Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring monuments of Rajasthan’s rich and glorious past. Perched on a 410 feet high hill, the fort dominates the skyline of the blue city and offers a spectacular view of its surroundings.
The fort is a testimony to the courage, skill and craftsmanship of the Rathore rulers who built and expanded it over five centuries. It is also a treasure trove of art, culture and history, as it houses several splendid palaces, temples and a museum that showcase the royal legacy and diversity of Rajasthan.
If you are planning to visit Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort should be on top of your list of places to see. Here are some reasons why you should not miss this majestic fort and what you can expect to discover inside it.
History of Mehrangarh Fort
The history of Mehrangarh Fort dates back to 1459, when Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur, decided to shift his capital from Mandore to a more secure location. He chose a rocky hill called Bhakurcheeria (the mountain of birds) and laid the foundation of the fort. The legend goes that he had to displace a hermit called Cheeria Nathji (the lord of birds) who cursed the fort to suffer from drought and scarcity. To appease the hermit, Rao Jodha built a temple for him in the fort and also ensured that a well was dug for water supply.
The fort was named Mehrangarh, meaning the fort of the sun, as it was dedicated to Surya, the sun god, who was the chief deity of the Rathore clan. The fort was attacked several times by enemies, but it never fell into their hands. The most notable siege was by the combined forces of Jaipur and Bikaner in 1568, when Akbar was the Mughal emperor. The fort withstood the attack for six months, but eventually surrendered when the food and water ran out. However, the Rathores regained their independence after Akbar’s death and continued to rule from Mehrangarh.
The fort witnessed many expansions and modifications over the years, as each ruler added new structures and features to it according to their taste and needs. The most prominent additions were made by Maharaja Jaswant Singh (1638-1678), who built the Jaswant Thada cenotaph outside the fort; Maharaja Ajit Singh (1678-1724), who built the Victory Gate to commemorate his victory over the Mughals; Maharaja Man Singh (1803-1843), who built the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and Takht Vilas (Throne Palace); and Maharaja Jaswant Singh II (1873-1895), who built the Umaid Bhawan Palace as a famine relief project.
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The last ruler to reside in Mehrangarh was Maharaja Hanwant Singh (1947-1952), who acceded to the Indian Union after independence. He converted a part of the fort into a museum in 1952 and opened it to the public. He also founded the Mehrangarh Museum Trust in 1972 to preserve and promote the heritage of Mehrangarh. Today, the fort is managed by his son, Maharaja Gaj Singh II, who is also known as Bapji.
How to Reach Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort is located in the outskirts of Jodhpur city, about 5 km from the city centre. You can reach the fort by various modes of transport, such as:
By Air: The nearest airport is Jodhpur Airport, which is about 10 km from the fort. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to the fort, which will take about 20 minutes.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Jodhpur Junction, which is about 6 km from the fort. You can take a taxi, a rickshaw or a bus from the station to the fort, which will take about 15 minutes.
By Road: The fort is well-connected by road to other cities and towns of Rajasthan and India. You can take a bus, a taxi or a self-drive car from any of these places to the fort. The fort has a parking facility for vehicles near its entrance.
Architecture of Mehrangarh Fort
The architecture of Mehrangarh Fort is a blend of various styles and influences, reflecting the different periods and cultures that shaped its history. The fort is built with red sandstone and has a circumference of about 10 km. It is surrounded by thick walls that are up to 36 meters high and 21 meters wide at some places. The walls are punctuated by seven gates that serve as entrances to the fort. These are:
Jai Pol (Victory Gate): Built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 to celebrate his victory over Jaipur and Bikaner armies.
Fateh Pol (Fateh Gate): Built by Maharaja Ajit Singh in 1707 to mark his victory over the Mughals.
Gopal Pol (Gopal Gate): Built by Maharaja Gaj Singh in 1646 as the main entrance to the palace complex.
Bhairon Pol (Bhairon Gate): Built by Rao Maldev in 1532 as the first line of defense.
Dedh Kamgra Pol (Dedh Kamgra Gate): Built by Rao Jodha in 1460 as the original entrance to the fort. It still bears the marks of cannon balls fired by the Jaipur army in 1808.
Marti Pol (Marti Gate): Built by Rao Maldev in 1532 as the second line of defense.
Loha Pol (Iron Gate): Built by Rao Jodha in 1459 as the final and most formidable gate. It has sharp iron spikes to prevent elephant attacks.
The fort also has several bastions and watchtowers that provide a panoramic view of the city and the desert. The most prominent ones are:
Rao Jodha’s Bastion: The oldest and largest bastion, built by Rao Jodha in 1459. It houses the Chamunda Devi Temple and the Nagnechiaji Temple.
Fateh Prakash Bastion: The most decorated and ornate bastion, built by Maharaja Fateh Singh in 1899. It houses the Daulat Khana (Treasure Room) and the Armoury Gallery.
Jhanki Mahal Bastion: The most elegant and graceful bastion, built by Maharaja Jaswant Singh II in 1895. It houses the Jhanki Mahal (Peeping Palace) and the Cradle Gallery.
Phool Mahal Bastion: The most beautiful and exquisite bastion, built by Maharaja Abhay Singh in 1724. It houses the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace).
The fort also has several courtyards that connect the different palaces and structures. The most notable ones are:
Shringar Chowk (Shringar Courtyard): The first courtyard after entering through Gopal Pol. It has a marble throne where the coronation ceremonies of the Rathore rulers took place.
Daulat Khana Chowk (Daulat Khana Courtyard): The second courtyard after entering through Gopal Pol. It has a museum that displays the royal palanquins, paintings, costumes and other artifacts.
Sileh Khana Chowk (Sileh Khana Courtyard): The third courtyard after entering through Gopal Pol. It has a museum that displays the royal arms, weapons and armour.
Moti Mahal Chowk (Moti Mahal Courtyard): The fourth courtyard after entering through Gopal Pol. It has the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), which was the main hall of audience of the Rathore rulers.
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Palaces of Mehrangarh Fort
The palaces of Mehrangarh Fort are among the most splendid and magnificent structures in Rajasthan. They showcase the opulence, taste and craftsmanship of the Rathore rulers who built them over centuries. They are adorned with intricate carvings, paintings, mirrors, stained glass, gold and silver work, and other decorations. They also have spacious rooms, balconies, windows and terraces that offer stunning views of the city and the landscape. Some of the most remarkable palaces in Mehrangarh Fort are:
Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace): Built by Raja Sur Singh in 1594, it was the main hall of audience where the Rathore rulers held their court and received their guests. It has five alcoves that lead to hidden balconies where the queens could listen to the proceedings without being seen. It also has a large stained glass window that reflects different colours on the walls.
Phool Mahal (Flower Palace): Built by Maharaja Abhay Singh in 1724, it was the private chamber of pleasure where the Rathore rulers entertained themselves with music, dance and poetry. It is considered to be one of the most lavish and exquisite halls in India. It is decorated with gold filigree work, paintings of flowers, birds and gods, and a ceiling that resembles a sky full of stars.
Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace): Built by Maharaja Ajit Singh in 1718, it was a dressing room for the Rathore rulers where they admired themselves in the mirrors. It is covered with mirrors of different shapes and sizes that reflect light and create a dazzling effect. It also has paintings of religious scenes and floral motifs on the walls.
Zenana Deodi (Women’s Palace): Built by Maharaja Jaswant Singh I in 1659, it was a palace for the royal ladies where they lived and spent their time. It has several rooms and apartments that are connected by corridors and courtyards. It also has a museum that displays the royal cradles, textiles, jewellery and other items belonging to the queens and princesses.
Takht Vilas (Throne Palace): Built by Maharaja Takht Singh in 1843, it was the residence of the last ruler to live in Mehrangarh Fort. It has a mix of traditional and modern styles of architecture and decoration. It has a wooden ceiling that is painted with scenes from Hindu mythology, a glass chandelier that was imported from England, and a marble throne that was gifted by the British.
Jhanki Mahal (Peeping Palace): Built by Maharaja Jaswant Singh II in 1895, it was a palace where the royal ladies could watch the ceremonies and processions in the courtyards without being seen. It has several windows and balconies that offer a view of the fort and the city. It also has a museum that displays the royal portraits, paintings and costumes.
Best Time to Visit Mehrangarh Fort
The best time to visit Mehrangarh Fort is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing and exploring the fort. The temperature ranges from 10°C to 25°C during these months, and the sky is clear and sunny.
You can also enjoy the festivals and events that take place in Jodhpur during this time, such as the Marwar Festival in October, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in November, and the Jodhpur RIFF Flamenco and Gypsy Festival in March. The fort is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, and the entry fee is INR 600 for international guests and INR 100 for domestic guests. You can also opt for an audio guide or a guided tour to learn more about the fort’s history and stories.
Best Restaurant Near Mehrangarh Fort
If you are looking for a place to enjoy a delicious meal after visiting Mehrangarh Fort, you can head to Chokelao Mahal, which is a restaurant located inside the fort itself. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes, such as Rajasthani, Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine, along with a stunning view of the fort and the city. The restaurant is open from 9 am to 10 pm every day, and the average cost for two people is INR 1000.
You can also try some of the other restaurants near the fort, such as:
Indique: A rooftop restaurant that serves Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine, along with a panoramic view of the fort and the city. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 11 pm every day, and the average cost for two people is INR 1200.
Jharokha: A multi-cuisine restaurant that serves Indian, Continental, Chinese and Italian cuisine, along with a live music and puppet show. The restaurant is open from 7 am to 11 pm every day, and the average cost for two people is INR 800.
Cafe Mehran: A cafe that serves snacks, beverages and desserts, along with a cozy and casual ambiance. The cafe is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, and the average cost for two people is INR 300.
Best Places to Stay Near Mehrangarh Fort
If you want to experience the royal and luxurious hospitality of Jodhpur, you can choose from some of the best places to stay near Mehrangarh Fort, such as:
Umaid Bhawan Palace:
A heritage hotel that is part of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, which is one of the largest private residences in the world. The hotel offers elegant and spacious rooms and suites, along with a swimming pool, a spa, a fitness centre, a museum and a garden. The hotel is about 4 km from the fort, and the average price per night for two people is INR 50,000.
To book a stay at this property click here.
A boutique hotel that is located in the heart of the old city, and offers a stunning view of the fort from its rooms and terraces. The hotel offers modern and stylish rooms and suites, along with a swimming pool, a spa, a restaurant and a bar. The hotel is about 1 km from the fort, and the average price per night for two people is INR 15,000.
To book a stay at this property click here.
Haveli Inn Pal:
A heritage hotel that is located in a restored haveli (mansion) that dates back to the 18th century. The hotel offers cozy and comfortable rooms and suites, along with a rooftop restaurant and a lounge. The hotel is about 500 meters from the fort, and the average price per night for two people is INR 3,000.
To book a stay at this property click here.
If you are looking for a destination that will leave you spellbound and enchanted, Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is the perfect choice for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now and plan your trip to this amazing fort.