Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur- Rajasthan
7 km from the main city, the Balsamand lake, a popular picnic spot built in 1159 A.D. Next to the lake stands the Balsamand Palace, a red sand stone structure exhibiting fine Rajput architecture. The palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh in 1936 and is today a heritage hotel. Lush green gardens have been created around the lake and groves of mango, guava, papaya and other fruits have also been developed. On the way to the lake, 2km from the city, is the Maha Mandir, a hundred pillared temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The pillars are ornamented with Yogic postures. A walled town is built around the temple.
Sardar Samand, an artificial lake and wildlife centre, is 55 km from Jodhpur, on the road to Barmer. The tranquil waters of the Sardar Samand Lake beckon countless varieties of migratory birds and animals. Blackbuck, neelgai and chinkara are some of the animals that can be easily spoted near the lake. Besides the lake is the Sardar Samand Lake resort built by Maharaja Umaid Singh in 1933. The resort was a hunting lodge which was later converted into a luxury hotel
The bishnoi villages are located along and off the Pali Road to the south-east of Jodhpur. The bishnoi community is renowned for their abiding concern and practice of environmental conservation. They are staunch believers in the sanctity of life and hold all animals and plants sacred, specially the Black buck, or Indian antelope. The cult was established in the late 15th century by Guru Jambhoji, who outlined 29 conservation principles. The Bishnoi villages are immaculately kept. At Guda Bishnoi, there is a small artificial lake, where one can see migratory birds, blackbucks and chinkaras.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace was built between 1929 to 1942
as a famine relief project that gave employment to more than 3000
famine struck people. Today, parts of the palace have been converted
into a luxury hotel, and a museum while one extensive wing is still
occupied by the royal family.
The palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh and designed by the president of the British Royal Institute of Architects. Marble and red sandstone was used to built this opulent structure though no cement was used in its construction. The museum at the palace houses an assortment of beautifully crafted weapons, stuffed leopards, clock collections, and Chinese urns.
40 km south west of Jodhpur, once can spot blackbucks, partridges, desert fox and blue bull or nilgai at this sanctuary.
80 km from Jodhpur, Khimsar houses the 16th century fort built by Rao Karamsiji. He was the 8th son of the Jodhpur founder, Rao Jodha, who moved to this region and founded the Khimsar dynasty. The construction of the fort began in 1523 AD. The forts battle-scarred walls and turrets are a tell-tale reminder of Khimsars glorious past. In mid 18th century, the royal family moved in and a new zenana (ladies wing) was built with finely carved windows in stone grills to provide purdah or veil for ladies-in-waiting. Subsequently, Thakur Onkar Singh built for himself a regal wing. The fort has now been converted into a hotel though a section still remains residence to the royal family of Khimsar.
Considered as the most impressive fort in Rajasthan and one of the biggest in India, the Meherangarh fort is sprawled atop a perpendicular hill, 5 km uphill drive from the main city. Its imposing walls have withstood many attacks by invading armies, the first gate of the wall is still scarred by cannonball hits. The original fort was built by Maharaja Rao Jodha in 1459, when he shifted his capital from Mandore to Jodhpur.
Famous for the Nagaur cattle fair (link to Nagaur Cattle Fair) held in January every year, Nagaur is midway between Jodhpur and Bikaner. The city dates back to the 4th century A.D, and has a massive protective fort, which was used against the invading Muslims from Central Asia. The fort encompasses richly painted palaces, mosques, temples, intricate baoris (reservoirs), water systems, fountains, open terraces and pleasure gardens dating back to the Mughal times. Delicate paintings adorn many of the walls and ceilings of the palaces.