Named in honor of its 15th century founder (a chieftain named Rao Jodha), Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination in the state of Rajasthan. Featuring yearlong sunny weather and numerous temples, forts and palaces, the city is worth traveling even a considerable distance out of your way to see while visiting India.
Known for the profusion of iconic, azure-painted houses in the old city around the awesome walls of Fort Mehrangarh (one of the largest forts in all of India), Jodhpur is best explored on foot or via rickshaw. The spectacle of the colorful city set against the stark backdrop of the dessert is truly unforgettable. The vibrant, chaotic streets around the city’s clock tower are teeming with fruit, textile and handicraft stalls, and the desert safaris offered on camelback come highly recommended.
Situated just 40 miles north of Jodhpur, the ancient town of Osian is the site of a cluster of ruined temples dating from the 8th to the 11th centuries and were once the focal point of one of the most significant strongholds of Jainism in the country. As fascinating as the temples are, the town is no longer home to a significant Jain community; however, it has become the site of a popular Hindu pilgrimage.
Whether its religion or archeology that you’re after, the employment of a qualified guide can add much to your experience in Osian. Also of interest are the peculiar (though pleasant) accommodations at Reggie’s Camel Camp, which include an extended desert safari complete with running water, tents and carpets, quality cuisine and even a band of musicians, as well as camel races, camel polo, and visits to the homes of local craftsmen (note: the safaris are only offered between October and April).