Major Airports: Domestic airport at Jodhpur Airport (6 Km) Best time: October to March
Mehrangarh Fort, a bastion of the Rathore’s is owned and managed by the royals helmed by Maharaja Gaj Singh II. It is also the only ancient fort that is inhabited. Mehrangarh or “Fort of the Sun” not only served as a military base, but also doubled up as a royal residence for the rulers and their families, and a hub for promoting literature, art and music and hence houses different types of buildings within its walls.
However, according to legends, the fort is also associated with a hermit’s curse that is believed to plague the city to date! Jodhpur still faces an acute water shortage as cursed by the hermit who formerly lived on the site where Mehrangarh was developed and was dislocated to establish the fort.
Walk past the gates of the fort – Jai Pol, Fateh Pol, Gopal Gate, Bhairon Gate, Dedh Kangra Pol, Marti Gate and finally Loha Pol to enter the complex. Cannon marks on the gates stand testimony to the many attacks the fort has endured. The hand imprints of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows who committed Sati in 1843, still visible on the fort’s wall are likely to evoke mixed reactions.
Proceed unfazed and take time to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and impeccable design elements at the different structures such as the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors), which was the bedchamber of Maharaja Ajit Singh decked with mirrors, chandeliers and painted panels, the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) which served as formal area reserved for celebration and entertaining guests and the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), a large hall for private audience that housed the Sringar Chowki throne and secret balconies for the queens to observe the court proceedings.
Also check out the Museum at the fort which houses a great collection of paintings, decorative art, regal costumes, weapons and armour, howdahs and palanquins, and other royal belongings. Visit the Chamunda Mata temple, and stroll through the 200-year old Chokhelao Garden at the base of the fort that has since been restored.
Stop to listen and appreciate small-time instrumental musicians who churn out impressive melodies on the way to the fort!
Entry Fees for Indian Tourists:
Fort Entry: Rs 70/-
Chokeslam Garden: Rs.30/-
Video Camera: Rs 200/-
Still Camera: Rs.100/-
Audio Guide: Rs. 150/- (Rs. 100/- for Students and Seniors)