Forts and Palaces - Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan

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Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan

 

Rajasthan's history lies enshrined in its forts and palaces. Some of the forts were abandoned, and captured, leaving behind a rich history. While, the palaces which were built outside the forts are a more recent phenomenon, belonging to the 19th and 20th centuries, the forts are very old. These forts and palaces provide a rich legacy of Indo-Saracenic architecture, influenced by the Rajputs, Mughals and British. The magnificent forts and palaces were built by various rulers and architects, outside the walled city and used to protect the city from the foreign invaders and were also built on high hills overlooking the city. Some of the famous forts and palaces in Rajasthan are as follows:

 
Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh

Chittorgarh is the greatest medieval fort of India and one of the greatest fort of Rajasthan. It was from here that the Sisodias went to war against the Mughals at the famous battle of Haldighati. Chittorgarh fort was established in the 7th century, and became the seat of the Sisodia rulers. This fort stands on a 152 m rocky high hills of the Aravallis range and gave Chittorgarh a great strategic importance. This fort is defended by seven impressive gates. The Chittorgarh fort was sacked in 1303 through an act of treachery done by Allauddin Khilji to win the Rani Padmini and was sacked more in the 16th century,first to the forces of the Sultan of Gujarat, and later to the Akbar.

Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

This fort was later abandoned by its rulers and several palaces, apartments and durbar halls were ruined. Some of the ruined palaces are the Rana Kumbha’s palace, Rani Padmini’s palace, Jaimal and Patta palace. Some of the buildings that were preserved are the 22-metre high, 12th century Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh, the 37-metre high victory tower, raised in the 15th century to commemorate a battle victory against the rulers of Malwa and Gujarat. The Kumbha Shyam temple, Kalika Mata temple and Meera temple can also be visited within the fort. More....

 
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan

Junagarh fort was built by Raja Rai Singh in 1593 in Bikaner to protect the 37 palaces, temples and pavilions. Raja Rai Singh was the general in the army of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. He built the 986 m. long Junagarh fort by red sandstone and is encircled by a moat around which spread the modern city of Bikaner. The Junagarh fort is a very unique fort of its kind and was not conquered till date, except when Kamran captured it but could not retain it for over 24 hours. This fort has 37 pavilions which look very impressive in the morning and evening. The huge columns, arches, delicate stone screens, minarets, carvings and paintingsin the fort always draws the attention of the visitors. Junagarh consists of several palaces and apartments which are in a remarkable state of preservation. There are some palaces which are beautifully decorated like Anup Mahal, Karan Mahal and Chandra Mahal. These palaces give the impression of a rich inlay of peitra dura.

The apartments are very richly painted and have been preserved due to the extremely dry heat conditions of the desert town. The Badal Mahal recreates paintings of clouds on its walls, a reminder of the monsoon that often failed the settlement. A formal set of sandstone staircases, and the wooden Durbar Hall were added in this palace by the Maharaja Ganga Singh. More....

 
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh

The fort of Kumbhalgarh in Udaipur was the second most important fort of the Mewar kingdom after Chittorgarh. This impregnable fortress was raised by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century, and perched on the top of 13 mountain peaks in the Aravallis. This fort also provided refuge to the prince Uday who was smuggled out of Chittorgarh by his nursemaid Panna Dai, and it was from here that he ruled before establishing the new capital at Udaipur. It also provided refuge to the Mughal prince, Jehangir. The 36 km long battlements guard the bastions of the fort that over-hung with steep walls. A steep climb up a narrow road leads to the entrance of the fort. This fort offers a great strategic and scenic view of the lower land. Within the fort, Badal Mahal is known for its exquisite interiors and its soaring height over other structures.

Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
The ancient Jain temples belonging to the Mauryan period, medieval Hindu temples with fluted pillars, and a few chhatris or cenotaphs can also be seen here. The buildings at Kumbhalgarh are mostly intact. More....
 
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Mehrangarh fort is one of the most stunning hill forts of Rajasthan. The Mehrangarh fort seems to rise from the bluff-coloured sandstone hill itself, and so well built into the base that it is difficult to tell where the hill ends and the walls begin. From the outside, the Mehrangarh fort is impressive, and forbidding. In 1459 AD, Rao Jodha was once advised by a saint to establish an impregnable headquarter and so the Mehrangarh fort was built by Rao Jodha on a steep hill. This fort can be approached by series of seven gateways set at an angle so that armies could not charge them with any success. Across the huge courtyards are the palatial apartments, with the exquisitely latticed windows. Today, this fort is managed and maintained as a museum by the royal trust, and only some of the palaces are open to visitors. These palaces were constructed by Rao Jodha and his successors from 1456 AD onwards like the Moti Mahal, Jhanki Mahal,

Chandan Mahal, Darbar Takhat, Phool Mahal and Rang Mahal. Some other famous palaces are Sheesh Mahal, Umaid Vilas and Maan Vilas. From the ramparts of Mehrangarh, one can also see the art-deco Umaid Bhawan Palace located on top of Chattar Hill. More....

 
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fort, also known as the Sonar Qila stands at a height of hundred metres over the city of Jaisalmer. This fort rises from the sands, and merges with the sand dunes, and resemble from a distance like a giant ant hill. The foundation of the Sonar Qila was laid in 1156 by Bhatti chief Jaisal. This fort is made of yellow sandstone which glows into a golden flame when the sun shines on it and provide a splendid sight. Within the 99 bastions, lies a complete township that consists of a palace, a large living complex, the havelis of rich Jain merchants and Hindu temples. The Sonar fort is accessible through Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol. Several entrances also guard the Megh Darbar and Jawahar Mahal which bear the imperial symbols of the Bhatti clan's lunar lineage. The 19th century Abdul Mahal (Palace of Clouds) is currently the home of the former rulers of Jaisalmer. There are some very splendid royal apartments like the Rang Mahal, Gaj Vilas and Moti Mahal. These palaces have balconies, pavilions and pillars with beautiful stone carving. More....

Balcony of Jaisalmer fort, Jaisalmer
 
Kota Fort, Kota
Kota Fort, Kota, Rajasthan Kota Fort

Kota was once a part of the kingdom of Bundi, and known for its stirring saga of valour and chivalry. The Kota Fort is a large and sprawling structure and one of the famous tourist attraction in Kota, that overlooks the Chambal river. The Kota fort was built by the Jait Singh, in the mid 13th century. This fort houses the museum and has some elaborately painted chambers. The Kota Fort is known for its Durbar Hall which has paintings and mirrorwork, and has doors of ebony and ivory.

This fort also has very high quality of the miniature wall paintings that depict the hunting scenes. More....

 
Taragarh Fort, Bundi

The Taragarh Fort in Bundi is the most romantic place in Rajasthan. This fort was built in the mid-14th century by the Hada Chauhans, out of the sandstone and basalt rocks of the Aravallis. This fort is set within the horse-shoe shaped hills, and lakes and water reservoirs, and guarded by the Aravalli hills. The fort straddles on the crest and offers invincible battlements that are very difficult to scale. In the Bundi Palace complex, there are several apartments of public affairs and private dwellings. Some of the very high quality of wall paintings can be seen in the Chandra Mahal and the Chitrashala or picture gallery established by Rao Raja Umed Singh in the 18th century. These paintings depict scenes from the life of Krishna, and are unusual for their blue-green tints. More....

Taragarh Foert, Bundi, Rajasthan
 
Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur

Lohagarh' means 'fort of iron'. Lohargarh always stood firm giving Bharatpur town the security it needed. Lohagarh fort is situated on an artificial island in the heart of the old city of Bharatpur. It was founded in 18th century by the Maharaja Suraj Mal who was the Jat ruler of Bharatpur. There are painting of large elephants on the gateways of the fort. This fort was inaccessible and has bastions of sand that were strong enough to absorb the impact of canon shells that simply embedded themselves within it. One can reach the fort through the large entrance gate from the crowded street. Monuments inside the fort include the following: Kothi Khas, Mahal Khas and Kishori Mahal. Moti Mahal and towers like Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj were built to honor the victory over the British army and the Mughals.

 
Amber Fort, Jaipur
Amber Foert, Jaipur

The Amber Fort is situated about 11 km from Jaipur. Amber was the ancient capital of Kachhawaha dynasty for 6 centuries before it was moved to Jaipur. While many of the early structures have either disappeared or ruined, but those belonging to 16th century onwards are present in a remarkable state in the fort. The existence of Amber Fort belongs to various rulers like Raja Man Singh and Raja Jai Singh I and II. The Amber Fort is a classic fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, built in red sandstone and white marble. The palace complex has various courtyards, narrow passages, staircases, high walls, windows, gardens, halls, pillared pavilions temples, palaces and apartments separated by several gates. Some of these architectural marvels are the Diwan-E-Khas, the Sheesh Mahal, the Jai Mandir with exquisite mirror work, the Diwan-E-Aam, the Sukh Niwas, the Shila Mata Temple, Kali temple and the Kesar Kyari, a well laid out garden. More....

 
Bala Kila, Alwar

The "Bala Kila" or the Bala Fort is perched on the most prominent hill of Aravallis range which tells about the rich history of Alwar. This massive medieval fort has 15 large and 51 small towers, 446 openings for musketry and 8 huge towers that rises about 3000 m above the city. This fort is also known as the Kunwara Kila. Some of the Mughal rulers also stayed here before it was reverted back to the Rajput rulers in the 18th century. The fort is circumscribed with several gates known as Pols like Jai Pol, Laxman Pol, Suraj Pol. Salim Mahal, which lies in ruins now, is said to have been the palace where Prince Salim, later the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, spent his three-year exile. More....

 
Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur

Jaigarh fort, also known as the Victory Fort, stands on a small hillock amidst the thorn scrub hills overlooking the Pink City, Jaipur. Jaigarh Fort was built in 1726 by Sawai Jai Singh. The fort is surrounded by huge battlements with various walkways offering stunning views on all sides. The main gate, the Dungar Darwaza offers an amazing view of the Jaipur city. The main highlight of the Jaigarh Fort is the Jaivana, which is the world's largest cannon on wheels. It was built in Jaigarh's foundry in the 1720. The fort has a lot of wide water channels, which were a part of rainwater harvesting system. There is also a small armoury and museum in the fort.

 More....

Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur
 
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