A marvellous attraction to visit as part of tour packages in India is the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The fortress is situated atop a 400-metre high cliff, in the centre of the city. Seven gates including Jaipol and Fatehpol lead to the inside of the complex, which has expansive courtyards and several palaces. At some places, the fortification walls are 118 feet high and almost 70 feet thick. All the palaces inside the premises have projecting balconies topped by arches, in a characteristic, typical of Rajasthani havelis.
Sheesh Mahal, the bedchamber of Maharaja Ajit Singh, is among the most beautiful buildings in the complex. As the name suggests, the entire room, from its ceilings to the floor is decorated with mirrors. Below the arches, formed by pillars, are paintings of deities like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, Ganesha, Parvati and Sita.
Phool Mahal, built in the 18th century by King Abhay Singh, is a huge and lavishly decorated chamber. Its royal factor is defined by its large carpet, stone columns, arches and gilded walls. Below the central arch lies a low sofa, shaded by a high umbrella. Stained glass panels of various colours, adorn the doors and windows behind the pillars.
Takhat Vilas is another grand chamber in the complex, with its entire floor covered by a carpet. At the back is a divan or cushioned seat while on the carpet are mattresses, where people probably sat. The dominating colours on the walls are blue and golden with numerous small paintings across different themes. Glass balls in different colours, probably a European influence, hang from its vast wooden ceiling. The last of the grand palaces is Moti Mahal, with its golden painted ceilings and white stone arches, columns and walls. Small mattresses and long cushions are laid out on its large red carpet that covers the majority of the cream coloured marble floor with brown tiles.
Visitors, coming here on India holidays, can also consider exploring the museum, which is the highlight of the fortress. A gallery here has howdahs or seats fastened to the backs of elephants, each with silver decorations and depictions of animals. Palanquins, used by royal men and women, are also worth seeing in the museum. Some palanquins have European style chairs, hinting at the perfect blending of these two cultures. Daulat Khana is a three-storey building having arched entrances on all its façades. Some of the most prized exhibits including the crown of Jodhpur and royal armours are kept here. The art section has on display, a fine collection of miniature paintings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. These paintings are of Maharaja Abhay Singh; Goddess Durga, killing the Demon Mahishasura, depicted as a horned bull; Diwali celebrations and Polo contests.
The textile exhibition of the museum showcases Mughal tents, carpets, canopies, hangings, garments and furnishings from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Another intriguing display here is of weapons like steel blades with their hilts, decorated with gold and silver; and carved daggers and shields, adorned with leather. Personal swords of many rulers including Akbar are also part of the exhibition. Turbans, representing the various castes and communities of Rajasthan are also worth seeing here. Other galleries inside this amazing museum display beautiful cradles and wooden objects, the latter being carved and decorated with ivory.