The Rathore’s trace their history back to 1459 when Rao Jodha founded the city of Jodhpur on the edges of the Thar desert and made it the capital of the Rathore kingdom, the largest in Rajputana. The city previously known as Marwar, was named Jodhpur after its founder.
The Rathores were driven out of their original homeland, Kaunaj, by Afghans. They fled to Pali, near present day Jodhpur. Rathore Siahaji married the sister of a local prince. This helped the Rathores to establish and strengthen themselves in this region. In some time they ousted the Pratiharas of Mandore, just 9 km of today's Jodhpur. Initially, Mandore served as their capital, but, by 1459, Rathores felt a need for a secure capital. This lead to the formation of Jodhpur, the Sun City.
The Rathores enjoyed good relations with all the Mughals, except Aurangzeb. Maharaja Jaswant Singh even supported Shahjahan in his struggle for succession. After Aurangzeb's death, Maharaja Ajit Singh drove out Mughals from Ajmer and added it to Marwar (now Jodhpur). Under the reign of Maharaja Umed Singh, Jodhpur grew into a fine modern city.Today it is the second largest city in Rajasthan.
Maharaja Umaid Singh (1918-1947) in his famine relief policy, changed the very face of Marwar, giving rise to one of the largest and most magnificent royal residences in the world i.e, Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Hanwant Mahal is situated on the Umaid Bhawan hill, right under the Umaid Bhawan Palace, giving it an enviable view of the majestic building. It is named after Maharaja Hanwant Singh (1947-1952), son of Maharaja Umaid Singh and the father of the present Maharaja, Gaj Singh II.