The Story Behind Jodhpur's Abandoned Mandore Gardens

Mandore Gardens | © Tak.aditya / Wikimedia Commons
Mandore Gardens | © Tak.aditya / Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Poonam Binayak
India Writer22 December 2017

Abandoned since 1459 CE, the ancient town of Mandore is just five-and-a-half miles north of the tourist haven of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. One of best-preserved sites here is the Mandore Gardens that stand strong to tell the tale of a bygone era.

In the 6th-century CE, Mandore was the principal seat of authority of Pratiharas of Mandavyapura. The princess of the Pratiharas dynasty married King Rao Chunda of Rathore dynasty, who received the Mandore’s Junagarh Fort as a dowry at the wedding.

In 1427, Mandore became the seat of the Rathore clan, and Rao Rinmal Rathora became the ruler of Mandore. Besides this, Rinmal was also the administrator of the Kingdom of Mewar until 1438, when he was assassinated by the Mewar ruler, Rana Kumbha, who then took over the throne of Mandore. Rao Jodha, son of Rao Rinmal escaped assassination and tried recapturing Mandore for several years, but all attempts failed. But in 1453, Rao Jodha managed to get Mandore back.

Mandore Gardens | © Nkansara / Wikimedia Commons

Over the centuries, Mandore served as the capital of many Jodhpur kings, and even witnessed several invasions from different dynasties, including the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Malwa. So, in order to protect Mandore further from invasions, the capital was shifted to the hilltop Mehrangarh Fort, as it offers better safety and protection to the royal kingdom.

This ancient town was left in ruins following the abandonment. All that’s left today is the Mandore Gardens that have survived the wear and tear of time, and reminds visitors of the town’s glorious past. The Mandore Gardens houses ancient temples, memorials and high-rock terraces that are quite magnificent. Visitors can spend the whole day gazing and clicking Instagram-worthy photos of the Gardens.

Ancient structures at Mandore Gardens | © TL Thompson / Flickr
Mandore Gardens | © TL Thompson / Flickr

One of the intriguing sights is the Cenotaphs or chattris of the many Maharajas of Jodhpur, which leave visitors in awe with their well-preserved state. The cenotaphs dates back to the 17th to 18th centuries, and are a group of red sandstone buildings with intricate carvings, pillars, tall spires, elaborate corridors and sculptural embellishments. The verdant lawns surrounding these buildings add to the charm. These cenotaphs remind of bygone eras and the architectural brilliance of craftsmanship of that time. There are sign boards everywhere in the garden, carrying the name of the Jodhpur rulers for whom these stunning structures were erected.

Cenotaphs of Jodhpur Maharajas in Mandore Gardens | © Nagarjun Kandukuru / Wikimedia Commons
Sculptural embellishments at Mandore Gardens | © TL Thompson / Flickr

The Hall of Heroes is an essential stop for anyone with an interest in folk heroes and their stories. Beautiful images and rock statues of the Rajput heroes adorn the walls of the hall.

Hall of Heroes | © TL Thompson / Flickr

The striking Hindu temple, known as the ‘Temple of 33 crore gods‘ is an unmissable spot in the garden, especially because it houses beautiful images of Hindu deities, which portray the marvellous artistry of that period.

Mandore Gardens | © TL Thompson / Flickr

The government museum within the gardens is also a highlight. It has artefacts and relics that have historical significance to the region. It closes at 5pm. There is also a Mandore Palace and Fort on a hilltop, the origins of which goes back to the 6th-century. It may lie in ruins, but is still worth a look.

Essential visitor info

Mandore Gardens is easily accessible by local transport available in Jodhpur, like auto-rickshaws or private taxis. The gardens remains open daily, from 9am until 10pm. The entry to the garden is free, however, the museum visit will cost around INR 50 ($ 0.78) per person.

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