The Mehrangarh Fort ("Majestic Fort") is located on the hilltop that rises sharply at the city of Jodhpur. With its 68 ft wide and 117 ft high walls soaring 400 ft above the city the fort dominates the surrounding plains and appears very majestic and impregnable. The Mehrangarh Fort was founded by Rao Jodha in 1459 when he shifted his capital from Mandore.
The palaces in the fort were constructed by Rao Jodha Singh from 1459 onwards in an informal pattern over several centuries and have its own architectural features, such as narrow staircases leading to the royal residence, carved panels and porches, elaborately adorned walls and brilliant stained glass windows, that create vibrant mosaics on the floors with the play of light. The various buildings inside the fort now serve as Mehrangarh museum now which hosts a well preserved collection of musical instruments, palanquins, furniture and cannons on the fort's ramparts.
The fort has seven gates of which the noted ones are the Jayapol, built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806; Fatehpol or the Victory Gate built by Maharaja Ajit Singh; and the Lohapol or the Iron Gate. The 15 handprints, the sati marks of Maharaja Man Singh's widows who threw themselves upon his funeral pyre in 1843, can be seen beside the Lohapol. On the wall, one can see the strategically located cannons.
The Mehrangarh Fort encloses many palaces, which are known for their intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards. These are as follows :
Phool Mahal or 'Flower Palace': The Jodhpur Coat of Arms is kept in the Phool Mahal. Walls of this Flower Palace is covered with paintings depicting various musical moods.
Sukh Mahal or 'Pleasure Palace': This is a magnificient summer palace on the Sukh Mahal Lake surrounded by lush beautiful gardens.It is believed that an underground tunnel runs from the Sukh Mahal to the old palace.
Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace: Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace has a delicately carved stone screen and treasures the Sringar Chowki, royal throne of Jodhpur Exquisitely decorated ceilings and walls, with delicate latticework on the windows. Large and unusual wooden statues, painted bright, adorned a palace section amongst an assortment of princely cradles. It is a labyrinth of wonders, not knowing what the next doorway might lead to. These palaces have fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including a superb collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs, miniature paintings of various schools, musical instruments, costumes and furniture.