Regal Rajasthan- The land of Maharajas

Khamma Ghani !!

From forts to deserts, holy lakes to the vibrant culture, the thing that is hard to grasp for the first-time (or even repeat) visitor is the magnitude of the land of Maharajas. I was fortunate enough to have 4 days in hand to explore the rich culture and royal architecture of Rajasthan. The days were less to visit major attractions but I tried to cover as much as I could in a shorter time frame.

With some new travel partners this time, I started my journey in the colourful world of the royal state of Rajasthan. I, Jasmeen and Kubair embarked to our first destination,  Jodhpur; also known as the blue city of Rajasthan. 

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While I would fall short of words to describe the beauty of Rajasthan, I would say it’s a place with some astonishing and natural sites radiating positive vibes all around. The skilful and tedious art, sculptures of marble & sandstone, jaali work, the stonework is the finest I have ever seen and is truly beyond comparison. There are also a lot of hidden gems that you can explore if you take the road less travelled. 

Now planning a trip to the largest state in India by area can be overwhelming when you do not know where to begin. I have curated this blog post after extensive research and enthusiasm to cater to essential details so that you can plan your journey wisely in a budget and cover maximum in a span of 4 days. I would be covering the best budget places to stay, attractions and activities in Jodhpur (The Blue City) and Jaisalmer (The Golden City) only. 

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Day 1 – 01.01.2020 

Jasmeen and I have booked our early morning Shatabdi train tickets from Chandigarh to Delhi while Kubair was to join us from New Delhi. We then took our flight from Delhi to Jodhpur and reached Jodhpur at 3:00 PM. Since we were to only stay for a night in Jodhpur we had booked a budget hotel, Residency Palace Jodhpur. After reaching the hotel we rested there for a while and in the evening we ventured out to explore the markets of Jodhpur. We explored the nearby places like Masuriiya hill garden, Sadar Market and Clock tower.

If you wanna see the city from the top, you can definitely try Masuriya Hill Garden. Located at a hilltop, it’s great to witness the sunset. It has a small garden, with good views of the city. Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Palace can be easily seen from here. A nice chill-out place to relax and enjoy the sunset.

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After spending some time here we went to the Sardar market. It is the largest and busiest marketplace of Jodhpur and is named after Maharaja Sardar Singh, the king of Jodhpur responsible for building the Ghanta Ghar (Clock tower) which lies near the market. This is the most famous shopping zone of Jodhpur and attracts customers from all parts of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, and the world. The marketplace is abundant with everything a shopper could dream of buying, with locals selling all sorts of products such as local fabric, clay figurines, silver jewellery, grains, spices, marble, pottery, vegetables, and many more products.

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One can find the traditional products of Rajasthan within this area. There is plenty of food and beverages available, giving travellers the most authentic experience of a Rajasthani market. We tried local delicacies like Mirchi Bada and Samosa at the famous shop Shahi Samosa. If you are a lassi lover, then surely have a glass of lassi here in Clock Tower as it is considered to be the best in the world. We tried different lassis. The rates were very reasonable. 

If shopping and food are not enough of an attraction, one may also visit this marketplace merely to observe the variety of people who come here. Colourfully dressed people from all walks of life can be seen throughout the locality, be them customers, tourists, or vendors. This is what gives this area its life and vibrancy. The Ghanta Ghar, or the clock tower of Rajasthan, is a majestic sight that lies beyond the market.

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We then called off the day and rested as had to travel to Jaisalmer, the very next day which was a long journey in itself. We planned to visit the places in Jodhpur on the last day as were short on time. We booked a cab (Dzire) for the whole journey from this point as the places are very far away from each other and it would take a lot of time to cover them. The cab charges included all the ticket charges as well for our visit to forts and palaces. We started our journey at around 9:00 AM. 

Day 2 – 02.01.2020 

The first place we went to was the Kalyana lake. Located 8 km to the west of Jodhpur, the Kaylana Lake is a massive manmade lake, covering a surface of 84 square km. Constructed in 1872 by Pratap Singh, it serves as the primary resource for drinking water for the citizens of Jodhpur and other neighbouring settlements. The lake gets water from Indira Gandhi Canal. A peaceful location, this lake is a must-visit for most travellers who are road tripping between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. It also serves as an excellent viewpoint for sunsets in Jodhpur.

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The pristine lake is surrounded by Babul trees, hills, and rock formations, granting travellers many picturesque sights across its boundaries. A favourite among bird watchers, one can find a variety of bird species beating the heat of Rajasthan while enjoying the cool breeze of the lake. Kaylana Lake is a great place to connect to various other tourist sites near Jodhpur, such as the Machia Biological Park, the Machiya Fort, and various Shiva temples. These sites are all within a 5 km radius of the outskirts of the lake. After clicking some pictures we continued our journey. Enroute we spotted pink sandstone mines.

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Jodhpur Pink Sandstone is the most loved Indian Sandstone in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Bahamas, Russia, Costa Rica, Mauritius, etc. Throughout the world, stone buyers enquire regarding this beautiful Jodhpur Pink Sandstone. This is particularly very popular amongst Indian Paving Stone Importers in United Kingdom, Ireland and in other European markets. 

As we crossed the Pokhran city, we saw some colourful auto-rickshaws of Kerela numbered license plates coming out of nowhere. The unique thing about these autos was that they were being driven by foreigners. On inquiring, we got to know that these foreigners carrying the message of environmental conversation set off a rickshaw run every year from Kochi to Jaisalmer.

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Foreigners of many countries are a part of this initiative which aims to help needy students with clothing, education and basic requirements and spread the message of the environmental conversation. I couldn’t resist myself for capturing the uniquely decked autos. As I stopping our cab here and there for getting some good shots, Kubair was worried that we won’t be able to make it for the desert safari which we had booked at Sam Sandunes, Jaisalmer. Finally, we reached our camps and were welcomed as per Rajasthani customs and traditions. 

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Jaisalmer indeed is a splendid region in Rajasthan that sways in a profusion of colours. Witnessing the beauty of the spectacular sandy terrain we were left in awe. The camel safaris and swanky thar jeeps seemed to be adventurous and exciting. Out of all the interesting adventure sports in Jaisalmer which I saw en-route, I found parasailing the easy one. It has got better runways and stripes and will let your heart fill with thrill and adventure at the time of the activity. The activity is conducted by an expert and you are provided with all the safety equipment required during the session. This activity here in Jaisalmer is for those who are afraid of heights. You can overcome this fear of yours after doing this once. It takes a total of 30 minutes to end the activity. However, you will be in the air for 3-4 minutes only.

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We were re-energised after seeing the colourful camels adorned beautifully in traditional necklaces and anklets, and vibrantly coloured bridles. We were all set for a  safari through the sandy terrains of the golden Thar Desert. As time was less we opted to do camel safari immediately after dropping bags in our swiss tents. There are loads of companies offering safaris and every hotel can hook you up with a guide but hotels are often taking a commission. I suggest comparing prices and bargain. We had pre-booked our stay beforehand which included camel safari, stay for a day at swiss camps, cultural evening, snacks, dinner and breakfast. We extended our camel ride further into the desert by paying an additional amount of Rs. 900.

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Camel Safari was a remarkable experience altogether with an intimate glimpse into desert life. We got some really mesmerizing shots of the desert. The sunset was beautiful behind the golden sands of sand dunes. I felt so lucky to witness such a picturesque sunset. While everything about the safari was good but one thing I felt was not right was that the cold drink bottles, chips packets etc were thrown here and there in the desert area. But I was told by our guide that this mess is cleared by the respective companies the very next day. I hope that the Rajasthan Government shall impose some strict laws so as to prevent the desert from getting converted into a garbage dump. The influx of tourists seems completely destroying nature, even the desert seems not spared.

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One gets close to the rustic life of villagers living around the desert and also makes one see marvellous sceneries of the widespread desert. As one among the biggest tourist attraction in the region, the camel safari will suit almost all sorts of financial brackets. Therefore, one can get this memorable experience in his budget. The ideal time to enjoy camel safari in Rajasthan is from September to March because of comfortable weather conditions. Among other noticeable activities, Jeep safaris, quad biking, paragliding and blasting sand dunes are quite popular around here. 

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If you are someone who loves adventure then quad biking is one of the adventure sports in Jaisalmer that you should try. Quad biking is something that you can do on your own. Here, no one is going to disturb you for a good 20-25 minutes. If you think you are a good biker and want to take up new challenges for yourself, then this activity is just for you. You will get an ATV, the four-wheel bike to ride, all by yourself and that too in the middle of the desert. You can feel as if you are doing some kind of a stunt. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind while doing this activity. Try and wear some comfortable clothes and all the safety gear required. There is an instructor for you at the activity point, who will tell you about everything.

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After watching an adorable sunset, we proceeded back towards the campsite riding on the back of our camel. We were greeted in a traditional Rajasthani style and were served with refreshing tea & snacks at the camp. Then the most wonderful highlight of camping got started. The cultural program drenched in melodious tunes left us spellbound, followed by the mind-blowing performance of the artists. We thoroughly enjoyed the folk dance and music performances. The entertainers clad in shining black colour clothes with beautiful mirror work, men playing their instruments and singing the music. Later we enjoyed the buffet dinner (pure veg.), dinner served in the camp area. 

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The deserted dunes under the wide-stretched canopy of stars felt amazing. It is the most exciting experience under the vibrant night that made the very heart and soul of the desert camping. After having our dinner we got back to our camps and rested for the day. The temperature in the evening started falling and it was moderately cold at night. The organisers provided comfortable bedding along with blankets. Temporary washrooms were also set up attached to individual camps. I was quite surprised by the way they managed to provide essential facilities in every camp right from a toilet to a bathing area.

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Day 3 – 03.01.2020

We woke up early as we had to explore a lot today, from beautiful palaces to fort and temples of the Golden city of Jaisalmer. We had booked a budgeted yet luxurious resort, The Himmatgarh palace for our stay. The heritage style hotel was constructed over 22 years ago. To reflect the beautiful legacy and heritage of Jaisalmer and in turn of the Rajasthan, the hotel was constructed using the similar yellow sandstone which was used to build the Jaisalmer Fort. Being fully furnished with elegant decor and traditional architectural patters, a stay in here often transfers one to distant past. The rooms are divided into 20 Tower Rooms and 20 Deluxe Rooms. The rooms are flourished with modern-day amenities.

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The multi-cuisine restaurant at the hotel serves some of the finest delicacies of Continental, Indian and Rajasthani cuisines and the cosy bar along the poolside is a fine place to have a drink, relax and enjoy the sceneries. I really enjoyed the non- veg here. 

The city of Jaisalmer, situated right at the middle of dense, deserted and hostile Thar Desert is like a ray of sunshine on a cold winter morning. The city is surrounded by sculptures built using yellow sandstone and is therefore called “Golden City”. The city is truly a spectacle to watch flourished with bright colours, religious temples, golden sand dunes, glorious havelis, majestic palaces, vibrant bazaars, warm people and camels. After having breakfast we’re all set to explore the city.

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We first visited Kuldhara village. The abandoned village of Kuldhara in Rajasthan has its own story to tell. This more than 300-year old village, which is about 15 km west of Jaisalmer, was once a happy and prosperous village established by Paliwal Brahmins. According to a popular legend, the evil Diwan of Jaisalmer called Salim Singh had malicious intentions for the daughter of the village head (mukhiya). He desired to marry her by force and commanded the villagers to hand her over or bear the consequences. All the heads of about 85 villages gathered that night and decided to leave the village to save their honour. However, they cursed the place before leaving that no one will ever be able to live there afterwards. And till date, Kuldhara Village remains deserted. As per people living nearby, Kuldhara is now a haunt of ghosts and spirits. 

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Government of Rajasthan is working hard to renovate some of the old houses. A recently renovated house in Kuldhara. These ruins do have an eerie feel. If you are a believer of supernatural stories, a visit to Kuldhara Village in Rajasthan is a must. 

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Just towards the left of the parking area, there is a stepwell which shows how the villagers tapped the groundwater for drinking purposes.

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After paying a visit to this spooky village we left for Jaisalmer fort. Jaisalmer Fort is the only living fort in India. Founded on Trikuta hill by Bhati ruler Jaisal its fortified walls are constructed of yellow sandstone without any mortar and are strengthened by ninety-nine bastions and corner towers. The fort stands amidst the sandy expanse, The fort’s massive yellow sandstone walls look honey-gold as the sunsets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the Sonar Qila, Even today, you will find that nearly one-fourth of the old city’s population resides within the fort. 

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Numerous bastions are made accessible through gates, viz. Akhay Pol, Suraj Pol, Ganesa Pol and Hawa Pol. The uppermost fortification wall has kanguras (gun-holes) and jharokhas (balconies). You can get a guide to explain everything about this fort at a nominal cost. The view of Jaisalmer city from the top of the fort is mesmerizing. Normally a fort is teeming with tourists, guards, tickets but this feels much more like a community. 

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Jaisalmer Fort was also the centre of a number of historical encounters between the Bhattis, the Mughals of Delhi, and the Rathores of Jodhpur. The Jaisalmer Fort history also talks of multiple attacks on the fort by the Muslim kings like Alauddin-Khilji and Mughal Monarch Humayun.

Today, the Sonar Quila is one of the prime places to visit in Jaisalmer. This UNESCO-listed world heritage site comprises of narrow crisscrossing lanes, temples, residents, handicraft shops, guest houses, and restaurants. There are multiple entrance gates of the fort that consequently open to the Dashera Chowk, the most popular public square of the fort.

Presently, it has a resident population of about 4,000 people who are largely from the Brahmin and Daroga communities. They are mostly followers of the working population of the Bhatti kings of Jaisalmer, who were allowed to live within the premises. The Jaisalmer Fort architecture is awe-inspiring and marvellous. The seamless blend of Rajput and Islamic styles, the golden tinge due to the yellow sandstone, and the enthralling carvings & sculptures make it rank among the glorious forts in Rajasthan.

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The major attraction in the fort is group of Jaina temples viz. Parsvanatha temple, Sambhavanatha temple, Sitalanatha temple, Santinatha and Kunthunatha temple, Chandraprabha temple and Rishabhanatha temple. The fort has tastefully carved palaces e.g. Rang Mahal, Sarvottam Vilas, Gajmahal, Zenana Mahal, Moti Mahal, Bada-Vilas and Jawahar-Vilas.

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The museum showcasing arms, dresses, utensils, & ornaments of the Rajput kingdom is absolutely fascinating. One should also see the splendid carvings and the beautiful design of the four entrance gates of the Jaisalmer Fort – Ganesh Pol, Rang Pol, Bhoota Pol, and Hava Pol. The narrow bustling lanes lined with classic looking houses, archways, balconies, and ornate windows are outstanding. As we had less time we didn’t explore the temples. One really requires more than a day to explore the entire fort area. The Jaisalmer fort stands in sheer grandeur, an example of impeccable architecture.

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After visiting the fort we then went to visit the Patwa Haveli. We were left awestruck from the first glance at the Havelis, right from outside. Its architecture is beyond comparison. It is also the biggest and the most ostentatious Haveli in Jaisalmer. The jharokhas and the windows visible from the lane outside give a clear idea of how beautiful the work of the craftsmen who built the structures was.

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The history of the Kothari’s Patwa Haveli dates back to the early eighteenth century when the patwas were struggling to set up their trade and business. On the advice of a priest at the Jain Temple, the patwa brothers left Jaisalmer with the intention of never returning (they were advised by the priest that their business could not flourish in Jaisalmer). The legend has it that the patwas were immensely successful thereafter and their business spanned across banking & finance, silver, brocade and opium trade.

Eventually, patwas rose to such heights that they were called upon to finance the state deficit. This brought the clan back to their old habitat. The then head of the family, Ghuman Chand Patwa, decided to gift each of his five sons a separate and elaborate mansion, ignoring the advice of the priest. Thus came up the five grandiose havelis facing the Jailsamer Fort.

Unfortunately, the lives of the patwas took a ‘u’ turn after their return to Jaisalmer and their fortunes started dwindling. Consequently, they had to abandon the city-state again, leaving the havelis at the mercy of caretakers. The caretakers became the owners in the course of time and decided to put the havelis up for sale. Caretaker of the first haveli approached Mr. Jeevanlalji Kothari, who was a native of Jaisalmer and like patwas had left Jaisalmer to explore better opportunities. Mr. Kothari, with a view to remain connected with his native place, decided to buy the first haveli. Hence it was renamed as the Kothari’s Patwa Haveli. 

Similar to Jaisalmer the front facade glows like gold when the rays of the sun hit it from and angle of sundown degrees. The Havelis are carefully located so as to avoid damage to their delicate carvings from strong sand-laden winds that blow during summer months, with Jaisalmer fort in front and the high ground behind. The individuality of each Haveli is depicted through different styles of mirror work and paintings on their arches and gateways. Colourful murals adorn the walls of these mansions. Such is the brightness of the colour that you are bound to feel mesmerized seeing the beauty of these murals.

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Kothari’s Patwa Haveli is full of artistic work in each corner, be it gracefully carved pillars, facade or the balconies (Jharokhas). The Havelis ad gracefully curving stairs, sunlit squares, airy sitting areas, ample storage space with secret safes, wood ceilings, and striking wooden doors. The Havelis are created using interlocking yellow sandstone without using cement. Using metal stencils, stones were cut to different shapes and sizes and then fitted together.

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Kothari’s Patwa Haveli bears expensive decorated items that were imported from various countries. The murals and interiors have derived inspiration from the RajputiMughal as well as Victorian architecture.

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The pillars and ceilings of these beautiful mansions contain intricate carvings that depict the craftsmanship of artisans of that bygone era. Such is the detail of sculpture that you can identify the figures even after 200 years, isn’t it amazing. The artisans have expressed themselves even on the archways and main gates, which are filled with these wonderful specimens of art.

Currently, the Kothari’s Patwa Haveli is accessible as a museum housing exclusive furnishings and accessories of the erstwhile patwas. A section of the Kothari’s Patwa Haveli offers visitors a chance to shop for authentic Rajasthani textiles and handicrafts, from the trading of which the erstwhile patwas made a fortune. Kothari’s Patwa Haveli is widely considered the ‘Taj Mahal of Jaisalmer’. Every single year and every single piece of stone put in these buildings intensify the magnificence of these beautiful Havelis.

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The ceilings of the entire haveli are worth mentioning. The design of the ceiling is different in every room and each one has exquisite designs. Goes to show the standard of craftsmanship involved and one can easily imagine how much time it must have taken to create each design.

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The use of yellow sandstone has made it glamorous. The most astonishing part of the Haveli is that no mortar has been used in its construction. Furthermore, the brown gateways and walls with the minute mirror work have beautified even more. Paintings on the walls and arches with unique style gives a distinctive feature. Moreover, the jali works or cravings illuminate the palace even more. The mansion has 60 balconies where it reflects the traditional art of Jaisalmer very well.

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At present, the haveli is occupied by the Government of India. The Government of India used the Haveli for various purposes. The Haveli consists of the Archeological Survey of India and State art and craft office. A part of the Haveli displays paintings, artefacts, crafts, etc. depicting the lavish lifestyle enjoyed.

After visiting the Haveli we thought of going back to Himmatgarh palace however our cab driver told us to check out Gadisar Lake which was falling en-route towards our destination. We want to explore as many places we could so missing this was definitely not an option. Gadisar Lake is a beautiful water body in the middle of the desert city of Jaisalmer. This is an artificial lake built during the time of King Rawal Jaisal, who formed the Jaisalmer city in 12th century AD. At Gadisar Lake, you can come and enjoy a boat ride, feed fish & also see the stunning architectural works done on the river ghats.

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At the Ghats, you will find many temples (especially the Shiva temple), Chattris (cenotaphs). migratory birds as Gadisar lake is one of very few water body in Jaisalmer district & many locals selling hand made handicrafts.

We finally called it day and returned to our stay at Himmatgarh palace. The palace was looking beautiful. The lights made the yellow sandstone glow like gold. The reflections of the rooms in the pool was was clearly visible.   

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In the evening as I was strolling along the poolside suddenly I spotted some reflection in the pool. Voila!! It was the Jaisalmer fort …!! I was truly spell bounded with the views of Jaisalmer Fort in the pool. I immediately took my camera to capture its reflection in the pool.

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Jaisalmer is a fascinating destination, very different from any other places I have seen. Natives wearing colourful turbans, dresses and big smiles, haveli’s with marvellous architecture, colossal forts, majestic palaces and rich cultural heritage, you wish and Jaisalmer has it. 

 

Day 4 – 04.01.2020

With fond memories of this glorious city, we left for Jodhpur to explore some places as we had an evening flight for New Delhi. As we had time constraint we didn’t have many options to explore. So we finalized to visit Mehrangarh fort. As soon as we reached its entrance to get the tickets we found it to be completely jam-packed with tourists.  I think it is one of the most visited places by tourists in Jodhpur. Anyways we managed to get the tickets and we entered the majestic Mehrangarh fort. Mehrangarh, also known as Mehran Fort was built by Rao Jodha in 1459 in Jodhpur, is one of the largest forts in the country. It is situated at the top of a 410 feet elevated hill and guarded by massive walls. We could not get eyes from the sky touching walls. At the entrance of the fort, its bronze replica has been kept for the visitors. 

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One of the most easily recognisable forts in Jodhpur, it has appeared in many Hollywood and Bollywood productions such as The Lion King, The Dark Knight Rises, and the more recent – Thugs of Hindostan. 

The very first thing you will spot towards the left of the fort is the Chhatri of Kiran Singh Soda. This was a built-in the memory of a brave soldier Kiran Singh Soda, who lost his life while defending Mehrangarh Fort.

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The sight of towering white and reddish-brown fortifying walls have their own charm. The entrance of the fort, atop a hill, is majestic and has seven gates. These are called Victory Gate (Jai Pol), Fateh Gate, Gopal Gate, Bhairon Gate, Dedh Kambra Gate, Marti Gate and finally Loha Gate. Each of these was built at different times and serves a very specific purpose.

  • First comes the Jai Pol, built to commemorate the victory over the Jaipur army in 1807. The inner walls within Jai Pol still bear the marks of cannonballs fired by the attacking force.
  • Next is the Fateh Pol, built to acknowledge the highest point of Rathore history. After the death of Jodhpur’s Maharaja Jaswant Singh, while campaigning against the Afghans, Aurangzeb refused to acknowledge the right of his posthumously born son Ajit to succeed. This injustice saw the rise of another legend Durgadas Rathore, who fiercely resisted the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and succeeded in installing Ajit on the throne in 1707. The Fateh Pol stands to mark that victory. It also has spikes that can protect it from animal attacks.
  • Dedh Kamgra Pol, which still bears the scars of bombardment by cannonballs;
  • Loha Pol, which is the final gate into the main part of the fort complex. Immediately to the left are the handprints (sati marks) of the ranis who in 1843 immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.

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We onward I went to a more pleasant aspect of Mehrangarh, through Suraj Pol the palaces. Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Jhanki Mahal, Khabgah Mahal, Takhat Vilas and Daulat Khana and Sileh Khana (armoury) collectively make up an interesting museum which offers a glimpse of the lifestyles of a bygone era.

The intricate carvings on the walls of the fort, the sprawling courtyards, its impressive history, striking palaces, museums and galleries allure tourists from all over the world. 

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Within the fort are several brilliantly crafted and decorated palaces. These include Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesha Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana.

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The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. The museum houses a collection of palanquins,  including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes, and furniture. 

Galleries in Mehrangarh Museum

Elephant’s howdahs

The howdahs were a kind of two-compartment wooden seat (mostly covered with gold and silver embossed sheets), which were fastened onto the elephant’s back. The front compartment, with more leg space and a raised protective metal sheet, was meant for kings or royalty, and the rear smaller one for a reliable bodyguard disguised as a fly-whisk attendant.

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Palanquins

Palanquins were a popular means of travel and circumambulation for the ladies of the nobility up to the second quarter of the 20th century. They were also used by male nobility and royals on special occasions.

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Daulat Khana – Treasures of Mehrangarh Museum

This gallery displays one of the most important and best-preserved collections of fine and applied arts of the Mughal period of Indian history, during which the Rathore rulers of Jodhpur maintained close links with the Mughal emperors. It also has the remains of Emperor Akbar.

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Armoury

This gallery displays a rare collection of armour from every period in Jodhpur. On display are sword hilts in jade, silver, rhino horn, ivory, shields studded with rubies, emeralds and pearls and guns with gold and silver work on the barrels. The gallery also has on display the personal swords of many emperors, among them outstanding historical piece like the Khanda of Rao Jodha, weighing over 3 kg, the sword of Akbar the Great and the sword of Timur.

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One hell of a lock, who can break it !. Seemed people had advanced security in the bygone era. 

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Paintings

This Gallery displays colours of Marwar-Jodhpur, the finest example of Marwar paintings.

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To me, the most interesting part has now come, the cannons of Mehrangarh Fort. The ramparts of the fort house preserved old cannon (including the famous Kilkila). From the ramparts, the view of Jodhpur far below was stunning tiny houses painted a particular blue on the outside to reflect heat! Far away, the Umaid Bhavan Palace stands like a grande dame on another mound on the outskirts of the city. The cannon on the ramparts are of all types, shapes and sizes, and appear to be drawn from the ordnance of many armies. Some are fixed, many are mobile with variations even among the wheels. The overall effect is of another gallery of the museum.

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Maa Chamunda Temple

The Chamunda Maa was Rao Jodha’s favourite goddess, he brought her idol from the old capital of Mandore in 1460 and installed her in Mehrangarh (Maa chamunda was the kul devi of the Pratihara rulers of Mandore). She remains the Maharaja’s and the Royal Family’s Isht Devi or adopted goddess and is worshipped by most of Jodhpur’s citizens as well. 

Owing to time constraint we were not able to visit Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesha Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana. Mehrangarh Fort was a mind-boggling experience for all of us. My words and pictures would fall short to describe its stature. 

And like they say, “all good things must come to an end”, it was time to bid adieu to the land of kings. Rajasthan has got everything to rejuvenate yourself, every city has its own charm. It’s true its tag name Jane Kya Dikh Jaye. 

The total cost of the trip including flights, cab, stay and the train tickets came out to Rs. 20726/- per head. 

In the afternoon we returned back to our routined-life with a bag full of colourful memories and a promise that there will be many more travel stories of other beautiful cities of Rajasthan to share with you all. 

Hope you enjoyed every bit of it !!!

Ram Ram sa !! 

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