Mandore Fort

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2013

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Mandore Fort is about 20 minutes drive from Jodhpur. We drove in from Osian, saw a huge area at a height where lots of stone quarrying was going on. Somewhere there is Mandore Fort. U enter at ground level into a garden, then walk straight to the Janana Mahal that you see in centre of pic lower level. From there u climb up to ruins of the fort that you see in pic. Left of pic u see a wall. It seems the entire area is being restored, pretty well must say.

About Mandore Fort. Highlights - Mandore existed in 4th century A.D. the ancient capital of Marwar. The Pratihara ruler built the rampart of the fort in 6th century A.D. Its name could also be derived from the Rishi Mandava.

In pic 1 you saw the highest point. This pic is from there. U see beautiful garden with road in centre. The temples that you see on left of pic are cenotaphs of the rulers of Jodhpur. Later u get a close up view of these marvelous cenotaphs. Whole place is very well maintained, loved it.

This board gives you the Historical importance of Mandore. It remained the capital of Rathores till they founded Jodhpur in the middle of the 15th century. It was an important centre of art and architecture. There are remains of a huge Brahma Mandir, Durga Temple amidst ruins of fort.

When I entered the garden saw a number of musicians playing local instruments. U see one such musician. They play lovely music for you. From their dress it appears that they are not making enough money - sad. The tradition will survive if they make enough money. I gave a generous fee.

As I entered the complex there was garden on both sides. As I walked ahead on my right were these well made temples, actually cenotaphs of the rulers of Jodhpur. More about them later.

The gardens are full of monkeys - great fun to see a monkey snatch away a purse or pounce on biscuits that were given to them. Acts of monkeys are a sheer joy to observe.

Walk ahead slightly on your left is Wall of Heroes and Divinities (Brahmaji, Mahadevji). Images are carved out of natural rock as you shall see in the next pic. Sculptures are some heroes of Marwar whom local people hold in very high esteem and some cult images.

An overview of the Hall of Heroes that contains 16 images carved out of a single rock. Indians of earlier times have carved temples out of rocks which stand to this day. See pics of Badami Caves Karnataka Click here

There is a temple ahead of the Wall of Heroes called Shri Kala Gora Bhairuji ka Mandir that you see.

Walk ahead a bit, on your right is the Janana Mahal. This board is just at the entrance. Highlights - constructed between 1702-1724. The purpose of this mahal was to help the royal ladies deal with the hot summer. There is a museum inside, worth a visit too.

Over view of the Janana Mahal. Took this pic from a higher level when was walking up to the fort. Huge stone structure that you see on left of pic are the remains of a Brahma Mandir. The palace is well designed with very intricate work and remains of fountains that are no longer in use. Admire the restoration work and well maintained, spotlessly clean.

A opposite view from the top. U can see entrance gate in centre of pic. Left of pic small door is entrance to the museum. Centre front of pic are fountains. Right of pic area that you cannot see has a small water body if I remember correctly where probably the Queens relaxed with their feet in the water.

A ground level view of the Janana Mahal. Right in front marble bit is a fountain. Wall at end of pic is restored wall of the fort. Very aesthetically done.

From Janana Mahal walk up the hill, first stop is Nahar Singhji Temple. It is a very old temple, u have to bend your head to enter. If I remember right it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. At temple entrance is local musician. The moment he sees a tourist coming he starts playing music, very nice. U are expected to give him a small tip. I liked the music so much that spent some 5 minutes listening to him. His wife helps you get darshan. From the helmet behind appears he owns a 2 wheeler. Happy that he makes enough to sustain himself.

When you come to top of the hill enter this area i.e. the ruined city of Mandore. Right in front are remains of a Brahma Temple. After walking around around temple wall/ruins, seeing the plinth area and height came to the conclusion that it must be a really grand temple when it existed.

On the right is a large water body. Found the existence of a pond/water body in all Rajasthan Forts. Ones in Chittorgarh and Amber are really big. Our ancestors practiced rain water harvesting centuries ago. Left of pic front you see a small tree. Below that local Muslims made a Mazhar or Samadhi in memory of some saint, area is part of the fort. Wild grass gives you an idea of terrain and that it is at a height.

On the banks of water body that u saw in earlier pic but at higher level is a ancient Durga Mandir - still in active worship. This sculpture is at temple entrance.

Slightly ahead of the temple is a mosque where large number of Muslims live. They walk thru the garden to reach their home here. Asked quite a few people but no one told me whether mosque area was part of fort area or outside it. In Kumbalgarh Fort observed Muslims residing inside the fort. When I asked since when, they said from eternity.

View of the Janana Mahal area from Brahma Temple ruins area. Left to right, first structure is Ek Thamba Mahal (u see close up later), garden with fountain in the centre, building behind tree in centre of pic is museum. Behind it white structure is Shri Kala Gora Bhairuji ka Mandir, to its left carved out of a rock is Wall of Heroes. Extreme right is entrance to Janana Mahal.

Close up view of Ek Thamba Mahal. It is 3 storeyed and lies outside the Janana Mahal. It was made during Maharaja Ajit Singhji''s reign i.e. 1707-1723.

A close up of a jharoka of Ek Thamba Mahal. Note the intricate jaali work.

We now come to the dewals or cenotaphs which I found fascinating. Instead of the usual chhatri-shaped cenotaphs typical of Rajasthan, the ones in Mandore are made on the lines of a temple. This one is of Maharaja Ajit Singhji. He ruled from 1707-1723. This was made in 1793 A.D. As you can see it has balcony on 3 sides and on 3 storeys. Above that are smaller shikharas and main Shikhara. This dewal is made of close-grained freestone, others was told of dark red sandstone.

This is a front view of the cenotaph. It is supported by a large number of pillars, has main and smaller Shikharas, there is a dome in front of the main shikhara whose close up you will see.

I entered the cenotaph. Inside are lots of sculptures as you can see. Can someone help with details.

Pillars that support the dome. Gives you an idea of design and grandeur. Centre lower part is the main sanctum area.

Lower part of dome.

Carvings above entrance to main sanctum, has images of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

There is a corridor round the sanctum area. In that area saw these images. Can someone help with details.

This is cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singhji, ruled 1638-1678 A.D. Top portion of Shikhara that you see on right of pic is of Maharaj Ajit Singhji. To see pics of Osian Jain Mandir Click here

A view of the earlier monument from the west side. Exquisite work. Mandore Fort is worth a visit. Keep 2-3 hours. To see pics of People of Marwar Click here

This pic gives you an over view of the cenotaphs. They start with Maharaja Ajit Singhji reign 1707-1723, Maharaja Jaswant Singhji 1638-78, Maharaja Gaja Singhji 1619-1638, Maharaja Sura Singhji 1595-1619, Maharaja Udai Singhji 1583-1595, Maharaja Rao Maldevji 1532-1562. To see pics of Umaid Bhawan Palace Click here

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