Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand 

Tripoto

Winter is the best time to visit Rajasthan. After our short trip to Jaipur, we choose Jodhpur for the long weekend in December. As the city is a popular tourist destination, there are 100's of blogs detailing itineraries and top things to do. This is my take on our 3-day stay in this royal city. The places we visited and how we could have planned better.

We had our own problems along the trip. Our one-year-old decided to be extremely fussy and we failed at planning. And, to complete the picture, my phone had a technical problem and we lost all the pictures clicked (have a few saved on whatsapp).

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand  1/1 by Tales and Miles

Where to Stay:

Jodhpur being a popular destination, there is no dearth of options of stay from haveli styled star hotels comfortable AirBnBs to hostels. We stayed at home stay booked on Agoda.

Mehrangarh Fort:

Day 1

I still remember gazing at the beautiful latticed windows with great joy. (Stone latticework is my favourite architectural thing). And, I remember watching in amazement as hundreds of birds flew to their nests made on the ceilings of the fort in the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. However, for some reason, I found the interiors of the fort, especially the royal chambers, a bit ostentatious. I feel the unimaginable crowd at the fort also added to the mood.

Photo of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Tales and Miles

Honestly, I am ok with Crowds, for I know I am also part of the crowd. But that day, two buses full of school children joined us and took the 'crowd' to a different level. Also, there is a lift to go up directly to the top of the fort instead of walking through the 7 gateways (you can see them on your walk back). So, we opted for the lift as our son was a bit fussy. And, we had to wait for 1.5 hours for our turn.

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

So, my memory of Mehrangarh is mostly, the crowd and waiting for the lift. :(. But the sunset and flight of birds completely made for it.

Jaswanth Thada:

Jaswanth Thada is a memorial built in the 19th century in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It is also used as a cremation ground for the royal families. Interestingly, there is also a memorial to a peacock which supposedly flew into the funeral pyre of a raja.

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

The white marble monument looked charming in the morning sun, with the serene backdrop of the lake and far away hills. I instantly liked the monument and its setting. You can have amazing views of the hill and the lake from the backside of the complex. The tender sun rays and the cool lake breeze added to the beauty.

Rao Jodha Desert Park:

The story behind this desert park is very interesting. This place was earlier full of Baavlia, a shrub native to South America. This is an invasive species which means it spreads easily replacing the native species and is difficult to remove. Now, how did this Baavlia travel all the way from the Americas to Jodhpur? Well, around a century ago, the then Maharaja of Jodhpur was worried that his kingdom was arid and wanted to green the region. Then, he heard of the sturdy Baavlia and dispersed its seeds. Soon, it spread all over taking the place of native plants.

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

So, the ecology experts started the desert park to remove the invasive Baavlia and plant the native plants to restore the natural ecology of the place. It was not an easy task but the desert park is a testament to their success. The park now houses different types of native desert plants and shrubs.

There are interesting walking trails laid out in the park. We wanted to hire a guide, but no guides were available when we went. Also, it was noon time, so we went in for a while and returned without understanding much of the species around us. It would be really interesting to go for a guided walk in the early morning hours when the sun would be less harsh or even a simple morning walk here could be refreshing.

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

This is easily my favourite place in Jodhpur. Crowd, what crowd? This is one place in Jodhpur which can offer you some solace from the crowds.

Day 2

Mandore Gardens:

Mandore is the old capital of Jodhpur kings. The garden houses the old Mandore fort, temples, and memorials dedicated to various Kings of Jodhpur. The ruins have an aloof feel as if they are trying to hide the secrets of their times. The evening sunlight dances rhythmically trying to know the secrets. The open sky and the ruins present a great opportunity for some well-composed pictures. I managed to click some, but we lost them.

The monuments though in ruins are maintained very neatly. But the complex as a whole needs better care. Also, this place is full of monkeys, so be careful.

Osian:

Osian is a small town near Jodhpur famous for its temples and the sand dunes. I was so looking forward to visiting these temples from the moment we planned our Jodhpur trip. I love heritage architecture. The older it is, the better. But, thanks to our planning, we reached Osian late and choose to head to the sand dunes as our driver told we can visit the temples on our way back. By the time we returned, it was almost dark. It was disappointing to miss the temples. From, the little I saw some of the temples are in ruins.

Don't want to say negative things about a place, but we were a bit disappointed with the desert experience. It is not actually a desert as the one you find in Jaisalmer. There are some sand dunes with jeep and camel safari. We did not feel like we were in a desert. Our son had a happy time though playing with the sand and cried his lungs out when we had to leave. But I would like to think that it is because our driver misguided us. I have read great reviews of HACRA DHANI but did not try them personally. So, read well and go planned.

We took a bus from Jodhpur and reached Osian in 2 hours. We were lucky, we spotted black camels on our way. (Sorry, no pictures) I did not even know black camels exist. They looked so graceful.

Day 3

Salawas Village:

We also visited Salawas, a small village around 25 KM from Jodhpur. The village is famous for the beautiful handloom durries (rugs).

We met Mr Usman Gani of Salawas Durry Udyog. He and his son explained the durry making and showed us the weaving. Let me tell you, it is quite a laborious process and demands a lot of attention to details. As per the weaver, it takes anywhere between 2-4 weeks for making one durry depending on the design.

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

Salawas durries are made traditionally from Cotton, Camel Wool, and jute. The durries are weaved so tightly that they can even hold small amounts of water. The price ranges from 3500 to 7000 depending on the size, material, and design of the durry.

There is also a family next door that makes block printed fabrics, bed sheets using the Dabu printing. Dabu comes from the word 'Dabana' which means pressing. The craft is believed to be at least a thousand years old.

Dabu print is nature's own recipe. The tools come from metal and wood, mud acts as dye-resist and the colours are made from natural dyes (Turmeric, red soil, neem, indigo).

Photo of Jodhpur: History, nature, crafts and some sand by Tales and Miles

Isn't it amazing how these families have preserved the century-old crafts?

You can take a bus or hire an uber to reach here.

So, my jodhpur is a mix of amazement, poor planning, and some crowd, Maybe it's time I start planning better. And, what do you think about travelling to popular destinations?

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