Balanced on a 150 m high hill its sprawl is the most formidable and magnificent fort in Rajasthan. Rao Jodha founded the fort but subsequent rulers of Jodhpur have also added to it over the centuries. A meandering road leads to the from the city 5 kms below. Battle scars of canon ball hit by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left of the fort is chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot defending the Mehrangarh fort. There are seven gates, which include Jayapol meaning victory built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. Fattehpol also meaning victory gate was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh to mark the defeat of Mughals. The palm imprints still attract devotional attention and are covered by vermilion paste and paper-thin silver foil.
The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the finest museums in
Rajasthan and certainly the best laid out. In the palanquin section of
the fort museum, you can see an interesting collection of old royal
palanquins including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin, which
was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum
exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and
decorated period rooms.
The grandest of Mehrangarh's period rooms, the Phool Mahal was in all
likelihood a private and exclusive chamber of pleasure. The Phool Mahal
was created by Maharaja Abhaya Singh (1724-1749) and the gold came from
Ahmedabad in Gujarat as war booty after his famous victory over the
rebellious Mughal governor, Sarbuland Khan. The paintings, royal
portraits and the ever-popular raga mala, came much later, in the reign
of Jaswant Singh II.
The Jhanki Mahal, from where the royal ladies watched the official
proceedings, in the courtyard, today houses a rich collection of the
royal cradles. The cradles are decorated with gilt mirrors and figures
of fairies, elephant and birds.