Forts in India are some of the most magnificent structures one can find, closely related to the country’s history and culture. These architectural marvels were once sites of epic battles and served as the residing place for 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 remembrance 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. Being one of the grandest monuments in India, Red Fort was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
The construction of the Red Fort was started in 1638 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. As years went by, the fort was plundered, taken over by many rulers, and faced the destruction caused by the Britishers. Yet, the fort still stands strong to this date with its well-preserved walls and buildings.
There are famous structures inside the Red Fort such as 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 Indian and is regarded as the greatest in Rajasthan. It sprawls across 700 acres and is most comfortably explored by a vehicle due to its expansive size. Chittorgarh Fort is one such monument that depicts the past glories of the Rajput rulers.
Before Akbar took over it, the Chittorgarh Fort was ruled by Mewar Rajput kings for almost eight centuries. Some of the attractions near the fort include smaller ancient palaces and 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 century. Later, in the 1700s Golconda Fort became famously known for its diamond market. Some of the world’s most precious diamonds such as the Kohinoor and Hope diamond were found 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 kilometer 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.
The fort, which is now more than 500 years old, was founded by Rao Jodha and was built during the ruling dynasty of Rathore Rajputs. However, the work on the fort was carried out by subsequent rulers till the 20th century and thus, has seven gates built by different kings to remember their victory.
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. It is also one of the first sites in India which was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
The red sandstone fortress was initially constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century but was finally completed by his grandson, Shah Jahan. 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. After the British left India in 1947, they handed over the fort to the Indian government and is now mostly used by the Indian army.
6. Amer Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The Amer or Amber Fort seamlessly blends the Mughal and Indian architecture. It is one of the most popular forts of Rajasthan which was constructed by Rajput ruler Maharaja Man Singh I 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 Amer where it is situated in. It is also one among the six hill forts of Rajasthan which are designated UNESCO world heritage sites today. The fort is made of red sandstone and white marble as well as consists of various courtyards, gardens, palaces, and hallways.
The Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace is renowned for its intricate and delicate carvings, shimmering walls and ceilings. You can learn more about the fort’s history through elaborate evening sound and light show performances.
7. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Unlike any other fort in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is a ‘living’ fort that is home to thousands of people residing in it 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 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.
Over the years, Gwalior Fort has been subjected to many attacks and different rulers. The fort only rose to fame after the reign of the Rajput Tomar dynasty and was built to the grandeur we see today. 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 who took over it. The road leading to the fort offers the most picturesque views of the landscape around. The stunning hilly surrounding, 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 architecture situated in the Bundi district. Also, known as the Star Fort, it is built at a height of 500 meters constructed in the 13th century. During the 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 of the hill.
Plan your next excursion to these ten Indian forts and enjoy their magnificence, historical value, and beauty.
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