Rao Jodha, the 15th Rathore ruler, laid the foundation of Mehrangarh Fort, on a rocky hill, six miles of Mandore on May 12, 1459. This new capital of the Rathore’s today is one of the greatest forts of all times, surrounded by the beautiful city of Jodhpur.
Standing tall and invincible, at a height of 120 metres, it inspires awe, inspiration and envy amongst all. To begin with, it was much, much smaller, the extremities of the original fortress fall within the second gate today. But with every Rathore victory, it expanded, leaving behind a mark of the power and glory of each passing king.
Its towering battlements, stern walls, some portion almost six metres thick, extravagant palaces, exquisite edifices, lofty ramparts and intricate designs speak volumes about the majesty and grandeur of Mehrangarh Fort. The untold saga can be lived through the cenotaphs, canon-ball marks on the fort walls and the tiny, graceful handprints on the portals. Never taken in a siege, Mehrangarh Fort is an ode to the Sun, whose descendants the Rathores claim to be.
A treat to any traveller, Mehrangarh has at its foothills, the city of Jodhpur, also known as the sun city and the blue city. A popular tourist destination, set in the Thar desert, it has numerous palaces, forts and temples worth repeated visits. Apart from the Mehrangarh Fort; the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaswant Thada, Ghanta Ghar, Mandore Garden, Balsamand Lake, Mandaleshwar Mahadev Temple, Masooria Hills and Veer Durgadas Smarak are some places worth visiting.
Some other important events that took place on May 12 throughout the history are:
• 1364 – Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland is founded in Krakow, Poland.
• 1551 – The National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas is founded in Lima, Peru.
• 1797 – War of the first coalition takes place, Napoleon I of France conquers Venice.
• 1895 – Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Indian-American philosopher, is born. The Time magazine has named him “one of the five saints of the 20th century”.
• 1926 – The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.
• 1926 – A nine-day strike by trade unions ends in England, but with no changes to working conditions or wages for the miners.
• 1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.
• 1949 – The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.
• 1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the moon.
Birthday wishes for those who were born on May 12:
Edward Lear, English author, poet and illustrator (1812); Florence Nightingale, social reformer and statistician, founder of modern nursing (1820); Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet and painter (1828); Otto Frank, German-swiss businessman (1889), Katherine Hepburn American actress (1907) and Henry Cosby, American songwriter and producer (1928)
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala