Petit Futé's opinion on MEHRANGARH FORT
According to Rudyard Kipling, this fort is the illustration of "the work of an angel and a giant". Surrounded by walls, the vast fortress crushes the city. It is undoubtedly the finest fort in Rajasthan, with beautifully displayed works of art of great value. Perched atop its impregnable promontory, the fort of Jodhpur evokes all the glory of Rajput history... and the throes of quarrels between Hindu rulers. It was the scene of one of the last conflicts in the region before the arrival of the British. In 1808, the troops of the maharaja of Jaipur attacked it with cannons in an attempt to settle a dispute over a Mewar princess coveted by the princes of the Kachhwaha and Rathore families. The garrison of the fortress managed to repel the assault. The outer walls have retained the impact of the cannonballs fired by the enemy army.
You will pass through seven successive gates. Under the porch of the last one, Loha Pol, "iron gate", you will notice handprints carved on a plaque. They commemorate the sati of the Rathore princesses. The British banned this barbaric rite in 1829... But the tradition continued and the last recorded case of sati in Jodhpur was in 1952, when the widow of a high palace official threw herself into the flames.
Continue the climb to the entrance of the Mehrangarh Museum. It contains perhaps the most spectacular collections in the region. These are displayed in sumptuous halls, built during the reign of different maharajas. The first one exhibits howdahs (gondolas for riding elephants) very richly decorated, some of which are in solid silver. The Palki Khana is dedicated to palanquins.
You will then arrive in a courtyard dominated by the facade of the Daulat Khana decorated with numerous balconies with kiosks. The interior presents collections of weapons and miniatures. On the upper floors, you will note especially the decorations of the Phul Mahal (Palace of Flowers) and the Takhat Vilas, the apartments of the maharaja Takhat Singh in the 19th century, rich in gilding, murals and stained glass. You will then go back down to the first floor to visit the Jankhi Mahal, "the palace of glimpses", from where the princesses could observe the outside through thin jiali.
On leaving the palace, go to the top of the fort. The ramparts, still guarded by huge cannons, offer a splendid view of blue Jodhpur and, in the distance, the massive Umaid Bhawan Palace. The walkway leads to a small temple dedicated to Chamunda, an incarnation of Durga.
Information on MEHRANGARH FORT
Open daily, from October to March from 9am to 5pm and from April to September from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Admission: 600 Rs with audio guide in French. Camera 100 Rs. Video camera 200 Rs.