Mehrangarh Fort located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan,India
Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India.
Mehrangarh Fort Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls.This Fort is One of the largest forts in Rajasthan.
Rao Jodha, the chief of the Rathore clan, is credited with the origin of Jodhpur in India. He founded Jodhpur in 1459 (Jodhpur was previously known as Marwar). He was one of Ranmal’s 24 sons and became the fifteenth Rathore ruler. One year after his accession to the throne, Jodha decided to move his capital to the safer location of Jodhpur, as the one thousand years old Mandore fort was no longer considered to provide sufficient security.
With the trusted aid of Rao Nara (son of Rao Samra), the Mewar forces were subdued at Mandore. With that, Rao Jodha gave Rao Nara the title of Diwan. With the help of Rao Nara, the foundation of the fort was laid on 12 May 1459 by Jodha on a rocky hill 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) to the south of Mandore. This hill was known as Bhaurcheeria, the mountain of birds. According to legend to build the fort he had to displace the hill’s sole human occupant, a hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the lord of birds. Upset at being forced to move Cheeria Nathji cursed Rao Jodha with “Jodha! May your citadel ever suffer a scarcity of water!”. Rao Jodha managed to appease the hermit by building a house and a temple in the fort very near the cave the hermit had used for meditation, though only to the extent that even today the area is plagued by a drought every 3 to 4 years. Jodha then took an extreme measure to ensure that the new site proved propitious; he buried a man called “Raja Ram Meghwal” alive in the foundations. “Raja Ram Meghwal” was promised that in return his family would be looked after by the Rathores. To this day his descendants still live in Raj Bagh, “Raja Ram Meghwal’s” Garden, an estate bequeathed them by Jodha.
Rao Jodha then invited the famous female hindu warrior sage of Charan caste, Shri Karni Mata, to lay down the foundation stone of the Mehrangarh Fort and the same was carried out by her. Today only the forts of Bikaner and Jodhpur remain in the hands of Rathors, both had their foundation stone laid by Shri Karni Mata. All other Rajput forts of Rajasthan were abandoned for some or the other reasons by the respective clans. Only the Rathors of Jodhpur and Bikaner have their forts with them till date. This fact is considered a miracle by the local population and is attributed to Shri Karni Mata.
Rao Jodha also granted villages of Mathania and Chopasni to the two Charan warlords who were sent by him to request Shri Karni Mata to come to Jodhpur.
Mehrangarh (etymology: ‘Mihir’ (Sanskrit) -sun or Sun-deity; ‘garh’ (Sanskrit)-fort; i.e.’Sun-fort’); according to Rajasthani language pronunciation conventions,’Mihirgarh’ has changed to ‘Mehrangarh’; the Sun-deity has been the chief deity of the Rathore dynasty. Though the fortress was originally started in 1459 by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur, most of the fort which stands today dates from the period of Jaswant Singh of Marwar (1638–78). The fort is located at the centre of the city spreading over 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) on top of a high hill. Its walls, which are up to 36 metres (118 ft) high and 21 metres (69 ft) wide, protect some of the most beautiful and historic palaces in Rajasthan.
The imposing silhouette of the Mehrangarh fort against the stunning clouds at Jodhpur.
Entry to the fort is gained though a series of seven gates. The most famous of the gates are:
- Jai Pol (“Gate of Victory”), built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 to celebrate his victory in a war with Jaipur and Bikaner.
- Fateh Pol, built to celebrate a victory over the Mughals in 1707;
- Dedh Kamgra Pol, which still bears the scars of bombardment by cannonballs;
- Loha Pol, which is the final gate into the main part of the fort complex. Immediately to the left are the handprints (sati marks) of the ranis who in 1843 immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.