Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Travel

Forts of Rajasthan – 3: Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur

The story of the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur begins with a curse.

There was once a King and like all self-respecting kings of his time, he wanted a grand and imposing fort at an impressive location. One day, he came across the location of his dreams — an isolated hill. The King ordered his men to immediately clear the hill of inhabitants and lay the foundations for the construction of the fort.

Only one man lived on the hill — a man considered holy by the local people around and known as Chidiyawale Baba. He was called thus as he took care of birds and fed them and spoke to them. Chidiyawale Baba was so furious at being evicted from the hill that he cursed the King with recurrent drought in his kingdom. Shaken and now contrite, the King went to Chidiyawale Baba to ask for forgiveness and to request him to cancel the curse. The Baba said that words once uttered could not be taken back, but the effect of the curse could be reversed if a selfless sacrifice was offered. In other words, someone had to volunteer to die by being buried alive on the hill.

The King came away dejected as he did not think anyone would volunteer. But that very evening, a man by the name of Rajaram Meghwal presented himself before the King and volunteered for the deed. A relieved (and, I’m sure, delighted) King accepted and on an auspicious day and time and at an auspicious site on the hill, Meghwal was buried alive. Rao Jodha, the King, then laid the foundation to building the Mehrangarh Fort in 1459.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Travel
The memorial of selfless warrior, Rajaram Meghwal, who volunteered to die

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Museum Treasure: The golden throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

The Victoria and Albert Museum (or the V&A) in London has a fantastic collection of artifacts from India, that includes textiles, jewellery, paintings, weapons, etc. While many of these have been purchased by the V&A, some of the exhibits have been acquired during annexation of the princely states of pre-independent India by the British. One such exhibit is the Golden Throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which was acquired as State property in 1849 on the annexation of Punjab.

The golden throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

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