Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jodhpur in the sun

Jodhpur 'the oasis in the desert' was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, of the Rathore Rajput clan, after he shifted his capital from Mandore. Meherangarh Fort looms large over the city awash in the rays of the sun....the word Mehar is from Sanskrit 'mihir', which means sun. The Rathore clan are suryavanshis or the descendants of the sun god. The photo above is by French photographer Nicolas Chorier.

Sucessive rulers in the mid 17th to 19th century added to the red sandstone structure, creating lavish rooms. The distinctive style of arrash plaster, made of crushed shells and lime plaster soaked in pits dug in the ground from periods of more than a year, was used to get the perfect sheen on the walls. This is further decorated with goldleaf paint and mirrors to create magic in the rooms. High ceilings, jharokhas, tiny balconies with beautifully carved red sandstone awnings added to make this fort a highlight of the kingdom and city.

The city of Jodhpur is painted in the hues of the indigo shade to keep it cool and mosquito free. The blue hue can be seen from a distance, like from that aerial shot above. The town is famous worldwide for its dyeing expertise by the Chawde sect and there is a street in Jodhpur named Chawda ki gali as well. The city is famous for its beautifully crafted mojri's or juti's (in leather and hand embroidered) as they are more widely referred as. The leather workers are called Bhambis. Jodhpur is also renowned for its exquiste furniture in the local wood and there is a huge market for these items.

The Jewel in the crown of this city is the Umaid Bhawan Palace built in the beginning of the 20th century. It is said that this palace was built by the Maharajah to provide employment to the people of the state as during those days the state was in a famine stricken situation. In this project more than 5000 men found work and were paid a daily wage of quarter of a rupee. The architect of this huge structure was M.V.Lancaster and the style was a blend of Indo-British architecture.

The opulence and Grandeur of this Palace is breathtaking. It took sixteen years to build this palace, which was completed in the year 1944 by Maharajah Umaid Singh. The interiors are in the famous art-deco style and in 1944 it was the world's largest residence with about 347 rooms. To meet with demands of today's world this property is converted into a hotel, while part of the palace serves as residence to the former Maharaja and his family.

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AVANTIKA RESORT Located on the main highway from Ahmedabad to the port of Kandla in the vibrant state of Gujarat