Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India which is known as the Taj Mahal of Jodhpur, is situated on a hill for about 150 mt high built on mayurdhavj mountain and located at a distance of 5 kms from the Jodhpur city. It is also known as the majestic fort of Jodhpur which comprises of many beautiful stone-latticed palaces, forts, museums, temples, galleries, courtyards and halls in the whole Rajasthan. This fort was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 and stands as a popular tourist destination of Rajasthan, India. It being India's one of the most historic monument is a great centre of religious pilgrimage, of scholarly study, and gained importance of heritage conservation attracting people of India as well as whole world.
Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur Rajasthan
History of Mehrangarh Fort:
Jodhpur Mehrangarh Fort History is related to Rao Jodha who was a 15th Rathore ruler in 1458. The Mandore Fort, 1000 years old was home of Jodha which slowly started deteriorating and for the safety of his kingdom Jodha was advised to move his capital to a safer place from one year after his acceptance, led to the foundation of Mehrangarh Fort in 1459.
From times immemorial this majestic fort of Jodhpur has been a living testimony that recounts the chronicles and legends of Jodhpur's.
Significance of this Fort:
The presence of marks of canon balls from the past are still prominent on the second gate of the fortress. The palm imprints smeared with vermilion paste and paper-thin silver foil on the gateways leads to the funeral pyre site, reminds the tourists of the princesses and the queens who committed Jawhar or self-immolation for the sake of their consorts.
Palm imprints of Sati in Mehrangarh Fort
Construction and Architecture of Fort:
Mehrangarh Fort is surrounded by a 68-ft wide and 117-ft elevated invincible thick walls on all sides. The burnished red sand stone fort stands almost four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur.
These fascinating sandstone palaces, exhibit the magnificent craftsmanship of the Jodhpuri craftsmen within the Mehrangarh Fort. Some famous palaces within the Fort with their sprawling and huge courtyards are:
The Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace)- also known as the Sringar Chowki is the royal throne of Jodhpur.
The Phool Mahal- its ceiling is adorned by gold filigree work.
The Rang Mahal and
The Chandan Mahal
Inside View of Mehrangarh Fort
The Umaid Villas- showcases the Rajput miniature paintings,
The Ajit Villas- displays the musical instruments and the royal attires and the Maan Villas.
The Mehrangarh Fort Museum is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. The museums one section is full of a selected old royal palanquins, with the most admired the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum also exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period.
Mahadol Palanquin in Mehrangarh Fort
The Turbans are one of the most important part of the culture of Rajasthan. One can see a vast collection of head gears and turbans used by the erstwhile royalties in a Turban Gallery in the museum.
One of the Galleries inside this building also gives us a curious display of various folk instruments used at that time. Hence the Mehrangarh Fort, with its beauty, is the living proof of the hard work and skill of the Jodhpuri sculptors.
The entrance of the Fort has series of Seven Gates. These seven gates still bear the marks of the various battles fought in the bygone era and the most famous gates among them are:
The Jayapol ("Gate of Victory")- It was built in 1806 by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies.
Dedh Kamgra Pol- It has marks of canon ball hits formed by the attacking armies of Jaipur during wars.
Fatthpol (meaning victory)- It was built in 1707 by Maharaja Ajit Singh as a celebration for defeating the Mughals.
Loha Pol- It is the final gate to enter into the main part of the fort and has palm imprints (sati marks) of the ranis who in 1843 immolated themselves still visible on the porch leading to the place of funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.
Chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda- It is at the left side of the fort, in rememberance of the courageous soldier who died on the spot while guarding the fort against the armies of Amber. The splendid cenotaphs testify the bravery and intrepid of the Rathore kings of Jodhpur.
The Beauty of Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur
Fort Visiting Hours: It is open from morning 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM in the evening. One can have their Personal guides and also hire Rentable audio guides who will provide excellent information about the fort and museum artifacts.
Celebration of Festivals at Fort:
There are two main traditional festivals celebrated at Mehrangarh Fort namely Gangaur and Dusshera.
Gangaur –This festival is celebrated annually with great fanfare. During this festival a ceremonial procession of Gangaur mataji is held from the fort into the old city with active involvement of the city.
Dussehra – This festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the bright half of Asoja (Sep- Oct) in commemoration of Rama's victory over Ravana. It is the culmination of the Navaratri Festival (nine nights) held in honour of the warrior Goddess Durga. A traditional Dussehra Darbar is held on this day, where His Highness performs Shastra Puja along with his clansmen. A ceremonial procession of Rama begins from the fort and concludes in the city.
The others are Rajasthan International Folk Festival and the World Sacred Spirit Festival both of them a good site to see when in the city.
Best Time to Visit:
As this fort is located near the Thar Desert, the best time to visit this place is during the Indian winter seasons, from October-February.
How to Reach:
By Road: The local means of transport is the best to reach the fort.
By Train: The Raika Bagh Railway Station is the nearest railway station to the fort. This fort is at a distance of 328 km from Jaipur and the journey is about 6 hours. One could also take a direct train from Delhi to Jodhpur, journey for about 9-10 hours to reach this place.
By Air: Jodhpur doesn't have an airport. The nearest airport is located near the Pink City, Jaipur known as the Jaipur International Airport.
Image Courtesy: www.mouthshut.com, www.expedia.co.in