Unlike any other popular cities across the sub-continent, Jodhpur has carved itself an important place in the country’s history. The origin of the city can be traced back to the Bronze Age “Indus Valley” civilization, to the great Mahabharat, and the British Raj. The relevance and reference to the city have been made, although to a smaller extent, in the Mahabharata, when Bikaner and Jodhpur together were referred to as Jaangladesh or Marudesh. As a gateway to the desert, the foreign travellers, as well as conquerors from the Middle-East and Afghanistan, were forced to acknowledge the geographical significance of Jodhpur. The city continues to serve as a prime strategic location for the Indian armed forces as frontier posts of Jaisalmer and Barmer are supported by Jodhpur.
The kingdom of Jodhpur was ruled by Rathores, the Suryavanshi clan of Rajputs. Rathores traced their lineage to Lord Rama and were originally placed in Kannauj (Uttar Pradesh). Nayan Pal has been accredited with establishing the clan in 470 AD in Kannauj. However, after the defeat of Raja Jay Chand in the hands of Mohammad of Ghor in 1192 AD, he crossed the Ganges carrying Rathore ‘panchranga’ or the five-colored flag with him.
As per Colonel James Todd, the author of the book “Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan“, after wandering from Gujrat, the Rathores made their permanent settlements in Pali, Rajasthan. Here, the successor of Raja Jai Chand, Rao Siyaji, formed strategic alliances and formed a large army to capture the fort of Mandore in 1453. These alliances ensured Rathores to expand their dominion in Rajasthan. It was during this period when Rathores formed a strong connection with Mewar and became their prime regents.
Rao Jodha is considered the main architect or founder of the city and also its first ruler. The city came into existence in 1459. Rao Jodha was the son of Rao Ranmal, a prominent regent of Mewar. Rao Ranmal was considered a skilful warrior, and as a representative of Mewar, he orchestrated victories against Mewar’s neighbours, Malwa, Bundi, and Gujrat. Thus, continuing the legacy set forth by Rao Siyaji, Rao Jodha decided to move from Mandore to Jodhpur. After successfully establishing in Jodhpur, Rao Jodha continued to form alliances with local rulers of Jalore to strengthen the hold of Rathores. Rathores criticized the Mughals, and popular ruler Maharaja Jaswant Singh Ji II was an open critic of Aurangzeb. Hence, Rathores became a prominent force in the Middle Ages through continued struggle and defiance.
Maharaja Ummed Singhji was the ruler during 1947 when India got its independence, and he immediately started the process of reconciliation. Gaj Singhjiu is the current Maharaja of Jodhpur, who ascended the throne in 1952.
The people of Jodhpur are very hospitable and welcome guests with great warmth. People speak Rajasthani or Marwari language with a heavy accent. Marwari is considered to be one of the most beautiful languages since people respect others.
A Poshak is worn by a majority of women in rural Rajasthan. This dress is worn primarily by Rajputs and is very popular among other castes as well. This dress consists of Odhni, Kurti, Kanchali, and Ghagra. This is the symbol of Royalty and Tradition as Rajput women follow a strict and well-defined family protocol known as the “Parda system”. Usually, Poshaks are hand-crafted and different types of designs are made on Odhani, Kurti, and Ghagra are beautiful. These designs are limited to Rajasthan, and hence, Poshaks are in demand at the global level.
Thus, under Rathores, Jodhpur has become a bastion of Rajput pride and honour and continues to influence its legacy. Tourists from around the world are enchanted by the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort as well as the unique culture and lifestyle of the people of the Blue City.