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.
Posts on 2018 Rajasthan:-
Day 1: Jodhpur
DAY 1.1: IN TRANSIT TO RAJASTHAN
DAY 1.2: PAL HAVELI & THE OMELETTE MAN, Jodhpur
DAY 1.3: SPLENDOR OF THE SUN FORT, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.4: SUNSET OVER THE BLUE CITY, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.5: SADAR MARKET AND GHANTA GHAR CLOCKTOWER, Jodhpur
Day 2: Jodhpur, Osian, Jaisalmer
DAY 2.1: MARBLE CENOTAPH JASWANT THADA, Jodhpur
DAY 2.2: MEDIEVAL STEPWELLS, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra, Gulab Sagar, & Toorji Ka Jhalra, Jodhpur
DAY 2.3: PILGRIM OASIS IN THAR DESERT, Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian
DAY 2.4: SUNRISE AT THE FIRST GATE OF GOLDEN FORT, Jaisalmer
Day 4: Jaisalmer
DAY 4.1: RESERVOIR OF THE GOLDEN CITY, Gadsisar Lake, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.2: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 1, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.3: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 2, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.4: DESERT HERITAGE, Hotel Nachana Haveli and Thar Heritage Museum, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.5: LAST STROLL IN THE GOLDEN CITY, Jaisalmer
Day 8: Bhangarh, Abhaneri & Agra
DAY 8.1: ON THR ROAD TO AGRA
DAY 8.2: HAUNTED RUINS, Bhangarh, Rajasthan
DAY 8.3: CHAND BAORI, Abhaneri, Rajasthan
DAY 8.4: THE ABANDONED CAPITAL OF MUGHAL EMPIRE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 8.5: FRIDAY MOSQUE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Day 9: Agra
DAY 9.1: CROWN OF THE PALACES, Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.2: AGRA FORT, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.3: RAWATPARA SPICE MARKET, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.4: SUNSET AT MEHTAB BAGH, Agra, Uttar Pradesh