Then the last part of my North India tour had come- Jodhpur. I reached here at 5 o'clock in the early morning. I got a room near to the railway station and had sleep for about three hours. My plan was to start around 9 am and see only the important places.
Jodhpur is situated midway between Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Mehragand Fort and Ummaid Bhawan palace are the main tourist spots in this place. Jodhpur is also called 'Blue City' because of the blue colored houses in the old part of city. It was the capital of old Marwar kingdom.
The first thing I enquired after getting off the bed was about best means to get around the city. As per hotel guys advice, I hired an autorikshaw for Rs200. He had agreed to take me to two places - the fort and the palace. It took around half hour to reach Mehragand fort. This fort stood on top of a hill overlooking the city. This fort can be seen from almost all parts of the city.
I felt the architecture for each city in Rajasthan are same. There would be a fort on top of a hill and the city would be constructed under the fort down the hill. You will be able to watch the whole city from the fort. In most of the cases the king's palace will also be inside the fort. Jaipur and Jaigarh Fort, Jaisalmer and Jaisalmer Fort, Jodhpur and Mehragarh Fort are some examples.
|Another View of Mehragarh Fort|
The fort was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459. Seven gates have to be crossed to reach the fort. The gates still bear the marks of the various battles fought with mughals and other invaders. Its second gate still stands witness to canon ball hits by attacking armies of Jaipur during wars. One of the gates is Jayapol, meaning victory. It was built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. Another gate, Fattehpol, again meaning victory, was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh as a celebration for defeating the Mughals. I was told that even Akbar was not able to conquer this fort.
|On the way up inside the fort|
The road from the first gate to the top of the fort is very steep. Elevators are available for people who are not fit enough to climb. But then you will not be able to enjoy the fort completely. You will miss many important aspects of it, as the elevator directly goes to the top. We can see how formidable this fort is, even Akbar came to know that.
As we go up, the Jodhpur city can be seen from many view points. Almost the entire city can be seen from here. The site for this fort is chosen very carefully so that it will take some considerable effort to attack this tall structure. Canons are placed at some strategic points to protect the fort.
|A canon inside the fort facing the city|
|View of Jodhpur city from Mehragarh Fort|
|Fort and the blue city|
I was very much exhausted on reaching the top. The hot and dry climate also added to my misery. But the fantastic view of the city and an impressive palace situated at the top of the fort helped me to overcome the weariness. The palace at this tall fort looks like a second world above earth. The Durbar halls and royal bedrooms show prosperity of old Marwar kings.
|From the palace inside the Fort|
|Again from the palace|
|Protective gears of a Rajput warrior|
Next I proceeded towards Ummaid Bhawan Palace. It is a relatively new one, construction completed on 1943. The legend is that the Maharaja Umaid Singh wanted to generate jobs for the people who were affected by a terrible famine. Around 5000 men worked for around 15 years to complete this palace. The palace is situated in a area of 26 acres, out of which building covers around 4 acres. It is said to be one of the biggest palaces in the world.
Currently this palace is divided into three parts - a museum showing the history of the royal family, the residence of the royal family and a luxurious Taj hotel. Visitors are allowed only in the museum part of the palace.
|Ummaid bhavan palace|
Rajasthan is famous for its garment industry. Since I had not done any considerable shopping so far, I decided to spend the evening in buying some cloths and sweets. And I walked through the streets for some time and tasted some good parathas. I felt sad because my tour was going to finish with this day. I had to catch the flight to Bangalore in the next morning from Jaipur airport. I took the night train to Jaipur, with my mind filled with lots of sweet memories of Rajasthan.