During my time at BEL Ghaziabad, I was working on a project that required me to travel to remote locations for on site support, collecting some data and to be on call during certain important demonstrations and tests. Often it would be to some rather rustic locations, but every once in a while I would find myself traveling to proper tourist destinations like Jodhpur. Although I was alone on the trip, I was prepared nonetheless. One of my friends and colleague at that time, was from Jodhpur and she had told me about all the historical places and above all the local delicacies and where to find them. While just uttering the names of “Makhania lassi”, “Mirch pakoda”, “Maave ki kachodi” etc. brings a tear to my eye and makes me drool non stop, it was the majesty of the Mehrangarh Fort and the Umaid Bhawan Palace that had me awe struck.
The Mehrangarh Fort is a one of the largest forts in India, built in around 1460 by Rao Jodha. It rises to more than 400 feet above the city and has an imposing structure surrounded by thick walls. There are corridors and alleyways to move around through the fort walls, and surprisingly there is even an elevator to take you to the top ramparts of the fort that overlooks the blue tops of the sprawling city beneath. It houses a well maintained and generously stocked museum that includes several gilded royal palanquins and paraphernalia on display. It encloses some exquisitely designed palaces which have intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. Some rooms are adorned with multi colored glass panels and they glitter as light radiates through the colorful glass windows and decorations. On the top of the fort one can see Cannons lining the wall, which stood guard protecting the fort from besieging enemy in the past.
This fort has seen many a movie stars cavorting along its scenic walls, as it is a popular location for shooting motion pictures. It was even featured in the Batman movies The Dark Knight Rises.
This I only got to know once the movie had released, it did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm, at least I have a picture to prove it. 😀
I had struck a deal with a local Autorikshaw / Tuc Tuc driver, to take me on a site seeing tour of the city after work hours, and it proved to be the best investment of the entire trip. He was quite the tour guide as I managed to veer through even the tightest of nooks and crannies of the famed blue city of Jodhpur. The food was great as promised, the hospitality was even better. It was the famed Mishrilal Hotel near the clock tower gate that I used to make a stop to drown myself in saffron lassi and the like, however it was the “chai and pakode” from a common street food stall that I derived massive satisfaction. On my last day, I bought several kilograms of sweets and non perishable snacks to bring back to my folks at New Delhi. I recommend everyone to go visit that city and get imbued in the local colors, food and culture.
“Visited Mehrangarh fort and the Umaid Bhawan palace – April 2012”