Mehrangarh Fort :
We had just finished exploring Sardar Market and Toorji ka Jalra ( Click here if you want to read the earlier post) , we were so excited discussing the architectural marvel of Toorji ka Jalra and as how animals and human roam commonly at Sardar Market.
|Toorji Ka Jalra -The stepwells|
We were now gearing up to go to our next destination, which was Mehrangarh Fort. We again turned to the locals for guidance and were happy to know that Mehrangarh fort is not too far from Toorji ka Jalra so we again started walking through the narrow alleys of Jodhpur
|Narrow alleys of Jodhpur|
However we soon realised though Mehrangarh fort is near but the climb was very steep. As we are trekker so for us it was not much of a task. The climb from the town to the top took us around 15-20 minutes, but the steepness of the climb and the satiating heat ensured that we gulped down at least one litre water.
Uff Rajasthan ki Garmi !!!
|The steep climb to the Fort|
The route we took to reach Mehrangarh is basically a pedestrian route, actually there is another route on which the vehicles ply.This we realised when we reached the entrance of the Mehrangad fort where there was a huge parking lot with tourist buses and taxis. Standing here one realise how huge the fort is.
|The tall standing Fort|
Mehrangad ....Naam hi kafi Hai
And why do I say this,well as soon as you get down from the train at Jodhpur Station,one thing that you cannot miss is this gigantic fort lording over the Jodhpur city. Perched on a Rocky Hill of more than 400 feet it sits like a crown. I'm told it's one of the largest fort of Rajasthan, it contains some of the finest palaces and its museum contains many priceless relics of golden times of Kings and queens.
Well, back to our story, we sat for few minutes at the parking to catch our breath and gulped some more water. Now an important thing to note here is that the security guys don't allow any kind of eatables in your bags hence we had to deposit all of chips and other snacks at the counter. Dil ke armaan aanso me beh Gaye.... Kya Kya Socha Tha, Fort ki top per Jodhpur the blue city ko dekte hue we will munch this snacks...shh flop show ,but never mind chote chote shahero me aasi choti choti baate ho jati Hai. So obediently we deposited everything with the security guy and moved towards the ticket counter.
|Security check just before the entrance|
But before entering the first gate one cannot help noticing a beautiful chatri of Thakur Chauhan Shyam Singh. Cradled at the base of the fort it offers beautiful sight and also give you the idea of the amazing sights to follow.This is actually a memorial for a brave soldier Thakur Chauhan Shyam Singh who fought brilliantly but lost his life defending the Mehrangad fort from Jaipur army.
Entry to the fort is gained though a series of seven gates.
The most famous of the gates are:
Jai Pol ("Gate of Victory"):
This gate was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 to celebrate his victory in a war with Jaipur and Bikaner. As you enter through this gate you would be taken in by the exquisite painting adorning the flanks of the gate.
|Exquisite painting on walls |
next to the entrance door
After entering this entrance gate just on the left side is the Ticket counter, from where we bought the tickets and also paid for the guide, Ab yeh alag baat hai ki guide se jyada Google ne enlighten kiya tha. One can also get Audio Guide with Headphones from this ticket counter
|Moving towards the next gate with |
Palkikhana on right side.
Moving little ahead of the ticket counter we came across a small area know as Palkikhana, well this Palkikhana dates to late 19thcentury and it once housed the luxurious Palanquins alias Palki that carried the Maharajas in Grand ceremonial processions and of course the beautiful royal ladies when they ventured out of their zenana Khana.
|Palkikhana ( Now its a Food shop)|
Moving ahead of this we see another gate known as Dedh Kambra Gate. The significant thing about this gate is the bastion wall which has this holes or dent marks.
Which according to our guide was due to heavy shelling of cannon balls done by the then Jaipur army. However ever after all this the wall stood strong and the fort couldn't be won.
|Cannon balls dent|
|Story on the Wall|
We walked through this gate only to come out in a section which had a canon on our right and the next gate on our left
|Cannon next to the gate|
and the gigantic fort looking upon us like some huge giant and we come across the next gate. Gate Fateh Pol.
|Gigantic fort above us|
Fateh Pol : This gate was built to celebrate a victory over the Mughals in 1707.
|View from Fateh Pol|
Another noteworthy thing next to this gate was a small memorial. Our guide informed us that there is a tragic tale behind this.
|Raja Ram Meghwa memorial stone|
The legend goes that when Maharaja Rao Jodha encroached on the ashram of Cheeranathji, who got enraged and cursed that the kingdom will suffer the wrath of droughts. Though the Maharaja tried to pacify the hermit , but the damage was done and the curse couldn't be revoked, it's here that a local by the name Raja Ram Meghwal offered himself as human sacrifice to change the course of the curse then there was another local tale that the Raja Ram Meghwal was interred alive in the foundation of the fort....Uff kitna tension Tha...I felt sad but then these things happens to poor people.
|Notice on the right Raja Ram Meghwal memorial and the changing colours of the fort stones|
Our guide informed us that actually the original fort started from the point where we are standing, one can see the change in the stone colour white stone and then red stone. The subsequent kings made the new additions to the fort hence the different styling in the fort construction.
|Different strokes of colour as we climb from here to next gate|
Walking on a little steep climb further we come across another prominent gate but just before this gate you see local musicians playing different musical instruments giving the whole ambiance of Rajasthani touch.
|Rajasthani Music played by local musicians|
Loha Pol :
This gate is known as Loha Pol or iron gate. There are many interesting things about this gate, the first being that this gate is on a turn which manages to slow down the attacking army, secondly being on the turn the elephants cannot get a start run to ram the doors
and to further neutarise the attacks there are iron spikes on the doors which could very well injure the forehead of the raging elephants of enemies. How gruesome! But then that's how the wars were fought
|Iron spikes on the doors|
Loha Pol, in a way is the final gate into the main part of the fort complex. As soon as we enter through it we Immediately see on our left side some interesting handprints and mind you these are not some vague representation of handprints, I was told these handprints are the final memories of the women who left the fort to be Sati.
|Handprints of the women |
who left the fort to be Sati.
While the wall on the right had 5 handprints of the ranis who in 1843 immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.
|5 handprints of the Ranis|
From here we finally enter the fort,on the left there is a long rampant wall which had cannons mounted on them and on the right side we enter into the world of palaces, palanquins and Houdahs.
Are you not excited to know about them, well stay tuned for my next blog till then happy reading. Thank You !