It was a hot and sunny afternoon, as the sun was shining brightly throwing a long shadow ahead of us as we walked towards our next destination in Jodhpur city. Earlier that day, we had zipped lined through the Rao Jodha Park, toured the majestic Mehrangarh Fort and now after a delightful light lunch at one of the cafés inside the fort we were off to Jaswant Thada.
Related post: The Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Jaswant Thada was famously known as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar”, is a memorial (cenotaph) of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II built in the year 1899 by his son Maharaja Sardar Singh. We could site this milky white structure from the entrance gate of the fort, which looked not too far so we checked for the distance from the fort to the cenotaphs in the Google map. Since it was only 850 meters away we decided to walk down to where the cenotaphs were located since we the minute stepped out of the fort, the autorickshaw and taxi drivers started approaching us quoting unbelievable prices. Although we were tempted for a second to bargain and hike a ride down the hill, then thought better of it, as we generally prefer to walk and explore. Walking under the sweltering sun, we were kind of happy with our decision (the inner princess still kept complaining ;)) as this gave us an opportunity to click some more pictures of the fort and also connect with our surroundings.
As we entered the gate which was leading us to the royal cenotaph we passed by the huge life-size statue of Maharaja Jaswant Singh sitting on a horse facing the Mehrangarh Fort on our right and to our left we were soon greeted by an absolutely serene lake (called as The Ponds of the God) atop which the cenotaph sat. Jaswant Thada stood gloriously against the contrasting brownish red rocky landscape, which gave it a very distinct look.
Related post: Tales from the Blue City of Jodhpur
After paying a small fee to enter and an extra fee since we were carrying a camera, we entered the premises and we were in awe of the surrounding. We had just seen the pictures of the monument but to watch the beautiful structure up close was such a delight. Lucky for us, it was not crowded by the tourists, so we got ample of time to walk around and enjoying the view. As we couldn’t contain our excitement to check out the interiors of the cenotaph, we then moved to the building entrance.
The cenotaph has a temple-like structure inside and its walls are adorned with beautiful and rare portraits of Maharajas of Jodhpur. It is very common to find a guy playing soothing flute tunes and adding this with the sweet fragrance of incense stick in the air, it gave an enchanting vibe to the whole place.
After spending a few minutes inside we then toured the terrace outside enjoying the panoramic view of the city and the garden. Completely clad in white marbles this magnificent mausoleum was built in classic Rajputana style with the intricately carved jaalis chiseled out of marble sheets, which is polished to perfection making it glow and giving a heavenly look under the sun.
The site also houses the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs of members of Marwar royal family, and a multi-tiered garden. Another interesting site which is not to be missed is the memorial of a peacock that we were informed flew into the funeral pyre of the Maharaja.
Spending a good one-hour relaxing in the garden listening to some of the artists singing local folk songs with a gentle evening breeze washing away all our tiredness after the day’s adventure. Jaswant Thada is truly an alluring monument, displaying the wonderful work of the artisans of the time with ever inch built to perfection and we now know why it is called as “Taj Mahal of Marwar”.
Entrance fee is Rs. 15/- per person (Indians), Rs. 30/- per person (foreigner), Rs. 25/- per still camera and Rs. 50/- for every camcorder.
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