Saturday, 6 February 2016

Jodhpur - the blue city

The last city on our tour of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Jodphur boasted the most magnificent of the palaces, Mehranghar Fort. Run by a private company set up by the royal family, it was a very professional set up (think National Trust). No hawkers badgering you to buy tourist rubbish here.

Started around 1460 by Rao Jodha (after whom Jodhpur was named), the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. 

Most of the current fort was built by Jaswant Singh in the early to mid seventeenth century.

We entered through the Victory gate (Jai Pol) built by Maharaja Man Singh to celebrate his victory in a war with Jaipur. It depicts the wedding procession of Lord Shiva.

The approach is by a steep slope up to the usual huge, elephant-proof doors.

Inside the final gate (Loha Pol) are the handprints of the wives of Man Singh, who threw themselves on his funeral pyre

But look around and you can see swallows' nests on the ceiling, huge oil jars (for making the slope even more slippery), and interesting shapes everywhere 

The palaces inside boast several courtyards with intricate sandstone fretwork panels in the upper levels, each one different to the next. 

These allowed the women to watch proceedings in the courtyard below without being seen themselves.

Here are some views from inside

Right at the top are the Maharaja's private bedroom 

and several other intricately decorated rooms, 

 including the Pearl palace which was a throne room.

There is also a large museum containing intricately decorated silver howdahs (elephant seats),

Royal palanquins (elaborate chairs carried by up to twelve servants in which royalty rode), 

armoury, a large collection of Indian miniature paintings depicting the defeat of the evil Mashishasura by the goddess of power, Durga, and many other artefacts. 

All quite spectacular, but simple things also have beauty

And this is the view of the blue city (the old city) of Jodphur from the courtyard, which is the closest we got to it unfortunately. The walls are painted with indigo to repel mosquitos apparently.

On the way out we saw this bridal party on their way to the temple for a blessing - look at the decoration on her hands

Next was the Jaswant Thada, the Mausoleum of the Maharajas, white marble in the sunlight, the original building in memory of Jaswant Singh II.

The sunlight shines through the six-inch thick marble walls and sets them alight,

whilst the bright offerings left by worshippers add an interesting contrast.

And that was the end of our Rajasthan tour. Next stop Mysore!

No comments: