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Travel

A tour of Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort defines the Jodhpur skyline. It’s a textbook example of how Indian monuments can be preserved and restored to their full glory. Taking a tour through all the sections and displays at Mehrangarh can take a couple of hours. The audio tour and their curated gift shop are highly recommended. Stop at Café Mehran to recharge and refresh.

 

 

Go on a village safari

Head to Salawas, half-hour from Jodhpur, for a slice of village life through clusters of dhanis (hamlets). A potter at work, a cup of tea at one of the Bishnoi homes, a durrie being woven at another household... it’s another world out there. Keep an eye out on the road, you might spot deer, antelopes and, if lucky, even black bucks. And plenty of peacocks everywhere.

Ride a camel

Okay, rejoinder first: it’s tougher than it looks! The camel gets up in one sudden movement as soon as you sit. Hold on tight. It takes a few steps — slowly at first but soon picks up pace. Through the ride Mr could be moody. Or hungry. Leaves may be chewed during the journey. And the best isn’t saved for the last. Mr sits down in three jerky moves. Get a grip or tumble down!

Sin on street food

Head to Clock Tower. Buy a Shahi Samosa from Arora Namkeen for Rs 12, Mawa Kachori for Rs 30 at Janta Sweet Home and Lassi for Rs 30 at Shri Mishri Lal. Such a good meal in India’s Blue City under Rs 100!

Explore the Clock Tower market

Clock Tower or the ghanta ghar area is a must-experience. From Mickey Mouse jumpers to plastic cups, local lac bangles to exotic spices and vegetables, this is your one-stop shop for everything — including a roadside dentist!

PS: Slap some sunscreen and then some.

Saris from M. Tayeb Khan

He’s a Padma Shri. His chiffon saris are worn by Rajasthan’s royalty. And no one ties and dyes like him. M. Tayeb Khan is your go-to man for shaded saris, turbans, dupattas and scarves. His colours are gorgeous and his badla work even more. If there’s one thing you want to buy from Jodhpur, make it a Tayeb sari. Even if you don’t have a polo soiree to attend. The store is behind Maharaja Dalip Singh’s bungalow.

A quiet moment at Jaswant Thada

This is not only an architectural beauty in white marble but also where the Jodhpur royalty is cremated. Dedicated to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, it houses a temple, a lake and offers a gorgeous view of Mehrangarh Fort.

Browse ’’ buy at Maharani

This export house has to be Jodhpur’s best-kept secret. If they aren’t busy manufacturing for labels like Miu Miu, Valentino and Etro, Maharani Textiles & Handicrafts is busy catering to celeb shoppers like Naomi Campbell and Liz Hurley. Antiques, accessories, shawls and textiles... the stores are located on Circuit House Road and in Tambaku Bazar.

Lunch in Sardar Samand Lake Palace

An erstwhile hunting lodge, Sardar Samand Lake Palace now serves as a retreat for the royals. A lake for birding and an inviting swimming pool apart, the rooms here resemble Florence’s Cavalli Club with all possible animal prints coming together as upholstery! Book a meal here — it’s home-style and so yum.

 

Umaid Bhawan Palace museum

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is home to a museum that displays quite the royal collection — from fine crockery to stuffed leopards.

 

 

Nothing quite prepares you for Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. A royal red carpet welcome and a breezy check-in later, you reach the dramatic dome of the palace. This is where all the action happens. Rajasthani dancers draped in 50 shades of rani pink are whirling to live folk music. It’s called ghoomar and you watch in awe, a flute of lychee cooler in hand.

The palace is used to being in the spotlight. This is where Naomi Campbell had stayed when she came to Jodhpur to celebrate her Russian lover’s big 50 last year. It was also the venue for Liz Hurley’s wedding to Arun in 2007. It’s not hard to see why. Large, but not larger than life. Beautiful, but not intimidating. The service is warm and attentive, the Taj at its best. And the food is fab.

Commissioned by Maharaja Umaid Singh, Edwardian architect Henry Vaughan Lanchester built the palace in 15 years and it opened doors in 1943. Art Deco inspired, the palace is built sans cement, assembled only with interlocking stones, all numbered.

The palace is divided into two wings — Mardana (where the hotel rooms are situated) and Zenana (where Maharaja Gaj Singh II lives with his family). Highlights include an indoor pool with zodiac theme with a lavish Jiva Spa. There’s also an outdoor pool dotted with squirrels and peacocks.

The F&B centres around Risala. Try the local dishes — Lal Maas, Dahi Aloo and Saangri Kebabs — with homemade ginger-lemon drink. Pillars will give you your paratha fix in the morning and the decadent Trophy Bar serves signature cocktails. But the vantage point is Sun Set Pavilion. Order some grills and take in the view of Jodhpur. Or book a bespoke candlelit dinner at Baradari Lawns accompanied by live music by local group Langas. It’s surreal.