Jodhpur is the famous “Blue City” of India and you quickly see why once you arrive. The majestic Mehrangarh Fort, carved upon the mountaintop, whips up tales of time’s past when kings, adorned in jewels of deep royal blues, ruled the desert region of Rajasthan.
Shades of blue splash the houses down below haphazardly; to see them up close, you must delve right into the maze on foot—if you dare! 😉 In this guide, I show you all the best places to visit in Jodhpur, India’s Blue City.
Jodhpur, India was most definitely on our list of places to see while backpacking for two weeks in Rajasthan. Having just toured the Pink City of Jaipur, we were ready to settle in for a few nights of blue. Discover all the best places to visit in Jodhpur with this 3-day itinerary!
Best Places to Visit in Jodhpur in 3 Days
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Day 1 in Jodhpur, India: Reaching the Blue City
Getting to Jodhpur from Jaipur by bus was a breeze (albeit a smelly one at times). The further west we went into the desert of Rajasthan, the more flat, dry, and dusty the air got to be. Immediately we could identify more Muslim influence than Hindu as we neared Pakistan (formerly India).
Have your hostel/hotel address ready for your tuk-tuk driver. If you’re staying in the center, any tuk-tuk will know of your destination. Especially if it’s got “haveli” in the name, haha.
We hop out of the tuk-tuk, careful not to get our toes run over by other speeding tuk-tuks and cars, which somehow manage to squeeze through the narrow, winding streets.
We stayed at Baba Haveli – a guesthouse right in the old part of town with a nice, unhampered view of the Mehrangarh Fort day and night.
It’s about a ten-minute walk to the clock tower and five minutes to the Jodhpur stepwell. Our stay at Baba Haveli was okay, but there are definitely better places to stay at, so make sure to consider other options before you book.
Exploring the Old City of Jodhpur
From almost every direction you can see the majestic fort towering above the city. Use this to your advantage point to retrace your steps! Take your camera and get ready to dive into the busy streets. Jodhpur is jam-packed with cars, animals, tuk-tuks, and pedestrians.
Find your way to the Jodhpur Stepwell (Toorji’s Stepwell) for some amazing views. Although not as famous as Jaipur’s stepwell, Jodhpur’s is still mesmerizing and old. It makes a wonderful location to take photos, sit and chat, or watch the local kids jump in for a swim on a hot day. It’s one of the top places to visit in Jodhpur!
The stepwell dates back to the mid-1700s and offers its visitors to climb down (but be careful, it can get slippery near the water) to dip your toes in the water sleeping below. The area offers peace, tranquility, and calmness to all that visit!
If you have the budget for a frozen lassi then a visit to the Stepwell Cafe is a must. It’s tucked just behind the Toorji Stepwell—you can’t miss it! Prices are a little steeper, as this is a favorite spot for tourists. Highly recommended for a snack, coffee, or a lassi! Plus, you get the view overlooking Jodhpur’s Stepwell.
Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) + Sadar Market
After our short visit to the Jodhpur Stepwell on Day 1 (although we went several times during our stay in Jodhpur), we followed the winding streets and landed at Ghanta Ghar, Jodhpur’s old clock tower set in the middle of the bustling, bright, and spice-filled Sadar Market.
The clock tower is a unique landmark in Jodhpur; if you can’t see it peeking over buildings, you can probably hear it if you’re not too far away. It’s a busy place so expect to be approached by vendors wanting to sell cheap jewelry, handicrafts, clothes, and all sorts of spices, nuts, and tea.
The oversized sacks and dishes full of colorful seasonings and spices are enticing, especially for someone like me who wants to take photos of practically everything! We ended up buying curry spices and some tea for our families at the M.M Spices shop, just right of the clock tower.
After buying spices, the shopkeeper connected us with his friend who also owns a store. Then we went to another shop, and two guys were cracking jokes and explaining the differences in the quality of the scarves and pashminas. It’s fun to just sit and swap stories, even if you don’t buy anything!
Dinner @ The Arch Boutique Homestay
All right, folks. If you want delicious vegetarian food with an exquisite view of the Mehrangarh Fort then eat at The Arch Boutique Homestay. I couldn’t find it on Google maps, so don’t even try. To find it, look for the Arch Boutique Homestay on Booking or just take a few steps past the Jodhpur Stepwell. It’s the first building on the corner.
It’s a magical hotel (we didn’t stay there because $$$), but the roof-top restaurant is AMAZING. Usually, it’s just for guests, but the owner was so kind and gave us excellent service. We ended up here just by exploring around and loved it so much, we came back for our last night in Jodhpur.
The prices were affordable, the lemon rice was incredible, and the curry was just scrumptious. I can’t remember the exact names of our dishes. But we had a curry yogurt dish and another with little balls made from gram flour that was typical of Jodhpur and Rajasthan. So good!
Day 2 in Jodhpur, India
After a restful night’s sleep, Paul and I got up and had breakfast on the rooftop and prepared for our full-day adventure getting lost in and around the Mehrangarh Fort.
The Mehrangarh Fort is truly the iconic symbol of Jodhpur’s skyline, rising up over 400 feet from the city below. Its facade crashes right into the rocky hill upon which it sits, making it hard to tell the difference between the thick palace walls and the rock itself.
To get there, we weaved our way through the dizzying streets, past blue gates, houses, windows, and more, to reach the entrance to the fort.
Traveler’s Tip: Instead of taking a tuk-tuk, hiking up the Mehrangarh Fort is an experience in itself. Not only do you spare some change, you really get to explore the city and see more of the local life outside of the touristy areas. There are some really sweet shops to visit and the locals appreciate the greeting!
- Entry costs 600 Rs for foreign adults and 400 Rs for students (price includes an audio guide).
- Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
- Make sure to go earlier in the morning, when it’s less hot.
Buy your ticket, collect your audio guide, and pass go! You’re ready to dive into the stories of the majestic palace’s past, beginning in the mid-15th century.
The palace has been converted into a museum and is stocked full of remnants and collections of the era.
The audio guide will have you stop at markers and listen to the stories. Take your time as you visit the different period rooms and learn about the different Rajput rulers of the dynasty. All of the preserved relics and art are truly fascinating to see and learn about!
Getting Lost Around the Fort
After we got lunch, we decided to continue exploring the backstreets. If you look up at the fort (on the clock tower side), you’ll see a white temple top, and part of the mountain that jets out to the left. That is where we wanted to go.
To our surprise, if you just keep following the streets, you’ll eventually find a hidden hiking route that leads you up to this lookout. It’s not located in the fort, remember, but rather just below it on the mountainside.
Traveler’s Tip: Getting up there takes quite the effort and you’ll want to bring a shady hat and lots of water. However, the view is worth it! You get to see all the shades of blue of the houses down below!
The other side of the city/fort has some more vivid pockets of blue. You can spot some hostels with American, Australian, and European flags flying in the desert breeze.
While up there, we met a local guy from Jodhpur and a Japanese girl. The locals asked how we got up here without a guide and we said, “Well, we just kinda got lost!” He mentioned it’s unusual for tourists to find this “hidden viewpoint” on their own. Woo-hoo!
If you have the time, going to this secret lookout is one of the must-see places to visit in Jodhpur. It’s a free adventure!
Dinner @ The Open House Cafe
We really liked the vibe around the Jodhpur Stepwell, so we went back for dinner in search of another great, budget-friendly restaurant. We stumbled upon the Open House Cafe, located just behind the stepwell. The rooftop was just remodeled and looked inviting, with a clear view of the fort shining at night.
Prices were affordable and the menu was similar to everything else we’d seen in Jodhpur. There are local specialties, rice, curries, fried snacks, and so on. Service was spectacular and we’d recommend going for either lunch or dinner!
Day 3 in Jodhpur, India
Visiting Jaswant Thada + Umaid Bhawan
For our last day, we checked off the must-see places to visit in Jodhpur like the Jaswant Thada and the Umaid Bhawan. Here’s how to visit both.
Jaswant Thada (Jodhpur Mausoleum + Cenotaphs)
Paul and I hiked back up to the Mehrangarh Fort in the morning, and from there, we walked to Jaswant Thada via the main road.
It’s not very far, as you can see on Google maps it’s only 1 km (0.6 miles) away and takes 10-13 minutes on foot. (Hint: Another sneaky travel tip to save money on transportation and put it toward great food).
The shimmering white marble shining in the distance is none other than the memorial grounds for the royal family. Otherwise known as Jaswant Thada, although it is often referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Rajasthan” due to its white marble architecture like that of the Taj Mahal in Agra).
Going here is budget-friendly and definitely one of the best places to visit in Jodhpur. It is relatively quiet and serene (unless a tour bus full of tourists just happened to stop). There’s a beautiful, calm lake just next to it with a gorgeous desert-mountain backdrop in the distance.
Entry costs around 30-50 Rs. The area is well-kept with a beautifully-maintained garden. Both the inside and outside of the big white memorial is just breathtaking. Don’t forget to take your shoes off before you go in! The view from atop the stairs also offers a wonderful panorama of Jodhpur.
Traveler’s Tip: If you do choose to get a tuk-tuk to the Jaswant Thada, try to make a bargain by including a trip back down to the city in the price. If you’re getting a tuk-tuk from a touristy location like the Jaswant Thada, expect to pay almost half to double the price than if you were down in the streets, away from the top places to visit in Jodhpur.
Umaid Bhawan (Palace/Hotel/Museum)
The Umaid Bhawan is actually tri-fold, making it quite unique. It’s partially the private residence of the royal family, partially a luxury hotel, and partially a museum showcasing the royal family of the 20th century. You’ll no doubt see it in the distance from the Mehrangarh Fort or the Jaswant Thada on a clear day!
While I consider the Umaid Bhawan a must-see place to visit in Jodhpur, it’s a little harder to reach so it’s understandable if you skip this one. But is still doable via tuk-tuk if you have time. I think it took about 30 minutes one-way. We struck a deal with a tuk-tuk in town for a roundtrip price. If I remember correctly, we paid more or less 500 Rs. He actually waited on us to do the tour of the museum and waved us down when we got out. It was pretty cute!
I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to the museum, even though it was displayed well. But they did have all the fancy cars belonging to the royal family on showcase. Just exit the palace and go back toward the entrance.
It was time to go, so we waved our tuk-tuk down and headed back to the hotel to prepare our bags for our departure to Jaisalmer.
Jodhpur is a magical city with a very special vibe!
We left with fond memories of the places and the people we met. We hope to return one day in the future! If your favorite color is blue or if you enjoy photography, good food, history of royal dynasties, majestic forts, architecture, and more, then Jodhpur, India should be on your bucket list!
Overall, our pace while in Jodhpur was slow and relaxed which is just what we were looking for. We packed our bags, checked out of our hotel, and… Can you guess? We revisited the rooftop restaurant from our first night in Jodhpur to have one last meal before heading to the train station. 😉
Up next: India’s “Golden City” of Jaisalmer + our camel safari in the Thar Desert.
Have you ever been to the Blue City of Jodhpur, India? Drop me your thoughts and questions below in the comments!