Jodhpur – call it the “sun City” or the “Blue City” – it never fails to mesmerize visitors through its desert beauty. Located in the Thar Desert, this fascinating second biggest city of Rajasthan is dotted with brightly blue painted houses (hence the name Blue City) and enjoys a bright sunny weather throughout the year (hence the name Sun City). The city harbors various temples, palaces, forts, and ruins of erstwhile princely grandeur.
India’s most luxurious train Maharaja Express visits Jodhpur through its two tours viz; Indian Splendor and Heritage of India. These tours span 8 days and 7 nights. They also cover other culturally rich places of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Jodhpur’s splendor about 100 feet high!
Mehrangarh Fort stands proudly on a vertical cliff, 400 feet above ground level. Its bright red sandstone attracts from far away. The fort has earned the status of being the best preserved fort in India. Its history dates back to the 15th Century and is related to Rao Jodha, the then Rathore ruler.
One can enter the fort after passing through seven gates. The seven gates are: Jai Pol, Fateh Pol, Lakhna Pol (it was destroyed earlier), Amriti Pol, Loha Pol, which features hand prints of 15 queens, Dedh Kamgra Pol, and Suraj Pol.
You can find here grand palaces such as Phool Mahal (Palace of Flowers), Sukh Mahal (Palace of Pleasure), and Moti Mahal (Palace of Pearls). Today, these palaces are turned into museums. The Umaid Vilas is a sparkling beauty thanks to its glass tiles. The Zenana Mahal features around 150 charming designs of latticework.
The biggest royal residence in the world
Umaid Bhawan Palace is a private royal residence that can put many a royal mansions and castles to shame. The palace consists of 347 rooms and was the residence of the then Jodhpur royal family. It was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh from the Rathore Dynasty.
Today, it is owned by Gaj Singh, Maharaja of Jodhpur. He is the grandson of Umaid Singh. The palace has three parts. One part is turned into a plush Taj Palace Hotel. The second part is turned into a museum. The third part serves as residence in which the owner and his family reside.
A thing that makes Umaid Bhawan Palace stand apart from other forts and palaces is that it was built by the Maharaja for a noble cause rather than for his personal luxury. The great famine in the 1920’s took a heavy toll on people. The then Maharaja build this palace to provide employment to famine-struck people. The construction continued from 1928 to 1943. This kept people employed for 15 years – enough time to help them survive through the famine!
Maharaja Express travel
A visit to such exclusively royal places of Rajasthan calls for royal travel. What better than traveling in the Maharajas’ Express? The train is an epitome of luxury travel. Be the maharaja or the maharani yourselves while visiting residences of Indian maharajas and maharanis. So, when you visit Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace you are the royal guest, not just a regular visitor.
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