Umaid Bhawan is the monumental palace built in the 50s when the royal family of Jodhpur moved out of Mehrangarh. Their living quarters take up half of the palace and the Umaid Bhawan Hotel takes up another quarter. As such, not much of the palace is accessible to the public, but the few rooms that are open, as part of the palace museum, are worth a visit, particularly if you are in the area. Indeed, for a taste of true opulence our concierge can try and book you a table at the palace restaurant. It is not always possible as the restaurant is exceptionally exclusive, but the experience is the pinnacle of Indian luxury.
Gem & Jewels Palace
Under the eye of the palace are some of the best gem shops in Jodhpur. Though we would definitely recommend our own RAAS branch of the Gem Palace, which hails from the jewellery capital Jaipur, these boutiques are definitely a must for the serious shopper. Along Circuit House Road lies several gorgeous jewellery shops, including the (unadventurously named) Gems and Jewels Palace. Here you can find a mixture of traditional Indian and contemporary Western styles, all beautifully executed and reasonably priced.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from these opulent gem shops, is Sarafa Bazaar, the city’s silver and jewellery market. Completely non-touristy, silver jewellery is sold by weight, at a price that varies with the stock exchange in Mumbai. Unlike the Circuit House road jewellers, they sell jewellery entirely catered to the local market, so head there for traditional, very affordable styles and the opportunity to chat with the jewellers themselves.
Circuit House Road
Sarafa bazaar is one of Jodhpur’s many markets dedicated to one specific type of good. Alongside the silver market you also have the ‘Kapron ka Bazaar’ (Cloth), the ‘Dhaan Mandi’ (Grain), ‘Mirchi Bazaar’ (Chillies & Spices) and Betel Nut Lane. More informally, Circuit House Road is also home to a concentration of Jodhpur’s best antique shops and they are an absolute must-visit. The city is famous for its antiques, and rightly so. When shopping, the boutiques filled with old doors, windows and architectural detailing are incredible, but it’s worthwhile to note that this ‘architectural salvage’ is sourced by ripping heritage havelis apart for their detailing (similarly there are charges for exporting particularly old objects). More ethical to purchase are the smaller pieces and antiques and there are certainly plenty of places that sell them. Lalji Handicrafts is deservedly the most famous of these shops. Entering, there are no rules are to what you can find. Everything from axes to old wedding photos to chess pieces to cut crystal martini glasses, the shop is a treasure trove of trinkets and curios. They will ship anything you buy, so no need to lug that elephant-shaped footstall across India and it’s lovely to have something tangible to remind you of the opulence of Jodhpur when you return home.