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The Blue City of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is the second biggest city and is on the edge of Thar Desert. It was established by Rao Jodha, in the 15th century and has become the largest and the most progressive of the Rajput states. In Jodhpur, the genius of the sculptors comes to life, in its exquisite palaces, forts, temples and havelis which stand as a testimony to the imperial grandeur. The most alluring part of Jodhpur, is the traditional lifestyle, festivity and the smiling people, who treasure this former Princely state. Jodhpur, the land of royalty, is a glittering jewel set in the golden sands of barren desert landscape.

History : Set at the edge of the Thar desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the Marwar state, it was founded in 1459 A.D. by Rao Jodha-chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama - the epic hero of the Ramayana. The massive 15th century A.D. Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 Mts. Above the plains. The city is encompassed by a high wall -10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions. A major trade centre of the 16th century A.D. the fortress-city of Jodhpur is now the second largest city of Rajasthan.

Places to See in Jodhpur :

Jaswant Thada : A cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble, was built in 1899 A.D., in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The royal crematorium, follows a short distance from the fort and the cenotaph, just off the fort road. Within the fort, are cenotaphs of various Jodhpur rulers. There is some beautiful marble jali (lattice)work and fine views from the terrace, in front of the cenotaph.

Mandore Garden : Situated 9km north of Jodhpur, Mandore was the capital of Marwar, prior to the foundation of Jodhpur. This ancient capital of Marwa, has cenotaphs of the Jodhpur rulers. The Hall of Heroes, has fifteen figures carved out of rock, on the wall, which represent Hindu deities. Today, its extensive gardens with high rock terraces, make it a popular local attraction and a popular picnic spot. The gardens also contain the cenotaphs of Jodhpur rulers, including the soaring memorial to Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit Singh.

Osiyan : The ancient Thar Desert town of Osiyan, 65km north of Jodhpur, was a great trading centre between the 8th and 12th centuries ,when the Jains dominated it. A 58km oasis in the desert, Osiyan is situated on the diversion, off the main Jodhpur-Bikaner Highway. Osian has 15 beautifully sculpted Jain and

Brahmanical Temples : The wealth of Osiyans medieval inhabitants, allowed them to build lavish and exquisitely sculptured temples, most of which have withstood the ravages of time. The sculptural detail on the Osiyan temples, rivals that of the Hoysala temples of Karnataka and the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa.

Nagaur : It is the venue for a weeklong cattle fair, held in Jan/ Feb every year. Nagaur's fort palace, temples and havelis enliven the dull stretch of desert. Akbar built a mosque here, and there is a shrine of the disciple of Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer. It also has an imposing fort, with beautiful murals. It is now being restored with help, from the Paul Getty Foundation. The fort also has excellent wall paintings and interesting ancient systems of rainwater conservation and storage, ably explained by a very knowledgeable curator.

Mehrangarh Fort : Still run by the maharaja of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh , the Majestic Fort, is 5 km. long, on a 125 meter high hill and is one of the most impressive and formidable structure. The gates, of which there are seven, include the Jayapol, built by Maharaja Mansingh in 1806, following his victory over the armies of Jaipur and Bikaner, and the Fatehpol, or Victory Gate, erected by Maharaja Ajit Singh to commemorate his defeat of the Mughals. The final gate is the Lohapol, or Iron Gate, beside which are 15 hand prints, the sati (self-immolation) marks of Maharaja Man Singhs widows, who threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843. They still attract devotional attention and are usually covered in red powder. Within the fort, are some of the magnificient palaces with marvelously carved panels, latticed windows and evocative names.

Umaid Bhawan Palace : Constructed of marble and pink sandstone this immense palace is also known as the Chhittar Palace because it uses local Chittar sandstone. Begun in 1929, it was designed by president of the British Royal Institute of Architects for Maharaja Umaid Singh and took 15 years to complete. Probably the most surprising thing about this grandiose palace is that it was built so close to Independence, after which Maharajas and their grand extravagances were a thing of the past. Umaid Singh died in 19478, four years after the palace was completed; the current Maharaja Gaj Singh II, still lives in part of the building. The rest has been converted into a hotel.

Museum : The museum has fine collection of sculptures, weapons and stuffed animals, including almost featherless desert birds in two glass cases. The military section includes wooden biplane models.

Bal Samand Lake : A pretty lake with a pleasure or summer palace, the Balsamand palace, on its banks. These are built around the artificial lake constructed in 1159 AD.

Luni Fort : Fort Chanwa of Luni is an exceptional example of Elegance and Symmetry in Indian architecture of the last century. The entire fortress is carved out of the famous red sandstone of Jodhpur and with its ornately carved lattice work friezes and intricate Jherokas it exquisitely captures the romance and grace of a bygone age. The Fort is composed of a lyrical complex of courtyards, towers, water-wheels, stables, passages and unexpected stairways to secret pavilions and panoramic roof tops spanning the village below and the Thar horizon beyond. The traditional paintings on the walls harmoniously reflect the skill of the master craftsmen and the bygone days.

How to Reach Jodhpur :

By Air : Jodhpur is well connected to all the major cities which includes Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Jaipur, Udaipur.

By Bus : Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe & air conditioned buses from Delhi (Bikaner House, Nr. India Gate) to Jodhpur. The roads are very good, and it takes around 8-9 hrs from Jodhpur. You can also come by taxi.

By Rail : Jodhpur is on the Broad Gauge and hence connected to all the metro cities of India. There are daily trains from Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata.

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