Between the trees

Having smoothed out our cash flow issues we turned our attention to proper tourist activities. Coming to Jodhpur, Rajasthan has one significant attraction…Mehrangarh Fort (Sanskrit for Sun deity or Sun Fort). A breathtaking monument to Indian history. The first ten days has been eventful with today no different. Halfway up the hill our rickshaw sputtered to a stop in the middle of the road…out of petrol. Our driver flagged down another ride for us, completed a financial swap which resembled a shell game of sorts. We jumped in and off we went. At the top I handed the fellow the hundred Rupee for which we had originally agreed. He was annoyed and wanted the Rs120 the first driver had mentioned.  An unfortunate circumstance for him as we continued on our way.

Built in the mid 1400’s Mehrangarh is the largest Hindu fort in India. It sits on a perpendicular cliff four hundred feet above the Blue City. So immense are it’s proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”. As a carpenter Chelle reminds me frequently that these architectural relics were constructed all by hand. Within the walls are several palaces and courtyards. A winding road leads to and from the city below. I found this place to be more stunning than the Taj Mahal.

A steep stone road leads to the main gate. The entrance is at a very tight angle to prevent attacking armies from using their elephants to crash the gate. An additional defensive tactic was to build long, sharp metal spears on the doors at the height of the elephants head.

A hotspot for both international and Indian tourists alike. We chose the audio tour which was an exceptional effort on behalf of the preservation society. Mehrangarh was in very good condition and the local experts are utilized in such a manner that it brought the fort to life. The museum is well stocked and gives each passerby a glimpse into the past. The intricate details of the silk woven bamboo curtains, the elaborate domed gilt palanquin, and the decorated period rooms all demonstrate that this fortress was a castle fit for a Raj.

We walked down the the hill a ways to the Rao Jodha Desert Park, which spreads over 72 hectares (177 acres) adjoining Mehrangarh. It contains ecologically restored desert and arid land vegetation. A welcomed respite to the hoards of invading tourists at the fort.

This is one of those rare places that is impossible to take a bad picture. The immensity is transferred to the page with little or no editing save for cropping or resizing. It was a difficult task to chose which photo(s) to include and am pushing my luck with Chelle as I complete this late at night. 

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