Who is a hero? Is he the one who earns name and fame through valiant deeds? Is he the king renowned for his charity and his kindness toward his subjects? Or is he the unknown, unnamed man who works hard but has no songs written in his favor- the man who follows the hero into battle, the man who toils in the fields to create the wealth that the king donates, the man who is a good son and a father and a good husband and a good friend to his family and friends. The Hall of Heroes in Mandore Garden is dedicated to the Rajput kings and the gods, but I’d like to think it is written to all those men (and women) who lived honest lives and tried to do good to whoever they met.
Mandore was the capital of the Rathods before Rao Jodha shifted it to Jodhpur. There is little left of the original city, just a crumbling fortress wall, but what stand tall and strong today are the cenotaphs built for dead Rajput kings. At first, I thought they were tombs, and I was quite surprised that the Hindu Rajput kings chose to be buried, but I was told that it was actually where they were cremated. It’s a little creepy to be visiting what is essentially a cemetery, but the garden-like aspect of the place diluted the effect. The cenotaphs are beautiful, though, some looking like temples with their shikhara-like structure, others domed chhatris, all with the detailed lace-like stonework that is a hallmark of Rajasthani architecture.