Rajasthan is a state synonymous with royalty and hospitality. The state and the people offer unmatched hospitality to the visitors, and this quality is derived from the rich heritage that the state has earned from its several past glories. With the regal heritage comes stories of wars and brave rulers, many of whom have left their mark on the land they ruled. You will find monuments of historical significance peppered throughout the state, with palaces and forts forming the main attraction in Rajasthan. We bring to you a list of the top 10 must-see forts in Rajasthan. These forts speak volumes about the erstwhile rulers and their indestructible legacy which stand tall and sturdy even to this day.
Bookmark these must-see forts for your next trip to Rajasthan
1. Nahargarh Fort
Nahargarh Fort, in Jaipur, is located on a ridge of the Aravalli range. Overlooking the Pink City, one can have majestic views of the city lights at night. With the Aravalli hills forming the backdrop, the fort offers a scenic view of the hilly milieu. Built by Sawai Ram Singh in 1734, the fort is named after Prince Nahar Singh whose spirit was believed to destroy the constructions of the fort. It has 12 identical suites for queens and one head suite for the king. The Diwan-i-aam, where the king met common people and addressed their grievances has artistically carved walls and coloured glass. Major parts of the fort follow Indo-European architecture, and the fort houses a temple dedicated to the deity of Jaipur rulers. It is also home to the popular Sheesh Mahal and Wax Museum.
2. Jaigarh Fort
Unlike other forts in Rajasthan, Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur was were the soldiers used to reside. Housing the world’s largest cannon on wheels, Jaigarh Fort is the place where artillery production for Rajputs was conducted. The cannon, Jaivana, which required 4 elephants to move from one place to another was never used in a war but tested only once. Owing to the heritage of this fort, the main attraction here is the armour room. One of the three-hilltop forts of Jaipur, Jaigarh overlooks the Amber Fort and Maota Lake, with breathtaking vistas unlike any other in Rajasthan. Major points of attraction within the premises of Jaigarh Fort, apart from Jaivana, include Vijay Garh which is the weapon store, the museum at Jaigarh Fort and the Lakshmi Vilas Palace.
3. Jaisalmer Fort
The historic Jaisalmer Fort forms the main attraction in Jaisalmer, located in the heart of the Thar. The fort was constructed by Raja Jaisal in the year 1156 AD. Jaisalmer Fort is often considered as one of the largest forts in the world. The structure has 99 bastions and five stories, and it reflects the intricate Rajasthani culture through its construction and architecture. The huge structure turns golden as the rays of the setting sun touch it, due to which it is also known as Sonar Quilla. Since summers can be unbearably hot here, the best time to visit the fort would be during winter.
4. Rohet Fort
Like some other forts in Rajasthan, Rohet Fort is a charming, family-run fort and hotel in the small village of Rohet, just south of Jodhpur. It is a 375-year-old structure where the Singh family still resides and looks after the property. Just like other major forts in Rajasthan, this fort is restored in traditional Rajputana style of architecture, filled with historic trophies and details. It is surrounded by scrublands of the Thar Desert. One can choose to experience jeep, camel and horse safaris in the desert and a visit to the tribal areas will bring you closer to the rural Rajasthan.
5. Kumbhalgarh Fort
Built on the western side of Aravalli hills, Kumbhalgarh Fort is a gem in the crown of Rajasthan. The fort is located at a distance of 65 km from Udaipur and is surrounded by 13 elevated mountain peaks. Built in the 15th century by Maharana Rana Kumbh, the fort houses close to 360 temples within its premises, out of which the Shiva Temple is the most prominent. The fortification of this huge structure made it to world records – it extends to 36 kilometres to be one of the longest walls in the world, only second to the Great Wall of China.
6. Chittorgarh Fort
The Chittor Fort, built in 7th century by the Maurya rulers, is the largest of its kind in India in terms of the area. Located at a distance of 112 km from Udaipur, the huge fort is perched atop a hill of 180 metres near river Gambhir. The gigantic fort covers an area of 700 acres and is home to numerous temples, much like most forts in Rajasthan. The fort houses several palaces, including the Rani Padmini Palace and the Rana Kumbha Palace. Chittorgarh also has two towers, Vijay Stambh and Kirti Stambh, the latter of which is 122 ft high. Depicting the glorious Rajputana heritage, the tower was constructed by Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Allaudin Khilji.
7. Mehrangarh Fort
Located in the Blue City, Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. Built in 1460, it reflects strength and grandeur of the erstwhile Rajputana rulers. The fort has seven main gates, and many of them still bear the marks of cannon balls fired at the fort walls during intense times. Like most popular forts in Rajasthan, Mehrangarh too houses several palaces, museum, and temples. The sight from the top of the fort is breathtaking.
8. Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort lies within the premises of the Ranthambore National Park, near Jaipur. A must-visit for historians, wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, the historical fort is also quite popular among amateur photographers. The 32-pillar canopy, which marks the 32 years of Rao Hammir Deo Chauhan’s rule stands tall and is a popular spot amongst tourists in Ranthambore. The best time to visit the fort is between 1st October and 31st June as the National Park remains closed during rest of the year.
9. Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort, located in Bikaner, was initially known as Chintamani Fort or the Old Fort. In the midst of Thar Desert, Junagarh stands tall as a magnificent example of architecture and centre of art. The fort is a result of the constructions and modifications by many erstwhile rulers and it reflects exemplary hardwork and art. Popular points of interest for tourists within the fort premises include Chandra Mahal, Phool Mahal, Karan Mahal and Anoop Mahal. The fort museum has a spectacular display of armour from the medieval times. The best time to visit the fort is during the months of winter.
10. Taragarh Fort
Taragarh Fort, in Ajmer, was built in 1354 AD and is a spectacular example of Rajasthani architecture. The property was used as a sanatorium under the British rule. Taragarh offers an excellent panoramic view of the city of Ajmer. The fort has six huge gates, with a popular attraction in the region, Miran Sahib Ki Dargah, located within the fortifications. Other popular points of interest for visitors within the fort include the Bhim Burj, a huge battlement to support a large cannon, and massive water reservoirs which are constructed within the fort premises. Taragarh Fort has much to offer to photography enthusiasts as the views from the hilltop are every photographer’s delight.
Next time you head to the vibrant state, make sure to check out all these must-visit forts in Rajasthan.