"A Palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the morning sun" - Rudyard Kipling
Mehrangarh is made up of two words- Mihir (sun or sun-deity) and Garh (Fort), means ' Fort of the sun'. In 1459 the ruler of the Rathore clan of Rajputs, Rao Jodha moved his capital from Mandore to the site of Jodhpur today. He built his fort on the rocky promontory which dominates the surroundings area and so arose the Mehrangarh fort. Down below the old town was enclosed by a 10 km(kilo meters)long wall. It stands a 100 feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, 400 feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. It is over 500 yards long making it one of the largest and greatest forts in India. It is from Mehrangarh fort that one can see and understand why Jodhpur is called the Blue city, At one point Brahmin could live in Brahminpuri (another name of Jodhpur) and were also the only community allowed to paint the exteriors of their houses blue. The blue, so characteristic of Jodhpur act as a heat and mosquito repellent.
The fort has seven famous gates which have to be crossed to reach the fort. The gates still bear the marks of the various battles fought in the bygone era. The famous of all is Jai Pol (means Victory), the first gate when you enter, was built by Maharaja Man Singh after his victory on Jaipur and Bikaner. Another gate, Fateh Pol (means Victory) was raised by Maharaja Ajit Singh to celebrate the defeats of Mughals. The last gate Loha Pol, as in any Rajput forts, displays the palm imprints that are smeared with vermilion paste and paper thin silver foil on a gateway leading to the funeral pyre site, reminds the tourists of the princesses and queens who committed Johar (self-immolation) for the sake of their consorts.
Within the fort are several brilliantly crafted and decorated palaces. These include Moti Mahal (pearl palace), Phool Mahal (Flower palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh khana and Daulat khana.
The museum the fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. It exhibits the heritage of Rathores. The palace museum has exquisite rooms filled with lavish royal elephant carriages (howdahs), palanquins, thrones, costumes,furniture, musical instruments, miniatures, paintings and even a giant tent. It also has an interesting weapons gallery.
The 500 year old fort is a popular site for filming. It was one of the filming locations for the movie 'Batman- The dark knight rises(2002)' and 'Veer'.
- Shweta Modi