Jodhpur culture shock, some things to do and the beauty of coming to terms with Indian culture
It isn’t as blue as Chefchaouen but I have appreciated the hues of Jodhpur. There are many reasons why this small city in Indian is called the blue city but until today, no historical records were definite. Some say Brahmin followers of Shiva consider blue to be a sacred colour so they associated it with the deity. Others say the blue colour paint is a mixture of limestone (easily available within the vicinity of Jodhpur), Copper Sulphate and water used to paint the walls; while most people say it is as simple as blue deflects heat.
But I am not writing this today for you and me to relive the story of Jodhpur or discover how it became blue. I am writing this because I am a little sick of India and it it was triggered by my recent visit to Jodhpur.
Jodhpur is undeniably beautiful and Instagrammable anywhere you point and shoot. I would highly recommend you to visit but I my culture shock involves trash: I’ve never been to a city as dirty as Jodhpur. Plastic pollution is widespread in India and this is the biggest issue the country is facing today, not only in Jodhpur. I have been to more developing countries (FYI: I avoid using the adjective ‘third world’ because it sounds politically incorrect) but the trash problem in India is out of control it literally makes me want to puke.
Sitting down on well-made wooden chairs with hand-printed pillows makes me itch, too. Places to eat and stay are really really photogenic but I feel that everything I sit on is dirty and not well maintained. There is a slight chance this is just psychological but the need to shower 3x a day (which is very bad for the body) was always there. I felt like I always wanted to be clean.
You can argue that I am from the Philippines, a country very similar to India but I am not from the big city. Subic Bay, where I am from is extremely organised and clean so unlike most Filipinos in Manila, I grew up to have the privilege of having a good quality of life. My formative years were also spent abroad (Europe) and I’ve lived in cities where you can never see trash on the streets — at least not as vulgar as that of India.
Some cities in Latin America are not as tidy and I managed to live there for years but I was younger and have a higher tolerance for disorganised and lower concerns about my health.
I kept thinking about this: perhaps this experience would’ve been different if I did it when I was younger. When you get to 30, there are just many things you will be concerned about and I never imagined that one day, these things will matter to me.
While walking the streets of Jodhpur, I look around me and I see a lot of old couples fulfilling their dreams of travelling India. I think to myself: are they also thinking like me? Are they disgusted by this sight? Am I the only one feeling this? Should I even feel this way?
My personal opinions and experiences about Jodhpur should not be yours. I respect that we all have our different ways to travel. Again, this is not meant for you to be discouraged from visiting Jodhpur. It’s just a feeling I am sharing with you from the broth of my experiences in India.
What I love about Jodhpur
Jodhpur has actually made me come to terms with the Indian culture. I realise that such issue is part of being in India and that I must embrace it even if it feels uncomfortable. After all, what can I do? Organise a clean-up drive? Write to the city mayor? Take a broom and sweep the streets? I don’t want to believe that this is part of the Indian culture but in a bigger picture, I am also trying to see the way of life the Indians have lived and I come to a phrase that I firmly believe in: to each his own.
Speaking of coming to terms with accepting the Indian culture, my negative impression of Jodhpur was overpowered by the Indian people. This was the place where I actually received non-malicious smiles, waves and stares for the first time. The people have come around with a life where tourists are warmly welcomed and accepted. Everyone was too friendly (especially the children!) that going around was not too difficult for us. Everyone can speak English, too!
Getting there: from Jaipur to Jodhpur
Since I was travelling with 3 other people, it was an endless debate on how to navigate our trip around Rajasthan region. I wanted to take the train, for sure but here’s the scenario: if we take first class (1A) train tickets, it will cost us approx $80 USD for 4 people vs taking a private car with driver, gas and toll for $109 USD.
That’s $20 USD more for comfort and travelling at our own pace. If you are travelling as a group in Rajasthan, car rental (with driver) is definitely recommended. We also thought about the self-drive option but knowing the crazy driving we had to keep up with Indian drivers, it was immediately eliminated from the list. Additionally, self-drive cars are most expensive – about $35 USD per day without gas and toll.
If you are travelling by yourself, below are the cheapest transportation options:
You can easily take Indian Railways from Jaipur station to Jodhpur. This ride will take 4 hours and 50 minutes. The ticket costs vary from train classes:
- AC first class (1A): ₹1,415 ($20 USD approx)
- AC 2 Tier (2A): ₹800 ($12 USD approx)
- AC Tier 3 (3A): ₹605.00 ($8 USD approx)
- AC Chair Car (CC): ₹500.00 ($7.29 USD approx)
- Sleeper (SL): ₹240.00 ($3.50 USD approx)
- Second sitting (2S): ₹135 ($1.97 USD approx)
You can book your tickets in advance at the IRCTC website.[/us_iconbox]
Things to do in Jodhpur
Probably the biggest fort I have ever seen in India. The hilltop view overlooking the entire city of Jodhpur offered the best view! It is advisable to visit in the afternoon to watch a spectacular sunset.
You can take a tuktuk (we paid ₹400 [$5.83 USD] for 4 people). This tuktuk will also wait for you while you are exploring the fort. Mehrangarh Fort is open from 9:00 – 17:00. Entrance fee for foreigners is ₹400 ($5.83 USD).
Another historical place in India, Jaswant Thada is neighbouring Mehrangarh Fort but is distinctively unique in terms of structure. The place is really photogenic (white marbles all over) and has a meditation center where you can find (and practice) the art of zen.
The entrance fee is ₹30 ($0.44 USD) for foreigners. This palace is open from 9:00 – 17:00 daily.[/us_iconbox]
It is most likely Hassan’s omelette levels in the movie Thousand Foot Journey but after personally trying this omelette, I think only people who have knowledge and appreciation of various spices will enjoy this. This omelette shop is very easy to see. It is right next to the clock tower plus a big sign that says “Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor recommended” is very visible in front of the store.
I enjoyed the omelette but what I didn’t appreciate was how the eggs were stored. The crates are stacked outside without proper refrigeration and I’m afraid some of the eggs served are old and rotten due to improper storing. Remember that quality eggs should not be exposed in the sun! I did not get sick after eating this omelette, I probably had the good batch but be careful and check the eggs before the Mr Omelette makes your order! He cooks in public anyway – you can definitely check if the eggs he will use are good.[/us_iconbox]
Where to stay in Jodhpur
I booked 2 bedrooms for a 2-night stay for 4 people at Namaste Caffe via Booking.com. This has been the most convenient accommodations booking website for me because there is no need to input your credit card and you can cancel the stay for free!
The stay cost ₹3350 (4 pax; 2-br), approximately $48 USD. The rooms are super clean but like many places in India, it can be very dusty (especially the toilet). All private rooms have small salons where I was able to do my work. For a hotel this cheap, their WiFi is ultra fast! I stayed in a 5-star hotel in Jaipur but Namaste Caffe’s WiFi is the best so far.
Not only that they offer accommodations but they also have a rooftop cafe that serves the best food! Make sure to order Chicken Biryani and the Energy Drink (spirulina, cashew nuts, banana)!
Jodhpur Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you can’t have both (i.e. you don’t have more time), I would recommend Jaipur over Jodhpur. International flights land in Jaipur while you need to go on a 4h 50m drive to Jodhpur. There are also more things to explore and more Instagrammable places in Jaipur if that’s what you’re after!
We walked the majority of the trip but be very careful! The streets are very narrow! The tuktuks and cars are not really looking where they are going (believe me!). They’re just driving!
You will need to ride a tuktuk when going to the forts and other tourist spots.
The staple of Jodhpuri cuisine is its spices: asafoetida, raw mango powder and red chillies. Mawa Kachori, Mirchibada, Makhania Lassi, and Panchkuta are some of the common dishes in Jodhpur.
October-March is the best time to visit Jodhpur. However, I really liked our visit (July-August is low season) because there were fewer people. The prices are cheaper but expect rains when you visit at this time.
- Police emergency: 100/ +91-291-2650777
- Ambulance: 102/ +91-291-2636437
- Rajdadji Badan Kanwar Medical trust: +91-291-511586/ 511199/ 511658
- Suncity Hospital: +91-291-2545455/ 2546455
Want to add more questions to the list? Feel free to e-mail trisha[at]psimonmyway[dot]com or contact me here.
More articles about Jodhpur:
- My friend Rachel Jones of Hippie in Heels lived in India for 5 years and knows the ins and outs about India. Check out her article about 10 things to do in Jodhpur.
- Fellow travel blogger Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker wrote an extensive travel guide about Jodhpur. Read: Jodhpur – a guide to exploring India’s Blue City
Have you been to Jodhpur? If yes, what’s in your Jodhpur itinerary?
When did you go? What did you eat? Where did you stay? Which activity did you enjoy the most? I’d like to hear your thoughts! Please leave your ideas and suggestions (that may not be in this post) in the comment box below!