For the last 20 years, we’ve taken care when traveling to avoid a lot of bouncing around, skimming through places. Instead we like to sink into an environment, wandering around, but staying in a home-base. The “Golden Triangle” of Rajasthan doesn’t quite work that way… the “thing to do” is go from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur to… and experience “India’s Tuscany.” We fell for that. There are some commonalities. Like castles! And today, we went to the doozy of them, the Mehrangarh in Jodhpur. This massive fort dominates the skyline of “The Blue City.” The first fort was built starting in 1459, and successive maharaja’s expanded it to this current expanse.
After driving up to the other side of this hill, you enter the fort through a series of gates, the first now guarded mainly by pigeons…
The outer part is a fortress with a steeply sloping, winding ascent that made attack nearly impossible. Here is part of the outer walls:
Now instead of ambuscades of falling rock and burning oil, those ascending are most likely to come upon musicians busking:
Then, we come to the castle – here’s a small slice:
The place is now a museum, mostly focused on the power of might, but these warriors also had a lavish sense of beauty; even the adornments are adorned.
By the time we reached the top, some 5 stories above the battlements, we were ready for a break. A fellow who seemed like a guard-like person suggested we pause here for a photo:
Then, he invited us into a room just to the right of this photo — telling us it was the majarajah’s meditation room, and invited us to rest for a few minutes. A musician was playing a ragas, meditative looping compositions created for this purpose. Our host said this man’s family played for the maharaja’s for many generations, and we sat and listened for a few minutes.
Renewed, we wandered down through the castle and it’s many doors…
As usual in our travels, the most delightful experiences are not the ones in the tourbooks, or even in our imaginations. They’re the glimmers of connection, of surprise, of finding something unexpected.
Now we’re in Udaipur, our last stop in the Rajasthan tour. Earlier we were discussing what everyone would like to do tomorrow. “There are some castles here,” Patty offered to groans from all. Maybe instead we can just wander a little and see what we can glimpse through the windows of opportunity that glimmer all around.