Mehrangarh Fort, Indiaaah!!! series

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sit back people, this is going to be one long post. In my 2nd post under the Indiaah!!! series, we'll speak about the Mehrangarh Fort.

The Mehrangarh fort experience for me was an unforgettable one. This legendary fort (one of the largets in India) is so crammed with treasures, so infused with stories of valorous Kings and Queens that it is impossible not to feel it when you walk its imposing ramparts and courtyards. And I must highly recommend the audio tour to anyone who is planning a visit. It completely gave us a feel of the Palace, the current king himself spoke, and there was traditional Rajasthani music in the background interspersed with Brahminical chants during the narration of the coronation of the king as you stood at the spot where it happened years and years ago. It gave me the goose bumps. All you needed to do was close your eyes or raise your eyes upwards where you saw the top of the golden fort rising above you into the blue sky.
You walk up the wide walkway and just keep looking up.
"Mehrangarh Fort stands a hundred feet in splendour on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. Burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons . Much has been written about the Citadel of the Sun, for truly, it is one of the most impressive in all Rajasthan. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”. Today, it is acknowledged as the finest living example of a Hindu fortress."
You can read the very interesting history of the Mehrangarh fort here.
You turn back and look at the blue town of Jodhpur that you are leaving below.

This red patch with the hand prints in red, denote the number of queens in this fort who have performed the act of Sati. Sati in the olden days was when the bride voluntarily sat on the burning funeral pyre of her husband because she was so committed to him & could not bear to live without him.
The entrance opens into a wide courtyard around which rises the palace.
The entire palace looks bejeweled from the intricacy of the Jali work (lattice) work
In this palace you will see various renditions of the famous Rajasthani architectural feature called the 'chatri' (the curved canopy above the balcony). Read more about its architecture here.

A simpler Chatri
'Daulatkhana' literally means 'money chamber' or treasury.

This is the glass and gold Palanquin that carried the King & Queen. Mehrangarh has preserved so much of its priceless heritage that everything from jewel encrusted weapons to armours to the queens vanity case are beautifully displayed. I will make posts on that soon, I took so many photographs that my friend remarked that it would have been better if the camera were an inseparable feature of my face(!)
One of the Palacial Chambers on the 1st level. Portraits of past kings have been hand-painted on the ceiling
Mehrangarh is one of the Palaces which has been consistently restoring its paintings & wall art.

A gold framed mirror captures another angle of the room.

Ok, I've gone slightly crazy & shot all kinds of angles.
I loved this little spiral staircase we saw when we stepped out of that room
Standing her we get to see the entire City of Jodhpur. Its a brilliant view.
This is one of the main chambers & the ornaments that hang from the ceiling are a Christmas gift from the King of England
In this picture you see the difference between parts of the wall that are restored and not.
Like any palace worth its salt, there were unexpected views from surprisingly placed windows and every view was beautiful.
I loved this sight where light gets graded from bright sunlight outside to darkness within.
I had to include this picture- this is the entrance to chamber of cradles. Here are kept all different and artistic kinds of cradles in which the little princes slept.
one of the ceilings, we can see it is only partially restored.
This was one of the main durbars in the palace & a very popular image from this palace.
I loved this teal door framed against the white walls in the Jenana (women's) courtyard.
This was outside the Palace complex in the compound and one of my personal favourite images from this palace.
This was the last imposing door we saw of the palace before we proceeded to see towards the very neat and well stocked Mehrangarh Museum shop. They kept the most beautiful and contemporary and well designed Mehrangarh fort souvenirs. So that your need to carry back a tangible proof of an unforgettable experience doesn't go unfulfilled.
These pictures and what I have written seem so completely futile to me, how grossly unequipped I am with words and pictures to even try and capture an experience like this. I would urge each one of you to just go there to see for yourself the magic and the miracle that Mehrangarh really is.

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