The Rajputs were prolific builders who left behind a legacy of some have the most imposing and magnificent forts and palaces in the world.
A bid of survival in the harsh desert and history replete with tales of velour, romance and tragedy – the fort and palaces are a microcosm of the images from the glorious past. Some forts occupied commanding heights such as Jodhpur and Alwar. At Amer and Bundi, the palace cuts into the hillside. The forts of Kumbalgarh, Jaisalmer and the fabled Chittorgarh housed the entire town. In eastern Rajasthan, Bharatpur and Deeg had moats. Both in interior decoration and in structure, the forts were built as reflection of the personalities of their rulers.
Rajasthan has a fort every 10 miles on an averagel note that smaller destinations may have an equally fascinating architectural and historical at heritage Many small forts and palaces have been converted into Heritage Hotels where you can stay as guests of the erstwhile rulers.
What stand today with magnificent glory are the complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built by the Jaipur rulers over a period of one hindered and twenty five years. Centuries of disuse have not withered their pristine beauty. The palace complex rising from the placid waters of the Maota Lake is approached through a steep path, often traversed by tourist on elephant back.
The spectacular pillared hall of the Diwan-e Aam dominates the front courtyard of the palace complex and the double –storied painted gateway Ganesh Pol.
Among the most notable is the Sheesh Mahal or palace of Mirrors, which combines the finest elements of Mughal architecture, and interior decoration in a Rajput setting with intricately carved jail screens, delicate mirror and stucco works and painting. Row of arched pillars can be seen in the palaces above The well-proportioned Mohan Bari or kesar kyari in the centre of the Maota Lake and the Dilaram Bagh at its north end provide a spectacular view from the palaces above.
Chittorgarh is the most important fort in Rajasthan. Built on a tong rugged hill and covering over 280 hectares with its fortify, palaces, towers & temple, it is a testament to the glory of the land, historic, battles and valiant people who preferred death to dishonor.
With a history of grimness juxtaposed with glory, chittor was the capital of Mewar for eight hindered years. Seven gates defend the approach to the fort on the west while there is one gate to the east and another to the north. Enormous ramparts distinguish it. The 13 kms of battlements enclose fortresses and palaces (kumbha Mahal an ancient structure is impressive even in its ruins), but also temples, bazaars and granaries with reservoirs and lakes providing the much-needed water to sustain them.
The most dramatic structure on the fort is Rana Kumbha Vijay Stambh or victory Tower built in celebration of his the victory over the forces of the sultans of Malwa and Gujarat. Kirti Stambh is another tower in the fort. It is smaller and less ornate. It was built by a Jain merchant and is dedicated to Adhinath, the first of the Jain Tirthankaras. The structure is 23 meters in height and has seven storey’s. Equally interesting is the palace of patta, the teenage commander of the fort after the death of Jaimal. Among the important temples in the fort is a cluster of jain temples, temple of Vishnu, Mirabal temple, Nilkantha Mahadev temple, the kalika Mata temple.
Inside the historical Chittorgarh Fort, one big portion of Fateh Prakash palace was converted into a museum in the year 1968. It has a fine collection of sculpture. Among the important ones are Ganpati (8th-9thcentury) from pangarh. Indra and Jain Ambica statues from Rashmi village of post-medieval period.
Tribes with their with their traditional out lifts have also been displayed in a room. The entire palatial museum has been divided in various sections like Archaeology, Coins, Art Gallery, and Wood Craft off Bassi village, weapons and Tribal life.
Like a yellow sand stone fabric that seems to issue skywards from the golden sands, Jaisalmer Fort is sheer magic standing proud to a height of hundred meters over the city with its 99 bastions, the fort is a splendid sight at any time of the day its double lined rampart enclose a palace complex, the carved sandstone havilies of rich jain merchants and Hindu temples.
While the havelies and the palace warrant the mandatory visit, Jaisalmer is incredible for the experience it beings alive of the medieval township caught in a time warp, as you move up its ancient cobbled streets.
Jaisalmer is also one of the few forts in the world, which enclose and entire town. People still live inside the fort walls. All parts of the fort, including the havelis with their carved balconies and the temples project an unmatched architectural purity preserved because of Jaisalmer’s remoteness.
In the turbulent political times of the 15th century, the ruler of Marwar, Rao Jodha was advised by a saint to establish an impregnable head-quarter, and so the Meharangarh Fort was built atop a steep hill. This formidable hilltop fort is one of the finest in India, both from the defense point of view, approached as it is by a series of seven gateways set at an angle so that the enemy could not attack it with any success.
Stepping inside the fort, the visitor is transported to another world of huge courtyards and palatial apartments displaying exquisitely latticed windows. Carved panels and porches adorn windows and walls of the palaces built over 5 centuries of bristling history. Today, managed as a museum by the Trust that maintains it, only some of palaces are open to all visitors. These include Moti Mahal with its pierced screen windows overlooking the coronation seat of Marwar’s rulers, Jhanki Mahal, from where the zenana (women of the royal household) would watch the court proceedings, the royal Darbar Thakht (throne room), and the Rang Mahal where the Maharaja would play Holi with his zenana. Also noteworthy are Phool Mahal, Umaid Vilas and Maan Vilas. A large tent captured in battle from the Mughals is also displayed.
Preserved in these palaces is a collection of musical instruments, palanquins, royal costumes, the coronation seat, furniture’s and formidable cannons on the fort’s ramparts.
Built around 1587, to protect 37 palaces, temples and pavilions within it, Junagarh is one of its kinds, remaining unconquered till date except once. The palaces within it are very well preserved, the most notable of which are the Badal Mahal, Karan Mahal and Anup Mahal. Bikaner’s Rathore rulers spared no efforts to create and maintain splendor in their royal residences with gold lacquer paintings preserved well because of the dry desert climate.
Ganga Mahal, the imposing halls added by Maharaja Ganga Singh, now houses the Fort Museum. It contains a fine collection of antique Rajput weaponry, jade handle dcaggers, camel hide dhals (shields) and inlaid handguns and camel guns. Gold and silver howdahs, julas, palkis and a First World War biplane are on view. Other important objects include a pair of drums belonging to Jambhoji, the saint who predicted the foundation of the dynasty by Rao Bika for 450 years. Photographs and items of personal used by Maharaja Ganga Singh and miniatures are also on view.
Once the abode of Prince and Princes, today Dundlod Fort and Palace is one of the leading heritage hotels in Rajasthan and provides complete comfort with royal hospitality to visitors traveling to Rajasthan. Dundlod Fort and Palace is situated in Dundlod, a small village situated in the heart of the Shekhawati region. Visiting this village is like visiting an open-air art gallery that has not changed much since the time it was built. The fort of Dundlod is an embodiment of the cultural amalgamation of the Rajputana and Mughal Schools of Art and Architecture.
Situated in Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan, Fort Rajwada stands tall with its rich heritage, picturesque with exquisite architecture. Located in 20 acres of land, this princely home has an interior decor, created by the genius of renowned opera set designer, Ms. Stephanie Engeln Converted into a heritage hotel now, Fort Rajwada offers a unique experience to tourists on Rajasthan travel.