One of the most distinguishable landmarks in the city of Jodhpur is the ghanta gar. The name may sound extremely exotic but “ghanta gar” simply means “clock house” or “clock tower”. As is London’s Big Ben (perhaps the most popular ghanta ghar in the world), clock towers in any city where there is one always stand high above the city landscape as a beacon for everyone to see.
Jodhpur’s Clock Tower rises high above Sardar Market, a busy public market that is always filled with vendors, market goers and tourists. The tower has several tiers, making it look like a pagoda from afar. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh, a past city ruler after whom the public market was named.
To visiting foreigners who would like to experience shopping in an Indian local market, the Clock Tower serves as a faithful beacon that points people to Sardar Market, which is also often referred to as the Clock Tower market. There is no real problem locating this market since everyone knows where it is. All roads lead to the ghanta gar since both tower and market are located right at the very heart of the city.
The Clock Tower Market is one of the oldest markets in Jodhpur, which is telling a lot since Jodhpur is one of India’s most ancient cities. The market, however, is typically noisy, dirty and smelly. The dump, disorderliness and chaos are definitely not worth the historicity and national significance of the area and the tower.
The place is never busy. With over 7,000 tiny stalls to choose from, shoppers and market goers get a heyday making their way through the narrow lanes and bargaining for the best items available. Tourists will definitely enjoy shopping for cheap, colorful and unique saris, scarves, shawls, bags and pointy “jootie” shoes.
Fighting through the crowd and bargaining is the way to “survive” in this famous town market. This is something that must be experienced by all local and foreign visitors, and it doesn’t even matter whether they will buy something or not. There is also an array of local delicacies, sweets, jewelry, and souvenir items.
The market entrance is not from the side of the tower but through Nai Sadak, which is another shopping area with lines of stores and shops. The main gate to Sardar Market is called “Girdikot”, which literally translates “crowded gate”. From Nai Sadak through Sardar Market to the Clock Tower are rows and rows of fabrics, clothes, textiles, carpets, rugs, embroidery, leather products, shoes, antique-looking handicrafts, quilts, silver, souvenir items, and many other items of interest, as well as a sea of noisy bargainers and vendors.
To a number of foreign tourists, the noise and chaos are off-putting. However, those who understand diversity and culture enjoy the mere idea of experiencing authentic Indian living. Street photographers also get so much kick from the experience.
Jodhpur is a photographer and culture lover’s paradise. The city is known to house several ancient structures, one of which is a 15th-century fortress that towers over the city. It is called the Mehrangarh Fort and it stands on top of a rocky 150-meter high hill.
Jodhpur and the state of Rajasthan are definitely not just about shopping but also about palaces, temples, ancient halls and other architectural wonders. There are so many attractions that will keep tourists engaged. And as the sun begins to set and the markets begin to close, the ghanta ghar lights up and offers sightseers a most stunning sight than what it offers during the day.