JODHPUR A city in Rajasthan, Jodhpur was earlier the capital of the princely state of Jodhpur. In 2001 its population was 860,400. Jodhpur is the center of a region called Marwar (Land of Death), which borders the Thar Desert. Since its barren soil does not offer much scope for agriculture, many of its inhabitants have migrated to other parts of India, particularly the traders, who are mostly Jains by religious affiliation, and are kown as Marwaris throughout India. Many of the Marwaris are financial wizards, including the famous Birla family. The Birlas have made a mark as industrialists and have built many large Hindu temples; they long sponsored and hosted Mahatma Gandhi, who lived in their Delhi mansion during his last months in 1947–1948. The fact that Marwar has produced such enterprising traders is probably due to its location at the center of an important trade route linking Delhi and Agra with the ports of Gujarat.
The princely state of Jodhpur was founded in 1212 and was locked in constant conflict with the sultans of Delhi at that time. The city of Jodhpur was founded by Rao Jodha of the Rathor clan of Rajputs in 1459. In 1561 Jodhpur was conquered by the Mughals, and later the Marathas captured this area. Under British colonial rule, the maharaja of Jodhpur survived, as had several other Rajput princes. Umaid Bhavan, the enormous city palace of Jodhpur, built with "golden" (yellowish) local sandstone in the twentieth century is a symbol of princely splendor in the twilight of the British Raj.
Jodhpur houses a university and the High Court of Rajasthan. In recent years it has also attracted some minor industries. As a railway station and a shopping center, it services a vast region, as it is located at a distance of about 185 miles (300 kilometers) from Jaipur to the northeast and 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Udaipur to the southeast.
Upadhyaya, Nirmala M. The Administration of Jodhpur State,
1800–1947. Jodhpur: International Publishers, 1973.