When I landed in the earlier Rajput capital Mewar, I wasn’t expecting to see anything but the remaining prospers of the Rathore clan. I wasn’t disappointed. Instead I became happier to hear some unheard stories on the Rajput’s. Let’s start with a small story my audio guide told me.
Rao Jodha was a powerful and popular emperor of Rathore clan. He conquered the surrounding territory of present Jodhpur and named it Mewar and made it the capital of his kingdom. He found the lonely hill at the middle of Mewar as the best place to build his fort. But for that he had to forcefully vacate the sole occupant of the hill, a man lived on the hill feeding the birds. He was upset with Jodha’s move and cursed him. Jodha later apologized to the man and asked him to take back his words but he said a curse can’t be retrieved but the power of it can be reduced by a selfless sacrifice which is to bury someone alive on the same hill. The king was very disappointed as he knew no one would volunteer for such a selfless deed. But to his surprise a native of Mewar named RajaRam Meghwal agreed to sacrifice his life. Meghwal was buried alive on the hill where Jodha built the Mehrangarh fort.
Mehrangarh fort is an amazing view. It stands tall like the king, in the middle of Jodhpur. There are seven gates to enter Mehrangarh and the famous ones are Jai pol(The gate of Victory), Fateh Pol and Loha Pol. Once you enter the fort there are several fine built palaces named as Moti mahal (Pearl palace), Phool mahal(Flower Palace), Sheesha mahal( Mirror palace) etc.
When you look around Mehrangarh fort, you will know why Jodhpur is called the Blue City. The fort is surrounded by blue painted houses. The blue signified house of Brahmin traditionally, but now the blue paint had faded a lot and non-Brahmins also stay there. Still it leaves a lot to the imagination of the traveler.
There is also a museum inside the fort where several arts, paintings and armors are exhibited. We walked around the museum and enjoyed every piece of luxurious art.
Like in most palaces in India, this also had wonderful flower paint and glass work inside the rooms. Flower paint is the paint or color made out of flowers without adding any chemical. The beauty of this pure organic paint has not even faded even after centuries.
After Mehrangarh fort we stopped at Umaid Bhawan palace. More than half of this palace is now a heritage hotel and not open for public. I didn’t enjoy much of this palace because the part of palace we could visit had just a couple of small rooms and narrow passages and it was very crowded too. But they has an interesting collection of vintage cars just outside the palace. I have no picture of it because photography was prohibited there. 😦
Jodhpur was more than worth a visit. We were sad because we planned only 1 day in Jodhpur so we had to miss certain places like Jaswant Thada, Balsamand and Kalyan Lake, Ghanta Ghar and Gangaur. But we were happy to get to the flavor of Mewar. If I get a chance I will definitely go back to Jodhpur and walk alone through those narrow lanes of Mewar and listen to the stories that blue walls hold.