Jodhpur - Mehrangarh Fort
A tour of Jodhpur is incomplete without a visit to the stunning Mehrangarh Fort. The Fort lies on the outskirts of Jodhpur city and is located atop a 125m high hill.
The Rathore dynasty, worshipped the Sun God. Hence, they named the fort 'Mehrangarh', derived from two words: 'Mihir', that stands for Sun and 'Garh' means Fort. The locals gradually began to call Mehar-garh as Mehrangarh in their local accent.
For over five centuries Mehrangarh has been the headquarters of the senior branch of Rajput clan known as the Rathores.
Legend of the Fort:
In the 15th century, having decided to move the Rathore citadel from nearby Mandore, Rao Jodha was looking for a strategic location to build his fort and discovered this rocky hill where the Meheragarh Fort is now situated. The hill was known as Bhakurcheeria, the Mountain of Birds, or Cheeriatunk; Its lone human occupant at the time was an old hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the Lord of the Birds. Even today the fort is home to thousands of birds, particularly the Cheel or Kite, the sacred bird of the Rathores.
Disturbed by the henchmen of Jodha, Cheerianath Ji cursed Rao Jodha that any structure built here would suffer from water shortage. Scared by the curse, Rao Jodha begged for forgiveness from Cheerianath ji. While Cheerianathji could not take bak the curse he has uttered, he told the king that the curse will be reversed only if anyone from the kingdom voluntarily sacrifices his life by willfully getting buried alive at the foundation.
Rjaram Bhambi, a skinner was bricked alive into the fort walls as a human sacrifice. There’s a small memorial slab at Rao Jodha’s Phalsa, which marks the exact place. Every year on May 12th, the founding day of Jodhpur, the Maharaja worships and felicitates the kin of Rajaram Bhambi.
Jodhpur - Blue City
Jodhpur is also known as the “Blue City” due to the large number of houses painted in turquoise-blue colour. When the city was built, only Brahmins and upper cast members were allowed to paint their house blue, to underline their higher social status. However gradually caste discriminations became less pervasive, and people also discovered that the indigo and limestone mix used to paint the houses blue was a useful mosquito repellent. Gradually, more and more houses were being painted in indigo and what had once been an upper-class privilege was diminished.
The city was built as the new capital of the state of Marwar (now Rajasthan) to replace the ancient capital Mandore, the ruins of which can be seen near the Mandore Gardens. The people of Jodhpur and surrounding areas are also commonly known as Marwaris.
The second largest city in Rajasthan, it is divided into two parts, the old city and the new city. The old city is surrounded by a strong wall with 8 gates leading out of it. Beyond the walled old city, lies the new city of Jodhpur. The alleyways in the old city are unique to the place and overwhelm a visitor with endless bazaars, textiles, and other art and craft. The old city’s boundary wall is 16 km long and is a good place to wander around and enjoy the essence of culture and architecture.
Mehrangarh Fort : A tour of Jodhpur is incomplete without a visit to Mehrangarh Fort. The fort embodies the very spirit of the Rathores and it is a treasure house of priceless relics, miniatures, paintings, howdahs, palanquins and arms all displayed with an astute eye for aesthetics and history. Other attractions of Mehrangarh Fort include several smaller palaces inside the fort, with sprawling, huge courtyards. One of the fort's palaces, The Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace, houses the royal throne of Jodhpur, the Sringar Chowki.
Jaswant Thada : A memorial made of bright white marble that is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. It is a 19th century royal cenotaph built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur.
Umaid Bhawan Palace : Lush lawns and courtyards, marble corridors, treasure troves, hunting trophies of yesteryears, along with exquisite royal heirlooms complete the regal picture. From the expanse of green grass, the huge central dome of Umaid Bhawan emerges most prominent, with the four corners peaked into columned minarets.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace was converted into a heritage hotel in 1977. Today it is divided into 3 sections: the Royal residence, a Heritage Hotel and a Museum.
Mandore : 8 km from Jodhpur is Mandore, which was the ancient capital of Rajasthan. Visitors can admire the Mandore gardens, the Hall of fame and a shrine of Hindu Gods.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was created in 2006 to try and restore the natural ecology of a large, rocky wasteland next to Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. It had suffered years of neglect and was overrun by baavlia (Prosopis juliflora), an invasive, thorny shrub introduced from central America almost a century ago. The challenge was to eradicate the baavlia and create a suitable home for native rock-loving plants
Mochi Bazar offers huge variety of the famous ‘Jodhpuris Jutis’ (= shoes known for their ethnicity and unique designs). —from beaded and sequenced to mirrored and plain. They are flat soled with no left/right distinctions between them.
Guda Bishnoi Village : The Guda Bishnoi Village is located 25 km from Jodhpur amidst serene nature. This village is a perfect example of dedication to nature exhibited by the local people. Every house in the village is built in a traditional way with utmost cleanliness around it. People of the Bishnoi village rarely cut trees. They worship animals as a part of conserving nature. It is for this reason, that the people are considered the pioneers of the world’s green movement. The village is a perfect blend of Indian culture and traditions.
Nearby Destinations / Attractions :
Nearest Airport : Jodhpur Airport (10 km / 15 mins)
Best time to visit and Climate :
Best time to visit Jodhpur is during the winter & spring months when the weather is glorious. May and june months are extremely hot with the temperature crossing 40 degree celcius.
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