Away from the main city of Jodhpur, lies Margen Garden, the neglected beauty of an era. It is also known as the native place of demon king Ravana’s wife Mandodari, or Ravana’s sasural.
From the History
Rao Jodha, the Rajput chief of Rathore clan founded Jodhpur in 1459. As he hailed from the nearby town of Mandore, it served as the capital for rulers of Jodhpur. Later due to security concerns for the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, the town was abandoned. The history of Mandore dates back to the 6th century. It is also the native place of Mandodari, Ravan’s wife. Our auto driver thus introduced us to Mandore Garden as Ravan’s sasural.
The small town has cluster of temples and cenotaphs of former rulers. (A cenotaph is an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honor of a person/ people whose remains are elsewhere). Most of the architecture is inspired by the Hindu or Rajput era. However, these structures have been built in temple shape roofs instead of the traditional Rajasthani umbrella shape roof (chattri). Each structure has beautiful carvings on walls inside and outside, decorated entrance, exquisite statues and many of them are up to 4 storeye high. You ought to get smitten with the place’s beauty and cant stop from exclaiming how fantastic it is!
The fact that the place is ruined now, is the reason Mandore does not get much tourist attention. An easily missed place in Jodhpur, the bygone magnificence needs immediate restoration and protection to hold its head high as the pride of Jodhpur.
Photo journey of the yesteryear’s royal Mandore Garden
Ek Thamba Mahal
This is a beautiful three storey pillar built in red stone. Constructed during the reign of Maharaja Ajit Singh (1707-1724), it was a watch-tower to keep an eye on the surroundings. The construction with bird’s eyes view window prove the same.
For security reasons, entering the mahal has been prohibited. Bordering along the corners of the garden, Ek Thamba Mahal instantly got our attention.
The Temple of 330 Million Deities
The structure has statues of 33 crore or 330 million Hindu gods and goddesses. You would obviously lose count after a few. This temple holds its prominence as the only place to house all 33 crore deities under a single roof. Those with religious beliefs can take a spiritual plunge while walking around of the place. We witnessed a marriage ritual there. What better place than this temple to seek blessings from all gods in one go?
The royal cenptaphs
Things that are delightful
–Free entry to the garden.
-Numerous eating joints/ eatery stalls around.
–Rich religious and cultural heritage you want to peak into. Above all, it was the capital of the kings of Jodhpur. Fantastically, extravagantly ravishing it is!
–Great place for photography and history enthusiasts. Remember it was Ravana’s sasural? Intricate art and designs of the clustered structures are absolutely enticing.
-Lot of natural beauty with botanical plants and colorful bloom of flowers soothe your senses. Its a good place to spend time with your own self.
You may find few turn offs here
-Herds of usually harmless langurs flock the whole garden. Your senses would be on full alert with their presence in large numbers. Advised to be calm and quiet to avoid disturbing or upsetting them. Careful, it’s a large large herd!
-Untidy and littered. People (usually locals) come to walk or picnic and litter the place. Several people feed langur, in-spite of the warning signs within the premises which leads to garbage.
-No maintenance of the premises or monuments by the authorities. The architectural master pieces lie in ruins; dust and cobwebs with walls withering away. Nomdas have encroached the park along the boundaries.
The temples/cenotaphs of the medieval age are the only saving grace which make a beautiful place for photography.
How to reach Mandore Garden
Mandore Garden is fourteen kilometers from the north of Jodhpur city. It is easy to commute if you have your own vehicle, else a little difficult to reach in absence of public transport. Auto drivers charge exorbitantly. However, local buses cost quite economical. Read here about the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, a major tourist attraction in Jodhpur.