1. Amer Fort, Jaipur: The Epitome of Rajput Architecture
One of the most majestic and visited forts in India, Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort) is a true masterpiece of Rajput architecture. Situated atop a small hill overlooking the Maotha Lake, this extensive palace is constructed out of pale yellow and pink limestone. As you enter the fort through the Chand Pol or Suraj Pol gate, you'll be greeted by the sprawling Jaleb Chowk, the main courtyard. The fort is open from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and offers evening light and sound shows, night viewing, and dinner for visitors.
Inside Amer Fort, you'll find a treasure trove of architectural wonders. The diwan-e-aam, Sheesh Mahal, Shila Devi temple, and a series of underground tunnels are among the most popular spots to explore. Take a stroll through the four courtyards and living quarters to appreciate the beautiful architecture and immerse yourself in the grandeur of the past.
2. Chittorgarh Fort: A Symbol of Rajput Bravery
Perched on a 180-metre-high hill on the banks of the river Berach, Chittorgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of Rajput bravery, gallantry, and honor. Built in the 7th century AD by the Mewar kingdom, the fort sprawls across an area of 700 acres. To reach the fort, you'll pass through seven gates, including the impressive Ram gate, and walk along a kilometer-long road.
Once inside, you'll be captivated by the grandeur of the fort and its numerous palaces, water bodies, memorials, and temples. Explore the Rana Kumbha Palace, Padmini's Palace, and Fateh Prakash Palace to get a glimpse of the royal lifestyle. Don't miss the Kirti Stambha (Tower of Fame) and Vijay Stambha (Tower of Victory), two prominent towers that offer panoramic views of the surroundings. And if you're a shopaholic, make sure to visit the Rana Sanga Market for exquisite jewelry, handicrafts, and local art.
3. Bhangarh Fort, Alwar: A Hauntingly Beautiful Place
Known as the most haunted place in India, Bhangarh Fort is a 17th-century fort surrounded by eerie tales and myths. Legends suggest that the fort became haunted due to a curse, and visitors claim to have experienced paranormal activities such as ghostly screams, unusual sounds, and strange lights. Despite its haunted reputation, Bhangarh Fort remains an intriguing place to visit for those seeking a thrilling experience.
To reach the fort, you can fly to Jaipur and then travel by road to Bhangarh. The fort is approximately 220 km away from Delhi and is accessible by road. Due to the lack of electricity, entry to the fort is restricted before sunrise and after sunset. You can also combine a visit to Bhangarh Fort with a safari to the nearby Sariska Tiger Reserve for a complete wildlife and adventure experience.
4. Taragarh Fort, Bundi: A Picturesque Marvel
Taragarh Fort, also known as Ajmer Fort, offers breathtaking views of the entire city of Bundi. Built in 1354 AD under the reign of King Ajaypal Chauhan, this fort is located on a steep hill and is a magnificent example of Rajasthani culture. As you enter the fort through the Gagudi ki Phatak, Phuta Darwaza, or Lakshmi Pol gateways, you'll be transported back in time to an era of grandeur and opulence.
Explore the Bhim Burj, a 16th-century bastion that houses the giant cannon Garbh Gunjan, and marvel at the intricate patterns and gold leaves adorning the pillars of the Badal Mahal. Don't miss the Rani Mahal, famous for its murals and stained-glass windows. To immerse yourself in the local culture, visit the nearby Rana Sanga Market and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, where you can buy authentic textiles and handicrafts.
5. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur: A Majestic Citadel
Perched atop a hill at 125m, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India and a true architectural marvel. Built in 1438 by Rao Jodha, the fort spreads across 5 km in the heart of Jodhpur city. Accessible through one of its seven gates, each built to commemorate victories over rival armies, Mehrangarh Fort offers panoramic views of the Thar Desert and the city below.
Step inside the fort to discover the grand palaces such as Phool Mahal, Moti Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal, each adorned with exquisite paintings and artwork. Visit the Mehrangarh Museum to explore a collection of furniture, paintings, costumes, and musical instruments that offer a glimpse into the rich history of the fort. And don't forget to attend the musical performances by artists dressed in traditional Rajasthani costumes, a true representation of the region's vibrant culture.
6. Junagarh Fort, Bikaner: A Unique Architectural Gem
Junagarh Fort, known for its impressive architecture, stands as a unique gem among Indian forts. Unlike most forts built on hilltops, this magnificent fort is situated in the heart of Bikaner city and showcases the brilliance of Rajasthani architecture. Over the centuries, Junagarh Fort remained unconquered, despite countless attempts by invaders.
To reach the fort, you can travel by car, taxi, bus, or auto-rickshaw within Bikaner city. The fort complex consists of courtyards, pavilions, palaces, and balconies adorned with paintings, marbles, and carved stones. Explore the Anup Mahal, notable for its red and gold-colored walls, and marvel at the intricate patterns on the pillars of the Badal Mahal. Pay a visit to the royal temple, Har Narayan temple, and the nearby Ratan Bihari temple for a complete experience of the fort's architectural wonders.
7. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer: The Golden Fortress
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as Sonar Kila or the Golden Fortress, is a living testament to the rich history of Jaisalmer city. Built in 1156, the fort is made entirely of yellow sandstone, giving it a golden hue. It is one of the few "living forts" in the world, with a quarter of the old city's population residing within its walls.
As you enter the fort through one of its four gateways, Suraj Pol, Akshya Pol, Hawa Pol, or Ganesh Pol, you'll be transported to a bygone era. Explore the architectural marvels within the fort, including palaces, houses, and temples. Visit the Palace of Maharawal, now converted into a museum, to admire the beautifully painted rooms and artwork. Don't miss the Jain temple and Laxminath temple for their intricate carvings and religious significance.
8. Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur: The Sentinel of Amer Fort
Jaigarh Fort, also known as the Victory Fort, was built in 1726 AD to protect the neighboring Amer Fort. Perched on top of a cliff at a height of 500 feet, the fort offers panoramic views of Jaipur city. The highlight of the fort is the world's largest cannon on wheels, Jaivana Cannon, which stands as a testament to the engineering prowess of the time.
Explore the courtrooms, assembly halls, and temples within Jaigarh Fort to get a glimpse of its grandeur. Visit the nearby Amer Fort, known for its opulent structures and magnificent architecture, and witness the mesmerizing sound and light show that takes place in the evenings. Pay a visit to the Shila Devi temple and Panna Meena ka Kund for a complete experience of the fort's historical and cultural significance.
9. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Udaipur: The Great Wall of Rajasthan
Kumbhalgarh Fort, with its 38km long wall, is the second longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. Situated at an elevation of 1100 meters in the Aravalli Hills, this magnificent fort offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Built in the Rajput military architectural style, Kumbhalgarh Fort showcases the defensive properties of the terrain.
To reach the fort, you can fly to Udaipur and then travel by road to Kumbhalgarh. Explore the various temples within the fort, such as Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Parsvanath Temple, and Bawan Devi Temple, each offering a unique religious experience. Visit the Kumbha Palace, a double-storeyed structure adorned with beautiful paintings and architecture, to get a glimpse of the royal lifestyle. Don't miss Jhalia ka Malia, the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, and Nimbu Pol for a complete Kumbhalgarh experience.
10. Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambor: A Wildlife Haven
Founded in the 10th century by the Chauhan Rajputs, Ranthambore Fort is a majestic citadel surrounded by dense forests. Situated on the steep cliff of Thambhore Hill, the fort covers an area of 4 miles and is filled with ruins of temples, palaces, and pavilions. Over the centuries, the fort defended the Rajput Empire against numerous attacks, showcasing the valor and bravery of the Rajputs.
To reach the fort, you can fly to Jaipur and then travel by road to Ranthambore. Explore the various architectural wonders within the fort, such as courtyards, temples, and water tanks. Don't miss the Ganesha Temple, a popular spot for devotees, and the nearby attractions like Sametonki Haveli and Mahadeo Chhatri. Combine your visit to the fort with a wildlife safari in Ranthambore National Park for an unforgettable experience.
Conclusion: A Grand Tapestry of Rajput Heritage
As we conclude our journey through the top 10 forts in Rajasthan, we are left in awe of the grand tapestry of Rajput heritage that these forts represent. Each fort is a testament to the rich history, architectural brilliance, and cultural significance of Rajasthan. From the stunning Amer Fort in Jaipur to the hauntingly beautiful Bhangarh Fort in Alwar, these forts offer a glimpse into the glorious past of Rajasthan. So, plan your visit and immerse yourself in the majesty of these remarkable forts.