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When Gotham is Ashes: Reflections on Mehrangarh Fort

The weekend of December 1, our group paid a visit to Jodhpur, a vibrant desert city nestled in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mehrangarh Fort. Originally a trade outpost, Jodhpur has grown to a bustling metropolis which our group was eager to delve into during our brief stay. We began with a morning walk around the city, during which we observed the different markets, stalls, and landmarks of Jodhpur. This walk concluded at the fort which, on our second day, we explored in the most thrilling way possible: a zip-line.

We soared over the battlements which so many armies had crashed against only to recede back into the sandy endlessness of the Thar Desert, testament to the structural integrity of Mehrangarh Fort, which to this day has never been taken by force. As we continued through the course, I could not help thinking of how the zip-lines alluded to what I had known Mehrangarh Fort for prior to our trip: being a filming location for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. For those unfamiliar with the final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy, Mehrangarh Fort is the location where, for most of the film, Bruce Wayne is imprisoned by his nemesis, the evil warlord Bane. As a lifelong fan of the trilogy, the scenes filmed at the fort played on a loop in my subconscious as we ventured around the grounds: Ra’s al Ghul gazing longingly at his forbidden love across the parapets; Bane growling in his menacing voice “When Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die;” Bruce Wayne clambering up the walls of the Pit towards the light before hoisting himself to the top and standing before the fort in all its glory.

The history of the fort, however, proved to be far more compelling. From the faithful servant of Rao Jodha who was sealed alive in the depths of the foundation as a sacrifice for the future of the fort and those who dwell within it to the anti-elephant spikes adorning the gates, Mehrangarh Fort was alive with the centuries of history which had passed before its impenetrable walls. As we left Jodhpur and Mehrangarh Fort dipped below the horizon, I felt fortunate to have seen such an incredible site, and relieved that I did not (imminently) have to battle a masked mercenary for the survival of Gotham City.