Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Located 335 kilometres in the west from the state capital, Jaipur It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the Jodhpur, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert.Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination which is also known as the “Blue City” due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. It is also referred as the “Sun City” for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. The old Jodhpur city encircles the Mehrangarh fort and is guarded by a wall with several gates.
Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. Situated 400 feet (122 m) above the city the fort is enclosed by thick stone walls. The foundation of the fort was laid on May 12, 1459 by Jodha on a rocky hill 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the south of Mandore.
The hill on which the fort is situated was known as Bhaurcheeria, the mountain of birds. According to legend to build the fort he had to displace the hill’s sole human occupant, a hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the lord of birds. Upset at being forced to move Cheeria Nathji cursed Rao Jodha with “Jodha! May your citadel ever suffer a scarcity of water” Rao Jodha managed to appease the hermit by building a house and a temple in the fort very near the cave the hermit had used for meditation, though only to the extent that even today the area is plagued by a drought every 3 to 4 years.
Though the fortress was originally started in 1459 by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur, most of the fort which stands today dates from the period of Jaswant Singh (1638–78). The fort is located at the centre of the Jodhpur city spreading over 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) atop a high hill. Its walls, which are up to 36 metres (118 ft) high and 21 metres (69 ft) wide, protect some of the most beautiful and historic palaces in Rajasthan. Within the fort, several brilliantly crafted and decorated palaces are found, which are
Phool Mahal (Flower Palace)
The Phul Mahal; the Palace of Flowers was built early on in the eighteenth century, and it’s as if all the exotic beauty of India was condensed into this one exquisitely breathtaking room. From the gold ceiling with its ornate floral design to the geometric Jali screens fitted with stained glass it’s the ultimate in oriental opulence. The Phul Mahal is a room dedicated to the art of pleasure. In the flickering glow of candlelight reflected from the mirrored ceiling, poets recited lyrical verse, musicians played melodic ragas and dancers danced till dawn.
Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace)
Sheesh Mahal, is a fine example of a typical Rajput Sheesh Mahal, very different from the Mughal, though no doubt originally inspired by that immensely popular Mughal fashion. The mirror-work includes large, regular pieces, rather than an intricate mosaic of tiny fragments; another difference is the superimposition over the mirror-work of brightly painted religious figures made in plaster.
This beautiful room was the private sanctuary of the thirty-second Rathore Ruler, Maharaja Takhat Singh. He died in 1873 and was the last to actually live in Mehrangarh.It was during Takhat Singh’s reign that the British came to dominate India. And in this bedroom, which was also used to entertain, we see evidence of their arrival, The Christmas balls hanging from the wooden rafters are a wonderfully fitting variation to traditionally mirrored Indian ceilings. Unrelated images cover every inch of the walls. Paintings of European women mingle with traditional love stories, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Even the floor is painted.
One can also find the fort’s museum as an interesting way for getting the glimpse of the priceless antiques of the Rajasthan’s history. The museum houses an exquisite collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. The ramparts of the fort are home to not only several excellently preserved old cannons but also offer a breath-taking aerial view of the city.