Mesmerizing Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur – Part 1

posted in: Asia, Heritage, India, Rajasthan | 86

There is enough said and written about Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. It is recognised as one of the best maintained forts of India and now that I have seen it, I totally concur with it. Among all the forts that I have seen, this was one of the most stunning forts and is my current favorite. For me, Jodhpur was all about Meherangarh fort. I spent half a day here and still feel like getting there again. The fort is an absolute delight for a photography lover, and you will soon know why. For a heritage lover, it is a treasure trove.

For me, it was a mind-boggling experience. Throughout my journey of this fort, I felt so overwhelmed and frenzied. There was just so much to capture. Frankly, in my Rajasthan series, this was the first post that I wanted to write but every time I sat down to do so, I felt the same frenzy as I did at the fort. The frenzy is not in a bad way, but it always left me wanting to relive my moments at the fort. Finally, now that I have calmed myself down, I plan to share this journey of mine in a three-part series. Let’s start with the first part – with my first glimpse of this majestic fort.

First Glimpse of Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort

Located on a hillock, this huge fort looks over the blue city of Jodhpur. I got my first glimpse of it as we started our ascent and as it grew closer and closer, I lowered the glass to quickly capture my first glimpse of Mehrangarh Fort. The huge brown colored walls surrounding the area made the entire fort look intimidating. It served the purpose for which it was built essentially to protect the city better.

As I had mentioned in one of my earliest posts, the capital of this region originally was Mandore. For several years, the Rathore clan ruled from here. However, the place had already witnessed quite a few invasions and tired of the same, Maharaja Rao Jodha, decided to move from Mandore to this hillock as it would give them better protection. Once this “citadel of Sun” (Mehrangarh) was built, Mandore was left abandoned. You can still visit Mandore in Jodhpur and in case, you are wondering how it looks. you should read this post of mine on Mandore.

A quick Trivia: Jodhpur incidentally, is called so after the Maharaja Rao Jodha.

Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort

I could not keep my eyes off this fort and as we drew closer, that I realized that all was not brown. In fact, it was a mix of brown and white. The journey to this structure requires you to pass through seven impressive gates, each with its unique story.

Entrance to Mehrangarh Fort – Jai Pol

At the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort
At the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort

The entrance to the fort is very impressive.  I think we spent, around 5 minutes, trying to just grab pictures near the entrance. We had to literally prod each other to move on. The entrance itself had some interesting sights.  – starting with this Chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda.

Chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda at the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort
Chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda at the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort

This was a memorial for a brave soldier called Kirat Singh Soda, who lost his life when defending Mehrangarh Fort against the Jaipur army. Just above that was this unusual small hook and pulley system high up on the walls . There was no explanation given for this but my guess is that it was possibly a way to lower things and get things into the fort – given its height.

Pulley system at the top of Mehrangarh Fort
Pulley system at the top of Mehrangarh Fort

And finally, the creamy gorgeous gate with its artistic carvings.This gate was an addition to the original fort by Maharaja Man Singh and is called the Victory Gate or the Jai Pol. It was done to commemorate his victory over the Jaipur army. Don’t miss the lovely paintings from the Hindu history and mythology near the gate.

Jai Pol at Mehrangarh Fort
Jai Pol at Mehrangarh Fort
Close up of one of the paintings at Jai Pol, Mehrangarh Fort
Close up of one of the paintings at Jai Pol, Mehrangarh Fort

Around the first bend

Typical of any strategic fort, there are a few winding bends from the entrance of the fort – basically to slow down the enemies. As we waited for our guide, I tried to absorb the small pavilions and the sloping roof of the abandoned offices and stunning arches of the various gates.

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The sight of the towering palace – the white exteriors contrasting the reddish-brown walls was indeed a gorgeous sight. Here you also, pass through the second victory gate, this one made by Maharaja Ajit Singh, to celebrate his victory against the Mughal attack.

Through the Dedh Kambra Pol of Mehrangarh Fort

Through the Dedh Kambra Pol of Mehrangarh Fort
Through the Dedh Kambra Pol of Mehrangarh Fort

Our journey continued as we passed through a few smaller gates to approach a significant one – the Dedh Kambra gate. The significance of this gate lies on its wall. Note the round depression on the wall in the picture below. These were made by the cannon balls from an enemy attack. I was told that these were attacks from Jaipur. The guide told us that despite these attacks, the fort did not fall into the hands of the enemy and stood strong.

Cannon ball marks on the walls of Mehrangarh Fort
Cannon ball marks on the walls of Mehrangarh Fort

Another significant thing here was this memorial – an ode to the human sacrifice made when building this fort. History has it that when Maharaja Rao Jodha decided to build a fort on this hillock – Bhaurcheeria (mountain of birds), he upset a hermit staying here. The hermit known as Cheeria Nathji (Lord of birds) was angry that he was losing his home and cursed the king that his land would always suffer from a drought. The Maharaja managed to calm the saint down by getting him a house near the same cave that he used. However, since the curse could not be revoked, a human sacrifice was used to alter the effects of the curse.

The place of human sacrifice by Raja Ram Meghwal for Mehrangarh Fort

This is where Raja Ram Meghwal, a resident of Jodhpur willing offered his life in exchange for a favor that his wife and sons would be taken care of by the King. He was buried alive and the king build this fort. Pretty gruesome, if you ask me – but well, it is the dark secret of this fort.

The wall opposite this place was the original place where the Mehrangarh Fort ended. So far, all that we had seen, were extensions of the original palace – all done by the generations that followed Maharaja Rao Jodha. Here is where you discover another color to the mix of what I had already noted the fort for – white, brown and now red.

Through the Loha Gate

The Loha Gate of Mehrangarh Fort
The Loha Gate of Mehrangarh Fort
Musicians at Loha Gate, Mehrangarh Fort
Musicians at Loha Gate, Mehrangarh Fort

The climb to the next gate is a steep one and a colorful one. You will pass by tons of musicians, puppeteer and dancers along the way till you reach a huge iron gate – aptly named Loha gate. Loha means iron and the gate with its sharp spikes totally justifies this name. This gate is a sharp turn, intended to slow the army further. It is here you will unravel another dark tale of this fort. Check the picture below first.

Hand prints of the ladies who committed Sati at Mehrangarh Fort
Hand prints of the ladies who committed Sati at Mehrangarh Fort

These are not ordinary hand prints but the last memories of women who left the Mehrangarh fort to commit Sati. The wall above is that of the concubines while the wall opposite this has just 5 hand prints and these belong to the Queens of Maharaja Ajit Singh. A tragic practice indeed!

Walking to the Shringar Chowk

Towards the main palace of Mehrangarh Fort
Towards the main palace of Mehrangarh Fort

Once you have passed through the Loha gate, you will fully appreciate the contrasting play gorgeous colors of Mehrangarh Fort. Red against whites, with the intricate work on the exteriors – mesmerizing indeed. Hopefully my pictures will bring what I saw and felt to life.

Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Carved windows and facade of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Carved windows and facade of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

A short climb up and you come to a center courtyard called the Shringar Chowk. This is where you see a white marble throne – one that was used for shringar of the new King. Essentially, the coronation ceremony.

White marble throne at the Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
White marble throne at the Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

This white throne sits against the backdrop of delicately carved windows. An effect that is unique and trademarked to Mehrangarh Fort. Various stunning doorways beckoned me and I was actually lost and confused as to where to continue my journey. Here is one of those doorways.

Doorway at Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort
Doorway at Shringar Chowk of Mehrangarh Fort

Curious to know where I went next? You will have to hold on to your curiosity for a while longer for this is where I will leave you here for this part. Just to give your some time to take in and absorb what you saw of the exteriors and the entrance to this amazing fort.

Imagine if the exteriors were so amazing, what would it be from inside. I know that you are waiting for more. Just stay tuned to my next blog post where I continue this virtual tour. In my real journey,  I was already falling in love with Mehrangarh fort and I hope that you are too.

Remember to comment in and let me know. Till then, here is your first pin 😀

Mehrangarh Fort

Getting here:

  • Mehrangarh Fort is the pride of Jodhpur. To reach Jodhpur, refer to the “Getting here” section of this blog post.
  • To reach Mehrangarh fort, you will need to either take a tourist bus or a private cab. Hiring these or getting information on these is not difficult at all. Every hotel or home in Jodhpur can assist you with getting the transport.

Travel Tips:

  • Here is the official website to Mehrangarh Fort. The fort opens at 9am and closes at 5:00pm. It is open on all days of the week.
  • The ticket prices are as listed on the website. On 12th May every year, entry to the fort is free.
  • Jodhpur is best visited between October and February, when the weather is cooler.
  • Keep aside at least half a day for Mehrangarh Fort. There is just lots to see.
  • The fort is well curated and you can either avail services of regular guides or take an audio tour of this fort. The prices of these services are fixed and displayed at the entrance. The guided tours are available in 11 languages. Here are those –

Information on audio guides of Mehrangarh Fort

  • Flat shoes are recommended. There is a lot of walking and climbing to be done. For the convenience of the old and disabled, there is an elevator available at a cost.
  • The Fort is well equipped with several restaurants and well-maintained rest-rooms.
  • There is a museum shop where you can buy some authentic Jodhpur artifacts. The pricing is on a slightly higher side but not in an objectionable range.
  • There are a few temples within the fort and they are still active. Hence, please remember that you will need to maintain some decorum when visiting these. Here are the tips that can help you be better prepared for the same.




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86 Responses

  1. Jatin Chhaba

    Never been to Jodhpur, but have heard a lot about Mehrangarh fort, especially after the 2008 Batman movie. And I must say that as compare to other forts in Rajasthan or north India, this one is quite clean. I think the Jodhpur royal family should turn it into a resort, as this will be one hell of a holiday destination. Good share Ami.

  2. AndyzDuniyaA

    Detailed and nice tour of the fort though your post. And so much images makes it more relate-able.. Thanks for another beautiful journey..

  3. Jyotirmoy Sarkar

    i am a regular reader of your blog and from past few months i have not missed a single post by you but i must say the pics you have shared here are the best pics i have ever seen in your blog, earlier pics are awesome but these pic has totally blown my mind, super awesome takes.

    • Ami

      Thank you Jyotirmoy. Mehrangarh is so beautiful that naturally, the pics too, are 🙂

    • Ami

      I know what you mean Mridula. Time is just not enough here. Part two coming up soon

  4. 2traveldads

    What a perfectly detailed account of an incredible site! I feel like this is a several day activity with lot’s of time to sit and paint small watercolors of everything. Really incredible!

    • Ami

      Thanks Rob. It sure is an amazing place and yes, for you, tons of watercolor inspiration.

    • Ami

      Thank you Jim. I hope you get to go to Mehrangarh the next time. It is a definite recommendation from my end.

  5. RoarLoud

    This fort is so big! I imagine you could spend a few days exploring all of it! Amazing carvings and paintings which is not what I think of when I think fort!

    • Ami

      True. One does not really think of carvings when it comes to a fort. But this one, with its palaces inside is just amazing.

    • Ami

      Thanks Roohi. I could only see the evening lights from afar and even that was beautiful.

  6. melody pittman

    What brilliant architecture. Your posts are always so gorgeous and full of history and beauty. My fave is the one of the musicians. 🙂

      • Indrani

        Looks like nothing has changed! The same charm in the pics like i had seen years ago! (The comment box didn’t open up.)

        • Ami

          Thanks Indrani. It is a charming place. I think it gets better with time.

          P.S: Not sure abt the comment box. Do try again and see.

  7. Sweta Biswal

    Mind blowing captures !! But those hand prints are something else……….they just sent shivers down my spine ………..

  8. Sona Sethi

    I am from Jodhpur and every friend/relative/collegue who visits Jodhpur demands to see the fort. It is an absolute beauty and the view of the blue city from the top of the fort looks amazing. Many bollywood movies are shot from this fort. You have captured the essence very well.

    • Ami

      It is the pride of your city and for me Jodhpur is all about this fort. Thanks for stopping by

  9. Chaitali Patel

    Great post Ami! Thank you for refreshing my memories and can’t agree with you more – the fort is one of the most mesmerizing monuments that I have visited in India! Look forward to reading part 2 & 3.

  10. Anamika Ojha

    The fort looks beautiful and thanks for sharing interesting facts and information. This post is no lesser than a travel guide!

  11. Lance Kerwin

    Amzing pictures. Thanks for sharing this one. I try imagining myself visiting the fort. It is something I would do in an early morning before the place becomes crowded. Hehe. This is one of my top list if revisiting India. Have seen a documentary. It seems impressive and I hopefully I will be able to see it with my own eyes.

    • Ami

      Thank you Lance. Glad you liked Mehrangarh as much as I did. It sure is an amazing fort.

  12. Danjuma

    Amazing pictures and site, and you did a great job with your telling of the place’s various history. Thanks for sharing.

  13. The Solivagant Soul (@Thesolivsoul)

    I’ve never heard about this fortress before, it’s amazing! I am not sure if I will go to India soon, but this would definetely be on my bucket list. And also congratulations on the photos, they are all great!

    • Ami

      Thank you and yes, Mehrangarh Fort is one of our best forts. A visit here is a must 😀

  14. shobha42016

    Wow! that is a massive fort. It looks way bigger than the Red Fort in Delhi which is the only one I’ve seen in India.

  15. thatguywithstories

    A hauntingly beautiful has introduced me to various unknown facts about Jodhpur.

  16. Blair Villanueva

    This Fort reminds me of the scene at Lord of the Rings where the Elves are waiting for Frodo. I wonder how the early folks do these beautiful fort and make it last for centuries. You are indeed blessed to see this part of miracle 😀

    • Ami

      Thank you Blair. Indeed blessed. And with that, I have to watch the Lord of the Rings again 🙂

  17. chantae

    I love how you give a bit of history and meaning in your story 🙂 Makes me feel so much more educated than just looking pictures and names. It’s an incredible place, and putting it on my bucket list 😀

    • Ami

      Jaipur is amazing but Jodhpur is a lot different. You got to come back and check it out. 🙂

  18. Sheri

    This place is amazing and the architecture so beautiful. I love learning about new places and the history behind it that you gave is fantastic. Very detailed information which also serves as a guide to. Beautiful place to visit.

  19. Chris

    It looks so incredible! I was wondering, if there were any movies filmed in here? I think they should have made at least one movie, that’s for sure.

  20. Komang Ayu

    Wow, amazing … very nice your picture, you are displaying a very beautiful thing here. so wanted to visit that place.

  21. Vyjay Rao

    The Mehrangarh fort is another majestic example of the fascinating architecture of Rajasthan that is steeped in a colourful history combined with a vibrant culture. Jodhpur is high on our list and hope to get there soon.

  22. gobeyondbounds

    We have been to Mehrangarh fort on your visit to Rajasthan and it is one grandiose fort with aweinspiring architecture.

  23. Stella the Travelerette

    That fort seems like such an exciting place to explore! I loved the beautiful paintings and colors. I saw a hook and pulley system like that in Hamburg and I was told it was for getting goods on and off ships. Not sure if that makes sense here!