Skirting the great Thar Desert, Jodhpur is a gateway to some of the most iconic locations in Rajasthan. From old forts to quaint hill stations, there are many weekend getaways possible. One can just rent a self driving car and enjoy the open highways and beautiful, untouched landscapes. Here are some top recommendations.
170 kms away from Jodhpur via the SH67, Kumbhalgarh Fort is a spectacular sight. It was one of the most strategic points of the old Mewar kingdom and its high bastions can be seen from a distance. One can only imagine how imposing the structure would have been during the days of old battles – with walls that stretch close to 40 kms! Inside the fort, visitors can marvel at the uniquely structured Jain temples – a perfect example of the intricate aesthetics and workmanship this region has always been known for.
From the summit of the fort, one can see the dunes of the Thar. Highlights of Kumbhalgarh fort include the massive Ram Pol (or gate), the Ganesh temple, and the Lakhola Tank. The fort is surrounded by the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, home to endemic species like the Indian wolf, leopards, chinkaras, and striped hyenas. Jeep safaris are the best way to move around the forest.
Stark and beautiful, rugged terrain is what one will experience on a road trip south to the hill station of Mount Abu. Perched at more than 1200 metres above sea level, this small town is known for its picturesque wooded surroundings and old temples. Temperatures in the winter months can dip to freezing so warm clothing is recommended for trips during this season.
The marble-carved Dilwara temples have been attracting devotees and culture enthusiasts for centuries. The ornately carved pillars and detailed stonework are an epitome of Rajasthani temple architecture. When in Mount Abu, one can also head over to the secluded ruins of the Achalgarh Fort. The route from Jodhpur to Mount Abu is around 260kms long.
For a short day trip with family or friends, Dhawa Doli will be a good recommendation. This wildlife sanctuary is a pleasant 45-km drive from Jodhpur and is home to many rare species, some of them rather unknown. One can watch the beautiful blackbuck prancing on the arid landscape. There are many other species of antelopes and deer along with desert foxes, the magnificent peafowl, and other minor carnivores. It also has a population of elusive leopards. An early start is recommended to get the best visuals of this place.
Travelling on one’s own terms is the best way to explore the Rajasthani countryside. Time stops in the desert and a real travel experience is one with surprising detours and pit stops. This is why informed travellers are skipping public and chauffeured transport and instead opting for self drive cars in Jodhpur. App-based Zoomcar offers the widest range of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUVs at very affordable prices. The rental company also provides 24/7 on-road support, ensuring a hassle-free and memorable excursion.