Mehrangarh Fort dominates the city and is the largest fort in all Rajasthan. Founded in 1458 as the site of Rao Jodha's new capital — hence the name, Jodhpur — the city has grown around it, and in the 500 years that have passed the fort has never been taken by force. It's easy to see why: it occupies the entire top of a 150-meter hill with commanding views all around, with some three kilometers of massive ramparts built around the edges.
The name "fort" belies the size of the complex, which houses the Maharaja's palace, several temples and, tucked away in the back, an extensive garden still farmed to this day. Highlights within the palace include:
• Moti Mahal (Pearl Hall). Pearl-colored inside and decorated with colored glass windows, this is where the Maharaja held his audiences, with the five alcoves on the far wall allowing his queens to listen in.
• Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Hall). Just what the name says.
• Phool Mahal (Flower Hall). The most extravagant of them all, this was the Maharaja's pleasure chamber, for dancing girls and revelry.
• Zenana Deodi. The inner sanctum of the palace once guarded by eunuchs, this is where the Maharaja's wives whiled away their days. The delicate sandstone screens and carvings are exquisite.
• Chamunda Mataji Temple. Tucked away at the far end of the battlements, this temple is devoted to Rao Jodha's favorite goddess and remains a local favorite to this day.
A number of people are employed here and there to add flavor by dressing in period costume and doing photogenic things like playing traditional instruments and smoke opium (yes, the real thing). Snap away, but they'll appreciate a tip if you do. The museum also includes galleries devoted to howdahs (elephant-mounted seats), palanquins, fine arts, weaponry, and the inevitable Turban Gallery.
Entry to Mehrangarh costs Rs.250, including still camera fee and an excellent audioguide available in six languages. A rickshaw from the city will cost around Rs.30, or you can try to pick your way through the alleys up on foot. Open 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
• Jaswant Thada, 1 km downhill from Mehrangarh (easily walked). Royal cenotaphs built in marble, with a picturesque location next to a little lake. Entry Rs. 20, plus Rs. 25 for a camera.
• Mandore, 7 km outside the city. The ancient capital of Marwar, before Jodhpur was built.
• Umaid Bhawan Palace. Clearly visible to the south of the city and completed only in 1944, this is the last great palace built in India. The Maharaja of Jodhpur lives here to this day, but half the building has been converted to a 5-star hotel (see Sleep) and there is also a small museum on grounds (Rs. 50, open 9 AM to 5 PM). You'll have to take a rickshaw to get here, and it's best to ask them to wait: figure on Rs. 100 for a round-trip with an hour's waiting time.
• Balsamand Lake - now converted to a resort
• Kailana Lake - a picnic spot and a main drinking water source for the city
• Baba Ramdev Temple, Masuria Hills.
• Ganesh Temple, Ratanada.
• Santoshi Mata Temple, Lal Sagar.
• Mahamandir Temple.