The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” – Anaïs Nin
How is it that this place finds not even a single mention in the largest search engine of the century? What happened here that wishes to stay hidden from prying eyes? What is the story of Panch Kunda Jodhpur?
My mind kept replaying these questions as we sat in our rickshaw. I always do a thorough research on all the places I wish to visit in a new city. This one name featured nowhere on my list. It so happened that our host in our homestay suggested we put this in our itinerary.
I was not convinced one bit. Me: He’s taking us for a ride. Let’s just stick to our list. I know where we are going. Also, it didn’t help when we asked locals in the old blue city about Panch Kunda.
Oh, it’s just khandar. Nobody goes there. Not tourists. Never. There is nothing left there to see. Panch-what? We have never heard of that place before…
Naturally, such comments are disheartening, to put it mildly. It was only after my husband persuaded me to try out this place did we visit it on the last day of our trip in Jodhpur.
It’s 4:15 pm and we have been on the road for about 30 minutes or so. We pass through fields of mining and I am already worried. I am that typical Indian girl who thinks the world is out there to kill me. I keep my thoughts to myself – but in my head, there is internal screaming – if we get dropped in the mining fields, not even Papa can find us here. Will I be shipped off to a different city like in the movie Taken? What will they do to my husband?
We reach the gates, and suddenly the whole plot in my head changes. My jaw drops at the sight in front, and I say a little curse to myself to have some belief in the world in future. #notetoself
So what is Panch Kunda Jodhpur all about?
The story starts with Mandore, the ancient capital in the 6th Century. It witnessed many an invasion from famous names like Mohammed Tuglaq, Allaudin Khilji, & Illtutmish. It was then decided to build a far superior fort on the highest point of the city, later known as Mehrangarh.
Panch Kunda houses the cenotaphs of all those Mandore and late Jodhpur Queens. There are 46 cenotaphs in remembrance of 46 Queens in total which also includes the memorials of their closest workforce.
The place unfortunately now is all in ruins. Pigeons and monkeys have made it their home and is a big reason for its sorry state. Nonetheless, what’s mystifying is that the structures have remained intact through all these years. Even with minimal to zero restorations, the property has stood the test of time.
It seems that the Royals have been researching for awhile now trying to get the exact names and era in which these were built. Very little is known about each cenotaph, and for whom it stands.
For anyone who does have specific information about the history of Panch Kunda Jodhpur do share in the comments below. This is the best that I could gather about this beautiful historical marvel of Jodhpur.