Jodhpur's famous fort garden under restoration
Jodhpur - majestic city of kings - in western Rajasthan, is also home to some of the finest Indian gardens I've seen on this trip, including Chokelao Bagh at Mehrangarh Fort (above) which has been restored over the last ten years and is now worth visiting if you're in the area. The original garden was laid out in 1739 by Maharaja Abhai Singh, when it was planned as a terraced chahar bagh.
Water is in short supply in Rajasthan, which relies on a good monsoon to fill both lakes and water tanks in the long, dry season between February and July, so Chokhelao is not designed to the conventional chahah bagh plan described in the link above - although it does have a well in the middle of the garden. The plan today has made best use of plants that can survive the long, hot months without constant watering.
Chokhelao is divided into three terraced areas - the top terrace (above) is the flower garden, to be enjoyed during the day, and has been designed for both colour and texture. But it comes as a welcome oasis from the searing heat of the midday sun in Jodhpur and I spent several hours sitting there while my fellow travellers toured the Fort.
The lower terraces are filled with fruit trees including banana palms, with their huge succulent leaves (above), which also provide shade for the garden visitor. And of course, their fruits would have been used to supply the palace in days gone by.
The moonlight garden (above) or mehtab bagh, was originally designed for night-time enjoyment and is planted with fragrant species, selected to provide seasonal interest and tactile textures. Part of the joy of this garden is the views of the famous city (below), which is known for its blue houses. In my next post, I'll be visiting the wonderful gardens at Bal Samand Palace and looking at some of the modern gardens in Jodhpur.