Jaswant Thada: Taj of Marwar

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    Where would you go to find a sister to the Taj Mahal?

    The correct answer is: Around 620 km away, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

    All dressed up in the same Makrana marble as is Shah Jahan’s monument to love in Agra is Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur, also called the ‘Taj of Marwar’. This stunning edifice, clad in dazzling white, is also a tribute to love, built by a devoted son to honour his father.

    Perched on a hillock and surrounded by a lake and manicured lawns, Jaswant Thada is a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II (r. 1873 - 95) built by his son Maharaja Sardar Singh in 1899. Jaswant Singh II was a Maharaja in a long line of Rathore kings who ruled the region of Marwar from their capital at Mehrangarh in Jodhpur.

    Jaswant Thada impresses with its delicate lattice work, fine jaalis and beautiful motifs carved into sheets of marble said to be so thin that light could pass right through them. It’s why the tomb complex emits a warm, luminous glow at sunset.

    The mausoleum is a breathtaking contrast to anything else ever built in the region as the predominant construction material used in Jodhpur is the local, buff-coloured sandstone. Inside the monument, the walls are adorned with the portraits of Rathore rulers going back many centuries.

    On the grounds outside are cenotaphs dedicated to successive Rathore kings but there’s one that is truly unique – it is a memorial to a peacock said to have flown into a funeral pyre!

    The legend goes that Maharaja Jaswant Singh possessed healing powers and since people started worshipping him, his memorial was built close to the town and to Mehrangarh Fort. According to another legend, Jaswant Singh spent most of his time away from Mehrangarh and wanted his mausoleum to be built close to his capital city.

    The ‘Taj of Marwar’ is an extraordinary memorial to an ancestor of the Rathores, whose rulers have left a remarkable legacy in stone.

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