I have not been to many forts and am essentially not a fort fan but I had been to my share of them like Agra Fort, Delhi’s Red Fort, Jaipur’s Amber, Udaipur’s City Palace and few more. Probably there are a lot of them which are yet to be visited like ‘Chittor’ but most of them have some basic attributes. This start with the complexion, size, the usual rooms for prayer-ladies-guest-etc, jharokhas, courtyards, sheesh-mahals, paintings, raj-era photos, weaponry and so on. While the ones like City Palace in Udaipur are much better preserved and run (being private), places like Red Fort in Delhi are more closer to being called ruins. So when we started to go to Mehrangarh, the mood was peppy (more for being out then anything else) but not too excited. Jodhpur is 2nd largest city of Rajasthan but one needs to maneuver all kinds of vehicles to move through. And after a while, we got close to the fort and wow, what a sight. Amber in Jaipur has a great view from the road but this one really looked like a large-high-cell, standing atop mightly. The contrast of small blue houses amid the backdrop of this large dinosaur was difficult to grasp and as we got closer, you sort of start to get the feel of being in a gigantic company with a large door-way welcoming you.
Welcome to Mehrangarh Fort.
As you get in, you realize that its been built on a high-land and adding its own height, it really gets very tall.
The good thing about this fort that you dont have to haggle for Guides, as you buy ticket, you can also choose to hire the services of a guide (try to be early on holidays to ensure that they dont run out of Guides), you can also hire this walk-man kind of thing which you can listen to at guided-points. Now comes the unique part, this is the only fort which I am aware, has a lift which take you up to 10th floor equivalent, 90 odd feet. The funny part is that lift has three buttons, G 1 2, 1 is for first floor, stopping at about an equiv of 6th floor where as 2nd goes till 90 feet. You get out of the terrace, which is almost like being on top of world. There are canons along the boundry and if there is a good sun and a clear day you can really see afar.
After a feast of weaponry, you go to Sheesh Mahal and cherish some of the marvelous jaali work.
Few more. There is this Zanana Dyodhi (Female’s Den) where an elderly person was playing flute. It was mesmerizing to listen to baansuri (flute) and getting treated like a royal.
There is a small cafe where one can buy water/juice/chips to keep up the challenge of all that walk. There is a Mehran Cafe which serves more snacks. Adi and Shagun were there for a while, no great review. It also arranges dinner (Rs 750 odd per person, book in advance) and the photos looked pretty tempting. Eating in moon-lit night on a large terrace and so on.
There are some shops to buy souvenirs. Good Jodhpur Tees and caps are available (Polo and Jodhpur and synonymous). There are some more shops by local artisans. Like Dilli Haat, they keep rotating the artists, giving opportunity to more people. You walk down amid stones and tall walls thinking that how big things can be. One last look.