“A Palace that might have been built by the Titans and coloured by the morning sun” – Rudyard Kipling
We could not agree more with the above words as we caught the first glimpse of the magnificent Mehrangarh fort from our hotel. Famously known as the Citadel of the Sun, the fort was built by the founder of Jodhpur, King Rao Jodha during 15th century. There is a fascinating story behind the construction of one of the largest fort of India and every local takes pride in narrating the old tales much to the delight of all the travellers.
Before starting the tour of the fort we decided to try the Zip Line adventure, an exhilarating experience that gives you a tour around the outer battlements of the fort. The adventure takes you over the Ranisar Lake, Rao Jodha Rock Park along with breath-taking views of the Blue city. As it was our first zip lining experience we were quite nervous as well as thrilled about trying the adventure, however after the first two zip lines we could not contain our excitement and were totally convinced on taking second trip.
The Zipline tour is organized by the Flying Fox Asia and lasts around for 2 hours. It is advisable to pre-book the tour online and ticket costs around Rs. 1349 per person.
We then took a stroll around the Chokelao Bagh, a quaint little 18th century garden located next to the Flying Fox office. The garden serves as a perfect retreat from the sun and fort tourists. After the refreshing walk, a glass of cool drink and snacks from the fort café, we were good to go and explore the majestic fort.
There are 7 gates that protect the fort: Jai Pol, which is the main entrance to the fortress followed by Dodh Kangra Pol where you can see the canon ball scars from 1808 fight, as you climb up you will pass the Loha Pol which has iron spikes used to prevent the enemy elephants. In a typical Rajasthani fashion, group of folk singers seated outside the Loha Pol welcome you with their traditional folk songs, which along with the fort backdrop has a very surreal feeling of being back in time.
From this point on we were spellbound with the beauty and details in the ornately designed courtyards, intricate works on the Jhaalis and Jharokhas, and all the remarkable collections in the museum. The fort museum houses some of India’s finest Howdahs (seats for elephant rides) made of silver and gold, palanquins, Marwar miniature paintings, royal armory, textiles displaying the craftsmanship of the medieval times, royal cradles and many more breath-taking items from the royal collection.
After the museum tour we walked up to the defense wall of the fort, where there is a display of huge canons that was used to protect the fort. This is also the vantage point from where you will be able to enjoy the panoramic view of the Blue city.
Entry to the fort costs Rs. 60 for Indians and Rs. 400 for Foreigners. There is a separate fee for camera, which is Rs. 100 per camera and there is audio guide available for additional cost.