India has tradition – rich in it! Numerous dynasties, whole different races, cultures and art most of all have melted in the crucible of the rich nation of India. Many have left behind lots in the troves of history and architecture for us to rejoice and recollect. Forts occupy a large space in that. Here we recollect 13 of the mightiest and most majestic forts from across the nation. Read on:
1. Red Fort
Source: IANS NewsRed Fort.(File Photo: IANS)The Red Fort in the city of Delhi was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856 when the dynasty perished. Constructed in 1639 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the palace of his fortified capital Shahjahanabad, the Fort is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone
A Surviving Monument!
Source: IANSSecurity personnel at the Red FortThe fort was plundered of its artwork and jewels during Nadir Shah’s invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1747. Most of the fort’s precious marble structures were subsequently destroyed by the British following the Revolt of 1857.
Basking in evening glory!
Source: IANSAn illuminated Red Fort in New Delhi on Aug 14, the eve before India’s Independence DayThe Red Fort was also the site where the British put the last Mughal Emperor on trial before exiling him to Yangon in 1858. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex
2. Golkonda Fort
Source: IANSImpressive facade of the Golconda FortGolconda meaning the Round shaped hill was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c.1512–1687) overlooking the city of Hyderabad and situated 11 km west of it.
The all-providing fortress
Source: IANSPolicemen during rehearsals for Independence Day celebrations at Golkonda Fort.The fort actually is a collection of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions some of which are still mounted with cannons. Inside there are eight gateways, four drawbridges and a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables, etc.
Source: IANSA panoramic view of the Golkonda FortThe region is known for mines that have produced some of the world’s most famous gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Hope Diamond, Nassak Diamond and the Noor-ul-Ain.
3. Junagarh Fort in Bikaner
Source: IANSThe Junagarh complexJunagarh Fort is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop and the modern city of Bikaner developed around the fort. Originally called Chintamani it was renamed Junagarh or “Old Fort” when the ruling family decided to move outside the fort limits.
Source: IANSTrail light photo of Junagarh Fort at nightThe structures built within the Junagarh fort are palaces and temples of red sandstone and marble which are still preserved and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan. The fort complex was built under Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled from 1571 to 1611 AD.
Source: IANSSilhouette of Junagarh Fort in Bikaner.The picturesque palaces with their assortment of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows makes the fort to be often dubbed as “a paradox between medieval military architecture and beautiful interior decoration”.
4. Amber Fort in Jaipur
Source: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANSElevated view of Amber PalaceThis is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur. The Amer Fort is known for its artistic style elements and also the Maota Lake to which the fort opens to, the Palalce’s main source of water.
Source: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANSWide view of the Amber FortThis palace, along with Jaigarh Fort, is located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the same Aravalli range of hills and was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families.
Source: IANS NewsTourists taking elephant rides in the Amber FortConstructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace.
Spread around the Aravallis.
Source: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANSAmber Fort as seen from its twin fort, the Jaigarh FortIn 2013, Amer Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
5. Alila Fort in Bishangarh – Turrets and Watch towers!
Source: IANS NewsAlila Fort BishangarhThis 230-year-old Warrior Fortress is one of the most spectacular forts and palaces situated across the famed Aravalli Mountain range. The fort was built atop the granite hill, as much to serve as a lookout as to provide an early line of defence against attacks on Jaipur, which is approximately 70 kilometres away. Ensuring an eagle’s eye view of the surrounding plains on all sides it blocks all possibility of a stealthy approach by the enemy and the two metre thick walls make it in an impregnable position.
6. Fort Aguada
Source: IANSFort AguadaConstructed by the Portugese in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas, Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a seventeenth-century fort standing in Goa, India, on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Agua meaning Water!
Source: IANSTourists at Fort AguadaThe fort was one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in whole of Asia as a freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. It has the capacity of storing 2,376,000 gallons of water. Hence the name Aguada, meaning Water. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores.
8. Taragarh Fort
Source: IANSA view of Ana Sagar Lake from Taragarh Fort in AjmerTaragarh Fort or Star Fort is the most impressive of structures of city of Ajmer, constructed in 1354 upon a steep hillside under the reign of King Ajaypal Chauhan. During its heyday, Taragarh Fort was renowned for its tunnels crisscrossing the entire hillside, though these tunnels are now inaccessible for want of proper maps. The largest of its battlements is the 16th century bastion when a particularly large cannon called Garbh Gunjam, or ‘Thunder from the Womb’ was once mounted.
9. Nahargarh Fort
Source: IANSAn aerial view of Nahargarh Fort ahead of Diwali in JaipurNahargarh Fort standing on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, once formed a strong defense ring for the city of Jaipur along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort. Originally named Sudarshangarh it came to be known as Nahargarh or the ‘abode of tigers’ on a popular belief.
The hunting residence
Source: IANSAn installation in the gallery of Nahargarh.Nahargarh was also a hunting residence of the Maharajas and the rooms are linked by corridors and still have some delicate frescoes. Another attraction that draws large tourists to the place is the Jaipur wax museum housed on the left side at the entrance of Nahargarh fort in support with Department of Archaeology and Museums Jaipur, Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan,
Source: IANSNahargarh Fort turns into a contemporary art galleryDuring the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Europeans of the region, including the British Resident’s wife, were moved to Nahargarh fort by the king of Jaipur for their protection. Some scenes in the bollywood movies Rang De Basanti, Shuddh Desi Romance and Sonar Kella were shot at Nahargarh Fort.
10. Sindhudurg Fort – Protecting an entire island!
Source: IANS NewsSindhudurg Fort – aerial viewThis historical fort occupies an entire islet in the Arabian Sea, with massive walls designed to serve as a deterrent to approaching enemies and to the waves and tides of the Arabian Sea. The sea fort is spread over 48 acres just off the coast of Maharashtra in Western India and was made by Shivaji Maharaj, the Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire.
4000 pounds of lead!
Source: IANSSindhudurg Fort in Malvan,The fortress lies on the shore of Malvan town of Sindhudurg District in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, 450 kilometres south of Mumbai and is a protected monument. Over 4000 pounds of lead were used in the casting of the walls and the main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint the actual entrance from outside.
12. Mehrangarh Fort – High above a city!
Source: IANSTourists click pictures in front of Mehrangarh Fort in JodhpurMehrangarh or Mehran Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India and houses one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls with a winding road leads to and from the city below. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
13. Fort William – The British reign
Source: IANSVijay Diwas celebrations underway at Fort WilliamFort William is a fort in Kolkata, built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It was once wrested from the British by the Nawab of Bengal but was taken back after the Battle of Plassey. Today Fort William is the property of Indian Army and houses the headquarters of Eastern Command with provisions for accommodating 10,000 army personnel.
14. Feroz Shah Kotla Fort – Delhi
Source: IANSMuslims offer prayers on occassion of Eid-ul-Fitr at the Feroz Shah Kotla Fort mosque in DelhiThe Feroz Shah Kotla or Kotla was a fortress built by Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq to house his version of Delhi city called Ferozabad. A pristine, polished sandstone Ashokan pillar from the 3rd century B.C. left by the Mauryan emperor, the Jami Masjid (Mosque) and a large garden complex still enthrall this beautiful fort space.
15. Jaisalmer Fort – Sona Quila
Source: Rajasthan tourismThe fort sunk in molten gold!Jaisalmer Fort, situated in the city of Jaisalmer is believed to be one of the very few (perhaps the only) “living forts” in the world – as nearly one fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort! It is also the second oldest fort in Rajasthan, built in 1156 AD by the Rajput Rawal Jaisal. This glorious golden structure with its massive yellow sandstone walls become a tawny lion colour during the day, then fading to honey-gold as the sun sets; a wonderous camouflage technique in the yellow desert of the great Thar Desert on top of the high Trikuta Hill. For this reason it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort.
Source: IANS NewsJaisalmer FortThe Jaisalmer fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan. In the photo: Rajasthani women selling articles at UNESCO’s world heritage site Jaisalmer Fort.