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There's no denying the romance of Jodhpur, with its brilliant blue buildings set against the imposing sandstone Mehrangarh Fort, and dapper men and chic women wearing the eponymous breeches that blouse at the waist and taper at the knee. The "Blue City," Rajasthan's second largest, was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha. Its importance grew as a hub of overland trade and the upper merchant classes, called the Marwaris, still run some of India's biggest trading operations today. The indigo-colored buildings also speak to Jodhpur's wealth, as the blue indicated that a member of the Brahmin caste, the highest, lived there.
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Explore the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, perched on a rock towering 410 feet (125 meters) over the city and dating to 1459, when Rao Jodha began construction on it. Like many such forts in India, Mehrangarh is extraordinarily large and one could spend an entire day exploring its many corners.
Two must-see sites within are the Phool Mahal, a chamber used for royal celebrations, and Moti Mahal, the Hall of Private Audience. Built in the 18th and 16th centuries, respectively, these buildings offer a glimpse of distinct periods of Jodhpur’s history.
Stroll through the fort’s Chokelao Bagh gardens. Unchanged since the 18th century, the gardens’ fragrant native flowers and trees frame Chokelao Palace, which is currently being restored.
Visit a local temple in nearby Palasni to participate in a puja ceremony. Common to both Hinduism and Jainism, pujas can be simple or elaborate affairs, but regardless of scope and scale, all ceremonies of six rituals: meditation (dhyana), austerity (tapa), chanting (mantra), scripture reading (svadhyaya), food offering (bhog) and prostrations (panchanga or ashtanga pranama).
Learn how to tie a turban, or several types of turbans if you wish! In Rajasthan, locals joke that the style of turban changes every 10 miles or so, with Gurjar, Jats and Rajputs all donning distinctive wraps. Most turbans use about 17 feet (5 meters) of cloth, although some can be shorter or longer, depending on the wearer’s position in society.
Experience traditional Rajasthani dance at a performance by dhood dancers, usually a troupe of six men and six women. Normally, these dances are only performed during the festival of Holi, which occurs during the spring. Rajasthan has a rich tradition of storytelling and dance accompanied by instruments unique to the region such as the sarangi, considered a precursor to the violin, although it is played like a cello, and the dhol, a twin-faced bass drum.
Jodhpur is known for its textiles and furniture, and an excellent selection of goods can be found at Sardar Bazaar, which is near Meranghar Fort and surrounded by a six-mile long wall with eight entry points. You’ll find everything from camel-leather shoes to clay figurines, while henna artists also line the bazaar’s major thoroughfares.
Step inside an age-old culture and explore its beauty on this 14-day journey that takes you through bustling New Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Market, to the steps of the iconic Taj Mahal, and over to the banks of the Ganges to observe the sunset Aarti, all while staying at some of the country’s most luxurious hotels.
Let your private jet whisk you away on this exclusive 14-day journey through North India. You’ll take in Mumbai’s world-famous Bollywood scene, catch sunset at one of India’s holiest sites, marvel at the incredible Taj Mahal, and visit an elephant polo camp, all while staying in some of India’s most luxury hotels.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
One of the great palaces of India, the yellow sandstone Umaid Bhawan was completed in 1943 after 15 years of construction. While Umaid Bhawan is now open to guests, members of the Singh royal family still live in a wing of the palace. The sixty-four rooms and suites of the Umaid Bhawan are divided into five categories; all rooms include wi-fi, LCD televisions, electronic safes, and even a selection of bath mixes, including milk baths and detoxification baths. Dining options include the storied Risala, which serves the finest Indian and Continental English cuisine, and was built to commemorate a victory by a local cavalry regiment in World War I; Pillars, an attractive, casual eatery set on a verandah; the Sunset Pavilion, an outdoor restaurant which serves barbecued and grilled cuisine from around the world; and the Trophy Bar. Other amenities include a business center, billards tables, a tennis and squash court, a fitness center, a Spa, and even a series of shops and boutiques.
Housed in a stylish haveli, or historical mansion, Raas Jodhpur is a stylish, unique inn like few others. All of Raas Jodhpurâ€™s 39 rooms and suites offer balconies and terraces, most with views of the nearby Mehrangarh Fort; all are equipped with climate control, electronic safes, hairdryers, televisions, and telephones. The Raas is home to the Darikhana Restaurant, which serves Indian cuisine, and offers diners views of Mehrangarh Fortâ€™s pink sandstone walls; and the open-air Bardari Restaurant, which features Thai and Mediterranean dishes. Amenities include a spa managed by luxury chain Serena Spas, a swimming pool, and wireless internet access. The Raas is a twenty minute drive from Jodhpur airport.