There are many places to visit in Jodhpur including Historic places, Forts, Palaces, Temples, wildlife sanctuaries and many more.
Balsamand Lake Palace
Six km from Jodhpur Balsamand in Jodhpur houses a pretty artificial lake about 1 km in length. The lake was built 1159 A.D. and there is a picturesque palace which was built late in the 19th century. The resort was weekend retreat for the Maharajas of Jodhpur and has a beautiful red sandstone frontage, and has carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses depicted on it. However, the interiors show a strong European influence, which is hardly surprising as the rulers of Jodhpur had very strong links with the British. The complex also houses a garden and a bird sanctuary. Balsamand Palace was converted into a heritage hotel in 1996 by Maharaja Gaj Singh II, making it one of the ideal destination to spend your travel vacations in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Maha Mandir & Balsamand Lake
Maha Mandir looks like a royal temple protected with defensive bastions from its sides, seeking to protect the Maharajas, while they offered their prayers to the Lord. A series of 100 pillars keep the temple strongly erected while a central golden canopy beautifies the altar. Near the temple is located the tranquil 12th century Balsamand Lake, which is the oldest artificial lake of Rajasthan.
A deviation from the historical elements of the town is the tour of the Bishnoi Villages like the Guda Bishnoi, Salawas and Khejadali villages situated close to the Bishnoi Lake. An array of cultures and scenic vistas of Rajasthan can be seen here as the villagers believe in conserving nature and adoring its creations. They worship trees and animals and are strictly vegetarian. You can find here peaceful co-existence of man and wildlife in this desert oasis and appreciate the traditions that they have preserved till now.
Nearly eight km from Jodhpur is the beautiful and historical city of Mandore. It was the earlier capital of Marwar before Rao Jodha shifted base to Jodhpur deeming it to be more secure. Mandore was the capital of the Marwar area from the 6th to the 14th century and went under the name of Mandavyapur at that time. It was Rao Chanda who married a Parihar princess and settled here and the rulers were called the Parihar Rajputs. While the Mandore fort today is in ruins and does not even have a boundary wall, the Mandore Gardens over which the old capital of Marwar was situated are still delightfully exquisite. Built around the royal cenotaphs of the Rathore rulers, the gardens have beautiful trees all around and are further decorated with shrubs pruned in all shapes and sizes along with fountains which dot the landscape. Its extensive Mandore garden, with high rock terrace makes it a popular local attraction. In the Mandore garden, there are the dewals or cenotaphs of Jodhpur's former rulers. Instead of the usual chhatri-shaped cenotaphs typical of Rajasthan, the cenotaphs of the famous Mandore garden of Jodhpur are built along the lines of a Hindu temple.
Fifty eight km from Jodhpur situated midway between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, the place is most famous for its Jain temples. The ancient township was located on a very important trade route between the 8th and the 12th centuries. The town was dominated by the Oswal Jains, both commercially and demographically. Here the Oswal Jains built their temples of stunning quality. Along with Jain temples you will also find superb Hindu temples dedicated to various Hindu gods like Shiva, Vishnu, Surya the sun god and Harihara (the union of Vishnu with Shiva) making Osiyan a truly secular centre. In all there are 16 Hindu and Jain temples of exquisite quality.
The Surya or the Sun Temples at Osiyan are very similar to the Sun Temple at Ranakpur, and again by sheer coincidence, they are similarly ignored. However the Britisher Percy Brown, who wrote the monumental work in 1942 called Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Periods), described the 10th century temple Surya Temples "in some respects as the most graceful of the entire group." The sanctuary is characterized by an open-air mandapa (raised platform for performing weddings and religious ceremonies) and a tall curved tower. The inner sanctum apart from containing a fine statue of sun-god Surya, houses sculptures of the elephant-god Ganesha and Durga the fiery goddess of war. The first of the surya temples which dates back to the 8th century has been incorporated into the Sachiya Mata complex. The ceiling is dotted with images of serpents curled around lotus flowers and the friezes below portray the life-story of Krishna the blue-god.
The Harihara temples are three in number, and are obviously dedicated to Lord Harihara a deity which is the union of Shiva with Vishnu. Raised on huge plinths just as in Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, the temples are profusely sculptured, virtually in every nook and corner of the temple complex. In the Harihara temples, it is quite noticeable that the architecture is far more advanced than some of the other temples in Osiyan, especially the complexity of its porch pillar sculptures. The first two Harihara temples were built in the 8th century, while the third was built in the 9th century. As far as the first temple is concerned much of the ornamentation has been damaged, and the only thing which stands out is the beautiful archway and the porch columns of the shrines. The second temple complex houses statues of the lion incarnation of Vishnu called Narasimha, along with a splendid sculpture of Lord Harihara..
The Shiva temple is an excellent illustration of the architectural splendor of the temples found in the Marwar region. The Shiva temple is noted for its superbly carved pillars and embellished with vase and floral motifs, which is fairly typical of Hindu religious architecture. The ceilings of the temple are very imaginatively conceived and decorated with lace like motifs. As the great Shiva is often depicted as a Maha Yogi or ‘Great Yogi’, many of the paintings on the temple walls depict him in various yogic postures which presents a fascinating sight. If you drop by Osiyan do not omit the Shiva temple from your itinerary it is a must to see temple.
Sardar Samand Lake
Further from the Bishnoi Villages, traveling the sandy deserts you will reach the Sardar Samand Palace, situated on the banks of Sagar Samand Lake. The site is abundant in natural vistas with existence of exotic species of wildlife like Black Buck, Neelgai and Chinkara that stay in harmony. It was earlier the hunting zone of the royals. Bird watchers won't be disappointed with the variety of migratory species visiting here. The palace was built in 1933 by Maharaja Umaid Singh as a hunting lodge. You can still find a connection of the place with the Maharajas by looking at the antique furnishings along with bright paintings and murals.
Guda Bishnoi Village
If you want to get an experience of the tribal India, Jodhpur Guda Bishnoi Village is the place for you. It is approximately 25 km from the main city of Jodhpur. The Guda Bishnoi village of Jodhpur is scenic beauty marked with Khejri trees and deer. Also in the village is the Guda Bishnoi Lake. It is an artificial lake, perfect as a picnic spot. A person interested in exotic wild life & nature should definitely visit this village.The Bishnoi community inhabits the village. The villagers are staunch worshippers of nature in all its forms, specially the sanctity of plant and animal life.
Rohet is a small village, which has a 350 year old fort now serving as a heritage hotel. This hotel is ideal for rest and relaxation and also to leave your creative thoughts unbounded. The rooms are cozy and luxurious facilities are on offer here. You can also reserve your village safaris and horse rides from here.
Khejaria possesses a historic fort, which now serves comfort to the tourists as a heritage resort. It was built by Thakur Gopaldas Ji in the year 1611 A.D. This red sandstone structure's beauty can be witnessed only when one steps inside the place. The 40 rooms of the resort are decorated with rich and ethnic decor in the backdrop of quiet and deserted surroundings.
Lying midway on the route to Bikaner from Jodhpur, one must not miss the Khimsar fort, which is today one of the highest rated heritage resorts of India. The founding stone of the fort was laid in 1523 A.D. but it was only in the 18th century that the royal family started residing here. The resort offers a luxurious stay with well furnished rooms and facilities like sauna, a swimming pool and a yoga centre. Adding to your experience in Rajasthan are the camel and jeep rides which can be arranged by the hotel authorities.
Umaid Bhavan Palace
The palace built by Maharaja Umaid Singh who ruled from 1911- 1947 was the last expression of princely architectural extravaganza during the British Raj. It was in 1925 that Umaid Singh went to London in search of an architect and commissioned the firm of Lancaster and Lodge to build the palace. The foundation stone was laid in 1929 at Chittar Hill a sight dictated by astrological considerations.
It took some 3000 people working round the clock some 15 years to complete and ranks as one of the world’s largest residences. The massive structure is also referred to as Chittar-ka-Bangla or Chittar Bungalow. The 347 room building was designed by Henry Lanchester.
The primary entrance to the palace is called the Rajmahal, which contains the traditional Rathore coat-of-arms, bearing the sacred kite, an incarnation of the family goddess. Its symbol is omnipresent in the palace and as a mark of reverence, kite hunting is not allowed in Jodhpur. It houses several banquet halls and ball rooms where the monarch used to entertain his guests (usually European), a billiard hall and an imposing Durbar Hall. Also It has libraries paneled with teak, circular reception halls, magnificent double staircases, marble flooring, a swimming pool embellished with tiles depicting the zodiac.
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