Story: Mehrangarh Fort Museum; 23-08-2022;
Mehrangarh Fort Museum, a world-class museum in Jodhpur.
The Mehrangarh fort was constructed by the founder of Jodhpur Rao Jodha, who was the leader of the Rathore clan of Marwar, Rao did make Jodhpur capital of the Marwar in 1459.
How Mehrangarh fort Museum came into being :
The Mehrangarh Museum Trust was settled in March, 1972 by His Highness the Maharaja Gaj Singh II (the 38th descendant of Rao Jodha's Rathore Dynasty) with the principle objective of setting a world class museum in Jodhpur.
• Maharaja Gaj Singhj II was recognized in 1952 as the Maharaja of Jodhpur by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of free India.
It was intended that this museum eventually house and display the Maharaja's substantial collections of miniature paintings, portraits, books and manuscripts, weapons, textiles and tents, howdahs and palanquins, and various other art pieces.
The trust was duly registered with the government of Rajasthan in 1974 and commenced functioning in earnest in the same year, with the Maharaja as its Managing Trustee.
At the same time the Maharaja placed his ancestral fortress, the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, at the disposal of the new trust, directing it to develop and establish the planned museum within the fort premises itself.
This was a significant and far-sighted direction, since the fort eminently serves the purpose, Not only in terms of historicity and authenticity, but also keeping in mind the security and care of the collection.
Needless to say, the conservation and restoration, where necessary, of the magnificent architecture of the fort itself was also a prime consideration behind this decision.
Early on the Trust was fortunate enough to obtain the services of Thakur Sagat singh, a retired curator from the Rajasthan Government Museum.
Sagat singh was given a clear brief, to locate and clear suitable areas in the fort and at the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the Maharaja's residence; and finally to put together the exhibitions themselves.
Mehrangarh Museum Success and vision:
The success of Maharaja's vision and the Trust's early efforts is evinced by the recognition the Mehrangarh enjoys today; more than 65,000 foreign visitors and around 3,00,000 Indian visitors, visits the museum each year.
New dimensions have been added to the trust's activities since then.
• The active patronage of the arts and music;
• The promotion of the handicrafts of the region.
• The study and research of the rich archival and other material available in the trust's manuscript library, the Maharaja Maan Singh Pustak Prakash Research Center.
The museum has participated in various International Exhibitions all over the world, including the festival of India in America in 1985, displaying and sharing the rich heritage of the Marwar, and interacting with prestigious institutes in the field. The museum has also attracted numerous scholars and researchers, in many fields, to Jodhpur.
With the Trust's strong and ever-widening social and cultural inter-action with the city and the region, the Mehrangarh Fort today finds itself once again, after over a hundred years, very much at the centre of things in Marwar.