Throughout our time in India we’ve wandered through cities and monuments on our own. So when we had the opportunity to experience a guided tour of Jodhpur we jumped at the chance.
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Jodhpur by Foot is a local company owned by two extremely friendly and business savvy brothers. They set us up with one of their english speaking guides, named Rishi who was an absolute delight. We spent 3 hours walking, learning and exploring the streets of Rajasthan’s blue city.
Before the Tour
To start our tour, we were promptly picked up from The Liquor Industry where we had just enjoyed a mouthwatering meal. For lunch we sampled a few of their most popular veg and non-veg local dishes, as well as an Indian style pizza topped with paneer. This hip new restaurant is one of a few of its kind: a place where locals and visitors can chill out, watch some sports and enjoy a delicious specialty cocktail.
The interior decor is super trendy, with unique lighting and industrial style furniture. There is an entrance out front, as well as through the Parkk Boutique hotel making it easily accessible for anyone in town.
The Walking Tour
We started our tour at the Chandpole gate. This west facing gate was the original entrance to the town in 1459. On the gate you will see handprints carved, colored in saffron and layered with silver foil. These are the symbols of sati and you will find many of these handprints on the entrance of homes throughout Jodhpur.
Roughly 170 years back, widowed women would sacrifice themselves when their husbands passed by walking voluntarily into the flames for the cremation. As you would expect, that tradition has since been outlawed and women are no longer allowed to perform this sacrifice.
Walking through the narrow streets of Jodhpur, Rishi began pointing out little things that we never noticed before. Many of the people that reside in the old city of Jodhpur are professionals with similar names. Therefore, the majority of the homes have plaques just outside their front door with their names, their education, jobs and special achievements.
Also, you will notice many paintings of Lord Shiva or Lord Ganesha just above the door or on the sides. And yes, you will see the swastika symbol but in the Hindu religion the meaning is this: good things are going to happy to those inside and outside the home.
All of the houses in Jodhpur are made from sandstone and cement. This is because sandstone is easily obtained in Jodhpur and a great material for constructing homes. A huge percentage of the homes in the city are painted blue.
The main reason is that the blue color from the indigo acts as a cooling agent which is a necessity in Jodhpur. Additionally, the way the houses are built up in the narrow streets helps to block out the sun and provide shade.
Another reason for the blue color is that it acts as a natural insect repellent. The way this works is by diluting limestone in water overnight before adding in the indigo for color. Once it is mixed, the entire house including the interior walls will be painted in the blue mixture. The chemical formation of indigo is copper sulfate which is poison to an insect.
During our walked we passed by many temples, including the Jogmaya Temple and it’s neighboring Shiva Temple. Every few meters you will also find a shrine dedicated to one of the HIndu gods. Near the end of our walk we visited the Gangashyam is Mandir Temple and I went inside during one of their evening ceremonies.
We continued on our walk to the 500 year old Padmavati reservoir. In 1520, Padmavati (the wife of King Raoganga) used her personal savings to create this reservoir so that the local public could have fresh drinking water. These days it is mostly used by the locals as a place to take a dip during these hot summer days as we saw many young boys jumping into the refreshing water.
This reservoir is located directly below the Mehrangarth Fort and we had the best view from the rooftop of a friendly local’s home.
The Mehrangarth Fort is one of the top sites to see during your visit to Jodhpur. You won’t explore inside during your walking tour but you should definitely stop in while you’re in the city. The fort was built in 1459 and was the most impressive of the ones we visited while in India.
After visiting the reservoir and the fort we started to make our way towards the end of our tour. Rishi took us to the dessert district, as it is affectionately known. Walking down these streets you’ll constantly get wafts of sweet smelling treats that will tempt you into tasting everything!
One of the most popular deserts is rasmalai, a cottage cheese made from thickened milk topped with saffron and pistachios!
One of the main reasons why we loved the walking tour is because you get to go at your own pace, stop when you want and see things a little off the beaten path.
The Jodhpur by Foot guided tour is a personally designed tour to fit your expectations so feel reassure that this is the right tour for you!
Where to Stay
For our last night in Jodhpur we stayed at the Park Plaza Jodhpur Hotel. Located in the heart of the city, the Park Plaza is a business chic hotel with 65 comfortable rooms. You’ll find all the amenities you need including a pool, restaurant, gym and on-site spa.
The Hotel Park Plaza is part of the HST Hospitality group, a growing company run by two brothers that specializes in providing quality hotels, restaurants and experiences in the Jodhpur area. They have currently expanded and have a hotel property in Delhi called La Residenza by Parkk Boutique.
Within the HST group you will find the Hotel Park Plaza, Amargarh Resort and Parkk Boutique all situated in desirable locations throughout Jodhpur.
The company is top notch in hospitality and service with the staff making sure every part of your stay is comfortable and memorable. We loved our stay here and really felt that their main priority is taking care of their guests.
Where to Eat
The HST Hospitality group has 3 amazing restaurants: The Liquor Industry, OTA-The Heritage Restaurant and Masala Kitchen. We personally ate at the Liquor Industry and were blown away by the quality of food. Their extensive menu really does offer something for everyone and you’re sure to leave with a full and happy belly.
During our walking tour through Jodhpur with stopped at OTA- The Heritage Restaurant. Situated on the rooftop of an envious location, OTA is close to the main clock tower and offers a stunning view of Mehrangarh Fort. A perfect spot for an evening dinner during your stay in Jodhpur.
Disclaimer: Our stay at Hotel Park Plaza, Jodhpur, the walking tour with Jodhpur by Foot and lunch at The Liquor Industry was completely complimentary in order for us to bring you this review! And, as always, my reviews and opinions are completely unbiased and honest!