India has been a land of royalty which reflects in its palatial monuments and ancient forts. Over the years and centuries, while the dynasties that once ruled have dwindled and perished, they have left behind the remnants of their reign.
Here are some of the most spectacular famous forts in India that you must visit to peek into the history and lives of the dynasties.
1. Red Fort- New Delhi
Setting up the Mughal seat in Delhi, Shahjahan employed Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the architect of Taj Mahal to build the Red Fort in 1630. The fort housed the Mughal emperors for over 200years and served as the ceremonial and political center.
While the Mughal reign ended in 1857, and the fortress was repeatedly plundered over the years, the Red Fort still stands in all its grandeur in the capital today.
The fort complex represents the acme of Mughal craftsmanship under Shah Jahan and is recognized as a World Heritage Site making it a popular tourist attraction.
With distinct red-sandstone walls, inlaid with precious stones and intricate floral motifs, the fort’s architecture reflects a beautiful blend of Timurid and Persian architecture. The fort premises also hold famous structures like Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khaas, Moti Masjid and the Nahr-i-Bashisht.
The next time you are in Delhi, take a walk through India’s glorious past at the Red Fort.
2. Amer Fort- Rajasthan
Hailed as the ‘Gateway to Rajasthan’, the majestic Amer Fort rests atop the Eagle’s Hill (Cheel ka Teela) in the Aravalis, casting a beautiful reflection on the Maotha Lake. Built over the ruins of Raja Man Singh’s structure, the fort is known to have never been impregnated.
The fort complex exhibits a traditional Hindu and Rajputana style of architecture and the main structure is built with aesthetically crafted out of marble and red sandstone. It is laid out on four levels- the Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam, the Summer Residence and Sila Mata Temple which form its major attractions.
While touring the fort, don’t miss out on the ‘light and sound show’, held every evening to celebrate the rich history of Jaipur.
3. Jaisalmer Fort- Rajasthan
Nestled amid the golden sands of Thar Desert, the Jaisalmer Fort was built by Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in 1156 A.D. Reflecting the brilliant craftsmanship in its architecture, the fort is counted amongst the most beautiful monuments of the country.
While the fortress was impregnated several times, it still stands tall in all its glory. The fort walls built with yellow sandstone are a tawny lion color during the day and fade to a honey-gold at dusk. The fort’s many entrances namely Hawa Pol, Ganesh Pol, Rang Pol and Jawahar Pol are each exquisitely crafted.
The expansive fort complex is honeycombed with many narrow winding pathways lined with Jain temples and havelis, and houses almost one-quarter of the town’s population. Do notice the intricate carvings decorating the balconies, windows, and arches of havelis while marveling at the fort’s splendid beauty.
4. Chittor Fort- Rajasthan
Sprawling over a hill near Berach River, the Fort of Chittorgarh is the embodiment of Rajput pride, romance and spirit. Built by the Maurya rulers in the 7th century, it is one of the largest forts in India, echoing with tales of heroism and sacrifice.
The fort architecture exhibits Rajput and Sisodian influences. To enter the impregnable premises of the fort, you have to pass through 7 entry gateways namely – Paidal Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol.
Many palace complexes, temples, memorials and water bodies rest within the fort complex. Some famous attractions include the Kumbha Shyam Temple, Mira Bai Temple, Adi Varah Temple, and the Vijay Stambh memorial which is illuminated in the evenings, lending a warm ambience to the fort.
A ‘Sound and Light Show’ organized in the evening is a must-watch if you want to learn about the history of the fort, the valor of its soldiers and the tales of its royal past.
5. Junagarh Fort- Rajasthan
Surrounded by high walls and deep moats, the Junagarh Fort was first built by Raja Rai Singh in 1588 A.D. Over the centuries, after the intense building activities of its rulers, the present structure is a splendid fortress.
Explore the fort premises to reach the magnificent palaces, courtyards and pavilions, each inlaid with precious stones and covered in carved marbles and paintings.
With its beautifully decorated walls of red and gold, inlaid with glass mosaics, the Anup Mahal Palace is one of the most spell-bounding structures within the fort complex. The palace rooms display the paintings, glass artifacts and the royalties of its rulers who reigned for years.
Another famous palace within the confines is the Badal Mahal. The walls of the palace are a work of art with unique fresco work of the rain clouds while its pillars are decorated in delicate patterns covered with gold leaves.
Do add the Chandra Mahal, Phool Mahal, Karan Mahal to your itinerary while visiting this fort in Rajasthan.
6. Gwalior Fort- Madhya Pradesh
Reflecting the architectural prowess of the 8th century, Gwalior Fort is perched on an isolated hilltop in the city of Gwalior. Its beauty earned it the moniker of ‘pearl among fortresses in India’.
Built in two phases over different eras, once during the Tomar rule in the 8th century and the second time by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the 15th century, this majestic fort is visible from almost every nook and corner of the city and is every history lover’s paradise.
Ensconced inside the walls of sandstones, the fort encloses palaces and temples, each of which is a reflection of the architectural finery and skills of the time. Explore the complex to visit the awe-inspiring structures within its confines. The Teli-Ka-Mandir exhibits the Dravidian style of architecture and boasts of brilliantly sculpted exteriors.
The Man Mandir Palace is an elaborate structure covered in unique blue ceramic tiles, situated at the edge of the fort that will mesmerize you with its charm.
Your visit to Gwalior is incomplete without a visit to this monumental fort that graces the Gwalior skyline. Not only this fort there are numerous places to visit in Gwalior for your next trip.
7. Golconda Fort- Telangana
Built by the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, the Golconda Fort complex rests atop a granite hill surrounded by crenelated ramparts. Four distinct forts are ensconced in the complex sharing a common boundary. The fort had an exemplary defense mechanism, some of which you can witness even today. If you clap beneath the dome in the fort, the sound can be heard resonating through the highest towers. This innovative mechanism was deployed as a warning system against invaders.
Displaying a beautiful fusion of the Hindu-Islamic architecture, the fort prospered under the rule of Qutab Shahi Dynasty and was famous for producing precious gems, notably the Kohinoor diamond in the medieval times.
The ruins of the massive fortress are a testimony to Golconda’s glorious past and its fascinating history commands a worthy visit.
Related Article: Places to Visit in Warangal
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