Jodhpur, India travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE LANDMARK Jodhpur, the second-biggest city in the captivating Indian state of Rajasthan after Jaipur, is dominated by the immense 15th-century Menrangarh Fort with its nearly 40 metre-high ramparts. Built atop a steep escarpment, the fort offers striking views of the so-called "Blue City", so named due to the profusion of buildings painted in the colour. See menrangarh.org

THE ONE MUSEUM A pilgrimage to Menrangarh Fort for its architectural majesty, as well as for the unmatched views of "Blue City" would seem enticement enough. But the series of palaces contained within this colossal complex also house an extensive and well-presented museum containing the eclectic collection of treasures belonging to the maharaja of Jodhpur.

THE ONE GARDEN Following the essential pilgrimage to Menrangarh Fort head down to Jaswant Thada, a grand white marble cenotaph built in 1899 honouring Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, one of royal Jodhpur's former rulers. The building is encircled by attractive gardens providing some welcome greenery in the semi-arid Rajasthani city.

THE ONE WALK Inside Jodhpur's old Walled City exists a cobalt-daubed labyrinthine composed of crowded and narrow streets of laneways bursting with life, intrigue, fascination and commerce. To become lost here is a privilege not an imposition as you observe the compelling and, at times, confronting, sights, sounds and smells of day-to-day life in crowded Jodhpur.

THE ONE PALACE The rather haughty five-star Taj-run hotel within the grandiose 1940s-era maharaja's Umaid Bhawan Palace is an imposing feature of the new city skyline. Although it remains off-limits to all but its cashed-up house-guests, a connected and somewhat underwhelming public museum allows for a good peek at the building's exterior and grounds. See tajhotels.com

THE ONE HOTEL There's arguably no better-situated, or better-designed, hotel in all of India than RAAS Jodhpur. This 39-room boutique heritage property, built inside a former haveli complex, is located not only just below the commanding Menrangarh Fort but also adjacent to the ornate 18th-century Toorji Ka Jhalra stepwell, meticulously restored by RAAS' owners. Splurge on the coveted Stepwell Suite if you can. See raasjodhpur.com

THE ONE SHOP On one side of Stepwell Square, near RAAS, is a complex of upscale shops, rather than just one that, despite being targeted at tourists and affluent locals, is visit worthy. Here you'll find some of India's up-and-coming contemporary brands such as  lifestyle and homeware stores such as Good Earth, PortsideCafe and Play Clan. For more traditional wares head to Jodhpur's seething markets, such as Sadar Bazaar, dominated by the Ghant Ghar clocktower, and the streets that run off it, all within the Walled City's gates. See goodearth.in; theplayclan.com

THE ONE RESTAURANT AND BAR In the cool of the Jodhpur night in the high season for tourists, non-house guest hopefuls queue to access RAAS' al fresco rooftop restaurant and bar. Built atop an erstwhile stables inside the converted haveli, Darikhana offers alluring views of the floodlit fort. The menu offers a range of international dishes but, this being Jodhpur, opt for the Rajasthani specialities, or simply linger over a cooling drink. See raasjodhpur.com

THE ONE CAFE The coffee cult hasn't quite arrived in Jodhpur but one of the best places for a caffeine hit is the three-storey Stepwell Cafe next to RAAS. The cafe overlooks the lively goings-on in and around the monumental Stepwell (as well as the "goings-in" with Jodhpur's youngsters using it as a de facto baths and diving platform). See stepwellcafe.com

TIP If you're travelling to Jodhpur by road via Pali, stop at Om Banna, a quirky highway-side shrine to the Royal Enfield, India's favourite motorcycle  make. A 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet is housed inside a glass case with the automotive deity serving as a symbol of a safe journey for hundreds of Hindu motorists who pass it each day.

Anthony Dennis travelled to India as a guest of the Classic Safari Company and Singapore Airlines. See classisafaricompany.com.au; singaporeair.com

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