The Best of Jodhpur: Exploring Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada

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Jodhpur, the blue city of India, has a lot to offer. But sometimes you may not even have a full day to explore this beautiful city. Suppose you are planning to spend less than a day in Jodhpur. In that case, I recommend visiting two beautiful gems in the city, The Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. Both are close to each other. (You could even spot Jaswant Thada from one of the towers of the fort.)

Before exploring these gems, let me tell you when to visit Jodhpur and how to reach it.

When is the Best Time to Visit Jodhpur?

Jodhpur, being in the desert region, has quite extreme summers. The ideal time to visit Jodhpur or any part of Rajasthan, generally, is from late November to late February, which is the winter months.

We visited in early January of 2021. The weather was mild during the day, and it got a little colder at night.

How to Reach Jodhpur?

By Bus

Jodhpur has connectivity through buses from major cities like New Delhi or Jaipur. Still, the journey could be long, so book comfortable AC sleeper buses if possible.

The ticket costs about ₹300 to ₹600 on average.

By Train

The city is also well connected by railways. It is also a very convenient option from Jaipur, which is just around 300 km away. The trains from New Delhi or Mumbai could take you more than 12 hours, but a nice AC sleeper could get you through.

Tip! The tickets sell out quicker than you can imagine, so book yours in advance. If you are a last-minute planner, you can try your luck in tatkal (it is a last-minute ticket booking that opens a day before the journey and is usually dynamically priced).

By Flight

You could easily fly to Jodhpur from most major cities in India. We flew in and out of Jodhpur from Chennai and Bangalore. Last-minute ticket booking could make it more expensive than it usually is, so make sure to plan in advance.

The Majestic Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort, located in Jodhpur, is one of the enormous forts in India. It is well preserved to serve as a treat to visitors. It has perfectly retained its charm, standing 400 feet above the plain lands of Jodhpur, clearly marking the skyline of the blue city. This fort was built over 500 years, starting 15th century (Yeah, that’s a very long period indeed!). Hence it also depicts the style and architecture of various periods. Still, it is not secluded as per the period of its construction.

Jodhpur’s rulers modified various parts of the fort during their reign according to their taste. No wonder this architectural marvel has a lot going on and is an absolute visual treat to the visitors as it progresses from one era to another almost abruptly, making you feel like you have visited more than one place while inside the same fort.

Interesting fact! The current leader of the Rathore clan is also the custodian of the fort, who is taking care of preserving and maintaining the buildings and the artifacts used by his ancestors who ruled Marwar over many generations.

The Seven Gates

The fort has seven main gates, some of which have their own story. The important one is Jai Pol, which marks the fort’s main entrance. The one next to it is the Fateh Pol, which was built in remembrance of taking the fort back from the Mughals in the 17th century.

Dedh Kangra Pol, or Lakhna Pol, was destroyed in a battle by Jaipur’s army, and Amriti Pol takes you to the original entrance of the fort.

Loha Pol bears the handprints of the wives of the Kings who committed Sati. Sati is an old cruel ritual wherein the wife walks into a burning fire sacrificing herself for the death of their husband.

Maharaja Man Singh’s wives were one of the last to commit Sati after his death, whose handprints can be seen next to the Loha Pol.

Psst! Legends say that before this, on the death of Maharaja Ajith Singh, his 6 spouses, along with 58 mistresses, sacrificed themselves to Sati.

The Final Suraj Pol, also the oldest one, directly leads to the staircase of the Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls).

The Fort’s Palaces

This magnificent fort is also home to various palaces (period rooms), which are well preserved. The fort also serves as a museum showcasing the history of the Marwar rulers.

Sheesh Mahal – A palace filled with mirrors in the ceiling, walls, and a part of the floor.

Phool Mahal – The palace of flowers, which served as a room for a private audience.

Takhat Vilas – Maharaja Takhat Singh’s bed chamber, which is adorned with paintings from floor to ceiling.

Sardar Vilas – Displays the Marwar woodwork of the 19th century, decorated with ivory, lacquer, and paint (royal, isn’t it?).

Jhanki Mahal – Constructed for the women to silently observe the proceedings of the courtyard without being seen with the help of tiny windows. (Jhanki means “glimpse”). It now houses the collection of cradles, some used for the royal babies, whereas others for the idols of the gods on festive occasions.

Dipak Mahal – A part of the main administrative center courtyard.

Moti Mahal – The palace of pearls is one of the oldest period rooms still well preserved. The ceiling is adorned with mirror works to reflect the various lamps in the room.

There are also so many galleries filled with items from the past.

Some galleries are Howdah Gallery, Palanquin Gallery, Daulat Khana, Painting Gallery, Textile Gallery, and Arms Gallery.

A few men and a horse in a painting.
We zoomed a painting as much as possible and captured just a tiny part of it. You could clearly see the thin brush strokes even here!

Phew! I know that’s a lot about the fort’s history, but trust me, there is so much to learn and see about the fort. I just wanted to give you a glimpse of what you should not miss during your visit.

Highly recommend! Take a guide with you as you could easily get lost in the fort and miss some palaces filled with grandeur. Also, for all my history buffs, the guides could tell you some fascinating stories from the past. We had hired one ourselves, and it was completely worth it. (Also, we are never the ones to hire a guide, but this place made it compelling.)

The hilt of a sword.
An intricate painting on a sword’s hilt. Remarkable, isn’t it?

Fun fact! As an architectural marvel, Mehrangarh Fort has made appearances in many movies. But a popular one is The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Yes, this is the fort shown in the background when Bruce Wayne escapes from the pit.

Zip Line Like Batman

Is visiting ancient forts and learning about history, not your thing? Are you someone who enjoys a little adrenaline rush? Mehrangarh Fort has something for you too.

How about exploring the vast grounds of the fort by flying from one tower to another? Okay, that was a little too much, or maybe not. You could zip line across the two desert lakes and enjoy stunning views of the Mehrangarh Fort and the blue city of Jodhpur.

I enjoy zip lining, but this one was 6 massive lines across the fort. I was quite taken aback at first. Still, the highly trained instructors of Flying Fox made sure that it was going to be one hell of a ride and that everything was perfectly safe. (Obviously, you need to follow their rules to the T, but nothing so complex.) 

Must do! It is quite pricey in Indian Rupee, but trust me, it is completely worth it. The views were beyond incredible, and the feeling of air gushing through my face as I sped across the fort’s towers made me feel like a superhero. (Whoo, whoo! Flying like Batman.)

What to Know Before Zip Lining?

Before getting all hyped up for the adventure, pre-book your slots. It is a popular activity, and only a limited number of instructors can accompany you on your ride, so pre-book the slots online to avoid disappointments.

Budget tip! Also, you get to enjoy a discount by booking your tickets for the zip line online. Another reason to pre-book.

  • Make sure to allocate sufficient time to enjoy the ride. It can take anywhere from an hour to 2 hours, depending on the number of people in your slot. 
  • Luckily for us, we were the only ones as it was the first slot of the day. (Most of them are not morning people, like me. Oh, who am I kidding? I am not one too, but I could become one if it is for something exciting.)

How to Reach Mehrangarh Fort?

The fort is close to the center of the city. Around 2 km from the main railway station. The best way is to hire a tuk-tuk or a taxi to take you to the Fort Entrance.

Random tip! Folks, do not bring your selfie sticks with you. If you bring it like we did, you will be asked to drop it at the security desk at the fort’s entrance and collect it later. And I forgot to collect it on my way back as expected. Had to make a detour later in the evening just to collect the selfie stick. (I’m not sure why it is not allowed, though? Could it be a mistake? I keep wondering about it.)

What About Tickets?

Although the fort is free to visit, to visit any museum, you require a ticket. It is worth buying the tickets to the museum as you cannot experience much of the fort without it.

International Visitors – ₹600

Indian Visitors – ₹200

There are special concessions for both international and domestic students and Indian Senior Citizens.

You could also hire a guide from the ticket desk at the entrance.

Timings: Open through all days from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm.

There is a one-way elevator up to the top of the fort and the terrace, where you can see spectacular views. There is an additional charge of ₹50 to use this elevator. You could also take the stairs if you prefer.

Tip! Consider taking the elevator if you are in a hurry, as it could save you a lot of time.

Free ticket! Entry to the museums is free on Foundation Day, which is on May 12th. But I wouldn’t dare visit Rajasthan in May.

How Long Does It Take to Explore Mehrangarh Fort?

To get the best experience, it will easily take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to visit the fort and its museums. You could also spend more time visiting one of its cafes or enjoy the adventure zip lining experience, which could take up to an hour or more.

A terrace cafe cafe with canons in Mehrangarh Fort.
The terrace cafe in Mehrangarh Fort.

The Beautiful Jaswant Thada

Jaswant Thada is a memorial made out of marble. Do not underestimate the beauty of this place. It is, in fact, known to be the Taj Mahal of the Marwar region. (I would completely agree with it.)

A memorial made of marble in Jodhpur. It is called Jaswant Thada.
Beautiful, isn’t it?

How to Reach Jaswant Thada?

Jaswant Thada is just 1 km from the Mehrangarh Fort, which is just a 10 minutes walk downhill or a 2 minutes drive.

History of Jaswant Thada

This beautiful structure was built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singhjill of Jodhpur by his son Maharaja Sardar Singhji and was completed in 1906.

It is a common practice of Rajput clans to worship their ancestors, and hence the main hall is built like a temple where rituals are often performed.

The whole place looks serene and peaceful and is quite enjoyable.

A lake in Jodhpur.
The lake near Jaswant Thada.

What About Tickets?

The entry for Jaswant Thada is ₹50 for international visitors and ₹30 for Indian visitors.

Timings: It is open on all days from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Tip! If you take a guide for Mehrangarh Fort, you can also pay him a little extra to include Jaswant Thada.

If you have more time to spend in Jodhpur, there is much more to explore in the blue city and enjoy the local delicacies. Oh, I almost forgot! The stunning city of Jaisalmer is just about 6 hours away from Jodhpur. Check out our detailed guide about Jaisalmer and our experiences at Suryagarh Jaisalmer and Manvar Desert Camp (Manvar Sevan).

Kiki from RooKiExplorers posing in a field of pink hyacinths in the Netherlands.
The Face Behind the Post

Hey, I am Kiki! A full-time software developer and hardcore travel enthusiast who is always up for a new adventure and the author of RooKiExplorers. I love to travel the world and enjoy talking about it, helping everyone around me plan their trips, and avoiding making the mistakes I made.

22 thoughts on “The Best of Jodhpur: Exploring Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada”

  1. I’d never heard of Jodhpur before! I love all the blue houses! It looks like a really interesting place to visit. The zip-lining looks like fun as well!

  2. Jodhpur looks impressive! Jaipur has always been on my list for places to visit in India and I’m glad that I can take a train! Does it take long?


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