Mehrangarh Museum

Top choice in Jodhpur

The fort's museum encompasses its former palace, and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. The network of courtyards and halls features stone-lattice work so finely carved that it often looks more like sandalwood than sandstone. The galleries around Shringar Chowk (Anointment Courtyard) display India’s best collection of howdahs (seat for carrying people on an elephant’s back) and Jodhpur’s royal palanquin collection. The superb audio guide is included with your ticket, but bring ID or a credit card as deposit.

One of the two galleries off Daulat Khana Chowk displays textiles, paintings, manuscripts, headgear and the curved sword of the Mughal emperor Akbar; the other gallery is the armoury. Upstairs is a fabulous gallery of miniature paintings from the sophisticated Marwar school and the beautiful 18th-century Phul Mahal (Flower Palace), with 19th-century wall paintings depicting the 36 moods of classical ragas as well as royal portraits; the artist took 10 years to create them using a curious concoction of gold leaf, glue and cow’s urine.

Takhat Vilas was the bedchamber of Maharaja Takhat Singh (r 1843–73), who had just 30 maharanis and numerous concubines. Its beautiful ceiling is covered with Christmas baubles. You then enter the extensive zenana (area in an upper-class home where women are secluded), the lovely latticed windows of which are said to feature more than 250 different designs (and through which the women could watch the goings-on in the courtyards). Here you’ll find the Cradle Gallery, exhibiting the elaborate cradles of infant princes, and the 17th-century Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), which was the palace’s main durbar hall (royal reception hall) for official meetings and receptions, with gorgeously colourful stained glass.

Note that the museum can be suffocatingly crowded in the holiday period following Diwali.

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