We had just 4 hours in Jodhpur before heading to Jaisalmer. So we had to choose the best from the best things to see in Jodhpur. For me Mehrangarh fort was the “bestest” thing that Jodhpur could offer. I had seen pictures of the fort on various websites and was fascinated by them. So a visit to the fort was on top of my list.
The Mehrangarh fort offers the best views of the Blue city, Jodhpur. It is from here you can see that all the houses are of color blue.It seems the city of Brahmapuri as it was known earlier was where only Brahmins used to live and blue houses signified that of a Brahmin. These Brahmins also used to paint their houses blue/indigo as a protection from mosquitos and insects. It is said that Blue color is a natural repellent to mosquitoes and other insects. The color stayed on and the city got its name of “Blue city”.
Mehrangarh fort or the Sun fort built by Rao Jodha in the 12th century is situated at a height of 400 feet . Its one of the largest and best preserved forts of India. And amongst all the forts that i had visited in Rajasthan in those 10 days, this one was a Masterpiece. The gigantic appearance, the massive walls, the architecture, the carvings everything about this fort was magnificent. There are 7 gates in this fort , the main ones being Jai Pol, Fateh Pol and Loha Pol. This is the only fort i came across which has an elevator for the tourists to use.
The fort has a very interesting story , it seems Roa Jodha wanted to shift his capital to Jodhpur and had chosen this hill where he wanted to lay the foundation of the fort. He asked his men to shift every person found on the hill elsewhere. At that time, there was just one person who lived there an old hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the Lord of the Birds (even today the fort is home to thousands of birds). He was so upset at being forced out that he cursed the place with scarcity of water. The King was so upset with this that he pleaded that the curse be taken back. But the man said , although he could not take back the curse once its given he would however, offer a solution. He said that a person had to be buried alive here for the effects of the curse to be reversed. A man named “Raja Ram Meghwal” offered to be buried alive at the hill, and the king in return promised to look after his family. His family still live at Raj Bagh , a place given to them by the King. The foundation of this fort was thus laid. And a memorial for Raja Ram Meghwal was also built here.
The fort has a lot of beautiful palaces namely, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Mahal , Moti Mahal etc.What fascinated me were the Jali work of the windows, they were extremely beautiful with delicate carvings and detailed architectural designs. I couldn’t stop peeping through the jharokas and posing in front of them. It also houses a beautiful museum with a huge collection of royal palanquins, howdahs, cradles etc. There were swords some of which belonged to the times of mughal emperor Akbar, it is said that the Rathore rulers had good relations with the Mughals. There were furnitures, armory, hookahs, makeup box, musical instruments, paintings etc. But what caught my attention was the Daulatkhana, a place where the treasury was kept or you can say it was the king’s bank hence, the name Daulatkhana.
The fort also has a spine chilling history of Sati or Jauhar. A practise of mass self-immolation (where the women jump into the fire to kill themselves,commonly practised among Rajputs those days) by the women of the palace including the queens, the dasi’s etc to avoid being used by the enemies if the men lose the war. Many a times the women would kill themselves even before the men went to war because they were unsure of the result. Before the Jauhar the women would leave their handprints on the wall. You will find these handprints on most of the forts in Rajasthan, i saw these in Jaisalmer and Bikaner too.
Mehrangarh fort was my brush with Rajputana history. Being here was like a dream come ture as this fort had always fascinated me. Its one of those fairytale forts that you had always seen in movies. It was here that the movie Dark Knight Rises was shot and a lot of bollywood movies too. It overlooks the City of Jodhpur and boasts of a well stocked museum ( i’ll be writing about this in the next post), mind blowing architecture, well preserved cannon,it also the best place to see the sunset and sunrise.
Amongst all the forts that i had seen in Rajasthan, this one remains my favourite. I wish i had spent one whole day there as theres so much to see in the city that 4 hours was definitely a short time and we had to leave out the beautiful Umaid Bhavan and Jaswant Thada. But i left the city with a promise that i will be back for more.