Eat. Sleep. Shop (In Jodhpur)

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Clichéd ‘exotic’ India postcards

I know of a lot of people who don’t like going back to a place they have been to before. Not me. This was my third trip to Jodhpur in as many years. My relationship with the city has progressed beyond the hyper-tourist mode of I-have-to-see everything, to a relaxed easy familiarity. I now know my way around the city, yet manage to discover something new hidden around every other corner, like the baoli (a stepwell) my friends stumbled upon or a 140-year-old tobacco shop I found tucked away in the recesses of the walled city.

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After being obsessed for years, I finally saw my first baoli.
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At this 100-plus-year-old dry fruit shop, every variety has a politician’s face on it. The owner told me eating that particular cashew or pistachio would make as smart as Indira Gandhi or Dr Rajendra Prasad.

Here are my quick tips for the Blue City.

Eat:

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Did the American chain get inspired by this Desi Hooters?

Every time, I ask for food recommendations for Jodhpur, the one name that pops up is Janta Sweet House. Whether it’s for their crunchy sweet jalebis, pyaaz kachoris or mirchi vadas, Janta has been a must visit for me. I always get a couple of kachoris packed to bring back with me.

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Yummiest and crispest jalebis in all of Jodhpur.

The discovery of this trip for me was Raas. Their rooftop serves some great cocktails and their dahi kebabs are particularly good. The best ker sangari I had ever was at Jhankar Choti Haveli, near the Clock Tower. At the risk of sounding like a Masterchef, it was flavorful without being spicy or oily. Nom nom.

On The Rocks is a nice spot for a beer and meal. I remember their laal maas as being quite spectacular. I had some yum pancakes and coffee at Café Sheesh Mahal and the breakfast at Pal Bhavan’s rooftop is also VFM.

Stay:

I can’t recommend homestays enough. If you can afford it, there is always the very posh homestay at Umaid Bhavan Palace. Technically, it is a homestay if the family (in this case the erstwhile Maharaja of Jodhpur) who owns the property lives there, right? So, if you can afford the price tag, this is the place to stay in Jodhpur.

Inside The (very) Blue House

If you are looking for a budget option, live in the Walled City. I have stayed at two ancient havelis – Juna Mahal at Ada Bazaar and The Blue House Guest House off Moti Chowk. The rooms are all different sizes, air-conditioners might leak and your room could have really strange blue and red mood lighting but I promise you, you’ll love your stay. The owners are very friendly and think nothing of waking up in the dead of the night to open the gate for you, or scoring passes for a polo match.

Shop:

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Glass bangles around the Clock Towers, kitschy souvenirs on Nai Sadak or diamond jewelry at Amarpali, there’s something for everyone in Jodhpur. I also end up buying something from the Mehrangarh Museum Shop every single trip. They have some well-priced, quirky and usable trinkets and souvenirs. There’s a row of shops outside Over The Top, including a Fab India, Anokhi and Amrapali. I know that all of these have stores across the country, but their Jodhpur shops tend to have some different items on offer. Both Hot Pink (at Raas) and Via Jodhpur (near Raas) are pricey but have interesting designs that are worth a look.

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Stoles at Hot Pink

Do you have any other recommendations for Jodhpur? I’d love to hear from you.

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