Forts in India are some of the most magnificent structures one can find and are closely related to the country’s history and culture. These architectural marvels were once sites of epic battles and served as the residences of countless rulers. Today, they stand tall as a reminder of India’s bygone eras.
Whether you are a fan of history or not, Indian forts fascinate everyone. Almost every state in India is home to a mighty fort, each different in architectural style as well as historical details.
If you can’t decide which ones to visit, here are 10 must-see Indian forts that you cannot skip out on:
1. Red Fort, Delhi
Unarguably, Delhi’s Red Fort is one of the most famous forts in India. It serves as a reminder of the Mughal Empire and an icon of independent India. It is one of the best fortresses to witness and marvel at the intricate Mughal architectural style. In 2007, UNESCO declared the Red Fort a World Heritage Site, recognising it as one of the grandest monuments in India.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan started the construction of the Red Fort in 1638. Over the years, various rulers plundered and took over the fort, and the British caused its destruction. Yet, the fort still stands strong to this day with its well-preserved walls and buildings.
There are famous structures inside the Red Fort, such as the Mumtaz Mahal, Hira Mahal, and Diwan-I-Khas. Every year on Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag within the Red Fort.
2. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh Rajasthan
Also known as Chittor Fort, it is one of the largest forts in India and is regarded as the greatest in Rajasthan. It sprawls across 700 acres and is most comfortably explored by vehicle due to its expansive size. Chittorgarh Fort is one such monument that depicts the past glories of the Rajput rulers.
Mewar Rajput kings ruled the Chittorgarh Fort for almost eight centuries before Akbar took it over. Some of the attractions near the fort include smaller ancient palaces and the Vijay Stambha, or Tower of Victory. There are also 22 water bodies present, including a large reservoir to feed fish.
3. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
Located on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort is famously remembered for the city’s glorious past. What sets it apart from other forts is its unique military-style structure and architecture.
Built by the Kakatiya Kings in the 13th century, the fort was taken over and rose to prominence after the reign of the Qutub Shahi dynasty from the 15th to the 16th centuries. Later, in the 1700s, Golconda Fort became famous for its diamond market. Miners found some of the world’s most precious diamonds, such as the Kohinoor and Hope diamonds, here.
The fort has gateways, drawbridges, temples, mosques, royal halls, and many more structures. One of the most interesting things to do at this fort is to stand near a certain point under the dome at Fateh Darwaza and clap. You will hear the sound from more than a kilometre away at the fort’s main entrance. This is believed to have warned the occupants of attacks or threats. The best way to experience Golconda Fort is to visit the light show, which narrates its story.
4. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Mehrangarh Fort is one of Jodhpur’s most famous and biggest forts in India. It stands 410 feet tall and overlooks the entire city of Jodhpur.
Rao Jodha founded the fort, which is now more than 500 years old, during the ruling dynasty of the Rathore Rajputs. However, subsequent rulers carried out the work on the fort until the 20th century, and thus, they built seven gates to remember their victories.
The fort displays diverse architecture and has gorgeous palaces within. Since the fort is still in the hands of the royal family, it is well-maintained and preserved for tourists. Besides having restaurants and museums, visitors can enjoy folk performances in the fort.
5. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
While Agra is known to house the exceptional Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort stands as a poignant prequel to it. In 1983, UNESCO declared it one of the first sites in India to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mughal emperor Akbar initially constructed the red sandstone fortress in the 16th century, but his grandson, Shah Jahan, finally completed it. This fort is considered to be the first Mughal fort in India, where four generations of influential Mughal emperors ruled.
The fort was a place of battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which threatened the rule of the British East India Company. The British handed over the fort to the Indian government after leaving India in 1947, and the Indian army now mostly uses it.
6. Amer Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Amer or Amber Fort seamlessly blends Mughal and Indian architecture. Rajput ruler Maharaja Man Singh I constructed one of the most popular forts in Rajasthan in 1592. After taking over the fort, successive rulers added to it until Jaipur was built and the capital relocated there in the 1700s.
Amer Fort derives its name from the town of Amer, where it is situated. It is also one of the six hill forts of Rajasthan that are designated UNESCO world heritage sites today. The fort, made of red sandstone and white marble, comprises various courtyards, gardens, palaces, and hallways.
The Sheesh Mahal, or Mirror Palace, is renowned for its intricate and delicate carvings and shimmering walls and ceilings. You can learn more about the fort’s history through elaborate evening sounds and light shows.
7. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Unlike any other fort in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is a ‘living’ fort that has been home to thousands of people for decades. Situated in the Thar desert, its mirage-like yellow sandstone, which turns golden at sunset, is an unmissable sight.
Rawal Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler, began constructing the fort in 1156, making it one of the oldest fortresses in Rajasthan. Today, the fort has a multitude of hotels, shops, restaurants, temples, an old Haveli mansion, museums, and many other things.
8. Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, Rajasthan
Gwalior Fort is one of the most mighty and ancient forts in India, dating as far back as 525. It has a long and turbulent history, making it one of the most interesting structures to visit.
The Rajput Tomar dynasty built Gwalior Fort to the grandeur we see today, and it has withstood many attacks and different rulers over the years, gaining fame in the process. However, it was ruler Raja Man Singh Tomar who designed the fort’s main highlight, the Man Mandir palace, which has blue mosaic tiles and yellow duck designs.
The fort is huge and comprises historic monuments, various Hindu and Jain temples, the dramatic Hathi Poli entrance, and palaces like the Gujari Palace.
9. Kangra Fort, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
Kangra Fort is perfect for those who enjoy nature and architecture together. The fort lies at the confluence of the Banganga and Manjhi rivers, both located in the Kangra Valley.
Built by the royal Rajput family belonging to the Katoch dynasty, Kangra Fort has seen many rulers take it over. The road leading to the fort offers the most picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. The stunning hilly surroundings, courtyards, gateways, and temples create the perfect blend of nature and history. The main attraction is the Vajreshwari temple set within the fort.
10.Taragarh Fort, Bundi, Rajasthan
Taragarh Fort is a gigantic structure situated in the Bundi district. Also known as the Star Fort, it is built at a height of 500 metres and was constructed in the 13th century. During times of war, the large water tanks in the fort provided the palace with water.
The Bundi Fort continues to have three water tanks dug into the rock. Other attractions of the fort are the Chhatra Mahal, Badal Mahal, Ratan Daulat, Pol Hazari, Naubat Khana, the throne, and much more. The fort also has Kalam miniatures of Bundi. The fort is a must-visit and offers the most magnificent view of the valley from atop the hill.
Plan your next excursion to these ten Indian forts and enjoy their magnificence, historical value, and beauty.
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