A valiant sentinel in the desert, on the eastern fringe of the Thar desert has the distinction of neither being a part of the Thar desert nor out of it.
At best it is a doorway to the wonderland of sand dunes and shrubs, rocky terrain and thorny trees. The home of the Rathroes - the awesome princely state of Rajasthan. They conquered Marwar or Maroodesh, land of the sand after the fall of Delhi and Kannauj.
In 1459 AD, Rao Jodha, chief of Rathore clan of Rajputs, who claimed descent from Rama, the epic here of the Ramayana, laid the foundation of Jodhpur. A high stone wall protects the well-fortified city. The wall is nearly 10km in length and has eight gates facing various directions.
Within, stands an imposing fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125m above the surrounding plains. Invincible! And dauntless in its league with time! The city lies at the foot of the hills. The clear distinction between the old and the new city is visible from the ramparts of the fort.
On the other side of the city, facing the fort is the Umaid Bhawan Palace. One of the most spacious, sprawling and well-planned palaces in India. And from here, as you look at fort, a tantalizing view rises before your eyes at sunset.
The peculiar slant of the sunset lends the desert landscape an awe-inspiring glow and the people, a chivalry undaunted.
Places to See
Mehrangarh fort is about 5km from Jodhpur Town. Guarding the city below, crowning a perpendicular cliff, the fort was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 AD when he shifted his capital from Mandore.
Standing sentinel to the city below, it over looks the rugged and rocky terrain and houses a palace intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows exquisitely wrought from red sandstone.
The apartments within, have their own magic -the Moti mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana with a rich varied collection of palanquins, howdas, royal cradles, miniature paintings of various schools, folk music, instruments, costumes, furniture and an impressive armoury.
The display of cannons on the ramparts near Chamunda temple is among the rarest in India. As you climb up, folk musicians revive the grandeur of a bygone era.
Built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II , in 1899 , the imposing white marble memorial marks the site of a royal crematorium. The cenotaph houses portraits of successive rulers. These four cenotaphs commemorate notable acts of bravery, generosity of the four successive rulers.
Timings 0900 to 1700 hrs.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Built by Maharaja Umaid Singh (1929 -1942) and named after him, this exquisite palace is also known as Chittar Palace because of the local chittar sandstone used.
It is a splendid example, of Indo-colonial and art deco style of the 30s.
A unique feature of this palace is the fact that the hand chiseled sandstone blocks have been put together in a special system of interlocking, there is not mortar binding.
A portion of the palace has been converted into a hotel, the other remains on view to visitors in form of excellent museum which houses model airplanes, weapons, antique clocks and bob watches, priceless crockery, and hunting trophies. Both sections retain the ambience of royal splendor .
Timings: 0900 to 1700 hrs.
Nestling in the middle of the Umaid Public Garden, this museum houses a rich collection of exhibits - armoury, textiles, local arts and crafts, miniature paintings. Portraits of rulers, manuscripts and images of Jain Tirthankars. Umaid Public Garden houses a zoo also. Timing : 1000 to 1630 hrs (Friday closed).
Girdikot & Sardarkot Market
Throbbing with activity, the colourful bazaar, near Clock tower, has narrow lanes dotted with tiny shops selling exquisite Rajashani textiles, handicrafts, clay figurines of camels and elephants, marble curios with inlay work and exquisite Rajasthani silver jewelry.
Maha Mandir Temple
Leterally, the great temple, a place where sacred glory reigns in a peaceful tranquility. Situated on Mandore road, the temple is an architectural splendor, supported by 84 pillars and ornamented with detailed designs and figures depicting various postures of Yoga. The entire structure is marked by a unique and original style.
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