I love Jodhpur, and not only because I rode horses for years and finally got to go to the place that invented those funky oh-so-unflattering padded leggings. Jodhpur is the kind of place that reminds me of Arabian Nights: flat-rooved houses set into the cliffs, marketplaces untouched by electricity, dusty streets and a giant fort overlooking the city. While the fort itself makes for a brilliant day out, the markets around the clocktower are also worth a look. Jodhpur is one of the places I found many people to be genuinely friendly and full of laughter – they’ll invite you into their homes in a heartbeat. It’s also a great place to look for unbelievably cheap B&B’s or hostels which are run in the spare bedrooms of people’s homes.
Tip: There are a few touts around who at first appear to be friendly locals out for a stroll. They’ll recommend a “restaurant” to you which will turn out to be the rooftop of their own house, with their own wife cooking. I’ve been treated to some weevily rice via this situation. It’s a sticky one to leave because the wife is usually genuinely hard-working and well-meaning, but the food is often grim, over-priced and takes a long time to come out.
Pros: Cheap, friendly, less touristed than Agra and Delhi and very different in appearance to cities further south. This is real desert country.
Cons: It can get dusty, and the food if you’re on a rock-bottom budget can be a bit greasy and repetitive. Chickpeas swimming in oil? Hmm.