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Jodhpur, a historic town- same day sightseeing

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Stop At: Mehrangarh Fort, Fort Rd., Jodhpur 342006 India

Mehrangarh Fort & Museum:
"The work of angels, fairies and giants . . . he who walks through it loses sense of being among buildings; it as though he walked through mountain gorges . . ." wrote Rudyard Kipling in 1899. Little has changed since then, and for many this looming 15th-century edifice to Rajput valor is still Rajasthan's most impressive fort, with walls that soar like sheer cliffs 120m (400 ft.) high, literally dwarfing the city at its base, and a proud history of never having fallen to its many invaders. Once at the top, you enjoy not only the most spectacular view, but you enter one of India's finest museums, with a rich collection of palanquins, royal cradles, miniature paintings, musical instruments, costumes, furniture, and armor. Every room is worth exploring (allow at least 2 hr.), but among the highlights are the gorgeous royal chamber where the Maharaja entertained his 30-plus wives (we're not even counting concubines); Moti Mahal, featuring the throne on which every Marwar Maharaja has been crowned; and Phool Mahal, the "dancing hall" with its pure gold ceiling. A massive silk and velvet tent, taken from Emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi, is a vivid illustration of the superlative wealth and decadent pomp with which the Rathore rulers lived. After visiting the courtyard of Chamunda (Sun Goddess) Temple (remember to remove your shoes), take the lane that leads to the left to view what is apparently among the rarest collections of cannons in India -- again, the view alone is worth it. There is a very good museum shop (look for the exquisite silk and chiffon fabrics made by award-winning Tyeb Khan) and a restaurant where you can catch your breath.


Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum, Circuit House Road, Jodhpur 342006 India

Situated on another raised outcrop, with sprawling grounds creating an almost rural ambience, this splendid palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh (the current maharaja's father) as a poverty-relief exercise to aid his drought-stricken subjects. With 347 rooms, including a cinema, it was at the time the largest private residence in the world -- a vivid reminder of the decadence the Rajput rulers enjoyed during the British Raj. Designed by Henry Lanchester, a great admirer of Lutyens (the man who designed New Delhi), it was commenced in 1929, took 3,000 laborers 13 years to complete, and remains one of the best examples of the Indo-Saracenic Art Deco style, topped with a massive dome which rises 56m (184 ft.) high, beyond which the buildings are perfectly symmetrical.


Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Jaswant Thada, Near Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur India

Jaswant Thada is popularly known as 'Taj Mahal of Mewar'. It has a marvelous marble cenotaph which was constructed by Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, who was the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. His son, Maharaja Sardar Singh, built the monument in the 19th century. Located on the left side of the Mehrangarh Fort complex, it has the artistic work of marble carvings. Jaswant Thada main memorial was built in the shape of a temple. Considered an epitome of Rajputana architectural style, essentially an amalgam of Mughal and Hindu structural design, it displays lattice work in marble of the finest finesse, reflecting the creative genius and sculptural prowess of the artisans of the time.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Mandore Garden, Jodhpur 342001 India

Mandore, which lies 9 kms (5 1/2 miles) north of the Old City. The previous capital of Marwar (not to be confused with Mewar, the princely state of Udaipur).The largest and grandest of the red-sandstone structures was also the last to be built here; it commemorates the life of Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit Singh, who died in 1763. Beyond, in a totally separate section (pious to the end), is a group of smaller cenotaphs, built to commemorate the female counterparts. Opposite the weird but ultimately missable museum is the Hall of Heroes, a collection of 18th-century deities and Rajput heroes carved out of a rock wall. I

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Ghanta Ghar, Nai Sarak, Ghantaghar Market, Jodhpur 342001 India

Ghanta Ghar or The clock tower is a popular landmark in the old city. The vibrant Sardar Market is close to the tower, and narrow alleys lead from here to a bazaar selling vegetables, spices, Indian sweets, textiles, silver and handicrafts. It is a great place to ramble around at leisure.

Duration: 30 minutes
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