India

Mandore Gardens

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Mandore is best known for the chattris memorialising the rulers of Marwar up until the late 1890s, but until the mid 15th century it was also the capital of Marwar.

From the car park you can enter Mandore Gardens (free) and within a couple of minutes wander among the chattris marking the cremation sites of the maharajas of Jodhpur.

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Unlike most royal chattris which typically have open pavilions, almost all of those at Mandore resemble Hindu temples. Each one has a nameplate stating which maharaja it belongs to next to the steps leading into the building.

The most impressive of these structures is the chattri of Maharaja Ajit Singh (1679 – 1724), with an impressive domed roof and some elegant carvings.

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Whilst this cluster of buildings is impressive, their setting is sadly not. Mandore Gardens is in a very poor state, littered with rubbish, dried up water features, and garden features rapidly turning to piles of rubble.

A recently review on TripAdvisor gives a good sense of it all :

 

“The place has a good garden, beautiful temples but is facing the apathy of government and the people. It is not at all maintained and the fountains have become swamps, gardens are full of weeds and looks like a place for drug peddlers”

I really wasn’t drawn to photograph any of the decay, so you won’t get a visual sense of it here. I really don’t quite understand why this has happened at Mandore, with a little investment it could easily become Jodhpur’s equivalent of Lodhi Gardens in Delhi, and clearly there was a time when attempts were made to do just that.

The historic buildings are under the maintenance of A.S.I., and they are in a great condition.

A short distance beyond the chattris is the Janana Palace. This was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh as summer residence for his queens. The complex is said to be an impressive example of 18th century architecture, but I’m afraid it didn’t really resonate with me.

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Some of the rooms of the palace have been adapted as a museum displaying sculptures, inscriptions and decorative objects.

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Well, you get the idea. To be honest it’s not really worth the entrance fee, it doesn’t appear as though anything has been changed here for over 30 years…

Next to the palace is the three storeyed Ek Thamba Mahal, also built by Maharaja Ajit Singh.

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Just across the path from here is the Hall of Heroes, a much restored colonnade carved into the cliff face depicting images of gods and heroes.

Right next to this is a Hindu temple dedicated to 330,000,000 gods, which from my perspective seems to be geared almost solely at tourists – what little there were of them. I may be doing this place an injustice of course, by this time I was just about ready to leave.

 

Mandore Gardens is 6km north of Jodhpur on the road to Osian, so if you’re visiting Osian for the day from the city you can easily incorporate it into your plans.

It’s probably worth visiting for an hour or so, and if the local government actually paid this place some attention it could be worth staying for a whole lot longer.

 


 

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