When I shared my plan with my husband about visiting Jodhpur, he was a little surprised. According to him, there wasn’t much to see in Jodhpur. But then he wasn’t aware of my fascination with the forts and palaces of Rajasthan until that time. To me, Jodhpur is synonymous with Mehrangarh Fort.
History of Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh means ‘Fort of the sun’. The fort is perched on a rocky cliff called ‘Bhakur-chiria’ which means ‘mountain of birds’. The construction of the fort was started by Rao Jodha in the mid-fifteenth century.
A lot of additions and alterations were made in the later centuries by the subsequent rulers too. This resulted in different styles and architecture in the various parts of the fort.
Museum inside Mehrangarh Fort exhibits various items like palanquins, textiles, paintings, decorative arts and furniture etc that were used by the royal family during the 17th, 18th and 19th century.
Most of these items are a part of Maharaja Gaj Singh II’s personal collection. Maharaja Gaj Singh II is the current head of the Rathore clan and the custodian of the Mehrangarh Fort.
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Legend of the Mehrangarh Fort
There’s a story behind the construction of this fort. It is said that when Rao Jodha decided to build a fort on this hill, a hermit who had been living here for long, got upset. He got angry about losing his home and cursed the king that his land would suffer from drought.
The king tried to appease the hermit but the curse could not be taken back. Hence, a human sacrifice had to be made to stop the effect of the curse.
On the first look, it seemed to me that Mehrangarh Fort was looking down upon its visitors. Well.. centuries old, strongly built and still standing high- it can righteously do that! Maybe getting to know it up close would make things better. Thinking this, we moved towards the fort.
Jai Pol is the main entrance gate that leads inside the fort. Colorful paintings on the walls add a visual appeal to the gate. I took some time to have a closer look at them.
A cenotaph that was constructed in the memory of a soldier, still appeared to be guarding the fort entrance. We passed through many gates to reach the interiors of the fort.
During the climb from one gate to the other, we came across many musicians who were playing local rajasthani music or singing songs. One gate had the handprints of the women who committed Sati. I experienced an amalgam of emotions looking at those handprints.
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Passing through another gate called ‘Loha Gate’, we arrived in a courtyard that was used for the coronation ceremony. This courtyard is known as ‘Shringar Chowk’.
A white marble throne, that was used for the coronation ceremonies, is placed on an elevated platform. I could not take my eyes away from the intricately carved windows and doorways in this courtyard.
Palanquins of the royals
Just by looking at the palanquins exhibited in the fort one can get an idea about the super luxurious and extravagant lifestyle royals had during those times.
Metal, wood, glass and lacquer were used to make these ornate palanquins. Obviously, anything to be used by the royals could not be ordinary. I wish I could just sit in one of those to get the feel.
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This beautiful palace, with stunning mirror work on its walls and roof, is known as ‘Sheesh Mahal’. This palace was used by Maharaja Ajit Singh. Colorful paintings depicting Indian mythology adorn the walls of the Sheesh Mahal.
Phool Mahal or the ‘Palace of flowers’ is one of the most attractive parts of the fort. One look around this place and you get to know the reason why it is called ‘Phool Mahal’.
The room gives a glimpse of the colorful lives of the royal men. Paintings of the members of the royal family adorn on the walls of this room.
This mahal or palace provided a place to the women of the royal family to have a look at the celebrations or ceremonies going on in the Shringar Chowk. During those times, there were a lot of restrictions on women even if they were a part of the royal family.
Hence, they would get together here and observe things happening around. Another interesting thing here are the attractive and artistic cradles that were used for the royal children.
The private chambers of Maharaja Takhat Singh are called ‘Takhat Niwas’. Every inch of the walls of this room is covered with colorful paintings inspired by the Hindu Mythology. The room appears to be a piece of art in itself but surprisingly the bed placed in the centre of the room looked too small for a full grown human.
Later on I came to know that the bed was purposely made small. The king would sleep with his feet down touching the floor so that he could get up fast in case he was attacked while sleeping.
This is the place where the meetings and gatherings of the royal men were held. I think this is how the traditional royal party place would look like. The ceiling of Moti Mahal is very unique and artistic.
This place ignited my imagination. How beautiful it would look at night with lighted candles or lamps placed in all the niches in the walls! How surreal this place would look with sunlight entering through its colorful stained glass windows! It is indeed a place to enjoy some gala time.
‘Zenana Deodi’ means ‘courtyard for women’. Keeping in consideration the restrictions women had during those times, I really hope at least at such places they had the freedom to put their feet up and let their hair down!
Museum Shop and Restaurants
The Museum Shop inside the Mehrangarh Fort offers a variety of products that are based on the collections of Mehrangarh Fort and the history and culture of Jodhpur.
Here you can buy t-shirts, bags, jewelry, textiles, books etc. There are a few restaurants inside the fort premises where you can relax and grab something to drink and eat.
With this our visit to the Mehrangarh Fort came to an end. One thing that I missed on doing here was zip-lining because I was not aware of it beforehand. Now that could be a good enough reason to visit Mehrangarh Fort again!
Kumbhalgarh Fort in the rugged Mewar terrain is the second largest fort in Rajasthan (after the Chittorgarh Fort), and is one of 6 Hill Forts in Rajasthan to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Find here the detailed guide for The Great Wall of India – Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Frequently Asked Questions about mehrangarh fort
Mehrangarh Fort is located on the Fort Road of Jodhpur city of Rajasthan.
Taxi or auto can be hired to reach Mehrangarh Fort.
Domestic Visitor INR 120
Domestic Visitor Student/ Sr. Citizen INR 60
International Visitor INR 600
International Visitor Student INR 400
Audio Guide INR 180
Audio Guide Sr citizen/ Students/ Defense Personnel (With ID proof) INR 120
Authorised Guide Fee INR 400 to 700 (depending upon group size)
Camera fee INR 100
Video Camera Fee INR 200
Lift (One way ) INR 50
Free for differently abled
There is no entry fee on 12th May on account of Jodhpur Foundation Day.
9 AM to 5 PM daily
Winter is the best time to visit Mehrangarh Fort. Weather is pleasant from October to March.
Mehrangarh Fort is huge and requires at least 2 to 3 hours to visit. There is a lot to observe if you are truly interested in history, art, architecture and culture.