Mehrangarh Fort of jodhpur is one of the largest forts in India. Read further to know more about Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.
Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur - Sprawled across a 125 m high rocky hill above the city, the fort of Mehrangarh was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha. It seems to grow out of the hill itself and the hill face was hewn to form its ramparts. Enclosed within thick walls and massive bastions, inside are several palaces, dating from 17-18th centuries, interspersed with vast courtyards added by the successive Maharajas. This 5 km long majestic fort is one of the largest forts in India and is unsurpassed in beauty and grandeur.
The fort is approached by a winding road through seven fortified gates. These include the Jai Pol (Gate of Victory) built in 1806 by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victory over the combined armies of Jaipur and Bikaner. Marks of cannon balls fired by the invaders can still be seen on Jai Pol. The main entrance, the Fateh Pol also a gate of victory was built following the defeat of the Mughals at the hands of Maharaja Ajit Singh. The last gate, the Loha Pol (Iron Gate) has a row of handprints of royal satis sculpted in stone.
The palace complex is broadly divided into three areas - a Chowk (Courtyard) surrounded by apartments, old stables and kitchens; the Mori Mahal (Royal Audience Hall), and the Ravla (Queen's Palaces). The palace complex is adorned with breathtakingly carved sandstone filigree work of nearly 250 different patterns.
Through the Suraj Pol you enter the Fort Museum housing some of the most fascinating collections of artefacts in Rajasthan, includes Mahadol-an elaborate domed gilded palanquin won in battle from Gujarat, some of the howdahs and artefacts like jewellery, musical instruments, paintings and some armoury. The Sileh Khana (Armoury) has weapons -cannons shaped like crocodiles, an amazing range of swords, a khanda of Rao Jodha weighing over 3 kg and shields decorated with semi-precious stones.
The Umaid Vilas beyond the Sileh Khana, has an excellent collection of Rajasthani miniatures. The paintings depicting the scenes of the Maharaja playing holi with queens, and playing polo also include themes of hunts. Noteworthy is the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), with painted walls depicting the various Indian musical patterns of melody and ragas (rhythms). The room's opulence is further enhanced by stained glass and the gold plated ceiling.
The huge royal private chamber, the Takhat Vilas has a beautiful sandalwood ceiling depicting scenes of dancing girls and legendary lovers. Nearby is a room displaying extravagant royal costumes of various Maharajas. Below the Takhat Vilas is the Sardar Vilas with Jodhpur's traditional wood work which also includes some superb doors inlaid with ivory and decorated with gilt.
Nearby is Jhanki Mahal (Palace of Glimpses) with its delicately carved sandstone lattice windows, through which the royal ladies used to view the world outside. Not to be missed is an array of mirrors on the walls of the Jhanki Mahal. There is also an interesting display of cradles of princes, including that of the current Maharaja. It ran on electricity and was automatically rocked by the arms of the figurines on either side.
The magnificent Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) built in the late 16th century is a throne room. It has tiny alcoves around the walls, in which oil lamps once flickered, reflecting off the polished gold walls. The ceiling is embellished with glass tiles and gilt. It is said that over 80 kg. of gold was used for embellishment. An octagonal silver throne lies at far end of the palace. The cannons, placed strategically, on the ramparts are well preserved and impressive. The views from these ramparts are just magical. At the end of the mehrangarh fort is the Chamunda Devi Temple dedicated to the Goddess of power, Durga.
The Mehrangarh fort is an excellent example of the balance between the exigencies of the defence and the flamboyance of prosperity. Various folk musicians, dancers and artists gather here on important occasions and perform against the magical backdrop of the fort - reviving the regal splendour of a bygone era.
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