Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meherangarh Fort 02 - Galleries and Elephant's Howdahs

Period rooms at the Meherangarh Fort are thematically designed. Unfortunately, several of these rooms aren't available for show at all times. My favorite among them is the Moti Mahal (Pearl Hall, above) with its color glass windows. They don't just light the room, but embue it with different hues. It's said to be the largest of the Period Rooms. It was built by Raja Sur Singh. It's said to have five alcoves leading to hidden balconies where five queens used to listen to court proceedings.

The other interesting portion is the hallway filled with howdahs. These were wooden seats bearing 2 compartments. The front seat was for the king or royalty while the smaller seat behind were for the bodyguards disguised as fly swatters. Most front seats also contain an umbrella. Every time they're being used, these seats are covered with gold and silver embossed sheets, then the whole structure is fastened at the back of an elephant. Three of these howdahs are shown below. Another gallery is filled with paintings that showcase Marwari art (see an example below). The Turban Gallery is another interesting place to visit because once upon a time, most of Rajasthan had their own head gear per region.

The present maharaja still sees through administration of the fort.


At the ground floor just after the entrance gates, you'll find Cafe Mehran with delectable looking dishes and surprisingly affordable prices. check out some items: A pizza with tomato, onion or green pepper is 95 rupees (r); those with chicken is 115 r; Mahadol Burger has 2 choices - the one with a vegetable patty is also 95 r while that which contains grilled lamb patty is 115 r; parantha rolls are either cheese or chicken rolls (95 r, 115 r); mithai is either a chakki (sweet squares made with grain flour, 55 rupees) or a gulab jamon, cottage cheese dumplings in syrup, (55 rupees); thali meals cost a little more (135 r for vegetarian meals and 185 for non-vegetarian meals); a pot of tea is 35 rupees; a pot of coffee costs 50 rupees.

Does the name mean anything? Meherangarh's etymology comes from 'Mihir' (Sanskrit) which means "sun" or "Sun God". 'Garh' (Sanskrit) refers to the "fort", i.e."sun-fort". According to conventions in Rajasthani language,"Mihirgarh" has evolved to "Mehrangarh" while more contemporary literatures prefer "Meherangarh". We chose the latter here as its syllabication feels more complete. The Sun God has been the chief deity of the Rathore dynasty.

There are open courtyards that show the sprawl of the city down below which we'll feature at the 3rd and last part next post. These places were an easy favorite. It's easy to say that if there's a single place to visit in Jodhpur, it would be the Meherangar Fort.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Moti Mahal

Art piece found at the Painting Gallery.

Elephant's howdah

Elephant's howdah

Elephant's howdah

Gallery guard

Cafe Mehran

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