Mehargarh OR Jodhpur Fort
Mehragarh Fort is one of India's largest forts and located in the picturesque city of Jodhpur. The work of building the fort originally commenced in 1459 on the behest of the founder of Jodhpur - Rao Jodha but much of the fort as it stands today was built in the era of Jaswant Singh. This magnificent fort is spread over 5 kms. and is located on top of a hill which is all of 125 meters high.
To honor and memorialize momentous triumphs there are three stately gates to the fort. Once inside the fort visitors can't help marveling at some astonishing palaces which are a living testimony to the high standard of craftsmanship prevalent in those days.
The Moti Mahal which is made of elaborately carved stones is the dwelling place of the royal throne of Jodhpur which is popularly referred to as the Sringar Chowki in local parlance. There is also the majestic Umaid Villas that showcases some remarkable Rajasthani miniature art work. The Ajit Villa is conspicuous with its rich collection of musical instruments and regal attires while the gorgeous Phool Mahal is where the legendary Jodhpur Coat of Arms is preserved. The parapets of Phool Mahal are adorned with exquisite art works portraying various melodious scenes.
For some bravado, one doesn't need to go far. There is the well preserved Maan Villas which exhibits the arsenal and weaponry of the house of Rathores. The intriguing Tent Room is fabulous which has distinct Mughal features. Legend has it that it was once used by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The tent is richly embroidered with gold and is literally a treat to the eyes.
Mehrangarh fort has never ever been seized. The invincible fortifications are six meters thick. Some of the walls still bear cannon marks and today this magnificent Jodhpur fort is a living testimony that recounts the chronicles and legends of Jodhpur's rich past.
Perched on a 150 m high hill its sprawl is the most formidable and magnificent fort in Rajasthan. Rao Jodha founded it in 1459 but subsequent rulers of Jodhpur have also added to it over the centuries.
A meandering road leads to the from the city 5 kms below. Battle scars of canon ball hit by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left is chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot while defending the fort against the armies of Amber.
There are seven gates, which include Jayapol meaning victory built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. Fattehpol also meaning victory gate was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh to mark the defeat of Mughals.
And Lohapol meaning iron gate has a moving memorabilia on palm print of the queens of Maharaja Man Singh who threw themselves on his funeral pyre in an act of sati. The palm imprints still attract devotional attention and are covered by vermilion paste and paper-thin silver foil.
This is one of the finest museums in Rajasthan and certainly the best layed out. In the palanquin section of the fort museum, you can see an interesting collection of old royal palanquins including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin, which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period rooms.
The grandest of Mehrangarh's period rooms, the Phool Mahal was in all likely hood a private and exclusive chamber of pleasure dancing girls once swooned in exhaustion here under a ceiling rich in gold filigree. The Phool Mahal was created by Maharaja Abhaya Singh (1724-1749) and the gold came from Ahmedabad in Gujarat as war booty after his famous victory over the rebellious Mughal governor, Sarbuland Khan. The paintings, royal portraits and the ever-popular raga mala, came much later, in the reign of Jaswant Singh II.
The Jhanki Mahal, from where the royal ladies watched the official proceedings, in the courtyard, today houses a rich collection of the royal cradles. The cradles are decorated with gilt mirrors and figures of fairies, elephant and birds.
How To Reach
The airport is 5km from city centre. The Indian Airlines Office is south of the Centre on Airport Road and is open daily from 10 am to 1pm and 2 pm to 4.30 pm. It has flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur and Jaipur.
Rail : The city is well connected by the railway lines and trains are available from all major cities in the country for here. The booking office is on Station Road, between the railway station and Sojati Gate. The office is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to s pm and only until 1.45 pm on Sunday.
Road : RSTC buses and private luxury buses connect Jodhpur with almost all major places of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is well connected to National Highway No. 65.
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