Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The foodie trails to Jodhpur


Diwali of 2021 , we decided to go to Jodhpur on a family trip, COVID restrictions were just easing up, it was school holidays, great weather as well, and we had not been on a family vacation in 2 years, and so my parents, brother, my husband and Shreysht, my son, all of us met in Jodhpur.

How to get there? Jodhpur has an airport, which makes flying into the city easy. But you can also take a train, or make a road trip to Jodhpur. The roads too are excellent because of Golden quadrilateral of National highways. We came in by flight from 3 different cities, and then travelled within the city in auto rickshaws, and drove to Osian in a hired, all travel options available.

Where to stay? We stayed in an Air BNB property in Old Jodhpur city , it was an old haveli property called Casa de Jodhpur , with 5 rooms. You can book each room individually, and then I would recommend you take the Maharani sa or the Yuvraj sa rooms. We chose to book the entire 5 rooms, and have the whole haveli to ourselves, which made safety and covid precautions easier for us, also we had the privacy of the entire terrace to ourselves.

There are many hotel and hostel options, and if you want a good mix of night life plus heritage experience, I would suggest look for hotels around the step well, or Turji ka Jhalra. Pretty close to the Clock tower and the step well, it offers arty cafes to chill, nice shopping options, and some of the best views of the Mehrangarh fort at night, as well as the blue city , the Umaid bhavan at a distance.

What to visit?

So we had about 4 days and this is what we did

Day one on arrival we went to Pachetia hill – this is the most instagrammed stretch of Jodhpur, a walking street, lined by blue walls, and coloured paintings on both sides, The entire stretch is a photo op, and once you reach the top, the view of the city is amazing, we happened to go here on Diwali night, and every house was lit, this also leads to sunset point, so it a good idea to head out in the evening for Pachetiya hill. There are 2 temples on the way, and they add to the cultural walk aswell.

Dinner was near the step well .

walking the streets of Jodhpur 

Day two we covered Mehrangarh fort, Jaswant Thada and the behind side of Mehrangarh fort, where all the blue houses are , called Navchokiya- Mehrangarh fort has three cafes, we ate in two of them, one for breakfast including samosa, dhokla and mirchi vada, and another for lunch of mutton thali and dal bati churma . would definitely recommend the lunch café- it clean, hospitable, and good quality. After lunch we headed to Jaswant Thada , about 1.5 km from Mehrangarh fort, we completely forgot to see the batman movie shooting place, but it is fairly close by, so ask about it at the entrance of mehrangarh fort. The ziplining is also available, and is 90 minutes long, we didn’t do the ziplining , but I hear it is exciting.

We spent the evening and dinner at the step well area again.

picture at mehrangarh fort

Day 3 we went hired an Innova and drove to Ummaid bhavan palace the current residence of the king Gaj singh 2 of jodhpur, part of it is a hotel, and not for tourists, a small section of the museum is open to tourists, followed by Mandore gardens ( a beautiful garden filled with The garden is a part of the more massive Mehrangarh Fort, and also houses the famous Hall of Heroes and the temple of Three Hundred Million Gods. The garden also has a Government Museum, which is full of artefacts and old relics. 

The most striking feature of the garden is the gorgeous cenotaphs or 'dewals' that can be found spread all across the Mandore Gardens.

Mandore is 9 km from Jodhpur, and while here I would recommend going to Bal Samand Lake palace. The palace and the lake is closed to outsiders, not staying or dining at the Bal Samand lake palace resort. But, the lake and the palace grounds are truly worth the visit, and we had a gorgeous meal of laal maas and Rajasthani chicken tikkas at the Bal Samand on day 4 .

Now, back to Day 3 when we drove onwards from Mandore to Osian (70 km away) for a camel ride in the dessert, and a meal at a local dessert village home. The village people were extremely hospitable, the camel ride was the most exciting part of our holiday. The reason why this dessert trip is different from the ones in Jaisalmer or Jaipur, is that these are not staged or fancy, they don’t have music, and rajasthani dancers, it is more real and raw, with us having raw peanuts, from their farms, we saw them feeding their cattle some bajra rotis, my son played with the village kids, and we sat around a bonfire in their house courtyard. It was like a slice out of their everyday life. The food of fresh bajra rotis, ker sangria from the nearby trees, and ghee from their cattle was a hearty heartful meal.

meal at Osian village home 

Day 4 – We had been going on daily breakfast trails, discovering the local snacks, but we went to Janta sweet house on the ghanta ghar road for breakfast, and it soon became our favourite. On day 4 we did all our shopping, some of the nicer shops, and government sanctioned handicraft stores are in this area. We bought leheriya suits, lehengas, kurtas, jodhpuri jutis, and mirror work hand bags. Colourful leheriya and bandhani duppatas, and even Rajasthani puppets. Day 4 we went to Bal Samand lake palace for lunch , and had a lovely time discovering the gorgeous palace gardens and lake. The evening was again around the step well area.

picture at Bal Samand Lake palace

food with royalty, pictures at Mehrangarh cafe, in Mehrangarh fort

Day 5 – we ate breakfast at Janta sweethome, and did some last day shopping, packed Ghevars for home from janta sweets, a custom that almost everyone visiting jodhpur does. And then headed for the airport. Take satleast 2 hours at the airport, since the serpentine queues and limited staff at the airport.

What to eat in Jodhpur ? 

Jalebi – Motu Jalebi wala , old city

Dhee ke kachori – Narayan mishtan

Gulab Jamun – Chaturbhuj Gulab Jamun

Samosa and mirch vada – Shahi samosa

Malai Ghevar, lassi, chaas, pyaaz kachori and dahi chutney samosa (dahi chutrney absolutely anything ) – Janta sweet home

Rajasthani thali – mehrangarh fort café – they give a non veg version of thali with mutton /chicken, 3 types of rotis like makki , bajra and plain roti. Also the shahi thali at Bal samand lake palace . Ker sangria, gate ki sabji, lasun chutney and bajra rotis are what marks a complete Rajasthani thali.

Dal Bati churma – no visit to Rajasthan is complete without the dal bati churma.

Kabuli – While Rajasthan has a rich Rajput food culture. Kabuli, is a Mughal Rajasthani cuisine, hailing from Kabul , Afghanistan, a rich vegetarian biryani, with nuts, and dry fruits, and redolent with spices. This dish is super delicious, extremely filling, and has some interesting history. If there was ever a concept of vegetarian biryani, this would be it.  

Special mention to mirch vada – combine the Maharashtrian vada pav, vada with it’s spicy potato mix, and the mirchi bhajji, long green chilli, and you have a green chilli, stuffed with spicy potato, covered in besan and deep fried. The mirchi vada, appealed to the Punekar in me !

 Laal Maas – the laal maas ( red mutton) was even more difficult to find than the blue houses in Jodhpur, a lot of places were pure vegetarian, and a few others had dubious versions of laal maas, we liked the one from Open house café , near Turji ka jhalra, and the one at Bal Samand.

laal maas and rajasthani style chicken curry, at bal Samand lake palace

Last words – Spend time walking the streets, of Jodhpur, also wear colourful clothes as well as blues to match the walls, the weather is dry and hot, so hydrate yourself often.  Want to see more ? d=follow the hasthtag #thefoodietrailstojodhpur to see reels/posts and more , also I have an instastory highlights on Jodhpur on my Instagram @thefoodietrails , so go check that out.

laal maas ay open house cafe, near the step well