From Udaipur we headed to Jodphur, known for the impressive Mehrangarh Fort perched on a 400 ft cliff overlooking the city. Calling the Fort merely impressive is a huge understatement – this Fort is incredible. Built in the 1500s by Rao Jodha to house and protect the Maharaja and his family, the Fort was used as recently as 1952 for a modern-day coronation of the living Maharaja, Gaj Singh.  Aged 4 at the day of his coronation, it was this young Maharaja’s foresight, money, and dedication that created the Mehrangarh Museum Trust that is dedicated to preserving and caring for this important part of India’s history.

Meherangarh Fort

The Palace within the Fort

The inside was just as impressive as the outside

The halls within

Neither Ted nor I are history-buffs or museum people in general, but we were hands-down blown away by what we saw and learned. Surprisingly, it was a well-produced and informative audio tour (included in the price of our tickets) which led us from the exterior walls of the fort, through courtyards, into the palaces’ opulent rooms and finally to the tops of the walls where dozens of cannons now sit idle after providing hundreds of years of protection. Some highlights of the day include:

  • Palanquin

    Learning that fort had never been breached or conquered in its 500 year history.

  • Seeing examples of palanquin which were used by the royal family when traveling by elephant.
  • Learning about the intricacies of the window panes that allowed the women of the palace who were observing Islamic purda to see out into the courtyards but did not allow men to see in.
  • Hearing a story about the 21 wives of one Maharaja that threw themselves on to his burning funeral pyre after his death in battle.
  • Seeing extravagant royal baby bassinets and learning the importance placed on astrology for determining that baby’s destiny – everything from their name to their future spouse.

Oh and the stories go on. This fort was by the far our favorite of the sites we visited in Rajasthan. Whether looking up at the fort from town as it towers above you or standing on top of the fort’s walls looking down over Jodphur’s iconic blue buildings, you can’t help but feel its importance to the people of Jodphur, both historically as a great protector and presently as a source of pride and income for their city.

Views from within the Fort

Hookah Man

Views of Jodhpur from the Fort

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