Lord of the Rings.

Watched the first trilogy probably 6 times in a row, merely for the spectacular scenes and special effects and not really the storyline. I mean why would I trust Frodo to save the world we lived in today? Used to be my all-time favourite movie until architecturally-driven Inception came to the screen. Yes, I trust Leonardo DiCaprio to deliver better.

Being a visually driven type of person, my decision to visit Jodhpur was made solely by looking through the photos of Mehrangarh Fort in Google. Yes, it was that easy. No thinking required, just a few images to woo me to this beautiful Rajasthani outpost.

So what did those photos captured?

The first time I saw the photos, my mouth just said – WOW! Yup, I thought the photos were too incredible to believe that I actually spit the word out instead of letting my mind say it. I used to like forts. I mean I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times and the image of its fort is the only image that I associated with the city. It was grand and majestic. Plus it was in Scotland (an insanely beautiful part of Britain) in a small but beautiful city. But that beautiful notion just faded away as I started to visit monuments such as the Pyramids, Petra heck even Eiffel Tower. Maybe as an architect, I’ve realised I will never get the chance to build a fortress, so why waste time visiting them? Okay, that’s really stupid of me to put Edinburgh Castle with the Pyramids nor Petra in the first place. But what I’m saying is that the lure of visiting another fort wasn’t as exciting as visiting another major historic landmark simply because it is just a fort and nothing else. The architecture isn’t cool looking nor beautifully detailed. Besides you wouldn’t wanna build a building that looks like a Fort today (though you would build another pyramid-liked building – check I.M. Pei’s Louvre in Paris)? Would you?

But Mehrangarh is different..

I could not imagine a grander more majestic looking fort. So I was thoroughly surprised, excited and what ever word I would’ve not thought off (huh?) when I saw this photo:

 

Photo credit – t2world.com

 

I knew I had to go. It was located between Mumbai and Delhi which was part of my itinerary anyway.

 

Mehrangarh as seen from Jodhpur’s town centre near the Clock Tower and market area

 

What I liked most about this fort is that it does look really monumental (aren’t forts supposed to be like this?). The scale of it is just breathtaking. This sense of absolute strength is further amplified with the fact that the fort sits on an entire hill. Yes, Mehrangarh Fort was built on top of the highest hill in town. 122 metres high. Flashes of scenes from Lord of the Rings concurrently emerges in my head. It was that powerful as an image to me (makes you wonder how far my mind goes at times).

All of this monumental’ness’ made me think (not again!). How much does this fort really weigh? I mean that’s quite a heavy-looking thing sitting on top of that poor hill. If a block of stone weighs around 5 kilograms, then times that with 5 million and..there you have it..about 1 million of those Boeing’s 747s. On top of each other. So much for my maths.

From the outside, the hill looks like its made of sand too. Soft ones. How the hell did the hill be able to support it, I don’t know. The piling must be huge as well if there’s any. Well I guess my lack of geological knowledge (and structural sense obviously) really shows here. Maybe that’s why we need em’ geologist and engineers. But in 1459? Now we’re talking.

I guess if we architects build forts today, it’ll be made of carbon fibre. It’s super strong, durable and lightweight. And oh yes, we can make em’ float too..Good for the hill and good for the warriors defending the fort..oh wait, they don’t use bow and arrows anymore..

 

View of Jodhpur from the Fort

 

On a more realistic note, I can only applaud the local council managing Jodhpur to restrict the construction of tall buildings. Do not follow other cities. That’s an order not an idea. Your identity is crucial for your own survival (tourism that is) for the coming hundred years or so. So instead of seeing an interrupted view of the Fort, you’ll see an awe-inspiring view of that old beauty. Nice one. You guys are smarter than most urban planners in developed countries.

This powerful image is being further exaggerated with the amazing blue-coloured painted houses surrounding the monument. Yes, for your info Jodhpur is also known as the blue-coloured city. Thousands of houses are painted in my favourite colour using the exact tone I loved most – #00A2FF. Stop there weirdo.

 

Oh wait. I haven’t even spoken about the architecture bit yet. Well, for the more exciting bit I’ll write it in the next post. *Spoiler alert* you will be amazed when I show you the pics inside! Oh might as well I attach a photo to make your heart race faster now than later. Duh..

 

Judging from these photos, how much does this fort really weigh?