Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about the Famous clock tower in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
The Ghanta Ghar clock tower is a popular landmark in the old city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The vibrant Sardar Market is close to the tower and narrow alleys lead from here to a bazaar selling vegetables, spices, Indian sweets, textiles, silver and handicrafts. It is a great place to ramble around at leisure.
The Ghanta Ghar clock tower is a popular landmark in the old city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The vibrant Sardar Market is close to the tower and narrow alleys lead from here to a bazaar selling vegetables, spices, Indian sweets, textiles, silver and handicrafts. It is a great place to ramble around at leisure.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur

There is not that much to do in Jodhpur, aside from a few sites including the incredible Mehrangarh Fort and some textile shopping and many people use the city as a jumping-off point for Jaisalmer or as a place to overnight on the way to Jaipur or Udaipur. It is also a great city to do a village tour, an opportunity you might not get in larger cities like Udaipur and Jaipur.

What is the history of Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur?

Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur was built during the reign of Maharaja Sardar Singh as a prime landmark near the Mehrangarh Fort and the clock was sourced from London and is believed to be bought from the company who made the clock tower in London.

Important building in many towns
Clock towers are a specific type of structure which house a turret clock and have one or more clock faces on the upper exterior walls. Many clock towers are freestanding structures but they can also adjoin or be located on top of another building. Some other buildings also have clock faces on their exterior but these structures serve other main functions.

"Ghanta Ghar, also known as the 'Clock tower of Rajasthan', is in the Indian city of Jodhpur. The tower was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh from whom the adjacent Sardar Market takes its a name. Clock towers were originally used in towns to notify people of emergencies, when it was time to worship and of important events like weddings and funerals and were usually located in the center of the towns"

In the centre of Jodhpur
Situated in the centre of Sadar Bazar, which is a busy shopping site for traditional clothes, jewellery and also there are plenty of mouth watering street food here, including 'Shahi samosa' and 'Arora chaat bhandar'. In a way this is the centre of Jodhpur, from where you can reach other popular locations and the stepwell is also walking distance from Ghanta Ghar. It is a super busy location, the best way to explore it is by walking and at night the street along with the clock tower is lit, making it more beautiful.

The Photographer first spotted the Ghanta Ghar from the Mehrangarh Fort and Ghanta Ghar is basically the center of the city or you can say the main market area, where you can find the tower with an clock which can been visible from quite long distance. You can find a lot of shops around this place for shopping and snacks.

Structure of the clock tower
There are many structures which may have clocks or clock faces attached to them and some structures have had clocks added to an existing structure, defined as a building if at least 50 percent of its height is made up of floor plates containing habitable floor area. Structures that do not meet this criterion, are defined as towers. A clock tower historically fits this definition of a tower and therefore can be defined as any tower specifically built with one or more, which often four clock faces and that can be either freestanding or part of a church or municipal building such as a town hall. Not all clocks on buildings therefore make the building into a clock tower.

Mechanism inside the tower
The mechanism inside the tower is known as a turret clock. It often marks the hour and sometimes segments of an hour by sounding large bells or chimes, sometimes playing simple musical phrases or tunes. Some clock towers were previously built as bell towers and then had clocks added to them. As these structures fulfil the definition of a tower they can be considered to be clock towers.

During the British colonial period, European styles including neoclassical, gothic revival and baroque became prevalent across India. The amalgamation of Indo-Islamic and European styles led to a new style, known as the Indo-Saracenic style, a style of architecture evolved by combining Indian architectural features with European styles. With a number of exceptions from earlier, most Indo-Saracenic public buildings were constructed by parts of the British Raj government of India, in place between 1858 and 1947, with the peak period beginning around 1880.

They partly reflected the British aspiration for an 'Imperial style' of their own, rendered on an intentionally grand scale, reflecting and promoting a notion of an unassailable and invincible British Empire. Typically, in India, villages, towns and cities of some means would lavish significant sums on construction of such architectural works when plans were drawn up for construction of the local railway stations, museums and art galleries.

The cost involved in the construction of buildings of this style was high, including all their inherent customization, ornament and minutia decoration, the artisans' ingenuous skills such as stone and wood carving, as well as the exquisite lapidary and inlaid work and usual accessibility to requisite raw materials, hence the style was executed only on buildings of a grand scale. However, the occasional residential structure of this sort, it is being built in part or whole with Indo-Saracenic design elements and motifs did appear quite often and such buildings have grown ever more valuable and highly prized by local and foreign populations for their exuberant beauty and elegance today.

See this video about the Ghanta Ghar in Jodhpur made by Home Is Behind Travel.

Perception of time in India
The perceived time interval between two successive events is referred to as perceived duration. People in India typically have a relaxed approach towards timekeeping and punctuality. For instance it is common for people to arrive at events 30 minutes to an hour after the designated time. The culture in India perceives time in a polychronic manner where time is elastic and meeting times are flexible in India. In a polychronic culture like India, time is generally not considered as the objective guideline for planning and scheduling one's business activities.

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More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a clock tower in Jodhpur. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.