Forts

Rajasthan is known for its forts. Some Hill Forts of Palaces in Rajasthan are also a part of world heritage.

Hill forts which are in world heritage list
SNo
Name of Fort
Nearest town/city/District
1
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh city
2
Ranthambore Fort
Sawaimadhopur
3
Amber Fort
Jaipur
4
Lohagarh Fort
Bharatpur
5
Nahargarh Fort
Jaipur
6
Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh
7
Gagron Fort
Jhalawar
8
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer
9
Mehrangarh Fort
Jodhpur
10
Neemrana Fort Palace
Alwar

Lesser known forts
SNo
Name of Fort
Nearest town/city/District
11
Ahhichatragarh
Nagaur
12
Anupgarh Fort
Anupgarh (Pak border)
13
Badnore Fort
Bhilwara
14
Bala Qila (Fort)
Alwar
15
Barmer Fort      
Barmer
16
Bhatner fort
Hanumangarh
17
Devgiri Fort
Karanpur, Karauli Distt
18
Gugor Fort
Baran
19
Jalore Fort
Jalore
20
Jhalawar Fort
Jhalawar
21
Junagarh Fort
Bikaner
22
Kesroli Hill Fort
Alwar
23
Khejarla Fort
Jodhpur
24
Khimsar Fort
Nagaur
25
Kishangarh Fort
Kishangarh, Ajmer Distt
26
Kuchaman Fort
Kuchaman, Nagaur Distt
27
Shergarh Fort-1
Baran
28
Shergarh Fort-2
Dholpur
29
Taragarh Fort
Bundi
30
Timangarh Fort
Karauli






The above lists do not include all forts located in Rajasthan State.

Below, a brief history and images of these forts are given, to make interesting reading for information seekers.



1. CHITTORGARH FORT

Chittorgarh resonates with stories of Rajputana bravery, pride and passion. The bards of Rajasthan sing tales of courage and sacrifice recounting stories that are known to every child and adult in the city. Chittorgarh is named after its most imposing structure, the Chittorgarh Fort which stands atop a 180 metre high hill and is spread across 700 acres.

While it is difficult to arrive at the exact date the fort was established, legend has it that the construction of the Chittorgarh Fort was initiated by Bhim, a Pandava hero from the mythological epic Mahabharata. The fort houses several magnificent monuments, some unfortunately ravaged by time.

Birds eye view of Chittorgarh Fort
 
Chittorgarh Fort has had a tumultuous past. This bastion of the Rajputs has faced violent attacks thrice in its entire history. The first was in 1303 when the Sultan of Delhi, Ala-ud-din Khilji, who was enamoured by Queen Padmini, launched an attack to abduct her. More than two centuries later, in 1533, it was Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, who caused immense destruction. Four decades later, in 1568, Mughal Emperor Akbar attacked and seized the fort. It was finally in 1616, under the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir that the fort was returned to the Rajputs
Part view of Chittorgarh fort complex

Chittorgarh Fort is a fitting symbol of the Rajput spirit. Set atop a 180 metre high hill and spread across 240 hectares, this majestic fort features in tales of courage, pride and romance that the bards of Rajasthan have been singing for centuries. Legend has it that the construction of the Chittorgarh Fort was begun by Bhim, one of the heroic Pandava brothers from Mahabharata, India’s eminent mythological epic. The fort houses several magnificent monuments, some unfortunately ravaged by the passage of time. The imposing structure takes one back to the days of conquests and tragedies, and its walls continue to ring with incredible tales of extraordinary men and women. A one-kilometre road weaves its way from the foothills to the summit, taking visitors through seven gates before arriving at Rampol (Gate of Ram). On the road between the second and the third gate, visitors get to see two ‘chattris’ (cenotaphs) built in honour of Jaimal and Kalla, heroes, who laid down their lives in the 1568 siege by Emperor Akbar. The main gate of the fort is Surajpol (Sun Gate)
 LAYOUT OF THE FORT
The fort, which is roughly in the shape of a fish, has a circumference of 13 km (8.1 mi) with a maximum length of 5 km (3.1 mi) and it covers an area of about 700 acres. The fort is approached through a difficult zig-zag ascent of more than 1 km (0.6 mi) from the plains, after crossing over a limestone bridge. The bridge spans the Gambhiri River and is supported by ten arches (one has a curved shape while the balance have pointed arches). Apart from the two tall towers, which dominate the majestic fortifications, the sprawling fort has a plethora of palaces and temples (many of them in ruins) within its precincts.
The 305 hectare component site, with a buffer zone of 427 hectares, encompasses the fortified stronghold of Chittorgarh, a spacious fort located on an isolated rocky plateau of approximately 2 km length and 155 m width.
 It is surrounded by a perimeter wall 13 km (8.1 mi) long, beyond which a 45° hill slope makes it almost inaccessible to enemies. The ascent to the fort passes through seven gateways built by the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha (1433–1468) of the Sisodia clan. These gates are called, from the base to the hilltop, the Paidal Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol, the final and main gate.
 
Visitors inside the fort complex
The fort complex comprises 65 historic built structures, among them 4 palace complexes, 19 main temples, 4 memorials, and 20 functional water bodies. These can be divided into two major construction phases. The first hill fort with one main entrance was established in the 5th century and successively fortified until the 12th century. Its remains are mostly visible on the western edges of the plateau. The second, more significant defence structure was constructed in the 15th century during the reign of the Sisodia Rajputs, when the royal entrance was relocated and fortified with seven gates, and the medieval fortification wall was built on an earlier wall construction of the 13th century.
 Although the majority of temple structures represent the Hindu faith, most prominently the Kalikamata Temple (8th century), the Kshemankari Temple (825–850) the Kumbha Shyam Temple (1448) or the Adbuthnath Temple (15th–16th century), the hill fort also contains Jain temples, such as Sattaees Devari, Shringar Chauri (1448) and Sat Bis Devri (mid-15th century) Also the two tower memorials, Kirti Stambh (12th century) and Vijay Stambha (1433–1468), are Jain monuments. They stand out with their respective heights of 24 m and 37 m, which ensure their visibility from most locations of the fort complex. Finally, the fort compound is home to a contemporary municipal ward of approximately 3,000 inhabitants, which is located near Ratan Singh Tank at the northern end of the property.
 Gates
The fort has total seven gates (in local language, gate is called Pol), namely the Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jodla Pol, Laxman Pol, and the main gate named the Ram Pol (Lord Rama's Gate). All the gateways to the fort have been built as massive stone structures with secure fortifications for military defense. The doors of the gates with pointed arches are reinforced to fend off elephants and cannon shots. The top of the gates has notched parapets for archers to shoot at the enemy army. A circular road within the fort links all the gates and provides access to the numerous monuments (ruined palaces and 130 temples) in the fort.
On the right of Suraj Pol is the Darikhana or Sabha (council chamber) behind which lie a Ganesha temple and the zenana (living quarters for women). A massive water reservoir is located towards the left of Suraj Pol. There is also a peculiar gate, called the Jorla Pol(Joined Gate), which consists of two gates joined together. The upper arch of Jorla Pol is connected to the base of Lakshman Pol. It is said that this feature has not been noticed anywhere else in India. The Lokota Bari is the gate at the fort's northern tip, while a small opening that was used to hurl criminals into the abyss is seen at the southern end.
 Vijay Stambh
The Vijay Stambha (Tower of Victory) or Jaya Stambha, called the symbol of Chittor and a particularly bold expression of triumph, was erected by Rana Kumbha between 1458 and 1468 to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Shah I Khalji, the Sultan of Malwa, in 1440 AD. Built over a period of ten years, it rises 37.2 metres (122 ft) over a 47 square feet (4.4 m2) base in nine stories accessed through a narrow circular staircase of 157 steps (the interior is also carved) up to the 8th floor, from where there is good view of the plains and the new town of Chittor. The dome, which was a later addition, was damaged by lightning and repaired during the 19th century. The Stamba is now illuminated during the evenings and gives a beautiful view of Chittor from the top.
 
The Tower of Victory (Vijay Stambh)

Kirti Stambh
Kirti Stambha (Tower of Fame) is a 22-metre-high (72 ft) tower built on a 30-foot (9.1 m) base with 15 feet (4.6 m) at the top; it is adorned with Jain sculptures on the outside and is older (probably 12th century) and smaller than the Victory Tower. Built by the Bagherwal Jain merchant Jijaji Rathod, it is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar (revered Jain teacher). In the lowest floor of the tower, figures of the various tirthankars of the Jain pantheon are seen in special niches formed to house them. These are digambara monuments. A narrow stairway with 54 steps leads through the six storeys to the top. The top pavilion that was added in the 15th century has 12 columns.
 
Jain Temple and Kirti Stambh

Kirti Stambh


Rana Kumbha Palace
At the entrance gate near the Vijaya Stamba, Rana Kumbha's palace (in ruins), the oldest monument, is located. The palace included elephant and horse stables and a temple to Lord Shiva. Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur, was born here; the popular folk lore linked to his birth is that his maid Panna Dhai. Panna Dhai saved him by substituting her son in his place as a decoy, which resulted in her son getting killed by Banbir. The prince was spirited away in a fruit basket. The palace is built with plastered stone. The remarkable feature of the palace is its splendid series of canopied balconies. Entry to the palace is through Suraj Pol that leads into a courtyard. Rani Meera, the famous poet-saint, also lived in this palace. This is also the palace where Rani Padmini is said to have consigned herself to the funeral pyre in one of the underground cellars, as an act of jauhar along with many other women. The Nau Lakha Bhandar (literal meaning: nine lakh treasury) building, the royal treasury of Chittor was also located close by. Now, across from the palace is a museum and archeological office. The Singa Chowri temple is also nearby.
 
Remnants of Rana Kumbha Palace

Ruins of once magnificent Rana Kumbha Palace

Rani Padmini's Palace

Padmini's Palace or Rani Padmini's Palace is a white building and a three storied structure (a 19th-century reconstruction of the original). It is located in the southern part of the fort. Chhatris (pavilions) crown the palace roofs and a water moat surround the palace. This style of the palace became the forerunner of other palaces built in the state with the concept of Jal Mahal (palace surrounded by water).

Rani Padmini Palace

View of Rani Padmini Palace along the moat
According to legends, it is at this Palace where Alauddin was permitted to glimpse the mirror image of Rani Padmini, wife of Maharana Rattan Singh. It is widely believed that this glimpse of Padmini's beauty besotted him and convinced him to destroy Chittor in order to possess her. Maharana Rattan Singh was killed and Rani Padmini allegedly committed Jauhar. Rani Padmini's beauty has been compared to that of Cleopatra and her life story is an eternal legend in the history of Chittor. The bronze gates to this pavilion were removed and transported to Agra by Akbar.
 The fictional story of Padmini was the inspiration for Padmavat, an epic poem written in 1540 by Malik Muhammad Jayasi.


2. RANTHAMBORE FORT, SAWAIMADHOPUR

Ranthambore Fort lies within the Ranthambore National Park, near the town of Sawai Madhopur, the park being the former hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur until the time of India's Independence. It is a formidable fort having been a focal point of the historical developments of Rajasthan. The fort was held by the Chahamanas (Chauhans) until the 13th century, when the Delhi Sultanate captured it.

Ranthambore Fort Entrance

A widely held belief states that the fort was built in the reign of Sapaldaksha, in 944 CE. Another theory states that the fort was built during the reign of Jayant, in 1110 CE. According to Government of Rajasthan's Amber Development & Management Authority, it is likely that the construction started in the mid-10th century during the reign of Sapaldaksha, and continued a few centuries after that.


Naulakha Gate


Its earlier name was Ranastambha or Ranastambhapura. It was associated with Jainism during the reign of Prithviraja I of Chauhan dynasty in the 12th century. Siddhasenasuri, who lived in the 12th century has included this place in the list of holy Jain tirthas. In the Mughal period, a temple of Mallinatha was built in the fort.


Inside view of the fort

Part view of Ranthambore Fort

Since the Ranthambhore Fort controlled the trade routes between North India and Central India, it was highly coveted by the rulers of North India. The Ranthambore Fort had its golden moments during the reign of the king Rao Hammir, the last ruler of the Chauhan dynasty (1282 - 1301 AD). During 1300 AD, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the ruler of Delhi sent his army to capture the Fort. After three unsuccessful attempts, his army finally conquered the Ranthambore Fort in 1301 and ended the reign of the Chauhans.


Ranthambore Tiger


In the next three centuries the Ranthambore Fort changed hands a number of times, till Akbar, the great Mughal emperor, finally took over the Fort and dissolved the State of Ranthambore in 1558. The fort stayed in the possession of the Mughal rulers till the mid 18th century.

During the mid 18th century, the Maratha rulers of Western India were gradually increasing their influence in this region. In order to check the growing influence of the Marathas, Sawai Madho Singh, the ruler of Jaipur state, unsuccessfully, requested the Mughal emperor to hand over the Ranthambore fort to him. In 1763, Sawai Madho Singh fortified the nearby village of Sherpur and renamed it Sawai Madhopur. This town, which is now commonly known as the "Sawai Madhopur City", lies in a narrow valley between two parallel hills, at the South Western edge of the Ranthambhore National Park. Two years later, the Mughals handed over the fort to the Jaipur state.

After the defeat of Prithviraja III (Prithviraj Chauhan) in 1192 CE, the fort came under the control of the Muslim Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor. Prithviraja's son Govindaraja IV accepted the Ghurid suzerainty, and ruled Ranthambore as his vassal. His descendants made various attempts to become independent.

The Delhi Sultan Iltutmish captured Ranthambore in 1226, but the Chauhans recaptured it after his death in 1236. The armies of Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud, led by the future Sultan Balban, unsuccessfully besieged the fortress in 1248 and 1253, but captured from Jaitrasingh Chauhan in 1259. Shakti Dev succeeded Jaitrasingh in 1283, and recaptured Ranthambore and enlarged the kingdom. Sultan Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji briefly besieged the fort in 1290-91. In 1299, Hammiradeva sheltered Muhammad Shah, a rebel general of Sultan Ala ud din Khalji, and refused to turn him over to the Sultan. The Sultan besieged and conquered the fort in 1301.


Rani Haveli inside the Fort Complex

The fortress was captured by the kingdom of Mewar under Rana Hamir Singh (1326–1364) and Rana Kumbha (1433–1468).
During Rana Udai Singh I's reign (1468–1473) the fortress passed to the Hada Rajputs of Bundi. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat captured the fortress from 1532 to 1535. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fortress in 1569.
The fortress passed to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence. The area surrounding the fortress became a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur state acceded to India in 1949, becoming part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.

During the end of the British Raj, Sawai Man Singh, the last ruler of Jaipur state, got a railway link constructed between Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur. 
A railway station was built about 4 kilometers away from the Sawai Madhopur town. Gradually, a small settlement came up around the railway station. This twin of Sawai Madhopur, known as "Man Town", has now outgrown the older "City".

Inside Ranthambore fort, there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath.


Jain Temple inside Fort Complex

In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee, Ranthambore Fort, along with 5 other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.


3. AMBER FORT, JAIPUR


Also referred to as the Amber Palace, the fort is located on a hill in Amer, Rajasthan. Just eleven km from the city of Jaipur, the Amber fort is a major tourist attraction. Built by Raja Man Singh, the fort, which is also popularly known as Amer fort, is a scenic marvel. It stands on top of an easily scalable mountain, which is situated right next to the beautiful Maota Lake. The fort’s majestic appearance and its geographical advantages make it a special place to visit.

Super view of Aamer Fort



The fort presents a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. It is built using red sandstone and white marble. The palace complex of the Amber fort has very attractive apartments. This complex was built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of about two centuries. This palace complex was used as the main residence of the Rajput Maharajas for a long period of time. Amber fort is associated with rich history which involves treachery and bloodshed.

Royal Entrance


Raja Alan Singh, who once ruled the Chanda clan of the Meenas, was probably the first king to ever set foot on Amer. He set up his palace on top of the hill, which currently holds the Amber fort, and started to rule over his subjects in the new town. He named his town Khogong. One day, an old woman with a child approached Raja Alan Singh, seeking refuge in his kingdom. The king took them in open heartedly, and even raised the child who was named Dhola Rae. Dhola Rae was then sent to Delhi to spread the legacy of the Meena kingdom. Instead of obeying his king’s orders, he came back with a small army of his own, which comprised of Rajputs. The Rajputs then slayed everyone belonging to the clad of Meenas, without showing them any sign of mercy. It is said that the massacre took place on the day of Diwali, when the Meenas were conducting a special ritual known as ‘Pitra Tarpan.’ Back then, it was customary for the Meenas to set aside all their weapons while performing ‘Pitra Tarpan.’ The Rajputs, who were aware of this practice, took advantage of the situation and made Khogong their own. This act of theirs was considered as coward and despicable. The town along with the beautiful hill which held the palace like fort now belonged to the Kachhawa Rajputs.

Grand view of Aamer Fort


Raja Man Singh of the Kachhawa house took over the throne from his predecessor in the early 1600s. He then started building the Amber fort after destroying the structure that was already built on top of the hill. The fort was further developed by the successor of Raja Man Singh, Jai Singh I. Over the next two centuries or so, the fort underwent continuous renovations and improvements under the reign of various Rajput Maharajas including Mirza Raja Jai Singh I. The present fort was completed in the late 16th century. In 1727, the Maharajas of Rajput decided to shift their capital from Amer to Jaipur, leaving no further changes to the appearance of the fort.


Aamer Fort

Inside Aamer fort





4. LOHAGARH FORT, BHARATPUR

Lohagarh Fort (or Iron Fort) is situated at Bharatpur in Rajasthan, India. It was constructed by Bharatpur jat rulers. Maharaja Suraj Mal used all his power and wealth to a good cause, and built numerous forts and palaces across his kingdom, one of them being the Lohagarh Fort (Iron fort), which was one of the strongest ever built in Indian history. Lohagarh Fort differs from others in that it is not flamboyant, but radiates an aura of rugged strength.

Lohagarh Fort


The inaccessible Lohagarh fort could withstand repeated attacks of British forces led by Lord Lake in 1805 when they laid siege for over six weeks, but was ultimately captured by Arthur Wellesley.

Another view of Lohagarh fort


Of the two gates in the fort, one in the north is known as Ashtdhaatu (eight metalled) gate while the one facing the south is called Chowburja (four-pillared) gate.

Lohagarh fort: View along the moat


Monuments in the fort include are Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, and Kothi Khas. Moti Mahal and towers like Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj were erected to commemorate the victory over the Mughals and the British army. The Gateway has paintings of huge elephants.



Inside Lohagarh fort





5.   NAHARGARH FORT, JAIPUR

Nahargarh Fort sits proudly on a ridge of the Aravalli Hills, creating an impressive northern backdrop to the city of Jaipur. Along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh once formed a strong defense ring for the city.
The fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, but it became known as Nahargarh, which means 'abode of tigers'. The popular belief is that Nahar here stands for Nahar Singh Bhomia, whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort. Nahar's spirit was pacified by building a temple in his memory within the fort, which thus became known by his name.

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Zigzag route to Nahargarh fort



Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the king of Jaipur, the fort was constructed as a place of retreat on the summit of the ridge above the city. Walls extended over the surrounding hills, forming fortifications that connected this fort to Jaigarh, the fort above the old capital of Amber. Though the fort never came under attack during the course of its history, it did see some historical events, notably, the treaties with the Maratha forces who warred with Jaipur in the 18th century. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Europeans of the region, including the British Resident's wife, were moved to Nahargarh fort by the king of Jaipur, Sawai Ram Singh, for their protection.

Edge of the fort

The fort was extended in 1868, during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh. In 1883-92, a range of palaces was built at Nahargarh by Dirgh Patel at a cost of nearly three and a half lakh rupees. The Madhavendra Bhawan, built by Sawai Madho Singh had suites for the queens of Jaipur and at the head was a suite for the king himself. The rooms are linked by corridors and still have some delicate frescoes. Nahargarh was also a hunting residence of the Maharajas.

Madhvendra Palace

Courtyard of a Palace within the fort


Until April 1944, the Jaipur State government used for its official purposes solar time read from the Samrat Yantra in the Jantar Mantar Observatory, with a gun fired from Nahargarh Fort as the time signal.
Some scenes in the movies Rang De Basanti, Shuddh Desi Romance and Sonar Kella were shot at Nahargarh Fort.

View of Pink City from Nahargarh Fort



A baori (pond) inside the fort complex

Jaipur wax museum is yet another attraction was built on the left side at the entrance of Nahargarh fort in support with Department of Archaeology & Museums Jaipur, Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, The place earlier was known as Vishram Ghar- Rest House for the soldiers and Shastragar-Artillery, Jaipur wax museum is a brainchild of Mr. Anoop Srivastava the founder Director and inaugurated on December 17, 2016 by Bollywood star Govinda, the wax museum has more than 35 wax and silicon statues from the field of sports, Bollywood, social activists, freedom fighters, Sawai Ram Singh,Maharaja Jai Singh, Madho Singhi, and Rajmata Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur along with first look-alike robotic tiger, The one of its own kind Sheesh Mahal, the palace of mirrors, a new landmark of Jaipur built in the adjoining building with 25 million glass pieces with thikri, mirror work and gold polish giving a magnificent royal look and feel.




6. KUMBHALGARH FORT - BIRTHPLACE OF MEWAR'S LEGENDARY KING, MAHARANA PRATAP

Located 84 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. 

Kumbhalgarh Fort


Aerial view of the fort


View of the fort complex


Pol Gate of the fort


Cradled in the Aravalli Ranges, the fort was built in the 15th century AD by Rana Kumbha. The inaccessibility and hostility of the topography lends a semblance of invincibility to the fort. It served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as refuge to King Udai of Mewar in his early childhood when Banbir killed Vikramaditya and usurped the throne. It is of immense sentimental significance for the people, being the birthplace of Mewar's legendary king Maharana Pratap.


Walls of Kumbhalgarh Fort


The fort was self-contained in all respects to withstand a protracted siege. Its defences could be breached only once by the combined armies of the Mughal and of Amber primarily for scarcity of drinking water. There is a magnificent array of temples built by the Mauryas of which the most picturesque place is the Badal Mahal or the palace of the clouds. The fort also offers a superb bird’s eye view of the surroundings.

Temple in the fort complex


Chaturbhuja Vishnu Temple

52 Chhatris Jain Temple

The fort's massive wall stretches some 36 kms with a width enough to take eight horses abreast. Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century. The fort's large compound has very interesting ruins and a walk around it can be very educative.



7.   GAGRON FORT JHALAWAR
Gagron Fort is situated in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan, in the Hadoti region of India.

Situated 12 km away from the city of Jhalawar, Gagron Fort is amongst the excellent ancient forts built in Rajasthan. The present structure of this fort was built over a number of centuries with its building construction as early as the 7th century. Nonetheless, it was first established in 1195 AD by Raja Bijaldev of the Parmara Empire. As per legend, the location was also known as ‘Galkangiri’, based on the belief that the powerful sage Garg Rishi had successfully completed penance and meditation in the fort.

Gagron Fort (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons : CC BY 2.0)


Gagron Fort is the only hill and water fort in Rajasthan. The fort is surrounded from 3 sides by the serene waters of Ahu and also Kali Sindh. On the remaining side, there was once a deep moat which completed its defenses. A sight to behold, Gagron Fort is an extraordinary fort which is surrounded as well as separated by a ‘Van’ in addition to being a ‘Jal Durg’, forest-protected and also water-protected.

Gagron fort: another side view


The rear of the fort is surrounded by the Mukundara hill & forest of the Vindhya range. It is one of the rare forts that is protected by van (forest) & jal (water). The fort is well known for being built without a foundation and a construction that takes support from the hills. Another interesting feature of the fort is that it has three ramparts instead of the usual two.

There are temples of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Siren Durga inside the fort and also a stunning mausoleum of Sufi saint Mitheshah, which is the venue for an annual grand reasonable held during the month of Muharram.

Gagron Fort (Image credit: swantour.com)


Gagron Fort (Image credit: swantour.com)


Gagron is a region which has been blessed by the incredible courage of Khinchi emperors and also tales of sacrifice of lives of Royal Rajput females with the technique of ‘Jauhar’, where females compromised themselves rather than face capture in the hands of the enemy. The fort has witnessed 2 major jauhars (‘Death over Dishonor‘ or mass self-immolation by women) and as many as 14+ battles between the Khinchi Emperors and Malwa Sultans. Some of the occupants of the fort were; Raja Achaldas Khinchi (emperor of Gagron), Sultan Hoshangshah of Malwawho (monarch of Mandu), Raja Palhandev (successor of Raja Achaladas Khinchi), Bahahdurshah (Sultan of Gujarat), Bhimkaran, Mahmud Khilji, Rana Kumbha, Emperor Akbar. Finally in 16th century, the fort came under the rule of Raja Mukund Singh of Kota. Thereafter, Gagron became a division of the Kota region until 1948.
As per historical facts, in the early years the fort was used for execution of the enemies.

The fort has two outer main gates, one leading to the waters and the other to the mountains. The main pols (gates) within the fort are Ganesh Pol, Bhairav Pol, Suraj Pol.

It is one of the six hill forts of Rajasthan to be a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.





8. JAISALMER FORT

Jaisalmer Fort is situated in the city of Jaisalmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is believed to be one of the very few "living forts" in the world (such as Carcassonne, France), as nearly one fourth of the old city's population still resides within the fort. For the better part of its 800-year history, the fort was the city of Jaisalmer. The first settlements outside the fort walls, to accommodate the growing population of Jaisalmer, are said to have come up in the 17th century.

Entrance to Jaisalmer Fort


Another view of entrance to the fort

Front view of the fort


Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan, built in 1156 AD by the Rajput Rawal (ruler) Jaisal from whom it derives its name, and stood at the crossroads of important trade routes (including the ancient Silk road).

The fort's massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort. The fort stands amidst the sandy expanse of the great Thar Desert on Trikuta Hill. It is today located along the southern edge of the city that bears its name; its dominant hilltop location making the sprawling towers of its fortifications visible for many miles around.

Legend has it that the fort was built by Rawal Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput, in 1156 CE. The story says that it superseded an earlier construction at Lodhruva, with which Jaisal was dissatisfied. Thus, a new capital was established when Jaisal founded the city of Jaisalmer.

Panoramic view of Jaisalmer fort


Jaisalmer city with fort as background


Around 1293-94 CE, Rawal Jethsi faced an eight to nine-year siege by Sultan Alauddin Khalji of Delhi, who is said to have been provoked by a Bhati raid on his treasure caravan. By the end of the siege, facing certain defeat, the Bhati Rajput women committed 'jauhar', and the male warriors met their fatal end in battle with the Sultan's forces. For a few years after the successful siege, the fort remained abandoned, before being eventually reoccupied by some surviving Bhatis.

Jaisalmer Fort Palace


During Rawal Lunakaran's reign, around 1530 - 1551 CE, the fort was attacked by an Afghan chief Amir Ali. When it seemed to the Rawal that he was fighting a losing battle, he slaughtered his womenfolk as there was insufficient time to arrange a jauhar. Tragically, reinforcements arrived immediately after the deed was done and the army of Jaisalmer became victorious in its defence of the fort. In 1541 CE, Rawal Lunakaran also fought Mughal emperor Humayun when the latter attacked the fort on his way to Ajmer. He also offered his daughter in marriage to Akbar. 

The fort remained under the control of Mughals until 1762 when Maharawal Mulraj took control of the fort. Due to its isolated location, the fort escaped the ravages of the Marathas. The treaty between the East India Company and Mulraj on 12 December 1818 allowed the Mulraj to retain control of the fort and provided for protection from invasion. After the death of Mulraj in 1820, his grandson Gaj Singh inherited control of the fort.

With the advent of British rule, the emergence of maritime trade and the growth of the port of Bombay led to the gradual economic decline of Jaisalmer. After independence and the Partition of India, the ancient trade route was totally closed, thus permanently removing the city from its former role of importance in international commerce. Nonetheless, the continued strategic importance of Jaisalmer was demonstrated during the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan.

Even though the town of Jaisalmer no longer serves as an important trading city, or as a major military post, the town is still able to earn revenues as a major tourist destination. Initially, the entire population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort, and today the old fort still retains a resident population of about 4,000 people who are largely descended from the Brahmin and Rajput communities. These two communities once served as the workforce for the fort's one time Bhati rulers, which service then entitled the workers to reside on the hilltop and within the walls of the fort. With the slow increase in the area's population, many of the town's residents gradually relocated to the foot of the Trikuta Hill. From there the town's population has since largely spread out well beyond the old walls of the fort, and into the adjacent valley below.


View of city from the fort


Another view of city from fort




In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jaisalmer Fort, along with 5 other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

This fort forms an important plot point in one of Satyajit Ray’s famous Feluda stories and corresponding movie, Sonar Kela (The Golden Fortress)



9.   MEHRANGARH FORT AND MUSEUM

Mehrangarh, the fort of Jodhpur, crowns a rocky hill that rises 400 feet above the surrounding plain and appears both to command and to meld with the landscape. One of the largest forts in Rajasthan, it contains fine palaces and preserves in its museum many priceless relics of Indian courtly life.

Mehrangarh fort view from distance


Fort's outer beauty

Close up view of Mehrangarh Fort


Rising perpendicular and impregnable from a hill which is 125 metres above Jodhpur’s skyline is the Mehrangarh Fort. This historic fort is one of the most famous in India and is packed with history and legends. Mehrangarh Fort still bears the imprints of cannonball attacks courtesy the armies of Jaipur on its second gate. Chiseled and sturdy, the fort is known for its exquisite latticed windows, carved panels, intricately decorated windows and walls of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.

Entry to Mehrangarh fort

Carved Entrance to the fort


Jodhpur is named after its founder Rao Jodha, a fifteenth-century chief of the Rathore clan. In 1459, Rao Jodha (r. 1438-89) began to build a new fort six miles to the south of Mandore, his then capital. A strategic location was chosen for the new fort: an isolated rock providing high elevation and good natural defenses.

Exquisite carvings in the fort


The fort was named Mehrangarh, meaning ‘fort of the sun’ – a reference to the clan’s mythical descent from the Sun god ‘Surya’. Over five hundred yards long, the fort wall is seventy feet wide and rises in places to a height of one hundred and twenty feet.


Gate with part of fort in the background

Gate Hathi Pol

Temple of Mata (Goddess) Chamunda



10. NEEMRANA FORT

The Fort Palace of Neemrana is about 125 km from Delhi, on the road to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Built in 1464, Neemrana Fort Palace became the third capital of the descendants of Prithviraj Chauhan III, who had fled Delhi in 1192 after he was vanquished in battle by Muhammad Ghori.

Neemrana Fort side view (Image credit: themysteriousindia.net)

Neemrana Fort  (Image credit: themysteriousindia.net)

History says that Neemrana Fort was built by the Yaduvanshis, believed to be the descendants of Lord Krishna. Its story is rife with conquests and defeats and it has passed from the Rajputs to the Mughals and the Jats, before finally coming back to the Rajputs in 1775.

Neemrana’s rulers, proud of lineage, continued to assert themselves, even under the British, as their kingdom suffered. In 1947, Raja Rajinder Singh of Neemrana moved down to Vijay Bagh and the Fort Palace crumbled as its ramparts began to give way. For forty years he tried to rid himself of his liability but there were no takers. In 1986 the ruins were acquired for restoration and by 1991 the fort Palace was resplendent and majestic once again. The restoration has not tampered or altered any original design feature, not even Windows and doors.


Neemrana fort in the evening

Nowadays, the Neemrana fort is among India’s oldest heritage resort hotels and one of the most unique hotels in the world. The enchanting building, which is located in a hillside to afford the former king views over the nearby village, boasts palace wings covering six acres of land over 12 separate levels – with rooms starting from £50 a night. Though the place appears small, it is a destination in itself.

Neemrana fort palace invites visitors to explore its alleys, balconies, halls, terraces and the history in which it is deeply embedded. As if every stone in wall is a mute witness to the history of this centuries old royal abode. Guests will also be able to learn about the palace’s fascinating history.

Magnificient view of the fort and palace hotel


All rooms inside the former palace have traditional Indian furniture and antiques, boasting an authentic decor from throughout the ages. The Fort Palace retains its charm and names given to its rooms, open spaces and gates by the first royal occupants.

The Fort has so much to see that one hardly gets any time to go in for all the other activities. One has to explore the entire Fort to enjoy its past and the restored present. The Fort also has a restored amphitheatre where performances are staged for entertainment of tourist groups.

Zipping through with Flying fox

Neemrana has also become an attraction for weddings which can be organized in a lavish way using the amphitheatre and the adjoining gardens and lawns. It surely is a royal way to wed.

The 600-year-old Fort-Palace is alive with life today, taking the guests down the memory lane to showcase how the Rajasthan royals lived once upon a time. History is out of the pages on to the hills of Aravali in Neemrana, one has to reach out to feel it. It is more than interesting.




11.   AHHICHATRAGARH, NAGAUR FORT AND MUSEUM

Ahhichatragarh Fort literally translates into "fort of the hooded cobra" is situated in Nagaur, therefore it is also referred to as Nagaur Fort.
Constructed by Nagavanshis in the 4th century and later on renovated in the 12th century, by Mohammed Baalim, a Governor of the Ghaznivites.

Entrance to Nagaur fort

Nagaur fort has three entrance doors. The first one was made of iron and wood spikes to guard against elephant charges and enemy attacks. ‘Beech Ka Pol’ is the second entrance and the last one is ‘ Kacheri Pol’
Nagaur Fort is a huge complex, and has many palaces, fountains, temples, and beautiful gardens inside. Visitors are overwhelmed by the sheer size of the fort complex.

Nagaur Fort (Image credit:TravelTriangle blog by Rashmi Jain)


The structures built by Mughals like Mughal Garden and Mosques are in good condition till today.
Some famous structures inside the fort are Hadi Rani Mahal, Bakhat Singh Palace, Deepak Mahal, Akbari Mahal, Amar Singh Mahal.

One of the numerous water bodies in the fort

The biggest and most popular one amongst them, the Hadi Rani Mahal, named after one of the town’s renowned queens had some exquisite murals and Jharokhas with intricate lattice-work. In fact, it is said that this palace has some of the best examples of the celebrated Nagaur style of paintings.

Queen's Mahal in Nagaur fort

Another palace called the Deepak Mahal had Persian-style floral designs and several niches in the inner walls to hold lamps. The Abha Mahal has the most water bodies like channels, fountains and hamams. The Akbari Mahal was built to commemorate the recapture of Nagaur by the Mughals in the mid-16th century and it was probably the best example of Rajput-Mughal style of architecture.

The fort complex also includes two temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Ganesha, both of which have primitive paintings and murals. A beautiful mosque built by Emperor Shah Jahan and therefore called the Shah Jahani mosque, has blue-tiled mosaic work and seemed very well-preserved. There is a Jama Masjid as well within the fort, which is even today used to offer Friday prayers.

Spread over 36 acres, the fort was in a state of neglect till the 1980s. In 1985 the fort was placed in the care of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust. The fort has gradually been restored to its former glory with the support of four grants from the Getty Foundation, two from the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust and contributions from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust. The Palaces and historic spaces display period furniture, objects and an amazing group of wall paintings. In 2002 the Fort of Nagaur won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation. It was also shortlisted for the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2011-2013. The Nagaur Fort hosts the World Sacred Spirit Festival every year.




12.   ANUPGARH FORT
Located in the town of Anupgarh close to the border of Pakistan, the Anupgarh fort is currently in ruins. Anupgarh is a town in the Sri Ganganagar District state of Rajasthan, India. Ghaggar river flows near the town of Anupgarh (or Anoopgarh). The town of Anupgarh was earlier known by the name Chugher in Rajasthan.

Gate of Anupgarh Fort


River Ghaggar near the fort

Despite being in a ruined state now, it is still a marvel of ancient architecture in the eyes of the real traveler. The ruined state still shows the excellence of the artisans, architects and builders of the Mughal Era.

Ruined part of Anupgarh fort

Damaged wall of the fort

Part of the fort in ruined state

However, in its heyday the fort was an imposing structure that helped keep the Bhati Rajputs at bay. The fort was built in the year 1689 by a Mughal governor who wished to keep Anupgarh under Mughal tutelage.



13.    BADNORE FORT

Towering over a small hill, this seven-storied fort in Bhilwara is an excellent example of medieval Indian architecture. Located 70 kilometres from Bhilwara on the Bhilwara Asind Road, it offers breath-taking views.

The entrance into the fort complex is through a huge gateway, rightfully known as the Bada Darwaza. Other than the two temples found at the entrance, one can also find a prison with separate cells, and numerous stable. The fort has many rooms spread across different levels. All the rooms have small windows, for more than decorative purposes they were used to shoot at invaders, some with protruding balconies.

Strategically placed near a lake, Badnore Fort commands a panoramic view of the surrounding villages. The lake water served as a water source for the occupants of the fort. The nearby Jalmahal Palace built on the banks of Vinodsagar Lake served as summer house for the residents.

Badnore Fort

According to the Bard records a Parmara King named Badna founded Badnapura in 845 AD which became Badnor or Badnore later on. According to an Inscription of 1439 AD it is called Varddhanapura. Hammira Mahakavya also records this name. According to a victory pillar in Chaturbhuj Vishnu Temple, this was constructed in Vikram Samvat (Hindu Calender) 1584.

There are a number of small monuments and temples within the precincts of Badnore Fort in Rajasthan India and around it. The buildings within Badnore Fort Bhilwara are all built in traditional Rajputana style of architecture, which is a local variation of the extensive Hindu style of architecture. There are temples of Dwarkadhish and Sita Ram Ji. Anjana is a nearby religious place where there is temple of Gopal Ji. One can also visit the Chamunda Devi Temple, Kushala Mata Temple and an ancient Jain temple that has statues of 12 tirthankaras, all situated in the nearby Badnore village.

Although Badnore Fort Bhilwara is in a state of decay presently, it represents the glory and architectural splendor of the erstwhile Rajput rulers of Rajasthan. The strategic location of the fort increased its significance, and the fort has served as a mute witness to a lot of strife in its earlier days.




14.   BALA QILA

The Bala Qila (young fort) was built on the foundations of a 10th century mud fort and is a towering structure set atop a hill.
Bala Quila, also known Alwar fort, is a fort in Alwar in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is situated on a hill in the Aravalli Range, above the town of Alwar. The fort is 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) long and is about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) wide. The fort was originally occupied by Nikumbh Rajputs.In 1492 Khanzada Alawal Khan won Bala Quila from Nikumbh Rajputs to stop practice of human sacrifice. It was re-constructed in 15th century by the Hasan Khan Mewati. In the following centuries it went to the Marathas, and to the Kachwaha Rajputs.

Bala Qila nestled in forest

Within the fort are 15 large and 51 small towers perched on the ridgetop, 340 metres (1,120 ft) above the city. The fort included 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge bastions encompassing it.

Bala Qila

Inside view of the fort

Strong fortifications, graceful marble columns and delicate latticed balconies make up the fort. Bala Qila can be entered through six gates, namely Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol, Chand Pol, Krishan Pol and Andheri Gate. It is said that Pratap Singh, the founder of Alwar state used Laxman Pol for entering the fort for the first time. A metalled road in the past connected the city with Laman Pol.


15.    BARMER FORT & GARH TEMPLE


Rawat Bhima built the Barmer fort in 1552 AD at hillock in present city of Barmer when he shifted old Barmer (Presently JUNA village in Barmer Dist) to present city. He build a fort on top of the city which is also known as Barmer Garh.

The hill of Barmer fort is 1383 feet but Rawat Bhima built the fort at height of 676 feet which is a safer place than top of hill. Main entrance of Fort (Prole) is on North direction, Safety Burg are made on east & west direction. Boundary wall of fort was ordinary due to natural wall protection of hill. 

Barmer fort and garh temple entrance

This fort is surrounded by temples on all sides. This Hill of Barmer Fort has two important religious places; at top of the hill is temple of JOGMAYA devi (Garh Mandir) which is situated at height of 1383 & at a height of 500 feet there is Nagnechi Mata temple. Both temples are very famous and have fair during Navratra festivals. Rest of the area is residence of former royal family of Barmer.



16. BHATNER FORT HANUMANGARH

The Bhatner fort is at Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, India, about 419 km northwest of Jaipur along the old Multan-Delhi route and 230 km north-east of Bikaner.

It was built by Bhupat in 253AD. He was son of the king Bhati of Jaisalmer. They were Bhati Rajputs. History reveals that king Bhupat had lost the battle against the Sultan of Ghazni, and took shelter in the jungle around the Ghaggar River. There he constructed this great fort for himself which was named as ‘Bhatner’, which means ‘Fortress of Bhatti’. The entire fort is built of bricks and covers an area of about 23 Acres.

This formidable fort has been mentioned in his writings by Chinese traveler Huen Tsang, by Timur in his autobiography ‘Tuzuk -e-Timuri’ and also by Mughal Emperor Akbar in his book ‘Ain-i-Akbari’. Its strategic location on the Delhi-Multan route attracted many Muslim raiders. It was also referred to as ‘Tabarhind’ or outer gate of Hind.

Entrance to the Bhatner fort


It has been a symbol of Rajput grandeur throughout history. The fort rests over a Thed, an elevated land on the bank of the ancient Sarasvati (Ghaggar) river. It lies about 419 kms northwest of Jaipur and 230 kms northeast of Bikaner. Going by historical records, the fort had acquired a status symbol and withstood numerous invasions.

Historically invincible, this formidable fort of yore is today, ironically, gasping for life. All that remains is brick shanties, dilapidated in parts, near ruins in others.

Side view of Bhatner fort


Overall, a dismal monument, mutely witnessing its crumbling ramparts. Some repair and maintenance work has been undertaken from time to time, but it is not enough. Visitors get disappointed. However, a walk through the gardens can be quite pleasant and peaceful.




17.   DEV GIRI FORT & UTGIR

Utgir, built by the Lodha warriors is situated on a triangular peak of Aravallis while the Devgiri Fort is in the ravines of Chambal River between Karanpur and Khandar.

Devgiri Fort

It is believed that Raja Arjun Deo acquired the Utgir Fort and it remained the capital of Yaduvanshis until Gopal Das built the Bahadurpur Fort. This was used as emergency garrison fort by Karauli dynasty, till the states merged to form Rajasthan.




18. GUGOR FORT, BARAN
This Fort is situated at a distance of 65 Km from Baran City, very close to the border of Madhya Pradesh State, in Chhabra City, District Baran, Rajasthan.
The Fort is believed to be 800 years old situated inside the walled City having six gates.

Gugor Fort in Baran

Chhabra Gugor or Gugor was always prone to be invaded by the Hadas from Baran. The Kheechi rulers had been on the lookout for a more suitable and central place to make it their third capital after they had ruled from Gugor for a period of 400 years. With the transfer of the capital to Raghogarh, Gugor was added to the Thikana of Chhabra which came to be called Chhabra Gugor, as it is known at present.




19.   JALORE FORT, JALORE

The main attraction of the city is the Jalore fort. It is an impressive piece of architecture and is believed to have been constructed between the 8th and 10th centuries, the fort is perched atop a steep hill at a height of about 336 metres and offers exquisite views of the city below. The highlights of the fort are its high fortified walls and bastions with cannons mounted upon them.

Panoramic view of Jalore Fort

Built into the front wall are four mighty gates or pols that lead into the fort: The Suraj Pol, Dhruv Pol, Chand Pol and the Sire Pol. The Suraj Pol or the "Sun gate" is built so that the first rays of the morning sun enter through this gateway. It is an impressive gate with a small watch tower built over it. The Dhruv Pol is rather simple looking compared to Suraj Pol.

Entrance to Jalore fort

However, the fort is only accessible from one side, after a two-mile long serpentine ascent. The approach to the fort is from the north, up a steep, slippery road through three rows of fortification to a single rampart wall 6.1m (20ft) high. It takes an hour to climb up. The fort is built on the lines of traditional Hindu architecture.
 The precise year of its construction is not known. However, it is believed to be have been built between the 8th and the 10th centuries.

Inside view of the fort

Jalore was ruled by a Paramara branch in the 10th century. Kirtipala, the youngest son of Alhana, ruler of Nadol, established the Jalore line of Chauhans. He captured it from the Paramaras in 1181 and took the clan name Songara after the place. His son, Samarasimha, succeeded him in 1182. After him, Udayasimha became the ruler. The rule of Udayasimha was a golden period in the history of Jalore. He was a powerful and able ruler. He ruled over a large area. He captured back Nadol and Mandore from the Muslims. In 1228 Iltutmish circled Jalore however Udayasimha offered stiff resistance. He was succeeded by Chachigadeva and Samantasimha respectively. After Samantasimha his son Kanhadadeva became ruler of Jalore.
During the reign of Kanhadadeva, Jalore was conquered in 1311 by Ala ud din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi.

Attractions inside the Fort
The mahal or "the residential palace" inside the fort is now desolated, and what is left of it are the ruined symmetrical walls with huge rock formations around it. The cut-stone walls of the fort are still intact at many places. There are some drinking water tanks in the fort.

Hindu Temples
There is an old Shiva temple, a temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It was built by Kanhaddev Ruler of Jalore. Same was renovated by Mah Singh Ruler of Jodhpur and built a Samadhi Mandir of Shri Jalandharnath. Recently this temple renovated again by Shri Santinathji Maharaj in 2005 with all facility for devotees. A triple temple dedicated to Amba Mata, Ashapuri and Hanuman (the monkey god) is also located within the fort premises.

The Islamic Mosques
The Kila Masjid (Fort Mosque) within the fort is also noteworthy as they demonstrate the widespread influence of the architectural decorations associated with the Gujarati styles of the period (i.e. late 16th century).
Another shrine in the fort is that of Saint Rehmad Ali Baba. Near the main gate, there is the tomb of Malik Shah, a noted Mohammedan saint.

The Jain Temples
Jalore is also a place of pilgrimage for Jains and the famous Jain temples of Adinath, Mahavira, Parshvnath and Shantinath are located here.
The oldest temple is that of Adinath, which existed as far back as in the 8th century. The mandapa was subsequently built in 1182 A.D. by Yasovira, a Srimali vaishya. The temple stands out the most among the dark fort walls and rocky surrounding. Built in white marble this imposing structure is quite a sight.

The temple of Parsvanath was built by the ruler of Jalore and then rebuilt in 1785 A.D. This temple has a spectacular toran or an archway and a golden "cupola" in the hall meant for theatre performances. Built near the Bal Pol, which is situated northwest of the fort.
The temple of Mahavira was also known as Chandanavihara Nahadarao, named after a Pratihara ruler and a hero of Jain tradition who built it in the 14th century.
The temples of Santinatha and the Ashtapads are believed to have existed in the 13th century.



20. JHALAWAR FORT

Situated in the centre of the Jhalawar town, the Jhalawar fort or Garh Palace is a beautiful monument. It was built by Maharaj Rana Madan Singh and his successors added beautiful paintings inside the rooms. These can be seen with the permission of appropriate authorities. The Zenana Khas or the ‘Women’s Palace’ has some excellent frescoes on both, walls and mirrors and they are prime examples of the Hadoti school of art.

Jhalawar Fort (or Garh palace)

Jhalawar, once called Brijnagar, is known for its rich natural wealth of vibrant flora and fauna. However, unlike other cities of Rajasthan, Jhalawar has a rocky but water-laden verdant landscape. Red poppy fields and orange laden orchards are strewn across Jhalawar, lending it a colourful look. They also contribute a major share to the production of citrus in the country. This place has a varied cultural heritage that includes many forts and palaces from the Rajput and Mughal periods. It is solely famous for the large numbers of temples and religious sites.

Jhalawar was named after its founder, Jhala Zalim Singh in 1838. He was the Dewan of Kota State and established the town as a cantonment, then known as Chaoni Umedpura near the existing Jhalrapatan Fort. At that time, the township was surrounded by dense forests which were home to many exotic species. The Dewan often came here to hunt and grew so fond of the place that he decided to turn it into a township. It was later turned into a military cantonment when the Maratha invaders passed through the city to capture Hadoti states.




21.   JUNAGARH FORT BIKANER

Junagarh is an impregnable bastion that holds the distinction of having never been captured. It was constructed in 1588 AD by Raja Rai Singh, one of Emperor Akbar’s most distinguished generals. The fort complex houses some magnificent palaces constructed in red sandstone and marble and visitors can feast their eyes on an attractive assortment of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows.

Junagarh Fort Front View

Junagarh Fort is a fort in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. The fort was originally called Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh or "Old Fort" in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop. The modern city of Bikaner has developed around the fort.

Eastern Entrance of Junagarh Fort

The fort complex was built under the supervision of Karan Chand, the Prime Minister of Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled from 1571 to 1611 AD. Construction of the walls and associated moat commenced in 1589 and was completed in 1594. It was built outside the original fort of the city, about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) from the city centre. Some remnants of the old fort are preserved near the Lakshmi Narayan temple.

Junagarh Fort: Another view

Historical records reveal that despite the repeated attacks by enemies to capture the fort, it was never taken, except for a lone one-day occupation by Kamran Mirza. Kamran was the second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur who attacked Bikaner in 1534, which was then ruled by Rao Jait Singh.
The 5.28 hectares large fort precinct is studded with palaces, temples and pavilions. These buildings depict a composite culture, manifest in the mix of architectural styles.

Part view of the fort


Junagarh fort is located in the arid region of the Thar desert of Rajasthan bordered on the northwest by the Aravalli range, a range of mountains in western India. Part of the desert area is in Bikaner city, which is one of the three desert triangle cities; the other two cities are Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. The name of the place where Bikaner city with its forts was established was then known as Jungladesh.

Gardens in Junagarh Fort

The massive fort built in the plains of Bikaner has a rectangular (quadrangular) layout with a peripheral length of 1,078 yards (986 m). The fort walls are 14.5 feet (4.4 m) wide and 40 feet (12 m) in height. It encompasses an area of 63,119 square yards (5.28 ha). It was surrounded by a moat which was 20–25 feet (6.1–7.6 m) deep with a base width of 15 feet (4.6 m) and top width of 30 feet (9.1 m). However, the moat no longer exists. The fort is well fortified with 37 bastions (‘burj’ in local language) and seven gates (two are main gates) to counter enemy attacks. The fort was built as a "new stronghold" outside of the ruins of an old fort built by Rao Bika and on the periphery of the Bikaner city walls (1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) from the city centre); the old fort was demolished a century after it was built.

The fort with seven gates contains several palaces, pavilions and many temples of Hindu and Jain religions - the earliest dated to the 16th century. A major feature of the fort is the stone carving done in red and gold coloured sandstones. The interiors of the palaces are decorated and painted in traditional Rajasthani style. The Junagarh palaces have a large number of rooms, as every king built his own separate set of rooms, not wanting to live in his predecessors’ rooms. These structures were considered as "at par with those of Louis’s France or of Imperial Russia". Several types of architectural style are discerned in the fort complex and hence it is called a true depiction of composite culture. The earliest style is of Rajput architecture, defined by Gujarati and Mughal architectural influence reflecting the association with Mughal rulers, the second type is of semi-western architecture reflecting British influence, and finally the revivalists Rajput architecture that evolved particularly during the rule of Maharaja Ganga Singh. Only the most representative of all these architectural styles are on display for visitors. Thus, the unique monuments on display in the Junagarh Fort represent sixteen successive generations of the rulers of Bikaner, starting from the end of the 16th century.

The Magnificient Anup Mahal in the fort

While the main entry gate was Karan Pol or Parole, facing east, the current gate of entry is called Suraj Pol (meaning the Sun gate), 'pol' also colloquially spelt prol, built in gold coloured or yellow sandstone, unlike the other gates and buildings built in red sandstone. It is the east facing gate permitting the rising Sun's rays to fall on the gate, which is considered a good omen. The doors of this gate are strengthened with iron spikes and studs to prevent ramming by elephants during an attack. At the entrance to the gate, two red stone statues of elephants with mahouts stand as sentinels. 

The gate was also the location for announcing the arrival and departure of royalty by musicians playing the trumpet from a gallery in the gate. The other gates are Karan Pol, Daulat Pol, Chand Pol (a double gate) and Fateh Pol; these provided access to various monuments in the fort. The Karan Pol gate is also braced with iron spikes to prevent battering of the gate by elephants. To the right of this gate is Daulat Pol. Forty-one hand imprints are seen on the Daulat Pol gate wall, in red colour, of the wives of the Maharajas of Bikaner, who committed sati (self-immolation) on the funeral pyres of their husbands who died in battle.

Between the main gate and the palace, there is a quadrangle, and then another gate called the Tripolia gate (triple gateway) before accessing the royal chambers. Next to this gate is a small temple called the Har Mandir, where the Royal family used to offer worship. In the quadrangle, which houses a large pavilion with a water pool built in Carrara Italian marble. The Karan Mahal, where public audience was held in the Diwan-i-Am by Karan Singh (1631–39) and his successors till the 20th century, can also be seen in the same quadrangle.

Fort museum
The museum within the fort called the Junagarh Fort Museum was established in 1961 by Maharaja Dr.Karni Singhji under the control of "Maharaja Rai Singhji Trust". The Museum exhibits Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts, miniature paintings, jewels, royal costumes, farmans (royal orders), portrait galleries, costumes, headgear and dresses of gods’ idols, enamelware, silver, palanquins, howdahs and war drums. The museum also displays armoury that consists of one of the assorted collection of post medieval arms.




22. KESROLI HILL FORT

The Hill Fort of Kesroli is a 14th-century fort located in Alwar, Rajasthan, India
This 14th century fort is best known for its turrets, ramparts and arched verandas.

The origins of the seven-turreted Hill Fort-Kesroli are traced back to over seven centuries. It is believed to have been built by the Yaduvanshi Rajputs, who claim descent from Lord Krishna, but converted to Islam in the mid-14th century to be called Khanzadas. It subsequently changed hands, being conquered first by the Mughals and then the Jats, before reverting to the Rajputs in 1775 when the princely state of Alwar was founded. It saw its golden period under the Ranawat Thakur Bhawani Singh (1882-1934) who was renowned for his equestrian skills.

Kesroli Hill Fort

Built above sea level on a large rock, the design and layout of the fort is splendid. A robust wall runs around the fort with towers for the soldiers to watch out. The verandahs are arched. The main fort is mostly made of granite with numerous pillars for support. Granite facilitates a cool ambiance within the fort building. It has a square shape and within it are many large halls and rooms. The rooms have large windows. The roof is majestic. It can house 100 people. It is an ideal place to watch birds and get a view of Alwar.

Kesroli fort perched on a hill

The restoration process started in 1995 and our resort in Kesroli was opened to guests in 1998. Its interior gardens- both in the Mardana and the Zenana quarters are refreshing and intimate, framing the tent of the sky above.

Pristine pools by the fort

Serene view of the fort

It is now a heritage hotel managed by Neemrana Hotels group; known for its turrets, ramparts, and arched verandahs and today considered as one of the best heritage hotels in India.




23. KHEJARLA FORT, JODHPUR
Located 85 kilometres from the main city, the 400-year old Khejarla Fort is situated in a rural setting. The stunning red sandstone monument, now a hotel, is an example of Rajput architecture. Visitors will be mesmerised by the fort's picturesque settings, latticework friezes and intricate Jharokas.
Fort Khejarla was constructed in early 1611 A.D. for Maharajah Gopal Das Ji, who was granted ‘Jagirs’ (fiefdoms) of Khejarla and nearby villages for his great achievement in war against the Mughals, in honour of his service to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The Mughal army rolled in to attack the Fort three times. Each time the Fort was destroyed, it was rebuilt.
Khejarla derives its name from the Khejdi Tree that can be found at the village. The tree holds significance in the village as it is believed to have saved the Fort when hit by Mughal cannons. The classic Rajput – Mughal architecture is built on a small hillock and is owned by the Bhati clan of Rajputs. The family of Khejarla has descended from the royal family of Jaisalmer. Maharajah Gopal Das Ji was the youngest son of the royal family of Jaisalmer and moved to Khejarla after being granted the fiefdom of Khejarla.

Khejarla Fort Jodhpur
Khejarla was then one of the most important and flourishing Jagirs of Marwar with 9 Estate Managers, 400 servants, 125 horses, 15 camels, and huge area of land for cultivation. Nobles here enjoyed the highest status amongst the most trusted in the Court of Marwar. The Thakurs of Khejarla were one of the eight feudal lords to the Maharaja of Jodhpur and were known for their heroism, valour, sacrifice, chivalry, and gallantry.
The 16th generation of the royal lineage of Khejarla was Thakur Bhairon Singh Khejarla who was also the first member of the legislature assembly of Rajasthan who was elected from the Bilara constituency after India gained independence from the British Raj. He was elected and remained as MLA from 1952 – 1962. Later he was also elected as the Health Minister of the State of Rajasthan. During the 1950 famine, he made arrangements of grains and drinking water for the public of the State. Moreover, he was very close to erstwhile rulers of Jodhpur - Maharaja Umaid Singh Ji and Maharaja Hanuwant Singh Ji.

khejarla fort: Evening view
Thakur Bhairon Singh Khejarla opened a Research organization to promote the culture and literature of Rajasthan. The Noble family of Khejarla presented 550 books of history and literature to the organization, which did a great job in preserving the literature of Marwar.
The Maharaja died in July 1974 and the present heir, Maharaja Dileep Singh took over him. The Maharaja serves in essence as mayor of the Khejarla village and the surrounding villages. Thakur Dileep Singh waits to tell you more about the momentous deeds of his ancestors who had experienced the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. Take a walk through the 17 generations of history, and get enthralled and fascinated by the unforgettable experience.

Khejarla fort complex

A section of the Fort remains the residence of the royal family and the other section has been altered into one of the best heritage hotels in India and is open to all those who would like to travel down the eras.
The Fort Is Divided Into Four Sections:
Entrance:
The Main Pol or archway gate to the flamboyant Fort was used as a public place with the court, jail, courtyards, and parking lots for bullock carts and horse carriages. The Suraj Pol then leads into the Fort. To respect the Rajput heritage, separate residential suites were built for Male and Female Royal Family Members, both with separate entrance.
Zenana Mahal (South Block):
Following the arched gate, we enter the Zenana Mahal – the lounge for the Royal Ladies of the house. It has two floors with 19 rooms, suites, courtyard, and terrace with a breathtaking view of all sights.
Mardana Mahal (West Block):
Meant for the Royal Male Members of the house – this building consists of 21 rooms, suites of various sizes and aesthetically done décor. The Block has been completely renovated with best of period furniture and most modern amenities. A dining hall, bar, an open garden with fountains are located in this block.
Main Courtyard (East Block):
This block has the main Reception, Swimming Pool, Gym, Spa, and Shopping Area.
 How To Reach Fort Khejarla, Jodhpur
By Road: Khejarla Fort is located at 85 km east of Jodhpur city and only 15 minutes drive from Jodhpur/Jaipur Highway. One can easily reach here by hiring a taxi from Jodhpur.
By Rail: Fort Khejarla is well connected through nearest Jodhpur Railway station ( 82 km) to major cities railway stations like Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai, Ajmer, Pali, Jaipur, Ahmedabad.
By Air: Khejarla Fort can be reach through nearest Jodhpur Airport (77 Km) which is well connected with regular domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai.



24.   KHIMSAR FORT, NAGAUR
Khimsar Fort is located near Khinvsar village, in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan in India, halfway between Jodhpur and Nagaur, on the eastern edge of the Thar Desert. The fortress was built in 1523 by Rao Karamsji, the 8th son of Rao Jodha of Jodhpur. Aurangzeb use to stay here while in Nagaur.

Khimsar Fort & Palace

Aerial view of Khimsar Fort
Perched on the edge of the Great Thar Desert in the heart of rural India lies this unique 16th century fort that offers experience after exhilarating experience. Hundreds of years of history unfold as you glance at its battle-scarred walls and stroll down its ramparts.
Lovely View by the pool side

Another view of Fort & Palace
Khimsar Fort has been awarded the 'NATIONAL GRAND HERITAGE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE' (this being the highest recognition conferred upon any heritage property by the Department of Tourism, Government of India). You are not prepared for the beauty, the grandeur, the layout or the magnificence of this castle even as you approach it through sand dunes and narrow countryside roads. It suddenly hits you on a blind corner.



25.   KISHANGARH FORT

Kishangarh Fort is a beautiful fort located in Kishangarh, Ajmer District, Rajasthan. On visiting the fort, one will see jails, granaries, armories and other significant buildings present inside of it.

Built in 1649 by Maharaja Roop Singh, the enticing fort of Kishangarh is an epitome of the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. An excellent showcase of the tremendous glory of both the solemn styles, the fort is also named after its ruler and is popularly called Roopangarh Fort. The fort lies about 27 km away from Ajmer city.

The nine turreted fortifications of the fort encompass within it several battlements, jails, granaries, armories, and foundries. The colossal double storied Durbar Hall has latticed windows above for the queens to view the proceedings below. The fort is enveloped by a deep moated wall which makes it one of the most formidable forts of Rajasthan. The exquisite carvings on the walls and ceilings make Kishangarh Fort one of the most outlandish structures of Ajmer.

Kishangarh Fort

Another structure which offers a magnetic appeal to the fort is the Phool Mahal or the Flower Palace. The palace is a living example of the splendor of the Rathore Rajputs. The walls of the beautiful palace are adorned by striking frescoes and gorgeous murals. This enchanting Phool Mahal is now converted into a heritage hotel. As you further approach Kishangarh Fort, you can witness massive beautiful courtyard and eye-catching fountains. The panoramic view you are likely to get of the Kishangarh town from the roof of the fort is simply astounding and incredible. One also finds some of the outstanding miniature paintings of the 18th century displayed in the fort. With every step inside the fort, you discover unique, outstanding, and breathtaking art pieces which compel you to fall in love with its magnificent beauty.

The fort has witnessed many patronizing deeds of its rulers towards art, architecture, music, and poetry. Kishangarh Fort has played a pivotal role in enriching the arts and culture of Rajasthan. The Kishangarh School of Art, which produced the Bani Thani style of miniature paintings and is renowned world over, originated here in the 18th century. Many of these beautiful miniature paintings are now on display in the fort. For many art lovers, these paintings are a major draw at the fort. Kishangarh Fort is worth a call when one visits the city of Ajmer. In the vicinity of the, a stunning lake with numerous rare birds thronging with their chirping sweet sound await you. A wondrous ambience to experience! A visit to the spectacular Kishangarh Fort definitely serves as an awesome lifetime memory and hence, attracts a large number of tourists all around the year.

Phool Mahal Palace
The Phool Mahal Palace, which was constructed in 1870, served as the royal palace of the Kishangarh Maharaja. It is located in the centre of the city and has now been converted into a boutique hotel for tourists. This hotel is laden with all the modern day facilities and amenities.

Phool Mahal - now converted to a hotel

The hotel rooms are decorated with beautiful paintings and ancient royal and British furniture. The guests can enjoy delicious Indian, Chinese and western cuisines here. The landscaped lawn and a man made lake enhance the beauty of this palace. The tourists can avail various facilities like library, jogging tracks, laundry services and so on at this boutique hotel. Tourists can enjoy the Rajasthani music, dance and witness Rajasthani art in this hotel. Daily yoga classes are also held for those enthusiastic tourists, who wish to rejuvenate themselves. With all these facilities present here, it is a must visit attraction in Kishangarh.

Phool Mahal

Side view of Phool Mahal


Alongside the fort, a few lakes like Gundu lav talab & Hamir Sagar are located which serve as a great picnic spot. If you want to revisit history, Kishangarh Fort is a place you ought to visit when in Rajasthan.




26.   KUCHAMAN FORT

Perched at a height of 300 metres atop a cliff, the Kuchaman fort in Nagaur district of Rajasthan is clearly the biggest attraction in the city of Kuchaman. 

This fort was constructed back in the 9th century by the Rathore ruler Thakur Zalim Singh. Surrounded by 32 bastions, the fort has ten big gates that allow entrance into the fort from different sides. This fort which once housed the entire city of Kuchaman within its boundaries has now been transformed into a luxurious heritage hotel for tourists.

Kuchaman Fort

The Kuchaman Fort has also served as shooting spot for Bollywood movies, such as Jodha Akbar and Drona. Original inlays made of semi-precious stones and glass, motifs and flowers in gold and natural colours decorate the inner walls and pillars of this magnificent fort. The long balconies, hanging terraces and the popular miniature paintings of the Rathore clan are among the main highlights of this royal establishment.




27.   SHERGARH FORT-1, BARAN
This Fort is situated at a distance of 65 Km from Baran City in Atru town, District Baran, Rajasthan.
It is one of the best Forts in Rajasthan and was considered a monument of strategic importance to rulers. Ruled by different dynasties over the years, Shergarh is supposed to have earned its name after its capture by Shershah of the Sur dynasty – its original name was Koshavardhan.
Shergarh Fort, Baran
It is located on the top of a hillock on the banks of Parvan River and looks invulnerable. The fort stands a little separated from the walled town which is known for its ancient Brahmanical and Jain Temples.



28.   SHERGARH FORT-2, DHOLPUR
Shergarh Fort, now in ruins, is said to be more than 3,000 years old. It is located to the south of the city, next to the Chambal River. As per historical records, this fort was first built by King Maldev in 1532. Sher Shah attacked and captured it.
Shergarh Fort, Dholpur
It was then rechristened after Sher Shah Sur who restored the fort in 1540 AD to protect the Afghan kingdom from the onslaughts of Mewar in mid 16th century on the western frontier. It served as a strong and strategically located defense measure. Shergarh Fort was in use until the beginning of 20th century. The fort is embellished with enchanting images, beautifully carved sculptures of Hindu gods and delicate Jain motifs. Shergarh Fort has four gates but the frequently used gate was on the eastern side. It houses a Hanuman Temple, several palaces, courtyards, a tomb and several other structures in ruined form. The Shergarh Fort in Dholpur is one of historically and archaeologically important forts of Rajasthan. It’s upkeep is in the hands of the government. No ticket is required to visit this fort.




29.   TARAGARH FORT, BUNDI

Taragarh Fort in Bundi, Rajasthan is also referred to as the 'Star Fort' and is believed to be one of the most beautiful historical structures of this western Indian state. It is situated at a distance of nearly 39 km away from Kota and had been constructed during 1354 AD by Rao Deva, over a steep hill-slope.
'Gagudi ki Phatak', 'Lakshmi Pol' and 'Phuta Darwaza' are the three gateways which lead to the majestic fort, though portions of these gates are presently ruined.

Taragarh Fort, Bundi - road to the entrance



View of the fort complex

During the time when Taragarh Fort was in the zenith of its glory, it was quite reputed for its numerous tunnels which ran criss-crossing across the entire hill. Unfortunately, these ancient tunnel-ways are presently inaccessible due to the lack of proper maps and information. Historical sources have asserted that Taragarh Fort had been erected during the regime of Rao Deva belonging to the legendary 'fire-born' clan of Hada Chauhan Rajput who founded Bundi in 1341.


Side wall of Taragarh Fort


Another view of the fort complex

'Bhim Burj' is the largest battlement of the fort, built in the 16th century which was once placed on top of gigantic cannon known as 'Garbh Gunjam' or 'Thunder from the Womb'. Huge water reservoirs were once a part of the interiors of the bastions of the Chauhans, which were created with an aim to preserve water and supply it to the local inhabitants of Bundi during acute crisis or emergency. These large water reservoirs have been carved out from rocky bases of the Taragarh Fort. Within the premises of the fort is a palace named 'Rani Mahal', which had been established for the concubines and wives of the kings. However, currently Rani Mahal has lost much of its grandeur and gloss, since the lustre of the stained glass windows and the mural paintings have gradually faded away, being subjected to the ravages of times. Miran Saheb ki Dargah is yet another interesting structure present in the grounds of Taragarh Fort. Miran Saheb was the fort's governor who had been killed in a fierce encounter.


Gardens inside the fort complex


View of Bundi city from the fort


Tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city of Bundi, while they stand near some of the windows of the famous Taragarh Fort. During the 18th century, when Rajasthan was under the administrative control of the ruler of Jaipur, Fauzdar Dalil of Jaipur had added a second protective wall around the Taragarh Fort, which boasts of several exquisite monuments.



30. TIMANGARH FORT
The great Timangarh Fort, built in 1100 AD is named after the King Timanpal and is situated at a distance of 40 km from Karauli. This magnificent structure was destroyed in one of the many attacks and was rebuilt by King Timanpal of Banaya in 1058 AD. A unique feature of this structure is its priceless collection of ancient ashtadathu (eight metals). 

Timangarh fort - now in ruins
Nonetheless, the architecture of this fort bares a unique sign of India’s ancient yet royal history. Many mythological gods and goddesses are also indebted on the stone pillars supporting the fort. The fort witnessed many upheavals in its glorious history until Akbar gifted it back to his mansabdar.

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