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21 May 2015 / leggypeggy

Mehrangarh Fort—a massive jewel of Jodhpur

Mehrangarh fort wall

Mehrangarh Fort wall

Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort

Model of Mehrangarh Fort

Model of Mehrangarh Fort

It’s so massive that Rudyard Kipling called it the ‘work of giants’ and it’s easy to see why. Mehrangarh Fort in India’s Rajasthan spreads more than 81,000 square metres across a 400-foot perpendicular cliff that overlooks the city of Jodhpur.

The dimensions are so huge that even though it is officially called a fort, Mehrangarh is sometimes described as the second largest castle in the world.

It has seven entry gates and walls that are 36 metres high and 21 metres wide.

I was gobsmacked to look up at it as we approached and even more overwhelmed to actually go through it. We spent a whole afternoon and could easily have spent a whole day.

Mehrangarh was started in 1459 when the city’s founder, Rao Jodha, moved his capital from Mandore to Jodhpur, but most of today’s fort dates from the 17th century.

Most of the fort’s seven gates were built to mark victories in various battles.

scarred fort wall

A cannonball scarred fort wall

One still shows scars from cannonballs fired in 1808. That was when the maharaja of Jaipur had his army attack Jodhpur. The city was under siege and the fort was surrounded by the enemy. A plaque recounts the battle saying, ‘A tough fight took place where numerous heroes layed down their lives on both the sides. The Jodhpur forces fought gallantly and the Jaipur army ultimately fled.’

To commemorate this victory, Jodhpur’s Maharaja Man Singh Ji built the first entrance jaipol (victory gate) and added a new fort wall in front of the cannonball scarred one.

Another gateway has handprints from ranis (queens) who burned themselves to death on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharajah Man Singh. Yep, one guy with many wives.

Phool Mahal

Phool Mahal, the flower palace

There are several beautifully crafted and decorated palaces, including Moti Mahal (the Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (the Flower Palace), Sheesha Mahal (the Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana (a gallery of fine and applied arts). These are true showpieces featuring mirrors, intricate paintings, stained glass, portraits, furniture and more.

ornate palanquin

Ornate palanquin

The museum rooms of the fort have collections of palanquins (for carrying noble women and occasionally noble men), howdahs (seats for riding elephants), royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. There’s even a turban gallery, which we managed to miss, but we did see a demonstration of a turban being wound onto a fellow’s head.

Turban winding

The fort’s ramparts provide an amazing view of the city and interesting overviews of the fort itself. There’s also Kilkala, a preserved old cannon.

View from Mehrangarh Fort

View from Mehrangarh Fort’s ramparts

View of Jodhpur

View of Jodhpur from the fort

40 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. ralietravels / May 22 2015 12:22 am

    Great pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 12:30 am

      Thanks. I was worried I was overdoing it. 🙂

      Like

  2. susan@marsha'sbungalow / May 22 2015 12:43 am

    Now, I want to visit India!

    Like

  3. Carol Taloni / May 22 2015 1:25 am

    For one who has never travelled,you are providing me with wonderful stories and amazing pictures of places I never expected to see. Through your eyes, I am sharing that journey. Grateful Thanks. Carol.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 7:42 am

      Oh Carol, it is wonderful to have to you come along for the ‘ride’.

      Like

  4. bmpermie / May 22 2015 4:24 am

    Agree great pictures. Necessary to show what it is really like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jfreshly / May 22 2015 5:37 am

    Pictures were incredible. Also, when I think of India it typically ends with me in the lead role doing a group dance and then the credits start to role and I awaken from my slumber. Cool article. I always built forts as a child so I have a youthful appreciation for this piece 🙂

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 7:10 am

      Bollywood films are so much fun. All colour, music, jewels, movement. A real feast for the eyes and ears. Forts are fun too.

      Like

  6. Dorothy / May 22 2015 8:22 am

    What a fantastic place, amazing architecture and obviously built very strongly to have survived this long. Lets hope Isis never gets there and blows it up.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 11:03 am

      It’s an amazing fort. I hope it can protect itself.

      Like

  7. Curt Mekemson / May 22 2015 12:16 pm

    Very interesting blog. No wonder Kipling thought it was ‘built by titans.’ I thought you first photo really captured the size. I was taken aback, as I always am, by the practice of sati, widow burning. Thanks for sharing. –Curt

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 3:02 pm

      Thanks for dropping by. I used that first pic on purpose because I thought it gave some sense of size. And sati is a horrible practice. Shocking.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. suchled / May 22 2015 1:19 pm

    That is almost beyond comprehension. Let’s hope it can be preserved for a thousand years.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 2:58 pm

      It doesn’t look like it’s going to fall down anytime soon.

      Like

  9. joylovestravel / May 22 2015 7:25 pm

    Stunning – your pictures are amazing, it sounds like a fascinating as well as beautiful place.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 11:23 pm

      Thanks Joy, it’s a beautiful but little-known monument so I’m pleased to give it some ‘air’ time.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane / May 22 2015 10:33 pm

    What can I say? It’s magnificent! You’ve done well to show the size. It can be difficult sometimes to capture the scale of a building. What amazing places you’ve been too.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 11:25 pm

      Thanks Jane, I really wanted to convey just how huge this place is, so I really appreciate knowing the message ‘got through’.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sy S / May 22 2015 10:38 pm

    Hello Peggy,

    I love to travel vicariously with you and Poor John… just turn on my computer, then go to your Blog and here I am in India and at Mehrangarh Fort. No travel costs, view when I want to, read about places I have never seen or heard about…. Again, good photos and areas within the Fort.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 22 2015 11:26 pm

      Sy, you are always a good travelling companion. And it’s not often that I go places you haven’t been to before. Thanks.

      Like

  12. Curious to the Max / May 27 2015 9:20 am

    L.P.,
    I so echo everything everyone has said above – stunning pictures – enjoyed every single one – you did not overdo it.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2015 7:31 pm

      Aw thanks. These photos still overwhelm me, but not as much as the fort itself did. 🙂

      Like

  13. The Sock Mistress / May 30 2015 8:59 am

    The forts in Rajasthan were so incredible, each and every single one. I’d go back to India in a heartbeat – particularly after today when I have just broken the ice on the bird bath. A nice curry overlooking a fortress, in the warmth of India would be just the ticket. 😉

    Like

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2015 7:32 pm

      Like you I could return to India in a heartbeat. Might have to think of something for 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Redazione / Jun 2 2015 5:20 pm

    Great picture and beautiful place 🙂

    Like

  15. hoxton spanish tutor info / Jun 9 2015 5:47 am

    Wow! It is an amazing fort. Great pictures too and you managed to provide the amazing scale of it all. A place not to miss. Thank you for sharing. Adriián

    Like

  16. thehutownerblog / Jul 9 2015 10:59 pm

    with what i saw, it’s as if i want to go in India…

    Like

  17. RitaRoland40 / Jul 11 2015 3:22 pm

    Really nice

    Like

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  1. Umaid Bhawan Palace—Jodphur’s other jewel | Where to next?

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