It happens only in India…
Do you know there exists towering hill forts standing tall in desert land which bespeak the story of royal Rajasthan’s exquisite design skills? Reflecting grace, royalty, exuberance and brilliance in architecture, these forts further speak stories of their bravery and war acumen as the forts were designed by erstwhile royals to protect the kingdoms from enemy’s preying eyes.
So let’s take a glimpse into these following 6 forts which remain popular with tourists due to their strategic structural layout, splendid buildings, colorful paintings and beautiful artifacts which speak volumes of their rich culture and brave spirit of the era gone by. They have earned their place in the UNESCO Heritage List making India proud.
1) Chittorgarh Fort-the Largest Fort of India: This is the largest fort in India that sprawls on the entire hill at the height of 590 feet, and was built by King Chitrangada Maurya in 7 th century AD. It served as the capital of Sisodiya kings of Mewar till 1568 AD, and is adorned with 7 gates – Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Pandan Pol, Ganesh Pol. Laxman Pol, Jodla Pole and Ram Pol.
River Ghamberi flows near it making its panoramic view fabulous. Many beautiful building grace the complex –Khumbha Palace, Vijay Stambh, Kriti Stambh, Fatehprakash Palace, Padmini Palace, Gaumukh water reservoir, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Meera Temple, Jain Temple, etc.
2) Kumbhalgarh Fort-The Undefeated Fort of India: Built on a steep hill (1100 meters) by Rana Khumbha in the 15th century, this towering fort was never won by enemy rulers, and is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap.
The 36-km long wall that protects the palace complex is the second largest wall in Asia after the Great Wall of China. The complex has 360 beautiful temples and Shiva Temple with 6 feet Shivlinga which is the most fascinating one. Badal Mahal with its fresco oil paintings is a beautiful building that once served as the royal residence.
3) Amer Fort-Blending Mughal and Rajput architecture: This fort palace made by red sandstone and marble is a fabulous blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Built in 1592 AD by King Maharaja Man Singh and expanded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, it overlooks the Maota Lake and is divided into 4 courtyards with Suraj Pol as its main entrance. The Sheesh Mahal(mirror palace) is awesome with its breathtaking mirror work and beautiful Petra Dura wall carvings which overlooks the wonderful Mughal Garden. Diwan-e-aam is majestic with its raised king’s platform and Sheela Mata Temple is a must visit.
4) Jaisalmer Fort: Made by yellow sandstone and having high walls, this citadel fort is popularly known as Sonar (golden fort) Qila. It was built by Bhati Rajpur ruler Rao Jaisel in 1156 AD on Trikuta Hill surrounded by the Thar Desert. It is guarded by 99 Bastions and four huge gateways- Rang Pol. Ganesh Pol, Hava Pol and Bhoota Pol. The palatial buildings are beautified by the finest stone carving work of Jaselmer and Juna Mahal is a perfect example.
Must visit places are Laxminath temple, Jain temples, Raj Mahal and carved jharokas.
5) Ranthambore Fort: This impregnable hill fort at 700 feet above the ground was designed with marvelous security measures in 994 AD by the Jat king Raja Sajraj Veer Singh Nagil. The walls are high with watch towers and run for 7 kms! Fort houses the Treenetra Ganesh temple and water reservoirs. The foothills are a tiger sanctuary having a heavy inflow of tourists.
6) Gagron Fort: At the junction of rivers Kalisindh and Ahu lies this stronghold fort sprawling on a low hill. Surrounded by water on 3 sides and adjoining forest of Mukundarrah hills, it has one of its kind location and never fails to mesmerise. The Dargah of Sufi Saint Mittheshshah is near the fort and an awesome fair is held on Moharram.