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Sightseeing in Jodhpur

If you are going for sightseeing in Jodhpur, then a visit to the awe inspiring Mehrangarh Fort is a must. From outside its wide, high walls and sheer cliffs appear unassailable, imposing and austere, but once inside, you will discover several lavishly decorated palaces and period rooms, with intricate carved ‘jalis’ and panels that will take your breath away. Seven heavily fortified gateways lead to these palaces, armoury and royal chambers. A few of these gates remain but the palaces are impressive in their variety and ornamentation.

The notable palaces worth a visit within Mehrangarh Fort are the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), with its beautifully painted walls, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) with its Shringar Chowk (coronation seat) featuring peacock armrests and gilded elephants and the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace).

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort Palace Museum, which is within the Fort premises. This museum showcases a wide collection of old royal palanquins, memorabilia, heritage of the Rathores, including arms, costumes and Ragmala paintings. Daulat Khana (one of the galleries in the museum) showcases the royal treasure of Mehrangarh Museum.

To the left of Mehrangarh Fort, a few metres away is the Jaswant Thada, a white marble royal cenotaph of Jaswant Singh II and four of his successors. Religious travellers can check out the Mahamandir, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is an architectural wonder, built in 1812, with 84 intricately carved pillars. As it was outside the city walls it was given its own protective fortifications, a sign of those turbulent times!

Other places to visit in Jodhpur include the Umaid Bhawan Palace that was built during the 1920s and '30s as a famine relief project when Maharaja Umaid Singh started a food for work program. The palace took 16 years to complete. With its 347 rooms it is one of the largest private residences in the world.

The present ruler has converted the Umaid Bhawan into a fine luxury hotel with an in house museum while retaining the use of one wing as the private residence of the erstwhile royal family. Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum houses a fine collection of royal memorabilia, armours and arms, bejewelled howdahs, palanquins, an array of stuffed leopards, antiques, fascinating crockery, amazing collection of clocks and various trophies.

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