At the exit of Amber Fort, we asked a local visitor for directions to the Jaigarh Fort, the mighty fortress overlooking the Amber Fort atop the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the Aravalli Range. Built by Jai Singh II in 1726, the main function of Jaigarh Fort was to protect the Amber Fort. Many visitors make the effort up to Jaigarh to check out Jaivana, the super large cannon cast in 1720 by Sawai Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. We opted for its supreme views of Amber Fort and Maota Lake. The local visitor advised us to return into Amber Fort and search for the “Tunnel”, a sub-terrain passage below Amber Fort connecting to the trail of Jaigarh Fort. We reentered Amber Fort and descended into the “Tunnel”. The “Tunnel” was dark but full of curious tourists. There were no signage to confirm the destination but we were told that it would eventually lead us to Jaigarh Fort. After several minutes in the dark, the “Tunnel” opened to an outdoor archway passage going uphill.
The “Tunnel” exited to an archway passage between Amber and Jaigarh Fort. The passage was concealed below grade probably for defensive purpose.
The archway passage eventually merged with an uphill path leading to Jaigarh Fort.
Not that many tourists were around on the path. The path was quite exposed. We were a little hot despite it was winter.
After ten minutes of ascending, Jaigarh Fort was right ahead of us.
Looking down, we could see the winding path that brought us up to the fort.
After walking through a tunnel, archway passage, and uphill path, we finally reached Jaigarh Fort, the defense citadel for Amber.
Compared with Amber Fort, Jaigarh was relatively bare and empty.
Most of the interior spaces were off limit for visitors. We wandered around the courtyards before reaching the back gardens.
Despite all furniture were gone, we could still imagine what the spaces would be like when filled with generals and military personnel.
At various lookouts, we could truly appreciate the defensive structure and ramparts that extended way beyond the fort.
As an defensive complex, the back garden of Jaigarh Fort was surprisingly elegant.
We walked on the rampart walls around the garden to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
From the wall, we could also see the Amber Fort down below.
We could also see a number of temples in the town of Amber down below.
From distance, the protective ramparts surrounding Amber seemed like a small version of China’s Great Wall.
Delicate latticeworks seemed to exist everywhere no matter where visited in Rajasthan.
At the other end of Jaigarh Fort, we finally found Jaivana, the large 18th-century cannon cast by Sawai Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. After a test-fire in 1720, the cannon had never fired twice.
Standing on a rock hill 120m above the old city of Jodhpur, many consider Mehrangarh Fort the most impressive fortress in India. Director Christopher Nolan must have the same feeling when he chose to shoot a scene of The Dark Knight Rises here back in 2011. Built in the 15th century by Rao Jodha, the king of Mandore who found the city of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh has impressed spectators for centuries with its massive defense walls and exquisite palaces. Since 1971, maharajas and princes in India were deprived of their privileges and remuneration. Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Jodhpur has since then became a politician in the parliament. In 1972, he found the Mehrangarh Museum Trust to restore and maintain his famous fort. Throughout the years, they have done a decent job in restoring the fort and establishing a museum to showcase the artifacts of former royal family. The Mehrangarh was the first place to visit during our stay in Rajasthan. We spent the rest of the day at the fort. We took our time to wander around the fort and listen to the informative audio guide, which was included in the admission of foreign visitors.
Built in the 19th century by Maharaja Man Singh, a chattri (umbrella dome on pillars) was a memorial of feudal lord Thakur Shyam Singh Chauhan welcome most visitors in front of the massive fort.
The impressive Mehrangarh is one of the largest forts in India.
After entering the first gate Jai Pol, we soon arrived at the gates of Dodh Kangra Pol (left) and Imritia Pol (middle) on our way up to the fort.
Through the Imritia Pol, we followed other visitors and walked up to the next gate Loha Pol.
At the Loha Pol Gate, music performers rested in a niche along with their traditional drums and instruments.
At Loha Pol Gate, we walked by a series of small hand prints on the wall. Those small hand prints or the sati marks were left by the wives and concubines before their sati ritual. In the sati custom, these women would dressed in wedding finery and joined their husband in death on his funeral pyre.
Beyond Loha Pol Gate, we entered a long courtyard where we had our first glimpse of the beautiful facades of Jhanki Mahal (Palace of Glimpses) and Phool Mahal (Palace of Flowers).
Through the Suraj Pol or Sun Gate beyond a set of steps, we entered the Shringar Chowk Courtyard, the first part of the admission zone.
The Shringar Chowk Courtyard was the site of coronation for the maharajas.
At Shringar Chowk Courtyard, a staff was performing the act of opium smoking.
From Shringar Chowk, we entered the second courtyard known as Daulat Khana Chowk (Treasury Square). Constructed by Maharaja Ajit Singh in 1718, the second courtyard was the perfect spot to admire the splendid palaces of Mehrangarh: Daulat Khana Mahal (centre), Phool Mahal (right) and Jhanki Mahal (left).
The Daulat Khana Mahal (Treasury) showcases some fascinating artifacts of the royal family, including a collection of elephant’s howdahs, the wooden seat covered with gold and silver sheets fastened on the elephant backs for riding.
The display at the museum was full of wonderful display of paintings, artifacts and furniture of the royal family.
The Phul Mahal or Palace of Flowers was a private reception hall constructed in the 18th century. It was used for private receptions or cozy music performances.
From Phul Mahal, we walked over to the roof of Daulat Khana Mahal, where we could look back down to the Daulat Khana Chowk (Treasury Square).
Takhat Vilas was the private chamber of Takhat Singh in the 19th century. All surfaces were painted or decorated with colours. The Christmas balls were interesting additions to the interiors, at a time when Western influences came as trendy articulations in lives of the wealthy.
At Jhanki Mahal, a hallway was converted into the Cradle Gallery to display the facy cradles of the royal family, many of which were used for ceremonies during festivals.
From the upper floors in the palaces, we occasionally encountered great spots to look down to the blue city of old Jodhpur.
The Holi chowk courtyard was where the Maharaja and his wives and concubines celebrated important festivals.
With more than 250 stone latticework designs, the impressive building facades at Zenana Deorhi Chowk (Women’s Square) provided the perfect finale for the fortress visit.