Tourism : Places to see

Forts of Rajasthan

Jaisalmer Fort : Built in 1156 AD, it is one of the largest desert forts in the world

A Rajasthan heritage forts tour reflects the rich architectural legacy of the state. Standing as a witness to the rich history of India’s most colourful state, these forts have stood guard over the centuries. Almost all the major cities of Rajasthan are dotted with forts, and the architecture of these massive structures is truly magnificent. Here is a lowdown on a few of the most famous ones:
Amber Fort, Jaipur
Built: 1592
Constructed by: Raja Man Singh, completed by Sawai Jai Singh

Amber fort is situated 11 km from the city of Jaipur. It was the citadel of the Kachhawa rulers, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur. Made up of red sand stone and white marble, the Jaipur Amber fort palace presents a picturesque site. Covering the interior walls of the palace are painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. The Maota Lake, in the foreground of the court, offers an amazing sight.

Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh
Built: 7th century AD
Constructed by: the Mauryans in the 7th century AD but also dates back to the Pandavas thousands of years ago.
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the biggest forts in the world. Situated on a hilltop near Chittorgarh town, around 350 km from Jaipur, it is one of the most historically significant forts of India. The fort was the citadel of many great Rajput warriors such as Rana Kumbha, Maharana Pratap, Jaimal and Patta. A one km zig-zag ascent leads to the fort, which houses a number of palaces within itself. The palaces — Rana Kumbha Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace, Padmini's Palace, etc — are a reminder of the romantic era of the Rajputs.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Built: 1459
Constructed by: Rao Jodha
The largest fort in India, Mehrangarh Fort is located 331 km from Jaipur, and houses a number of galleries, palaces and a museum. Situated on a 150 m high hill it can be reached from the city through a circular road. It has seven gates. Maharaja Ajit Singh constructed a gate called Fatehpol (Victory Gate) to commemorate the win over the Mughals.

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Built: 1156
Constructed by: Rawal Jaisal
This is one of the largest desert forts in the world. Situated in Jaisalmer city, 571 km from Jaipur, this is the world's only living fort and about a quarter of the city's population lives inside. The fort stands proudly on Trikuta Hill, amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, and was the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny colour during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets and camouflages the fort making it appear a part of the picturesque yellow desert.

Kumbhalgarh Fort, Udaipur
Built:15th century
Constructed by: Rana Kumbha
Situated 405 km from Jaipur, Kumbhalgarh Fort is the birthplace of Mewar's legendary king Maharana Pratap. It has remained unconquered because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography. Surrounding the fort are the Aravalli ranges. The fort has thick walls wide enough for eight horses abreast. The most amazing and interesting fact about the fort is that it houses another fort in its complex. This fort is called Kartargarh fort, which houses 365 temples and shrines.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
Built: 1593
Constructed by: Raja Rai Singh
Located 237 km from Jaipur, Junagarh Fort is an impregnable fortress that has remained unconquered despite the fact that it is the only fort in Rajasthan that’s not built on a hillock. The fort is ringed by a deep moat and houses 37 splendid palaces made of red sandstone and marble, including the Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal (the palace of pleasure).


May 2009

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