The blue city of Jodhpur conjured up fascinating pictures in my imagination before visiting. I mean, it’s a BLUE city!! How cool is that? After being completely enthralled by the atmosphere of the Pink City of Jaipur, and enchanted by the desert life surrounding the Gold City of Jaisalmer, I was excited to explore Jodhpur.
It’s totally possible to see all the best places to visit in Jodhpur in two days. Jodhpur is a moderately sized Rajasthan city of around a million people. Surprisingly, it still retains a ‘bit’ of a small town feel, as much as a city of a million can. It’s easy to walk within the center of town, and anything that isn’t within walking distance is a short rickshaw ride away. The compact nature means you can cover a lot of ground in a short time, and hit up all the best things to see in Jodhpur.
Jodhpur is known as the “Blue City” because many of the houses in the old part of Jodhpur are painted a beautiful Brahmin Blue. Brahmin are the religious caste of society and painted their houses blue to differentiate themselves. Historically, the Jodhpur prince invited many Brahmin’s to live in his city because he thought it would protect them from intruders. He figured invaders wouldn’t dare mess with holy men! I don’t actually know whether this worked or not, but it left a legacy that remains to this day. How can you pass up visiting a blue city?!?!
I have to admit that after visiting Jaisalmer, Jodhpur didn’t charm me the way I hoped it would. Of all the places to visit, Jodhpur was my least favourite in Rajasthan. Some people will likely disagree with this, but that’s what makes travel so interesting! We’re all different and we all like different things.
Even though I didn’t fall in love with the city itself, we had some great adventures during our visit. You’ll hit all my recommended things to do in Jodhpur with this two day itinerary. It’s not exhaustive, but it’ll give you the best the Blue City has to offer in a short time.
Day One – Places To Visit In Jodhpur in One Day
You can easily tick off the best places to see in Jodhpur in one action-packed day. The combination of the morning heritage walk, and spending some time watching life go by at the clock tower will provide a pretty good feel for the city as well.
Blue City Walks Morning Heritage Walk
We started our day with a phenomenal walking tour with Blue City Walks. After a bit of confusion over the meeting place (just use the GPS location they provide. It’s not rocket science, I was just over-thinking it!!), we began our walk at Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park. The sun had just risen, and the light was beautiful. Govind was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide. We learned about the creation of the park, and how it’s being used to re-introduce native plants to the area.
We walked around the Queen’s private stepwell without another soul in site, then left the tranquility of the park for the busy Indian streets. However, in the early hours of the morning, the streets weren’t that busy! There were a few dogs we quickly skirted around, and the odd passing motorbike, but it actually wasn’t that frantic.
Govind shared a staggering amount of information as we wandered the quiet side-streets of the Blue City. There are many places in Jodhpur where you can see the blue houses, but deep in the local neighbourhoods, with a passionate, local guide, is definitely the best way to do it.
Once we were in the middle of the old city, we stopped for home-made breakfast at a 450year old Haveli. It was delicious!! While breakfast was being prepared, we enjoyed the spectacular view from the rooftop terrace. I loved seeing all the blue houses in Jodhpur from a birds-eye view. The entire city was dotted with azur-blue buildings, with the highest concentration being right in the centre. There were monkeys crawling all over the neighbouring houses. Being from Canada, I’ll never get over seeing monkeys in the middle of the city!!
Crowding around the small table, devouring a variety of hot-off-the-pan paratha, was one of my favourite moments in Jodhpur. It was a real, authentic, local experience. Did I mention the parathas were to-die-for?
After breakfast, we continued our walk through the streets, finally ending up at one of the oldest sweet shops in town. Jodhpur is famous for it’s sweets, and it was so nice to try a variety with someone who could actually tell us what we were eating!
Lunch (or a decent coffee) near the Clock Tower Jodhpur
After our walk we were too full of sweets to eat lunch, but I was desperate for a good coffee to wash it all down! One of the best places in Jodhpur for a coffee, is Cafe Royale. It’s right beside the clock tower, has excellent coffee, and an even better view. (And, if by some miracle you’re still hungry, there’s a small food menu as well!)
People watching around the clock tower in Jodhpur is fantastic! I loved sitting on the sidewalk, watching tourists and locals mingle in an almost-choreographed pattern. The wave of people would ebb and flow. It was crazy busy at one moment, then completely quiet the next. I waited long enough to snap a quick pic of the clock tower completely unobstructed (except the horse, of course!).
The area surrounding the clock tower is also a great place to do a bit of sidewalk shopping. There’s everything from flip-flops and sari’s, to electronics and housewares. We were pulled in by all the pretty colours, and ended up buying each of us girls a scarf. I’m not sure who had a better experience negotiating over the scarves, the girls or the lovely lady selling them (they’re totally becoming pros at negotiating and do a way better job than I do)!
Tip: If you’re in need of a bathroom break at this point, there is a public toilet just east of the clock tower. It wasn’t incredibly clean, and you’ll need to bring your own toilet paper, but if you’ve been in India for a while it won’t shock you!
Afternoon Visit to Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur
There are so many forts in Rajasthan it’s impossible to visit them all. Amongst these are a few that absolutely shouldn’t be missed, and Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is one of them. This imposing fort in Jodhpur is perched on a small mountain right in the middle of the city, keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding countryside (that is, if you’re able to see through the smog!).
I can imagine invaders approaching this area centuries ago, and being quite intimidated by the looming fort perched above a sea of Brahmin blue houses. As you get closer, the fort gets bigger. It has a larger than life feel to it, and seems to just grow right out of the mountain.
The foundations for Mehrangarh fort were started in 1459 by Rao Jodha, for whom the city of Jodhpur was named. The massive rock upon which the fort is built provided a phenomenal strategic location overlooking potential invaders in the surrounding countryside.
The fort was continuously built-up, and added onto, all the way until the 20th century. If you’re a history or architect buff, I highly recommended getting the audioguide for your visit (it’s included with the ticket). I appreciated just looking at all the wonderful buildings, but if I was on my own I would’ve enjoyed knowing what I was looking at!
It’s easy to spend a couple hours here if you have the time and and want to visit the museum. It’s also possible to wander around the fort without going inside the museum section. This was initially my plan, but as per usual it didn’t turn out as I’d expected!
I’d read that it wasn’t necessary to buy tickets, that we’d be able to just walk in and meander through the fort. Upon entering, however, we were stopped and told we HAD to buy tickets, so we did.
In fact, we didn’t really need the tickets. They aren’t needed to wander around the fort. They’re only necessary if you want to visit the museum interior. If you’re easily guilted into things like me, I’d recommend walking up to the ticket room, stopping inside for a moment, then walking out again. This way the random Indians hanging around the entrance won’t question you. I’ve been told it was perfectly acceptable to NOT purchase a ticket (and not enter the museum), but I figured for the $10CAD it was a small amount and hopefully is used to maintain this incredible structure.
Since we had the tickets, we visited the interior of the museum. It was enjoyable, and different from what we’d seen in both Jaipur and Jaisalmer! The museum has a rather large collection of Rajasthan artwork, textiles, furnishings, armour, and all sorts of other things from past Rajput royal life. There are also incredible views of the city from some of the upper rooms in the Museum.
Dinner Near the Stepwell with a view of the fort
I saw a picture of the Toor Ji Ki Bawari Stepwell on instagram a few weeks before our visit, and I knew I had to visit! It was one of my must-see places in Jodhpur. The Queen’s stepwell near the palace was neat, but nothing compared to this giant stepwell in the middle of town.
A stepwell is essentially a giant, man-made pond in the middle of the city. They served multiple purposes in the past, but at their core they were a water source for the city during the dry months. They were also places for social gatherings, bathing and escaping the unbearably hot temperatures. Many were surrounded by trees, providing shade. Although they’re not generally used as a water source anymore, it’s not uncommon to see teenagers swimming in stepwells, even to this day.
We really enjoyed exploring the stepwell in the late afternoon as the sun was setting. It was so calm, peaceful, and relatively cool. A few tourists and locals milled about, reading, visiting, or just contemplating life. It may have been more lively earlier in the afternoon, but I enjoyed the serenity of that moment.
After checking out the stepwell, we went to a nearby restaurant for a delicious dinner with an incredible night-time view of the fort. Our pick was Panorama 360, and I’d highly recommend it. We searched out a few other restaurants, but this one was the busiest, which I always take as a good sign! Dinner was incredible, and eating it with a view of the fort was a perfect ending to our first day in Jodhpur.
Day Two – Places To Visit Around Jodhpur
After checking off the major attractions in Jodhpur (that I wanted to see) on Day One, we decided to head out of town for our second day in Jodhpur. When I initially researched things to do in Jodhpur I came across the idea of a Bishnoi Village Safari in the India Lonely Planet book. I knew it needed to be on our Jodhpur itinerary!
Bishnoi Village Jodhpur
There are many places near Jodhpur where you can do a Bishnoi safari, and after some online research I settled on a half day tour with Bishnoi Village Safari. We were picked up at our accommodation, jumped in the back of a Jeep, put on our sweaters (it was a bit chilly in the breeze) and set off out of town. It wasn’t long before we were on the lookout for wildlife on the side of the road. After spotting Peacocks, Blackbucks and antelope, we set off towards the villages.
Each village in the Bishnoi area is centred around a specific craft. We tried our hand on a manual pottery wheel at the potters village, did some shopping at the block printing village, and watched a weaving demonstration in the weaver’s village of Salawas.
Salawas was the home of our guide’s family. We visited their multi generation house and enjoyed a home-cooked meal. One of my favourite parts of the day was sitting on the floor in the little kitchen, watching the ladies cook lunch. The girls played in the yard with the other kids, and we attempted a rudimentary hand-signal conversation with our guide’s sister-in-law.
The family also has a homestay. Had I known this ahead of time we definitely would’ve spent the night! Of all the places to see near Jodhpur, this one offers an authentic experience and gives back to the local community. It’s the perfect combination in my mind!
Dinner at Bal Samand Lake Palace
After a bumpy ride back into town, it was time for a bit of relaxation. Since we’d enjoyed wandering around the gardens of the Mandir Palace in Jaisalmer, we decided it was worth heading to Bal Samand Lake Palace in Jodhpur.
We arrived at the palace grounds in a Rickshaw, which I guarantee is not the usual way people show up here! The gardens are beautiful and we enjoyed wandering around in quiet shade, watching the birds and monkeys play in the trees. Our plan was to have a BBQ dinner at Kebab Corner restaurant, but it didn’t open until 7pm.
Instead, we settled on a light supper from the Garden restaurant. We were the only people there at the time, if you don’t count the monkeys!! Dinner was delicious and relaxing, although quite expensive!!
Places To See in Jodhpur With More Than Two Days
It’s obviously not possible to check off all the places to visit in Jodhpur in 2 days. If you have more time, here are a few more great activities to fill your time. Or, if you’re not interested in the Bishnoi safari, here’s a few other places to see in Jodhpur on Day 2.
Jaswant Thada is a beautiful marble mausoleum in the outskirts of the city of Jodhpur. It’s the resting place of many of the Maharajas, and set in a peaceful garden. It’s possible to get a guide here, which is highly recommended if you’re interested in learning about the history of the Jodhpur rulers.
Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is the official palace in Jodhpur, and was the last royal residence built in India before independence. It’s also one of the most famous places in Jodhpur because it’s one of the largest royal residences in the world! The Jodhpur royal family still resides in a portion of the palace, while the rest of the Palace has been converted into a hotel and museum.
The Palace was commissioned by the Maharajah during a drought to provide employment to the farmers so they wouldn’t starve. I’m not sure if this was a noble gesture or just a good excuse to build a palace! Nevertheless it fulfilled it’s mission of providing employment to the unemployed during a time of need.
Mehrangarh at Night
Mehrangarh Fort is likely the best place to visit in Jodhpur, so why not visit at night! It’s possible to take a night tour of the fort with the Museum curator. This isn’t something we did, but it sounded fascinating. I would’ve loved to fit this in if we had more time!
Flying Fox Zipline Adventure
Another one of the things to do in Jodhpur India that I would’ve loved to do, was the zipline course with Flying Fox. Kacela actually spied it first and was begging to go ziplining, however the minimum height is 4’7″ so it wasn’t possible. The zipline course is set up by the fort, and offers incredible views over the city.
What You Need To Know Before Visiting Jodhpur
Where To Stay – Hotels in Jodhpur
Where We Stayed: Travellers Hostel Jodhpur
I was looking for a hostel in Jodhpur similar to Wanderlust Guesthouse in Jaisalmer, and unfortunately I didn’t find it! This hostel was quite well rated on booking.com, however it didn’t live up to it’s rating (imo). The room was pleasant enough, but the bunk beds were quite squeaky and there were frosted windows that let in quite a bit of light and noise.
In this case I wouldn’t recommend where we stayed for a family, but it’s still rated really well for backpackers!! It’s not one of the best hotels in Jodhpur.
Cost: 1900 rupees ($38 CAD) for family room with private bathroom. Here are my recommendations instead:
Budget Hotel Jodhpur
Namaste Caffe – Big rooms in an incredible location close to the fort. The rooftop terrace offers a phenomenal view and you have the option of fan or A/C. (No family rooms available)
Check the prices for Namaste Caffe on Hotels Combined.
Jaswant Niwas – Beautiful, clean rooms with a welcoming host.
Check the prices for Jaswant Niwas on Hotels Combined.
High End (Big Splurge!!) Hotel
Umaid Bhawan Palace – This is the ultimate of the luxury hotels in Jodhpur, because really, who doesn’t want to sleep in the royal residence for a night at least once in their life!!
Check the price for Umaid Bhawan Palace on Hotels Combined.
Where To Eat in Jodhpur
The location of this little cafe, right across from the clock tower, is perfect. It’s a good place for great coffee, and to sit and people-watch in the square.
Cost: 420rupees ($8.40CAD) for 2 coffees and 2 juice
Indigo Haveli (you can also stay here)
This is a traditional, 450 year old haveli with incredibly friendly owners. Both the husband and wife are certified guides in the city and can take you on a tour of the fort. Whether you choose to just have breakfast, a tour, or stay at their homestay, you’ll enjoy it! When we get back to Jodhpur, we’ll definitely spend a night or two at Indigo Haveli, and eat their delicious homemade breakfast!
The food was delicious, and made even better by the incredible view over the fort as the sun set and the lights came on. The location beside the Stepwell is also incredibly convenient, although you’ll likely have to walk around the block to find a rickshaw to drive you home.
Cost: 1060 rupees ($21.20CAD) for 2 large platters (enough to feed our whole family)
Bal Samand Lake Palace
The food was delicious, although it was quite expensive. The location was peaceful and relaxing, and I’d recommend stopping by for a snack if you want a break from the noise and dirtiness of the city.
Cost: 3500INR ($70CAD) for a light meal with a glass of wine, a beer, water and lemonade for the girls.
Sparrow Pizzeria (Where NOT to eat!)
The girls wanted pizza so we searched for a decent place for pizza and found this restaurant. The location was great, set in a small garden with lots of shade. The pizza was not very good, and the margarita was undrinkable! The girl’s mac & cheese was decent, but I wouldn’t go back.
Cost: 820 rupees ($16.40 CAD) for a margarita pizza, mac & cheese, water, a beer and a margarita (drink).
What To Do in Jodhpur
Blue City Walks
If you want to see the Jodhpur blue houses beyond the usual tourist track, the Blue City Morning Heritage tour is the walking tour you want to join! Govind was a passionate guide, and unbelievably knowledgeable about the city and the blue houses. They also have a number of other tours, including a food walk which I’m sure would be absolutely fantastic!
Cost: 650 rupees ($13 CAD) per person, Kids 10 & under free
Haveli breakfast during the walk – Cost: 250 rupees ($5 CAD) per person, kids 10 & under free
In my opinion it’s impossible to visit Jodhpur without visiting Mehangarh Fort. We almost skipped it but I’m SO glad we didn’t! The view over the city is incredible, and the museum collection is quite extensive. Plus, the architecture of the building is simply stunning, and enjoyable to just look at. Open 9am – 5pm.
Cost: 600 rupees ($12 CAD) per person, including audio guide (kids free). Camera fee 100 rupees ($2 CAD). They’ll only check the camera ticket inside the museum.
Mehangarh Fort also offers a night tour that’s worth looking into as well. Time: 6:00-7:00pm & 7:00-8:00pm
Bishnoi Village Jodhpur
I highly recommend the half day trip or an overnight stay in the village of Salawas. This is one of those cultural experiences that you just don’t find in a busy city! You can find the guide we used here at Bishnoi Village Safari.
Cost: 1000 rupees ($20CAD) per person, including lunch. Kids paid a slightly reduced rate (we paid 3700 rupees/$74 CAD for 2 adults and 2 kids ages 5 & 7)
If you enjoy wandering around graveyards and mausoleums, this is definitely worth fitting into your itinerary. It’s set a little ways out of town, but is peaceful and full of beautiful architecture and fascinating history. Open 8am – 5pm.
Cost: 30 rupees ($0.60 CAD) for adults and children. Camera fee: 25 rupees ($5 CAD)
Umaid Bhawan Palace
It’s worth visiting just to explore the palace grounds, and marvel at the splendour of this incredible building. The museum is just a side-benefit! Open 10am-4:30pm
Cost: 100 rupees ($2 CAD) for adults, 10 rupees ($0.20CAD) for kids 5-11 years.
Flying Fox Zipline
If you’re adventurous, or looking for an alternative view of Jodhpur, check out Flying Fox Zipline! There are 6 ziplines and it takes between 45min and 1.5hrs. The minimum height is 4’7″, although there’s no minimum age, this eliminates a lot of kids. Anyone under the age of 18years has to have parental consent. Anyone under the age of 16years has to have a parent join them on the course.
Cost: 1999 rupees ($40 CAD) per adult, 1699 rupees ($34 CAD) per child.
How To Get To Jodhpur
- Plane – Jet Airways and Air India operate out of Jodhpur, with 2 destinations, Delhi and Mumbai.
- Train – This is the easiest way to visit Jodhpur as the train network in India is extensive. The main station is Jodhpur Junction (JU). I always prefer to take trains where I’m at least starting or ending at the terminus, as I find it WAY less stressful! Jodhpur is the terminus station for Delhi, Indore, Bandra, Jaisalmer, Varanasi, Jaipur, Chennai Egmore, Haridwar, Ahmedbad and many more. If you’re looking for a route, check the NDTV website. It has the easiest to read listing of all trains going to and from Jodhpur (or anywhere else in India!) You can also head straight to the IRCTC to book.
- Bus – The bus is the most cost-effective way to travel around India, and getting to Jodhpur is no exception. There are a number of different bus classes; A/C, non-A/C, sleeper, normal seats, 2+1 configuration, 2+2 configuration, and all different combos of these. Although we never used buses in India (I love the train!!), many travellers we met used and recommended Go Bibo for online booking.
- Private Car – If you’re traveling as a group or a family, a private car and driver can be a cost-effective and convenient way to get to, or from, Jodhpur. It’s more common to book a car/driver for a multi-day trip, but it’s also possible to book a one-way transfer. There are a number of companies offering this service out of Jodhpur, and multiple online websites to broker this if you don’t want to just ask on the street. Make My Trip is one of the most common booking sites for transport in India, and it also offers a cab section! It’s also possible to book intercity rides within India with Ola.
How To Get Around in Jodhpur
- Walk – The centre of Jodhpur is very easily walkable, although it can be pretty hot!
- Ola – India has it’s own version of Uber, called Ola. I highly recommend downloading the app before you go! Uber doesn’t work in Jodhpur (at the time of writing), so make sure you have Ola!! Ola drivers are less competent than Uber drivers with using the map to pick you up. Be prepared to have the Ola driver call you to find out where you are, and then have your map open to direct them where to go.
- Taxi, etc – Regular taxi’s operate in Jodhpur, as well as the usual rickshaw, cyclo, camel (just joking!!). I found the rickshaw to be the most common (you can also call a rickshaw on Ola!). Even if I was just going to flag one down on the street, I’d still check the Ola app so I’d know what price to negotiate. I was usually okay paying slightly more than Ola price for the convenience of not waiting.
- Shared taxi – If you’re looking to minimize costs and are ok riding in a cab with strangers, Ola offers ride sharing within Jodhpur.
Bonus! Tips for Visiting Jodhpur With Kids
- There are surprisingly few budget accommodation options in Jodhpur with family rooms. If you’re traveling cheap, you might need to settle for a not-so-great room, stuff a family of 4 (or more) into a triple room, or just resign yourself to 2 separate rooms and split up for the night.
- If you go on the Bishnoi safari, be aware that it’s typical for everyone to sit in the back of the jeep (likely for better wildlife spotting). It can get cold and bumpy back there, so bring a jacket or sweater, and have your kids sit beside you so you can keep them from jostling around too much. If you’re worried about it, you can always have your kids sit in the cab with the driver.
- At the Jodhpur Stepwell, take a deep breath and try not to over-parent!! I had a minor heart attack watching the girls jump up and down the stairs. The stairs are relatively steep. Thankfully, they can both swim, but I was still worried about them smashing their heads open on the tumble down the stairs into the water! Assess your kids ability and give them some freedom, using your own judgement and common sense!
- If you don’t do the Blue City Walking tour, make sure you still head to Rao Jodha Desert rock park. It’s great to let the kids run free without any worries of them running into traffic, other people, or cows!
- As in most places in India, most kinds of animals can be found in the streets. I actually didn’t find Jodhpur to be as “busy” as Jaisalmer, but there were still goats, donkeys, cows and camels. One thing there also WAS…lots of dogs. I mean, LOTS of dogs!! This was especially evident around the center of town near the clock tower and the fort. Talk to your kids about the importance of not touching the dogs, especially if they don’t have their rabies jab.
- The old city is such a cool place to wander with kids. There are so many “secret” alleyways and tiny little streets. Download an offline map on your phone, and don’t be afraid to get lost!
- The Best Places To Visit in Jaisalmer in 2 or 4 days
- A Jaisalmer Desert Safari
- Visiting Jaisalmer with Kids
- Things To Do in Jaipur with Kids
- Family Travel in India
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