Of sandstone, stories and splendour: the stunning Mehrangarh fort of Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. It houses all my favourite things in a multitude of colours and variations. As I cover the distance, the stories & people change too along with the places. I feel like an explorer who’s always hungry to have more, and Rajasthan gives me just enough on every trip to keep me hungry, foolish and wanting for more!

One of my many favourites in Rajasthan is the Blue city – the former capital of Kingdom of Marwar, the brilliant, the magnificent- Jodhpur! From the time I first visited Jodhpur in 2015, I have never been able to get enough of the place. And almost every trip to Rajasthan ends up with a stopover or a halt (of a day or two) in Jodhpur. And what’s a trip to Jodhpur worth if you don’t visit Mehrangarh fort?!

Standing tall & high: a symbol of victories

Built in the 15th century, the idea of Mehrangarh fort was conceived by Rao Jodha, a famous Rathore ruler. Standing tall atop a hilltop, Mehrangarh fort was expanded, decorated and further enhanced in the 17th century by Maharaja Jaswant Singh. The present version of fort has many gates: Jai Pol, Fateh Pol, Gopal Pol and four more gates. Each of these gates represents either a victorious occasion or an event that’s taken place centuries ago like the Loha Pol, to the left of which, one can clearly see the handprints of the princesses & queens who committed Sati*.

*Sati is a legally abolished practice as part of which married women immolated themselves upon their husbands’ death.

As you enter the fort through one of these many gates, it expands into a super gorgeous labyrinth of mini palaces, museums and view points inside. Howdahs, Palanquins, Art & Craft, Jewellery, Daily objects of Royal use, Armoury, Paintings – and what not! The fort evokes a sense of longing and wonder: the chandeliers must have shone bright back in the day when they would hold the court, the armies would have celebrated hard upon emerging victorious and the royal house would worry and stress many a time when political battles would brew.

Even today, you can see the marks of cannonballs that hit the fort walls and premises during times of war.

Things to do inside Mehrangarh Fort:

  1. The entry ticket costs some 100 bucks per person. Photography is extra (another 100, for mobile phone). You could take the ticket for the elevator (one side) which is 50 bucks per person. Takes you to a good height that offers panoramic views of the Blue city. Gorgeous 🙂
  2. Take the ticket to the museum which is some 30 bucks person, and enjoy all the artefacts 🙂
  3. Do go for the ziplining tour over the fort & the city including battlements, lakes and gardens. The tours are organized by Flying Fox company & cost approx. 1500 bucks per person. It’s divided in six ziplines over a period of 45 mins. They also give you a practice session before you go for the real deal. Don’t you worry at all. It’s incredibly safe and thrilling. Nothing would happen to you except a wave of wonder, thrill and joy engulfs you during and at the end. If you want to go for it, wear something loose and comfortable. And do wear sneakers so that you can walk comfortably.
  4. Visit the Chamunda Mata Temple inside. It was established in the 15th century itself.
  5. Climb up the stairs to experience the luxurious Moti Mahal, Sheesh Mahal & Phool Mahal. I have visited Jodhpur some 5-6 times over the last few years. And every time, without fail, I see a gang of boys or boys and girls that are fighting or fooling around in these places. Simply good entertainment!

When you leave from the fort, do visit the market nearby and buy local handicraft items: dupattas, bandhej clothes, bangles and juttis. You would love it. 🙂 Do bargain else you will be ripped off. There’s something about Mehrangarh fort that I can’t explain very well; I end up with this strange feeling of ‘belonging’ as if I am a part of something huge. Or maybe I was a part of the royal family who stayed inside the fort, wore colourful clothes and lived her life on an unlimited dose of arts, music and paintings.

Or maybe I was a rotund court jester who kept everyone entertained and threatened with his wits, intellect and sharp humour. My bet is on the latter!


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