The city was the capital of a princely kingdom Marwar. The kingdom paid allegiance to the Mughal Empire and enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy. It was briefly captured by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1679 but its King was reinstated shortly thereafter. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, Jodhpur saw a lot of internal strife and was finally taken over by the Marathas. However, unrest continued and in 1818, it entered a subsidiary alliance with the British.
Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination thanks to its splendid palaces, forts and temples, and the majestic Thar desert. Apart from tourism, the handicrafts industry has emerged as a significant player in the economy. In fact, the furniture export alone is a $200 million industry. Other industries include textiles, metal utensils, bicycles, ink and sporting goods. The cottage industry that manufactures items like glass bangles, cutlery, carpets and marble products is also flourishing. The city serves as an important marketplace for wool and agricultural products like wheat and red chillies. Jodhpur is also an important defense base with the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and Border Security Force maintaining training centres here.
Jodhpur has a rich and vibrant culture. The people of the city love wearing colourful clothes. The turbans sported by the menfolk and the silver jewellery of the women are very eye-catching indeed. As for the cuisine, it is for its sweets and snacks. Remember to indulge in the laddoos and kachoris!
The main languages spoken here are Hindi, Marwari and Rajasthani. The weather is hot and dry and the mercury soars in the summer months. It gets closer with the rainy season that commences in June. Winters are cold but the best time to enjoy the experiences of the city.
Places of interest:
Umaid Bhawan Palace – This magnificent palace was built as a public relief and employment project during a long period of drought. Three thousand artisans were employed over a period of 15 (1929-43) years by Maharaja Umaid Singh. Made using the finest marble and a special type of sandstone called Chittar, it has beautiful balconies, charming courtyards, green gardens and stately rooms. A couple of decades back, the palace was segmented into the royal residence, the Heritage Hotel and a museum.
Mehrangarh Fort - Located atop a 125 metre high hill, this is one of the largest forts in India. It was originally built by Rao Jodha, though extensive work was done during the reign of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. The walls of the fort are up to 36 m high and 21 m wide; they enclose some exquisite structures. All around are quaint brick houses painted a lovely blue.
Jaswant Thada - Built in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, this is one of Jodhpur’s most famous landmarks. It is made entirely of intricately carved sheets of marble. The thin and polished stones emit a warm glow when the sun's rays fall on them. A true architectural delight!
Osiyan Temple - This temples is located in the village of Osiyan about 60 kms from Jodhpur. This is the village where the Oswals, a major Jain community originated from Osiyan. The temple is known for its stunning architecture and was built in several distinct phases.