Stunning forts of Rajasthan!

The North Western Indian State of Rajasthan has over hundred fortifications on hills and mountains terrain. 

Six of Rajasthan's hill forts have made it to Unesco's World Heritage List: They are Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort (Rajsamand), Ranthambore Fort (Sawai Madhopur), Jaisalmer Fort, Amber Fort (Jaipur) and Gagron Fort (Jhalawar).

1. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Fort Palace, Jaisalmer fort - Show on Map

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.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.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.

2. Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittor Fort . - Show on Map
04:00 - 22:00

The Chittor Fort or Chittorgarh is one of the largest forts in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort was the capital of Mewar and is located in the present-day town of Chittor. It sprawls over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River. The fort precinct has several historical palaces, gates, temples and two prominent commemorative towers.

Beginning in the 7th century, the fort was controlled by the Mewar Kingdom. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the fort was ruled by Paramara dynasty. In 1303, the Turkic ruler of Delhi, Alauddin Khalji defeated Rana Ratan Singh's forces at the fort. In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, defeated Bikramjeet Singh and took the fort. In 1567 Akbar defeated Maharana Udai Singh II's troops. The fort's defenders sallied forth to charge the attacking enemy but yet were not able to succeed.

Following these defeats, the men committed saka, where they would ritually march to the battlefield expecting certain death; while the women are said to have committed jauhar or mass self-immolation, an example of which was led by Rani Karnavati on 8 March 1535 CE. The rulers, soldiers, noblewomen, and commoners considered death preferable to the mass rape and pillaging that was thought to occur following to surrender to the Sultanate forces.In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Chittorgarh Fort, along with four other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a group called the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

3. Amber fort, Jaipur
Amber fort, Jaipur
Amber Palace - Show on Map
08:00 - 17:30

Amer Fort or Amber Fort is a fort located in Amer, Rajasthan, India. Amer is a town with an area of 4 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi) located 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. The town of Amer and the Amber Fort were originally built by the Meenas, and later it was ruled by Raja Man Singh I. Located high on a hill, it is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur.

Amer Fort is known for its artistic style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace. Mughal architecture greatly influenced the architectural style of several buildings of the fort. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-e-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace.

The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families. At the entrance to the palace near the fort's Ganesh Gate, there is a temple dedicated to Shila Devi, a goddess of the Chaitanya cult, which was given to Raja Man Singh when he defeated the Raja of Jessore, Bengal in 1604. (Jessore is now in Bangladesh). Raja Man Singh had 12 queens so he made 12 rooms, one for each Queen. Each room had a staircase connected to the King’s room but the Queens were not to go upstairs. Raja Jai Singh had only one queen so he built one room equal to three old queen’s rooms. This palace, along with Jaigarh Fort, is located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the same Aravalli range of hills.

The palace and Jaigarh Fort are considered one complex, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war to enable the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort. Annual tourist visitation to the Amer Palace was reported by the Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology and Museums as 5000 visitors a day, with 1.4 million visitors during 2007. At the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2013, Amer Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

4. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Mehrangarh Fort and Museum - Show on Map
09:00 - 17:00

Mehrangarh, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. A winding road leads to and from the city below. The imprints of the impact of cannonballs fired by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left of the fort is the chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot defending Mehrangarh.

There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning 'victory gate'), built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. There is also a Fattehpol (also meaning 'victory gate'), which commemorates Maharaja Ajit Singhji victory over Mughals. The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. In one section of the fort museum, there is a selection of old royal palanquins, including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period.

5. Kumbhalgarh Fort, second largest wall of 36kms
Kumbhalgarh Fort, second largest wall of 36kms
Kumbhalgarh Fort - Show on Map

Kumbhalgarh (literally "Kumbhal fort") is a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills, in the Rajsamand district near Udaipur of Rajasthan state in western India. It is a World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Occupied until the late 19th century, the fort is now open to the public and is spectacularly lit for a few minutes each evening.

Kumbalgarh is situated 82 km northwest of Udaipur by road. It is the most important fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh Fort. In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Kumbhalgarh Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan. The fort is among the largest fort complexes in the world, and the second largest fort in India after Chittor Fort.

6. Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort - Show on Map
06:00 - 18:00

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. Its earlier name was Ranastambha or Ranastambhapura

The fort was held by the Chahamanas (Chauhans) until the 13th century, when the Delhi Sultanate captured it. 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.

In its prime time, the Fort governed and ruled important trade routes between north and central India. Also the Fort was fashionable among the Maharajahs of Jaipur, who hosted hunting parties before the independence of India and before the laws that prohibited hunting.

7. Gagron Fort, Jhalawar
Gagron Fort, Jhalawar
Gagron Fort - Show on Map
09:00 - 16:00
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Gagron Fort (Hindi/Rajasthani: गागरोन का किला) is situated in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan, in the Hadoti region of India. It is an example of a hill and water fort. It is a hill and water fort, one of 12 kinds of Vedic fort architecture known as JalDurg.

8. Neemrana Fort, Alwar
Neemrana Fort, Alwar
Neemrana Fort - Show on Map
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Neemrana is an ancient historical town in Alwar district of Rajasthan, India, 84 km (52 mi) from Gurgaon; 122 km (76 mi) from Delhi and 150 km (93 mi) from Jaipur on the Delhi-Jaipur highway in Neemrana tehsil. It is between Behror and Shahajahanpur. Neemrana is an industrial hub. This area is also known as Ahirwal region in India. It is the site of a 16th-century hill-fort occupied by Chauhans till 1947.

The erstwhile ruling family is considered to be of the direct lineage of Prithviraj Chauhan. Some distance from Neemrana is another fort, Kesroli in Alwar district, that is one of the oldest heritage sites. Historians trace it to the Matsya Janapada of the Mahabharata times. In Kesroli one gets to see the oldest remains of Buddhist Vihara at Viratnagar where the Pandavas spent the last year of their exile incognito; Pandupole, with the only reclining statue of Hanuman; the samadhi of the ruler saint Bhartrihari. Haryanvi language and culture are followed in this area as it is just a few kilometers away from the border of Haryana and Rajasthan.

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