between Jaisalmer and Udaipur. However, there is much more to Jodhpur than just a 1-night stay. Let me put down ways to enhance your Jodhpur experience.
1. Heritage Walk in Old City
Jodhpur was founded in the 15th Century and the old city continues to wear the medieval character with narrow bylanes, old shops, stepwells, ancient temples, heritage homes and the imposing Mehrangarh Fort right at the centre. The “Blue City” tag comes from the old city that has houses painted in blue. A heritage walk in the Old City offers travellers a glimpse of the chaotic markets with locals in their colorful attire, street food, craft shops and the charming heritage character of the area. The walk typically lasts for 2 hours and is excellent for street photography and can easily be combined with a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort.
- Try the renowned Makhaniya Lassi and Mirchi Vadas of Jodhpur while on the heritage walk. You may also stop for some refreshments at the unique Stepwell Cafe (next to “The Raas Haveli”).
- It is possible to take a guided cycling tour or a Tuk Tuk tour of the old city instead of a heritage walk.
Stepwells overlooking Stepwell Cafe
2. Old City Dinner
Jodhpur Old City is home to restaurants overlooking the Mehrangarh Fort and dinner overlooking a lit up Mehrangarh is a recommended romantic experience. There are a number of heritage hotels in the Old City that have a rooftop cafes / restaurant overlooking the Mehrangarh Fort that are popular for dinner. The best among them is “Darikhana” at The Raas Haveli where you can see the illuminated fort above and the candlelit Haveli courtyard below.
3. Village Safaris
A half-day village safari is a one of its kind experience involving drives on a 4WD jeep through the rustic countryside to visit craft villages of Salawas (weavers village – renowned for their rugs and carpets), Kakani (Potters and Block Printers Village) and Bishnoi Village of Guda (to sight wildlife such as black bucks, chinkaras, blue bulls, desert foxes and migratory birds) alongwith a visit to the Bishnoi families. The safari is excellent for rural countryside photography where you can be completely away from tourists.
Tip: Try taking the village safari in the second half of the day ending with a traditional sit-down village style dinner at one of the en-route villages.
4. Desert Dinner Experience
Osiyan (60 kms from Jodhpur) is renowned for its Osiyaji Temple and Jain Temple Ruins. However, what makes Osiyan an attraction are its sand dunes. It is popular for guests staying in Jodhpur (especially those who are not visiting Jaisalmer) to visit one of the camps set up in the evenings for a camel ride on the dunes for sunset views, followed by a camp dinner over a traditional Rajasthani dance performance.
5. Horse / Camel Safaris with Overnight Camping
Areas around Jodhpur are renowned for their horse safaris where the idea is to explore the countryside, villages and farms on a horseback. You eventually arrive at a campsite for an overnight stay for a campfire, barbecue and some traditional entertainment. A mobile camel camp would take you to remote villages and here, the camp is set up around a village for an evening full of fun and entertainment. This is definitely recommended for a group of family and friends to enjoy and experience a unique desert village experience.
6. Zipline Experience
Zipline is a must-do experience for young adults and all adventure travellers between the age of 10 and 50. Here, you fly high over Rajasthan’s most majestic fortress, the Mehrangarh Fort, glide over its two desert lakes, trek through the Rao Jodha eco-park and enjoy the best view of Mehrangarh and the Blue City of Jodhpur, that most other tourists miss. The entire experience takes approximately 90 minutes, which includes a safety brief & assessment, practice zip, and short walks between each zip.
7. Experiential Village Stay
The villages around Jodhpur are renowned for offering experiential stays to travellers. Here, you live like a villager, interact with villagers, engage in wide-ranging experiences and dine with the villagers. There are some authentic village stays around Jodhpur that offer simple living and a genuinely warm hospitality experience. A village stay offers superb photography opportunity of rural India alongwith some countryside walks, bird watching and arts & craft exploration.
Tip: Chhotaram Prajapat Homestay is one of the best rated village stays (at Salawas – 22 kms from Jodhpur).
8. Experiential Heritage Stay
There are a number of celebrated experiential heritage hotels within 50 kms radius of Jodhpur which are best recommended for experiential travellers and those arriving for special occasions and looking for a memorable experience. Here, you experience Rajasthan unlike the typical tourist destinations. You explore the countryside, enjoy warm Rajasthani hospitality and cuisine, enjoy entertainment and explore wide-ranging experiences, while being completely away from tourists.
Tip: Rohetgarh and Fort Chanwa Luni are the two most renowned experiential stays around Jodhpur. Mihir Garh is rated as one of the most luxurious and romantic stays by magazines world over and is one of the sought after stays for luxury travellers / special occasions.