on a 150 m high hill its sprawl is the most formidable and magnificent fort
in Rajasthan. Rao Jodha founded it in 1459 but subsequent rulers of Jodhpur
have also added to it over the centuries. A meandering road leads to the
from the city 5 kms below. Battle scars of canon ball hit by attacking
armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate.
To the left
is chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot while
defending the fort against the armies of Amber. There are seven gates, which
include Jayapol meaning victory built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate
his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies.
meaning victory gate was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh to mark the defeat of
Mughals. And Lohapol meaning iron gate has a moving memorabilia on palm
print of the queens of Maharaja Man Singh who threw themselves on his
funeral pyre in an act of sati [self-immolation]. The palm imprints still
attract devotional attention and are covered by vermilion paste and
paper-thin silver foil.
This is one of the finest museums in
Rajasthan and certainly the best layed out. In the palanquin section of the
fort museum, you can see an interesting collection of old royal palanquins
including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin, which was won in a
battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum exhibits the
heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period
The grandest of Mehrangarh's period rooms, the Phool Mahal
was in all likely hood a private and exclusive chamber of pleasure dancing
girls once swooned in exhaustion here under a ceiling rich in gold filigree.
The Phool Mahal was created by Maharaja Abhaya Singh (1724-1749) and the
gold came from Ahmedabad in Gujarat as war booty after his famous victory
over the rebellious Mughal governor, Sarbuland Khan. The paintings, royal
portraits and the ever-popular raga mala, came much later, in the reign of
Jaswant Singh II. JHANKI MAHAL
The Jhanki Mahal,
from where the royal ladies watched the official proceedings, in the
courtyard, today houses a rich collection of the royal cradles. The cradles
are decorated with gilt mirrors and figures of fairies, elephant and birds.