Visitor Information -- The tourist reception center is located in the RTDC Ghoomar Tourist Bungalow, on High Court Road (tel. 0291/254-5083 or 254-4010; Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; closed second Sat of the month). Your own hotel's reception will assist with reservations for sightseeing and day tours. The tourist help line number is tel. 1364 (Mon-Sat 9am-5pm). Convenient places to withdraw cash against your credit card are the HDFC or ICICI ATM at Ratanada Chauraha, UTI Bank (near Kwality Inn, Chandra Hotel), or Bank of Baroda (Sojati Gate).
Getting There -- Traveling by car from Udaipur takes approximately 5 1/2 hours with no stops; the journey from Jaipur takes about 6 1/2 to 7 hours. However, Jodhpur is very well connected by rail and air. As always, try to book flights with the more professional Jet Airways (tel. 0291/510-3333 or -2222 city office, 0291/251-5551 or -5552 airport), though you'll have to use Indian Airlines (tel. 0291/251-0757 or -0758 city office, 0291/251-2617 airport) if you want to fly to Udaipur. Jodhpur's airport (tel. 0291/251-2934) lies 4km (2 1/2 miles) south of the city. Expect to pay about Rs 270 for a taxi into town; this will be less if you use the prepaid taxi service. Jodhpur's main train station (tel. 131 or 132) is on Station Road, just south of the Old City walls. The overnight Mandor Express links the city to Delhi in 12 1/2 hours; the Jaipur Intercity Express gets you here from Jaipur in 5 hours. There are two daily trains from Jaisalmer (6 hr.), early morning and late at night. At press time, train services to/from Udaipur were still suspended until the completion of the new railway line.
Getting Around -- Rickshaws are the most useful way to get around the Old City (a 15-min. ride should cost around Rs 50), but you'll need to hire a taxi if you plan to visit the outlying attractions. To hire a car and driver for the day (or longer -- for instance, for a round-trip to Jaisalmer or to Udaipur), contact Kawaljeet Singh on Rajasthan Tours (tel. 0291/251-2428 or -2932; www.rajasthantouronline.com). For local travel needs call Dilip Singh at Travel Plan at tel. 0291/251-2354 (firstname.lastname@example.org; A-1 Sir Pratap Colony, Airport Rd.), who can arrange excellent guides (ask for Kalyan Singh) and everything from tailored packages to drivers and onward travel.
Festivals -- Diwali, the Hindu New Year celebration that takes place in October/November, is celebrated all over India, but the "Festival of Lights" is particularly exciting when viewed from the lawns of Umaid Bhawan Palace. At the grand bash held by Maharaja Gaj Singh II, you can experience firsthand the deep reverence with which the former ruler of Jodhpur and Marwar is still treated -- everyone wants to kiss the hem and touch the hand of their beloved father figure. The 2-day Marwar Festival, held during the full moon in October, is also worth attending, particularly to see the fire dance held on the Osian dunes. Celebrations include classical folk music concerts, puppet shows, camel polo, and even turban-tying contests. The end of the festivities is heralded with the fire dance, when men jump over burning wood to the rhythm of drums and chants. Sometimes dancers perform on top of red-hot coals, moving in an almost trancelike state to percussion beats.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.