A History of Jodhpur and Ratan Vilas

A History of Jodhpur and Ratan Vilas


More commonly known as the Blue City or the Sun City of India, Jodhpur is one of the largest in the state of Rajasthan. Dotted with ancient temples, impregnable forts and majestic mansions, this city stands true to the Jodhpur heritage to this day. The city of Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by the chief of the Rathores, Rao Jodha after he felt the need to move to a safer capital from his then kingdom of Mandore. Located on the periphery of the Thar Desert, the arid climate or the acute water shortage has never been a problem for this city since it was strategically placed on the Silk Trade Route. On the contrary, trade and business in the area saw a considerable increase during the time of British Raj, with the flourishment of Marwari merchants and the handicrafts industry.

Present day Jodhpur

Well-known to travellers from all over the world, the present-day Jodhpur is not very different from what it was, with a significant part of its history and culture intact in its true form. The first thing you notice on your travel to the city is the blue houses. It is a known fact that Jodhpur is more commonly known as the Blue City of India. History says that initially, only Brahmins started painting their houses blue as a symbol of their blue- blood; a trend that was picked up by other castes as well. Legend also had it that,followers of Lord Shiva painted their houses in a hue of blue as a mark of their devotion towards him.

A more scientific explanation says the paint used in most houses in the city is a mixture of copper sulphate and limestone that keeps bugs and termites away. Additionally, some believe that thecolour blue keeps the interiors of the houses cool in an otherwise warm and arid climate.

Strike up a casual chat with one of the locals here and who knows! Perhaps if you dig deeper, there might be another theory to this. The expanse of blue is nevertheless aesthetically satisfying; climb to the top of the Mehrangarh Fort here to get a crisp panoramic view of the blue-hued city.

Jodhpur is a fantastic shopping destination; start with the local markets before you get to the government-owned emporiums. Antiques, artefacts, metal-ware, silver jewellery and most importantly, tie-and-dye cloth materials are a must! Visit the Sadar Market near the Clock Tower, which is locally known as the Ghanta Ghar. A famous landmark in Jodhpur, tourists and locals alike scout the nearby market for silver and handicrafts. Prepare to be mesmerized by the smell of authentic spices wafting through the air, as soon as you approach the narrow alleys of the Sadar Bazaar. Explore the vibrant lanes at leisure interacting with the shopkeepers or gorge on local delicacies like Pyaaz Kachori and Mirchi ka Vada and a glass of Makhaniya Lassi to wash it down.

How Jodhpur has preserved a part of its history till date

The land of vibrant bandhani dupattas, embroidered juttis, laal maas and ancient forts, Jodhpur has managed to hold on to a significant part of the past while living in the present. Jodhpur celebrates major festivals through the year, most of which have historical significance and attracts people from various places.

Frequented by travellers from all over the world, this place also houses most heritage hotels in Jodhpur, most of which are palaces and mansions converted into heritage hotels. Consider booking your stay at Hotel Ratan Vilas Jodhpur while you are there, to get a fulltaste of history and heritage.

Ratan Vilas Jodhpur

A mere 4kms from the Jodhpur Airport and 2.5kms from the Jodhpur Railway station, Ratan Vilas Jodhpur is the former residence of Maharaj Ratan Singh converted into a heritage hotel that goes by the same name. Maharaj Ratan Singh (1887 – 1978) was a Rajput nobleman from Raoti, Jodhpur who belonged to the indomitable Rathore clan, who were the rulers of Marwar region. An excellent horseman and a polo player, he took up the post of Home Minister and moved to the state of Kishangarh from Jodhpur.He built Ratan Vilas as his private home upon his return from Kishangarh.

Ratan Vilas- the building stands as a mark of his travels and experiences during his era, most of which has been reflected in this expansive red sandstone mansion with delicately carved exteriors and equally intricate interiors. Family photographs that adorn the walls of this out-of-the-world Jodhpur accommodation, tell tales of an era gone by. The expansive courtyard is a classic example of Rajputana lifestyle coupled with private and ornamented overlooking verandas.

With just 21 roomsand highly-personalized services including private balconies in some and sunken marble tubs in some, Ratan Vilas Jodhpur Rajasthan is among the best heritage hotels in Jodhpur. The property has a poolside lounge for you to rejuvenate and unwind or look at the tranquil blue water while sipping on a glass of wine. The excellent dining section has a traditional dining room complete with all modern facilities however you can also enjoy a meal or two up on the terrace nestled below the starry blue sky against the backdrop of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort in the distance. The interiors are plush and the furnishings, antique-denoting the rich past of this heritage building. Live like a king in the tastefully done-up interiors, and you gorge on a sumptuous spread for breakfast of relish on a dish of authentic laal maas in the restaurant.

Ratan Vilas Jodhpur is home to the noble family to this day. The great-grandson of Maharaj Ratan Singh, Brijraj Singh continues to live there with his wife, Namrata Singh. Previously the Zenana (the former residential area of the ladies of the royal family), this area has now been converted into their own private residence. Prepare yourself for a gracious welcome by your hosts and their ever-smiling staff. The inherent old-world charm of the mansion, coupled with Rajputana hospitality, will enhance your experience. The vision of converting their family mansion into a heritage hotel is successfully visible in every nook and corner of the property.

An ancient city rich in culture and heritage with the perfect dose of modernization, you’ll have a hard time bidding Jodhpur goodbye. Be it watching a spectacular sunset from Mehrangarh Fort or waking up early to trek uphill to catch a panoramic view of the Blue City, you are sure to have a memorable experience exploring the lanes and alleys of this place. Etched in history, Jodhpur will surely have you craving and coming back for more.