Well-known as the “Land of kings”, the state of Rajasthan is the largest state in India. The state is famous for its stunning hill-top forts that have been gloriously standing since decades. They are the apt example of the architectural heritage of Rajasthan. Travellers have a good opportunity to experience the royalty of these forts by staying in them as they have been converted into heritage hotels. It is tough to cover all the hill forts in the state but the ones mentioned below are definite to keep you spellbound for months to come.
Gagron Fort is surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Kali, Sindh and Ahu Rivers on three sides, thereby giving a spectacular view to its visitors. Located around 12 km away from the Jhalawar city, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Durga is also present inside the fort. One can hire a taxi or auto rickshaw from Jhalawar city. A Sufi Saint’s Dargah can be spotted outside the fort. A grand fair is conducted here every year at the time of Moharram. Valley near Gagron Fort is surrounded by woods that echoes with squeals of peacocks and parrots.
Photo by RameshSharma1
Perched on the top of Tirkuta Hills, Jaisalmer Fort was built in 1156 AD by Rao Jaisal, the Rajput King. Recently declared as the World Heritage site, The Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in the state and one of the largest desert forts of the world. The fort has sandstone walls 30 feet high and has 82 bastions most of which were built from 1633-1647 AD. The amalgamation of Islamic and Rajput architecture is clearly visible here. The ornate Jain temples, Raj Mahal, Laxminath Temple and the four huge gateways are the main attractions inside the fort. Owing to the yellowish imprint of the walls, the fort is also known as the Sonar Quila. Merging radiantly with the golden shades of the desert, Jaisalmer fort is the monument that has always been the pride of the city.
Photo by M S Hundal
Ranthambore Fort stands grandly on a hilltop overlooking the complete Ranthambore National Park. Well protected by the huge walls provided with Z- shaped and stepped gateway with two strong and massive doors, the fort is a part of world heritage site. The Rani Palace, Hammir Badi Kachahari, Battis Khambha Chhatri, Hammir Palace are major attractions inside the fort premises. Walking up to the hilltop is the only mode of commuting. It is advisable to take a pair of binoculars and a camera when visiting the fort. The soaring vultures, eagles and other birds can be seen easily at eye level. A variety of animals along the edges of the water bodies are all visible from here. The Ranthambore Fort offers picturesque historical and architectural sights worth viewing and photographing. If you are a first time visitor to the Ranthambore Park then a trip to the fort is a must.
Photo by Rohit Chhiber
Jaigarh Fort, also known as Victory Fort was built as a military structure for protecting the Jaipur city and especially the Amer Fort. It is the highest structure of the city overlooking the Maota Lake and the Amer Fort. Several palaces, gardens, reservoirs, granary, armoury etc are located in its vicinity. ‘Jaivana Cannon’, the world’s biggest cannon on wheels manufactured within the fort is still present in the fort’s complex. The best way to explore the absolute beauty of the Jaipur city is to stand at a hill- top fort and have a panoramic view of the city. Thus, the astonishing splendour of this fort is something that should not be missed while visiting the pink city.
Photo by Rolling Okie
Lying just 85 km away from the beautiful city of Udaipur, The Kumbhalgarh Fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Majestically standing with the Aravali range, the fort is known as the second most important castle in the Mewar region. The wall’s perimeter surrounding the fort extends to 36 km and is 15-25 feet in thickness thus making it the second largest wall in Asia. The most significant feature of the fort is that it houses another small fort known as Kartargarh Fort comprising of a palace built by Maharana Fateh Singh. A tour to Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan offers an endless expanse of greenery for nature lovers. Today, the fort has been converted into an exotic heritage hotel welcoming the discerning tourist. The hotel provides a perfect mix of both Rajputana hospitality along with modern comfort and luxury.
Photo by Honza Soukup
The above- mentioned places are the ones which you might find the most mesmerising. October to February is the best time to visit Rajasthan, with the pleasant weather to wander and experience the splendour of this culturally rich state.