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Top Historical Forts in the Land of the Maharajas

by Gaurav

Whenever we think about the history of India, we surely start thinking about the majestic old forts. India is not called ‘the land of Maharajas’ for no reason. Its landscape is dotted with several historical forts, which are filled with tales of valor, mystery, romance and more. Here is a list of top 7 historical forts in the land of maharajas:

1. Amber Fort, Jaipur


Also known as Amer Fort, Amber fort is a wonderful fusion of Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. This 16th century fort is placed on a hilltop, overlooking the Maota Lake. The fort is around 11 km away from the city and was built in the year 1592 by Raja Man Singh. From 8 to 11 in the morning, visitors can enjoy elephant ride up to the entrance of the fort. Jeep rides are offered during the other part of the day.

The boundaries of the fort has several structures such as Sila devi temple, Diwan-i-am, Diwan-i-Khas, Sukh Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Suhag Mandir, Chand Pol, Baradhari pavilion, Jai Mandir, and so on. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a part of the 6 hill forts of Rajasthan. Admire the well-maintained gardens, elaborate carvings, wonderful paintings, artistic archways, frescoed ceilings and walls, and other attractions.

Timings: 08:00 AM – 06:00 PM (last entry 05.30 PM)

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indian- INR 25
  • Foreigner- INR 200

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2. Red Fort, New Delhi

Red Fort Delhi

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Red fort or Lal Quila as it is fondly called, was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1638 and 1648. He transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi, which was then called Shahjahanbad. This mighty red sandstone structure was the residence of the Mughal emperors for around 200 years, until 1857, when it was annexed by the British. Today, the PM of India hoists the national flag at the fort’s main gate on the every Independence Day, along with addressing the nation.

Some of the important structures in its boundaries are Princes’ quarter, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, Hira Mahal, Moti Masjid, Baoli, Hammam, Diwan-i-Khas, Rang Mahal, Khas Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal,Nahr-i-Behisht, Diwan-i-Am, Naubat Khana, Chhatta Chowk, Delhi Gate, and Lahori gate. There is also an Indian war memorial museum, and an archaeological museum. The fort lies on the banks of River Yamuna. Evening light and sound show is the highlight.

Timings: Dawn – Dusk (Tuesday – Sunday)

Museums- 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indian- INR 10 (free entry for children up to 15 years)
  • Foreigner- INR 250
  • Video- INR 25

3. Gwalior Fort, Gwalior

Gwalior Fort, Gwalior

Offering wonderful views of the surroundings, the massive Gwalior fort was commissioned by Rajput Tomar ruler Man Singh in 525 AD. The fort was later used by the Mughals as a prison. This splendid medieval architecture houses a number of structures such as Gujari Mahal, Hathi Pol, Suraj Kund, Teli Ka Mandir, Saas Bahu temple, Man Mandir, Jain temples and so on. Evening light and sound show is another attraction here. It is one of the largest forts in India.

Located atop a 3-km long plateau, the exterior walls of the fort area decorated with striking turquoise-colored tiles. Do not miss the stunning intricately done sculptures. Gujari Mahal has now been turned into an archaeological museum, housing Hindu and Jain sculptures. A part of this fort today is the popular private Scindia School, which was founded way back in the year 1897. It is also the site of death of Rani Lakshmi Bai.

Timings: 06:00 AM–05:30 PM

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indian- INR 5
  • Foreigner- INR 100
  • Camera: INR 25

4. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

Symbol of honor, valor and beauty, Mehrabgarh fort is one of the largest forts in India, which was constructed by Rao Jodha in around 1460. Placed 410 feet above the city, it is 5 km away from the city. One has to cross seven gates such as Jay Pol, Fateh Pol, Dedh Kamgra Pol, Loha Pol etc. to arrive at the fort. These gates were constructed by various rulers as a mark of their victory above their enemy. This mighty fort is an example of the craftsmanship of the workers of that old times.

Within the high-rising powerful boundary walls of the fort, there are several alluring structures such as Moti Mahal with the royal stone, Sheesha Mahal, Rang Mahal, Chandan Mahal, Chamunda Devi temple, Phool Mahal Sringar Chowki, Daulat Khana, Sileh Khana and so on. A part of the fort has been turned into a museum that has some amazing collection of elephant’s howdahs, palanquins, armory, paintings, manuscripts, turban gallery, jewelry, costumes and other royal artefacts.

Timings: 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indian- INR 60
  • Foreigner- INR 400,
  • Camera- INR 100
  • Video- INR 250

5. Agra Fort, Agra

Agra Fort, Agra

Covering 2.5 km of the bank of River Yamuna, the magnificent red sandstone beauty of Agra Fort is listed in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage sites. The former residence of the Mughal dynasty, it was partly built by Emperor Agra in red sandstone and then by Emperor Shah Jahan in white marble. Some additions were made other rulers too including Emperor Aurangzeb. It is just 2 km from the World Wonder of Taj Mahal.

The complex has two entrances- the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate or Lahore Gate. Entering from the second one, the visitors can explore the expansive gateways, ramparts, bastions, courts, towers, which are a symbol of the strength of the Mughal Empire.

The fort complex has three splendid mosques- Moti Masjid, Nagina Masjid and Mina Masjid. The other structures here include the Zenana Mina Bazaar, the Jahangir Palace, the Khas Mahal, the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Public Audience), Sheesh Mahal, the Musamman Burj, the Diwan-i-Am, Jodha Bai Palace, and more.

Timings: Sunrise – Sunset

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indians- INR 20
  • Citizen of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries- INR 60
  • Other Foreigners -INR 300

6. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort

One of the largest forts in the world, Jaisalmer fort is a world heritage site, which was commissioned in 1156 AD by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. Also known as Golden Fort or Sonar Quila, it appears to be rising from the expansive Thar Desert on 76 m above the city, on the triangular -shaped Trikuta hill. One of India’s invincible forts, it is second oldest fort in Rajasthan state. A blend of Islamic and Rajput styles of architecture, it has massive entrances-Ganesh Pol, Hawa Pol, Rang Pol, and Jawahar Pol.

Within the boundaries of the fort, there are several bewitching structures such as Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Laxminath temple, and encrusted merchant havelis. Jain temples here are worth-visiting. The fort has around 3000 people residing within its walls, which are lined with guesthouses, restaurants, and handicraft shops. Several floors, countless rooms with decorated windows, archways, doors and balconies are a proof of Rajputana glory.

Timings: 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Entry Fees: No Entry Fee to the Fort

  • Palace Museum- INR 50 (Per Person)
  • Camera Fee- INR 50
  • Video Camera- INR 100

7. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh

Chittorgarh Fort

Arguably the largest fort in India, a world heritage site, Chittorgarh Fort is placed on the left bank of River Berach. Sprawled over a hill 180 m above the city, the fort complex originally had 84 water bodies, out of which only 22 can be seen today. The fort is also the venue of popular Rajput festival- Jauhar Mela. The fort is a testimony of valor, sacrifice, heroism, romance and bravery of Rajput kings and queens.

Some of the structures that are worth exploring within the complex include Rana Kumbha palace, Vijay Stambha, Kirti Stambh, Padmini Palace, Meera Mandir, Kalika Mata Temple, Fateh Prakash Palace (now museum) and Gaumukh reservoir. Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol are the seven grand gates of the fort complex. The massive fort covers an area of 700 acres and was commissioned way back in the 7th century.

Timings: 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Entry Fees: Yes

  • Indians – INR 5 (Children below 15 are can enter for free)
  • Foreigners- INR 100
  • Sound and Light Show Ticket- INR 50

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