The imposing structure of the Mehrangarh Fort, spread across 5 km on a hilltop, can be seen from all over Jodhpur. The foundation stone of this fort was laid in 1459 by Rao Jodha as he felt that his thousand-year-old fort at Mandore was too weak to provide security to the family. This fort is at an elevation of 122 metres from the Jodhpur city and offers a very beautiful view of the “Blue City”.
Rao Jodha had faith in Chamunda Mataji, so he installed the idol of Chamunda Devi from Mandore Fort to this newly built fort at that time. The people of Jodhpur believe a lot in the Goddess Chamunda and throng the temple during the Dusshera festival. I was very lucky to spot the Maharaja of Jodhpur, His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singhji, at Mehrangarh Fort as he was there to worship Chamunda Devi on the last day of Navratras.
A long pathway that gradually goes up takes you to the interior of the fort. There are seven gates in total, built by various Maharajas during various times to commemorate their victory over their enemies. A very well-preserved museum of the Mehrangarh Fort takes us to the past where various royal antique things are kept and maintained well, like palanquins, turban gallery, furniture, armours, paintings, folk music instruments, etc. Entry to the museum is Rs. 60 and for audio tour around the fort, you have to shell out Rs. 400.
It is an imposing and strong structure with very thick walls and beautiful intricate carvings done on the Jharokhes (windows). The cannons are still kept on top of the fort that were used to guard the Jodhpur city from enemies.
Entry to the fort for the public is through a gate known as Loha Pol and as one enters the fort, handprints known as “sati marks” can be seen on both sides. These are the handprints of the ranis (queens) of Maharaja Man Singhji, who died in 1843, and wives of other rulers who immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband.
Around the foothills of the Mehrangarh Fort is a very unique bed of volcanic rocks that is believed to represent the last phase of igneous activity of the Precambrian age in the Indian Subcontinent. Hence, it has been declared as a National Geological Monument by the Geological Survey of India. This famous feature in Jodhpur is officially known as the Malani Igneous Suite Contact. This fort has been used as a filming location for many movies like The Dark Knight Rises.
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