UNRIVALLED GRANDEUR (A Gateway to Thar Desert) Dr. Prashant Mehta Assistant Professor National Law University, Jodhpur [email_address]
Introduction to Jodhpur (Suncity) The district of Jodhpur popularly known as Suncity was known as the ancient kingdom of Marwar the land of Death, the largest kingdom in Rajputana and the third largest of the Indian Kingdoms, after Kashmir and Hyderabad. Jodhpur, former capital of Marwar state, retains much of its medieval character. Beginning in 1549, when the city was called Jodhgarh, the Rathor clan of Rajputs fought and ruled from the virtually impregnable fort until their territory covered some 35,000 sq. miles making it the largest Rajput state.
Invincible Fort Mehrangadh or the majestic fort, was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha, who was responsible for setting up the city of Jodhpur. The fort emphasises to a greater extent than most other forts of Rajasthan, the strange paradox between the intricacies of Rajput military architecture of the 15th-18th century period and the flamboyance of the Rajput princes in the late-19th and early 20th century. The fort rambles across a plateau on a 393 ft high hills, with numerous semi- circular bastions and walls that are 121 ft high and 68 ft thick at places, 100 ft over the nearest pass, with superb natural rocky defences.
Umaid Bhawan Palace The Umaid Bhawan palace was founded in 1929 AD, construction was not completed until 1943 and the royal family has occupied the palace since 1944. The architecture is by Lanchester, of the Lutyens School of Architecture. Dominated by European style, but with some Indo-Saracenic touches and a few features that kept in mind Rajput traditions like having a separate zanana wing for women and complete privacy for the royal family.
Entrance to Royal Residences A huge crested wrought iron gate marks the entrance, and we entered the multi-acre gardens. The palace was built by interlocking sandstone blocks, and is dominated by a huge central dome, flanked by side minarets, and pillared galleries. The 3.5 acre elephantine bulk of the palace has a total of 347 rooms, which have been divided into a 98 room palace hotel, a museum of princely relics, and the Maharajah's private residence, the latter off-limits for Visitors. Crested brass doors open to let visitors enter the public areas of the palace.
Glimpses of Lake Balsamand A summer residence of the Maharajahs of Jodhpur now converted to a heritage hotel It is Rajasthan's oldest artificial lakes and one of the first artificial lakes in the country. The palace is set on a cliff with jarokhas and intricate latticed windows, through which breezes wafting from over the lake could enter and cool the chambers, making it the ideal summer getaway from the desert city of Jodhpur for the Maharajahs of Marwar.
Mandor: Capital of Erstwhile Marwar Historic Mandore was the capital of Marwar, during the rule of the Parihar Rajputs, before this region was conquered by the Rathores, and Rao Jodha selected the rocky defenses to the south of Mandore for his new capital city, Jodhpur. The stone garden palace of Maharaja Abhai Singh who came here to enjoy the lush, green gardens, pomegranate orchards and fountains of Mandore.
Chattries of Mandor Mandore is now a suburb of Jodhpur, filled with relics of its history-8th century Gupta temple, six chattries of the Rathore Rajput rulers of Marwar, 30 chattries of the Maharanis of Marwar, ruins of an old citadel on a plateau. Relatively recent additions are the Marwar Hall of Heroes, shrine of 300 million Gods and the lawns. Here one may find a charming collection of cremation-site memorials, mostly 17th-18th century set amidst surprisingly green. clean and hassle-free gardens.
EK THAMBA MAHAL Sand Stone Sculptured Single Pillar Mahal Summer Retreat of Erstwhile Maharajas
Majestic Jaswant Thada The Jaswant Thanda, located half way up the interminably long road that climbs onwards to the fort, is the traditional cremation ground of the rulers of Jodhpur. Taking pride of place amongst the onrnamental gardens and chattris is the fabulous white marble memorial to Jaswant Singh II, built in 1899. Jaswant Thada has a serene marble facade outside,colorful interiors.
Clock Tower Sadar bazaar is a lively, bustling, colourful market which runs from Sojati Gate to the Clocktower. Pretty much anything can be bought in the Sadar bazaar but the area around the clocktower specialises in spices, glass bangles, rugged leather ware and vivid tie-and-dye printed fabrics . Some local delicacies like mawa kachori , pyaz kachori and makhania lassi , 'the extra buttery buttermilk', are guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
Tale of Blue Houses The Indian 'Sun City' of Jodhpur stands on the edge of the Great Thar Desert. It echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Also called the Blue City as most houses, according to an age-old practice' are painted with indigo blue color to ward off mosquitoes. Overlooking the city, with the superbly designed Umaid Bhawan Palace, is the awe-inspiring Meherangarh fort right in the middle of thetown. Brahmpuri - the colony of Brahmins - is Jodhpur's oldest residential section. For years, the homes in Brahmpuri have been washed in a particular shade of blue. It is an adept reflector of sunlight and keeps the interiors cool. Brahmins used to color their houses blue to give them a distinctive identity. But now, more and more people are taking to this particular tint of blue.
Marwari Cuisines Delicious Sweets Jodhpur is famous for its sweets. You can found a large crowd at every shop of sweet. Its in tradition of jodhpur that first you have to eat sweet and then start other food. You can't escape from sweet hospitality ("Mithi Manuhar") of jodhpur & its quite right that this is the secret of the sugary tone of the citizen of this city. 'Mave ki Kachori' , 'Besan ki Chaaki', 'Maakhan Vade' are some of the most famous sweet of jodhpur. Daal -Baati, Pachkuta & Bajre-ka-Khich Perhaps the best known food is the combination of daal, baati and churma. As the name sounds, pachkuta has five basic ingredients- sangri, kair & kumtia, dried red chillies, amchur cooked in oil and basic masalas. Another delicious cool dish is bajre ki khich. This is a tasty khichidi made with millet, yoghurt, masala & peas with chopped ginger & turmeric. This is served with chaach ka Khatta made from buttermilk. Spicy Breakfast Most of the citizen of this city start their breakfast with the world famous 'Samosas', 'Kachoris' and 'Mirchi Vadas.
Bishnois: Tribals of Marwar The Bisnoi community is known to protect trees and wildlife with a religious passion. The recent trend for environment conservation has brought the Bisnoi faith into the international limelight. Bishnois:Colourful people near Jodhpur Bisnois often live in little hamlets called `Dhannis', with just a few round huts with intricate thatched roofs, extremely picturesque to look at, Bisnoi women are colourfully dressed and wear beautiful ornaments. They scrub the floors of the huts and the common courtyards which are always clean, and cook in earthen ovens. Visiting their hamlets can be a an experience in culture and environment friendly practises. Each hut is surrounded by trees and shrubs, a contrast to the sandy desert around. Farms bordered by trees and plants protect against the advancing sand-dunes.These traditional technologies make their areas a green oasis in the desert sands and scrub. They clean dead wood before burning so as not to hurt any little creatures sheltering inside.