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Jaswant Thada — Taj Mahal of Marwar

Our first glimpse of this most alluring structure, barely a kilometre away, is from the top of Mehrangarh Fort. We get a panoramic view of one of Jodhpur’s architectural landmarks, Jaswant Thada, the burial ground of the Marwar rulers. It was built in 1899 as a royal cenotaph by Maharaja Sardar Singh, in memory of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II who was the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur.

The rocky approach to Jaswant Thada lends a mystic aura to the entire experience. The magnificent marble structure stands in blinding white contrast to the surrounding reddish brown rocky hills that dominate the landscape. Its sheer grandeur, the intricacy of motifs chiselled to perfection and the manicured lawns surrounding it belie the fact of its association with the departed.

Popularly referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Marwar”, Jaswant Thada is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. Considered an epitome of Rajputana architectural style, essentially an amalgam of Mughal and Hindu structural design, it displays lattice work in marble of the finest finesse, reflecting the creative genius and sculptural prowess of the artisans of the time.

Warm glow

The extremely thin sheets of marbles used in the construction of the tomb have been polished in such a manner that they emit a warm glow with a subtle hue as the rays of a dawn Sun gently strikes its surface. The structure, which has a central pyramidical dome surrounded by several smaller domes running along the perimeter of what looks like a terrace, resembles a temple rather than a tomb. The magnificence of the edifice is enhanced by a small lake with crystal clear water, a multi-tiered garden and carved gazebos surrounding it.

A life-size marble statue of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II seated on a horse welcomes us at the entrance to the cenotaph complex. A flight of impeccable white marble steps brings us to the main memorial which is adorned with artistic sculptures, frescos, domes, pillars and exquisite latticework in marble. On its walls, portraits of several rulers of Jodhpur, dating back from the 13 century, are displayed. The elaborate ornamentation and dancing figures sculpted on the pillars that adorn the monument dedicated to the queens who sacrificed their lives on the pyre of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, are simply breathtaking. Apart from the main tomb, the cenotaph complex also houses three other memorials to successive rulers. An interesting and unique aspect associated with the complex is a memorial to a peacock which is believed to have flown into a funeral pyre.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 12:01:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/Jaswant-Thada-%E2%80%94-Taj-Mahal-of-Marwar/article14414726.ece

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