If you are looking for the best cultural experience in India, the historic city of Jodhpur in the mystical state of Rajasthan should be your first choice of destination. It is beaming with ancient palaces, temples, forts and halls, and contrasted with savory local dishes and colorful festivals. You should, however, watch your health in Jodhpur since it is not the most modern city in India.
While you will definitely enjoy the sights, local color, food, music, people and souvenir items, expect Rajasthan to be typically Asian in many ways. Expect city streets and local venues such as markets, shops, malls and train stations to be very crowded, noisy and polluted. Traffic is congested and motorists don’t seem to know a single traffic rule.
Also, while Indian food is generally very flavorful, chilly and aromatic, a number of food places aren’t really concerned with proper hygiene and nutrition. Not having many clean and world-class restaurants to choose from is your first health concern. You should not experiment with food, especially when it is your first time to visit India and to taste Rajasthani local delicacies.
There are also limited choices since there are just a few international restaurants here, basically only the ones in international hotels. There are no American snack bars, unlike in Mumbai or Delhi where it is common to see McDonald’s and other American brands. However, there is a host of vegetarian restaurants in Jodhpur serving nutritious dishes.
Diarrhea is a common health concern among visiting foreigners. Sometimes it is not even an issue of hygiene but simply because the body is adjusting to a new kind of recipe. It is best to consume local foods in portions and be ready to take the appropriate medicine when necessary.
Water is also a concern. Drinking from the tap is a definite no; locals don’t even approve of it themselves. Downing non-purified water could lead to problems much severe than diarrhea, which could include death (although there have not been any reported cases in Rajasthan).
Other than the issue of accidentally drinking harmful microbes in non-purified water, tourists also need to drink often to keep hydrated. Jodhpur is located at the mouth of the Great Indian Desert and it could get very hot. In summer, the temperature could shoot to as high as over 40°C.
The scorching Asian desert heat could cause dizziness, nausea and a number of skin diseases. The worst that could hit is heat stroke. It is best to drink plenty of water, always take a plastic bottle of water as you go sightseeing and stay under the shade or air-conditioned rooms whenever possible.
Meanwhile, local officials are also concerned with the problem of stray dogs. There are hundreds of them walking about especially along backstreets and back alleys. It is best to steer clear from them since rabid dogs could kill people with a single bite.
Health in Jodhpur is a real concern but this should not stop you from coming. This scenic city is teeming with palaces, temples and ancient structures that never fail to impress onlookers. You just have to look beyond the many street beggars, hawkers and rowdy auto-rickshaw drivers, as well as pedestrians peeing anywhere they please.