Situated 9km north of the centre of Jodhpur, Mandore was the capital of Marwar prior to the founding of Jodhpur. Its gardens, complete with rock terraces and home to playful grey langurs, contain a variety of dark-red cenotaphs of Jodhpur’s rulers. A rickshaw to the gardens costs between ₹200 and ₹250.
Cenotaphs include the soaring but unkempt Chhatri of Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit Singh (1793), which combines Buddhist and Jain elements in its architecture. It’s an enormous edifice with a high sikhara (spire), a pillared and domed forechamber, and fine sculpture including small carved elephants and lions. The memorial also marks the spot where 64 queens and concubines committed sati ritual suicide of widow on husband’s funeral pyre) on Ajit Singh’s death in 1724.
Opposite is the 1720 Chhatri of Maharaja Dhiraj Jaswant Singh I, with a large pavilion and a vast dome on an octagonal base. It achieves a remarkable symmetry, with a gallery supported by huge pillars. The remaining cenotaphs date to the 17th century.
A path winds 350m behind the gardens to the extensive remains of Mandore’s fort on the hill above, the origins of which go back to the 6th century AD or possibly earlier – long before the Rathores. It’s now inhabited mostly by langurs, dogs and cows.