Located on the periphery of the Thar desert, Jodhpur is second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. According to one fable when Lord Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana wanted to cross the ocean to rescue his wife Sita, who had been abducted by the demon-king Ravana, he was turned back by the Sea-God. Furious Rama mounted his arrow to dry up the ocean forcing the Lord of the sea to retreat. However the arrow once mounted had to be discharged and Rama fired it into another place of water located in western Rajasthan, thus drying it up. This is the area known as Marwar or Marusthali. Jodhpur history revolves around the Rathore’s. Rao Jodha the chief of the Rathore clan is credited with the origin of Jodhpur in India. He founded Jodhpur in 1459. The city is named Jodhpur after Rao Jodha. It was previously known as Marwar.
If we see the history of Jodhpur, the Rathore’s were driven out of their original homeland Kaunaj, by Afghans. They fled to Pali, near to the present day Jodhpur. Rathore Siahaji married the sister of a local prince. This helped the Rathores to establish and strengthen themselves in this region. Afterwards they ousted the Pratiharas of Mandore, just nine km of today's Jodhpur. Initially Mandore served as their capital but by 1459, Rathores felt a need for a secure capital. This leads to the formation of Jodhpur the sun city by Rao Jodha.
The Rathores enjoyed good relations with all the Mughals, except Aurangzeb. Maharaja Jaswant Singh even supported Shahjahan in his struggle for succession. After Aurangzeb's death, Maharaja Ajit Singh drove out Mughals from Ajmer and added it to Marwar or todays Jodhpur. Under the reign of Maharaja Umed Singh, Jodhpur grew into a fine modern city.
During the British raj the state of Jodhpur was the largest in Rajputana, if we consider the land area. Jodhpur prospered under the British Raj. Its merchants, the Marwaris flourished endlessly. They came to occupy a dominant position in trade throughout India. In 1947 India became independent and the state merged into the union of India. Jodhpur became the second city of Rajasthan. The city was built as the new capital of the state of Marwar now Rajasthan to replace the ancient capital Mandore, the ruins of which can be seen near what is now the Mandore gardens. The people of Jodhpur and surrounding areas are hence also commonly called as Marwaris.
Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City, as most houses in the old city are shades of blue. This is particularly noticeable on the north side of the town, known as Brahmapuri because majority Brahmins were settled in this area. The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, color and texture, a booming handicrafts industry, all add up to make this historic city worth a visit. The whole city is known for the museums, forts and palaces built by the erstwhile great Indian Kings. The forts add to the beauty of the place. Jodhpur is quite famous for its quite exquisite artifacts and carvings. The palaces and forts lend a royal feeling to the city. The city is seen teeming with tourists during the season time. The forts and palaces stand as testimony to the rich cultural heritage that India is known for. One of the best ways to connect with nature is through parks and gardens. The city of Jodhpur, although situated in Rajasthan has some beautifully landscaped gardens. The parks and gardens have been developed to attract the tourists. They are a visual treat to the eyes of the tourists, acting as a break from the desert landscape. On your tour to Jodhpur you should visit the various parks in Jodhpur.
Rajputs brought along with them dance and music to the desert. The instruments they play are housed in the Meherangarh Fort Museum, and on full moon nights you can watch balladeers playing their melodies, which can be enthralling for any visitor. Jodhpur is also home to several folk dance forms. Although different communities have their own distinctive dances, the most bewitching one is the tera talli dance. The women sit in a cross-legged position in tera talli and clash their cymbals (musical instrument) loudly as they sway from side to side. As the beat quickens, they place terracotta pots on their heads and in their mouths they insert a naked sword. The other electrifying dance is performed by snake-charmers, and is called the sapera dance. The other dance popular in Jodhpur as all over Rajasthan is the ghoomar which is performed on festive occasions by women in their homes.
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