If you are visiting Mehrangarh Fort and you miss visiting this gorgeous Taj Mahal of Marwar – Jaswant Thada, I would say your visit to the famed fort is quite incomplete. I spotted this white gorgeous building partially hidden by the greens, from Mehrangarh Fort and even before I had entered the fort, I was sure that I wanted to visit it.
Even from afar, there was something quite mesmerizing about it. Little did I know that it was termed as the Taj Mahal of Marwar. It was my guide at Mehrangarh Fort who revealed the information and after I had visited it, I wholehearted endorse this term given to Jaswant Thada. Starting with brief introduction to Jaswant Thada, let me walk you through my visit. At the end of it, I am sure you too, will agree that this is indeed the Taj Mahal of Marwar.
History of Jaswant Thada
With the new capital established at Mehrangarh after moving from Mandore, the cenotaph of the royal, I suppose the royal family of Marwar, wanted a new cenotaph. Jaswant Thada was named after the first royal Maharaja Jaswant Singh II , for whom it was created. Built by his son – Maharaja Sardar Singh, this memorial also, houses the paintings and pictures of the other Marwar Rulers. The monument is not as old as the Mehrangarh Fort and was built much later in the year 1899. This possibly is one of the reasons why this place looks as stunning and fresh as it does.
These cenotaphs are quite different from the ones in Mandore. While those were made of earthy red material, these were pure white buildings. Having said that, the red walls of Mandore remained a connect here – and you will discover why I say so.
Red contrasting with the White
The first thing that struck me was the contrasting colors of the whole monument. The red walls contrasting the white monument that towered in the background. The entire contrast was further enhanced by the greens that framed its entrances and small pavilions along the walls.
On one side you see a little lake. It was a little dirty when we went there, but I suppose that was owing to the low water levels. Cute little ducks kept swimming along it. The purpose of this lake was to perform Pujas for the deceased .
On the other side of the path, soothing music greeted us. The local musician’s tunes were in perfect harmony with the calm, serene atmosphere of Jaswant Thada.
As you climb up the red stairs of the monument, you enter a huge area that opens up to the same lake. I guess, with the water levels full in the lake, it would make an amazing place to just lean over and enjoy the winds. For now, I was content examining the intricate carvings of the red walls that made up these areas.
The White memorial at Jaswant Thada
Climbing up the stairs, the first thing that you encounter is this white memorial on a base of red. I am not sure whose memorial this is. Somewhere I read that it was dedicated to the mother of the Royal Maharaja. However, irrespective of whose it is, there is no denying the beautiful intricate work on it.
The Green Doors & windows
Now this is something curious. I found these really ornate Green doors and windows across the monuments. Why green – I have no idea but they definitely added to the majestic look of the place. On the reds, they stood out by contrast and on the whites, they just blended in seamlessly.
The main marble building at Jaswant Thada
Have you ever felt like saving the best for the last and still hesitate before you start using it? That is what I felt about this grand piece of architecture. I wanted to rush in and yet savor it for some more time before I did. I took my time circling around it to discover the beautiful blend of Rajputana style with the Mughal one.
The small jhalis and jharokas with the intricate carvings around them were typical of Rajasthan while the huge dome like structures came in from the Mughal sense of architecture.
Once you enter the memorial, you are bound to feel calm. The cool interiors and the serene atmosphere are really soothing to your senses and for a few minutes, you do forget to rush around. One of the things to note here are the marble walls that actually glow golden with the sun rays falling on them. They say that the marble sheets were deliberately kept thin to allow this effect. You can spot the same in the picture above.
Here you can see the pictures of the various rulers of Jodhpur with the main focus on Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. All the while I kept hearing melodious flute notes and after I had paid my respects to the dead, I turned around to spot this magical silhouette of the flute artist against the carved entrance of the memorial. A magical moment indeed!
Gazebos around the building
Stepping out into the lawn, you spot a row of these gorgeous Gazebos. These are cenotaphs for the other rules. Nonetheless, the placement of these gazebos against the natural greens are quite a sight to behold.
Official Crematorium of the Royal Marwars
Far beyond you see earthen structures – some of which are essentially cenotaphs of the royal family. A little beyond that is the official cremation ground for the Royal family – where you can spot some dead and burnt wood pieces. In the cenotaphs area, I am told that there is one built in memory of a peacock who flew into the burning pyre of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Curious indeed!
Relaxing lawns at Jaswant Thada
The green lawns with its little flowers and beasts are indeed a perfect place to relax before you head out again. As you can see, two from my troop took full advantage of that and while they were at it, I discovered the mischievous squirrels and the cute birdies playing around.
Now that I have shared all that I saw, don’t you agree that the title of the “Taj Mahal of Marwar” is quite apt for Jaswant Thada? You know where comment in. And just so that you don’t forget to visit this magnificent piece of heritage, here is a pin for your board.
Getting to Jaswant Thada:
- Jodhpur has its own airport with connectivity to major cities of India. In addition, you can reach Jodhpur either by road or by rail.
- Jaswant Thada is located enroute to Mehrangarh Fort. You will need to either board a tourist bus or hire an auto or taxi from Jodhpur to get to Jaswant Thada. You can ask your driver to stop at this place, either before you head to Mehrangarh Fort or after you have visited it.
- The entrance fees for this attraction is INR 15 for Indians and INR 30 for foreign tourist. For a still camera, you need to pay INR 25 and for a video on INR 50.
- Jaswant Thada is open from 9 am – 5 pm on all days.
- Don’t miss the gorgeous view of Umaid Bhawan from up here.
- Remember to remove your footwear before entering the cenotaph buildings
- On an average, keep aside 30 mins – 45 mins for this attraction