Jodhpur, erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Marwar, had a chequered history replete with tales of valor and strife, romance and culture. The city was founded by Rao Jodha, Chief of the Rathore clan of the Rajputs in 1459 who shifted there from Mandore. He built the first structure of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, towering over the city from atop a 150m cliff, which several generations added to, making the Fort a sprawling edifice that grew in size and stature over time. Rao Jodha also fortified the old city which is surrounded by a 10 km high stone wall along with eight gates.
In the early 16th century, Rao Jodha's descendant, Rao Ganga Singh and Rana Sangha, the great warrior king of Marwar were enjoined in a battle against the invading Mughal Emperor Babur. While this and many other battles and skirmishes continued over successive years, a tentative truce was called during the reign of Babur's grandson Akbar. While its location in the trade routes made it a major trading centre in the 16th century, present-day Jodhpur is best known for the skills it honed and retained in its textile, crafts and furniture tradition.
Merely 5 kilometers from the city centre i.e. from the Clock Tower, on the Mandore Road is the WelcomHeritage Bal Samand Lake Palace, in the vicinity of still and clear Bal Samand Lake. Built in red sandstone and employing the typical ornate Rajput architectural style, it was initially conceived as the summer residence of the Jodhpur Maharajas.
The tastefully designed Garden Rooms have a different aura altogether with their own Rose Gardens, Croquet Lawn and Restaurant.
The lake itself which was artificially created in the 13th century as a water reservoir that supplied drinking water to the city - now compliments the lush green lawns and staggered terraced gardens of the property. This old royal retreat has now been fitted with all modern amenities which however, do not take away from the old world charm of the property.