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Jodhpur (Rajasthan)

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Published on Jan 26, 2007

Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajput chief belonging to the Rathore clan. Rao Jodha succeeded in conquering the surrounding territory and thus founded a state which came to be known as Marwar. As Rao Jodha hailed from the nearby town of Mandore, that town initially served as the capital of this state; however, Jodhpur soon took over that role, even during the lifetime of Rao Jodha. The city was located on the strategic road linking Delhi to Gujarat. This enabled it to profit from a flourishing trade in opium, copper, silk, sandals, date palms and coffee.
Early in its history, the state became a fief under the mughal empire, owing fealty to them while enjoying some internal autonomy. During this period, the state furnished the mughals with several notable generals such as Maharaja Jaswant Singh. Jodhpur and its people benefited from this exposure to the wider world: new styles of art and architecture made their appearance and opportunities opened up for local tradesmen to make their mark across northern India.
Aurangzeb briefly sequesterated the state (c.1679) on the pretext of a minority, but the rightful ruler was restored to the throne after Aurangzeb died in 1707. The mughal empire declined gradually after 1707, but the Jodhpur court was beset by intrigue; rather than benefitting from circumstances, Marwar descended into strife and invited the intervention of the Marathas, who soon supplanted the mughals as overlords of the region. This however did not make for stability or peace; 50 years of ruinous wars and humiliating treaties dissipated the wealth of the state, which sought and gratefully entered into 'subsidiary alliance' with the British in 1818
During the British Raj, the state of Jodhpur was the largest in Rajputana, if size be reckoned by land area. Jodhpur prospered under the peace and stability that were a hallmark of this era. Its merchants, the Marwaris, flourished without let or limit and came to occupy a position of dominance in trade across India. In 1947, when India became independent, the state merged unto the union of India and Jodhpur became the second city of Rajasthan.

La ville indienne de Jodhpur (जोधपुर), fondée par Rao Jodha, le chef du clan des Râthor, en 1459, est la ville bleue du Rajasthan. Ancienne capitale du Mârvar, situé à 340 km de Jaipur, la capitale de l'état, c'est sa deuxième ville par la population.
En 1193, l'afghan Muhammad Ghûrî s'empare de la capitale du clan Râthor, Kânauj. Ceux-ci s'enfuit et s'installe à Pali dans la région où verra le jour Jodhpur. La clan prospère, mais sa nouvelle capitale obtenue par alliance, Mandore, se révèle mal pratique, aussi ses hommes construisent une forteresse sur la site actuel qui offre une bien plus grande sécurité. Le chef Rao Jodha donne son nom à l'endroit et à partir de 1459, le fort symbolise la prospérité du clan et son expansion territoriale au Rajasthan.
Jodhpur se trouve sur la route stratégique qui relie Delhi au Goujerat et la ville bénéficie du commerce de l'opium, du cuivre, de la soie, du santal, des dattes et du café.
Bientôt, les Moghols au pouvoir à Delhi souhaitent partager les richesses et l'avantage stratégique de Jodhpur, aussi l'empereur Akbar fait alliance avec le clan en épousant la sœur de son chef Râo Udai Singh, ce qui assure une aide militaire au clan dans ses campagnes au Goujerat.
Mais cette alliance est rompue au milieu du XVIIe siècle, lorsque le chef Jaswant Singh joint ses forces à celles de Shâh Jahân contre Aurangzeb. Ce dernier, victorieux, pille Jodhpur et force ses habitants à se convertir à l'islam. Le nouveau maharâja Ajit Singh, le fils de Jaswant Singh, est assassiné et les Moghols réclament son trône. Son fils Ajit Singh II, alors enfant, se cache durant 30 ans dans un minuscule village de l'Himalaya puis revient à Jodhpur, en 1707, après la mort d'Aurangzeb et récupère son trône.
Le XVIIIe siècle connaît beaucoup de guerres sanglantes entre Jodhpur et les autres états rajputes de Jaipur et d'Udaipur. En 1818, Jodhpur signe un traité avec les Britanniques qui lui apporte paix et prospérité.
Le dernier maharâja d'avant l'indépendance - Umaid Singh - d'après lequel est nommé le Umaid Bhavan Palace - était le grand-père du présent maharâja Gaj Singh.

VALPARD FILMS http://valpardfilms.free.fr

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