Forts And Palaces Of Rajasthan

Tazia Tower in Jaisalmer

Rising high amidst the golden surroundings of Jaisalmer, the Tazia tower is one of the major attractions of the city. A fine example of Rajasthani architecture, the tower is situated in the magnificent Badal Palace complex, which was once the home of the royal family.

Being given a shape of Tazia, which is actually the replica of various Muslim Mausoleums, the tower is divided into five storeys. Each of the storeys of the Tazia tower narrates a different story and has its unique significance.

Talking about the design of this architectural marvel, each storey of the tower is graced by beautifully carved balconies. As a welcome break from the other Rajputana architectures in Jaisalmer, the Tazia tower is greatly flocked by tourists. Besides admiring the beauty of this delicate pagoda like tower, one can also explore the heritage of the Badal Palace, on which the Tazia resides.

Taragarh Fort

The Taragarh Fort, Ajmer was built in 1354 A.D. The Taragarh Fort, Rajasthan is a spectacular and outstanding example of Rajasthani architecture. During the Mughal rule in Ajmer, the Taragarh Fort, Ajmer was used as an important center of military activity. After this in the later years, during the British occupation in Ajmer, the fort was used as a sanatorium.

The Taragarh Fort in Ajmer has six huge gates. The Miran Sahebki Dargha is located inside the fort. Miran Saheb, a brave warrior and also the governor of the fort sacrificed his life defending and protecting Taragarh against an enemy invasion. The Taragarh Fort, Ajmer provides the visitors with an excellent and panoramic view of the city.
Something to look out for is the Bhim Burj, a huge battlement on which there rests a large canon and also the massive stone water reservoirs built within the Fort. The main and front gateway that leads the visitors to the fort is decorated and embellished with stone sculptures of elephants.

UMAID BHAWAN PALACE -JODHPUR

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the most beautiful and intricately built palaces of that era. The architect behind the splendid structure was the renowned Edwardian architect, Henry Vaughan Lanchester. The particular palace with three hundred and forty seven spacious rooms is an architectural marvel. Currently serving as a hotel, guests of this hotel will be spectacular and grand structure has three hundred and forty seven spacious rooms. There are various features of the palace that acts a visual treat to the visitors. The dome that rises to a height of five hundred feet reflects a somewhat western character and indo western feel. However, there is also a Throne room with murals depicting events from Hindu epic Ramayana. There is also a wood paneled library in the palace. These features provide an enriching experience to the tourists.

This is not the end. There are also a number of other features in the palace that adds to the experience of the visitors. A private museum, a Billiards Room, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and marble squash courts are also some of the popular features of the Umaid Bhawan Palace. Another prominent attraction in the palace is the display of a variety of weapons; large banner gifted by Queen Victoria and stuffed leopards. These attractions also manage to draw a large number of tourists and make Umaid Bhawan Palace one of the most visited tourist spots in Rajasthan. This palace is so much popular among the tourists as the various features of the palace to get a vivid idea about the architecture and history of the place. The multi dimension attraction of the palace comes of great in order to attract a large number of tourists.

ALWAR FORT

The Alwar Fort is nestled in a steep hill that is 300 meters above the city. The magnificent fort is a great landmark of the Alwar. The fort has a lot of historical significance. It was built before the Mughal period in the 16th century. Moreover, it is also believed that Babur once came to the fort in order to dodge his enemies. History associated to the fort also reveals that the fort was taken over by Rana Pratap Singh in 1775. However, there is no consensus among historians to draw a conclusion to this. It is also believed that Nikumbh Rajput built the palace in 928 A.D. Hence, the history of fort draws a lot of confusion and curiosity. This curiosity often acts as an appeal for the tourists.

The magnificent Alwar Fort stretches across 5 kilometres from North to South and is located at a height of 305 meters above the main city. Various architectural features like the 15 large and 51 small towers add a lot of beauty to the fort. There are also beautiful gates and each of the gates bears different names. The various names of the entry points of the fort are Chand Pol Kishan Pol, Laxman Pol, Jai Pol and Suraj Fort. Looking at the various architectural features of the fort, you will surely wonder about the architectural excellence of craftsmen of that era.

Fort Fateh Prakash Palace, Chittorgarh

Constructed by the Maharana Pratap Singh, the palace used to serve the purpose of erstwhile residence for him. Maharana Pratap Singh deliberately built the palace in Rajasthani style to reveal his quality taste for art and culture. The large number of corridors and pillars of the palace are salient features of Rajasthani architecture. It also has a large number of paintings inside. The palace also reveals other likes and dislikes of Maharana Pratap Singh. The presence of a large variety of crystal objects in the palace also reveals his likings for these objects. In fact, the collection was so vast that in 1968, it was realized that the collection is big enough to be exhibited in a museum. This idea was soon given shape as a large part of the palace was converted into a museum.

Attractions of Fateh Prakash Palace

The various architectural features of the Fateh Prakash Palace will surely leave you mesmerized. On visiting the palace, you will be able to observe the paintings of the walls. In fact, walking through the corridors and watching the various pictures on the walls may help you to get aware of a whole story. These pictures actually signify tales from the epics or a part of the Rajasthani Folk Tales. These classical paintings date back to 17th and 19th century.

The large collection of crystals that were collected by Maharana Sajjan Singh from F & C Osler, England is also a part of the Fateh Prakash Museum. This adds to the appeal of the palace as tourists are always willing to witness this splendid collection. The museum of the Fateh Prakash Palace also has a number of other items. The beautiful carpet studded with carpet is something that should not be missed. There is also a gallery that boasts a large collection of dining tables, dressers, perfume bottles and sofa sets. At the palace, you will be able to see the famous Durbar Hall. There are also axes, shields, knoves, farsa, helmets and soldier uniform inside the museum.

City Palace, Alwar

Also known as the Vinay Vilas Mahal, the Alwar City Palace is a marvelous structure in the heart of the Alwar city. Built at the end of 17th century, the City Palace is a fine example of the Rajput-Islamic architecture. A highly visited landmark in Alwar, the designing of the majestic Palace highly speaks of its entry gates. Entry in the Palace can be done through various gates, which are known as Laxman Pol, Suraj Pol, Chand Pol, Kishan Pol and Andheri gate. Once passed through these gates, one is likely to come across an open ground with Krishna temples on all sides.

Well known for its heritage and archaeology, the City Palace also houses a museum which has preserved the enriching history of the Palace in it. Fascinating are the miniature paintings of the historical Alwar school, which ornate the walls of the reputed museum. Other than the museum, there is also a golden Durbar hall, which is one of the highlighting features of the Alwar City Palace.

Places to visit near Alwar:

Apart from the sprawling City Palace in Alwar, one can also pay a visit to the other splendid structures. Prominent structures in the close vicinity of Alwar City Palace are Company Bagh, Bhangarh fort and Government Museum.

Vijay Mandir Palace

Located only 10 kilometers from Alwar, the Vijay Mandir Palace is a treat to the eye. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Jai Singh. The various features of the palace reflect the grandeur of the royal era of Rajasthan. The beauty of the palace itself offers a mesmerizing sight. What adds to the beauty even more is the serene lake in the foreground and the magnificent garden surrounding the palace. The construction of the palace has a history behind it. Maharaja Jai Singh ordered the construction of Yaswant Niwas. However, after the completion, the maharaja was unhappy with the outcome. As a result, he immediately ordered the construction of Vijay Mandir Palace.

The architecture of the temple is also a major attraction for the tourists. Feature like 105 elaborate done rooms will surely draw your attention. There are also a number of other features in the palace that will give you a clear idea about the features of Rajasthani architecture.

Another main attraction of the Vijay Mandir Palace is the Sita Ram Temple. During Ramnavami, the temple inside the palace is thronged by a large number of tourists. This festival is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show and is one of the main attractions of Rajasthan. However, if you are truly interested in visiting the palace you need to take permission from Maharaja of Alwar. Tourists are not allowed to enter the palace without the permission.

CITY PALACE UDAIPUR

Well known as one of the biggest palaces in Rajasthan, the City Palace is a beautiful and grand building in Udaipur. Built back in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh, the City Palace is set on the banks of Pichola Lake.

The palace has a number of gateways. The main entrance of the palace is Bara Pol or the Great Gate. Another gate is the triple arched gate which is called Tripolia. There is a field next to Tripolia where elephant fights used to take place. One can find eight marble arches in the middle of these two gates.

The beautiful City Palace features a great blend of the Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. It is set at a backdrop which offers an opportunity to have an aerial view of the entire city. The palace leaves every visitor spellbound with its domes, courtyards, corridors, rooms, pavilions, towers, and hanging gardens.

The City Palace also houses antique furniture and beautiful paintings which add to the beauty of the palace and give it a more royal look. One of the 11 palaces is the Manak Mahal or the Ruby Palace which is adorned with beautiful crystal and porcelain statues. Then, there is the Bhim Vilas which is decorated with miniature paintings that present the life of the Hindu deities like Radha and Krishna. There are many more palaces inside the structure including the Krishna Vilas, the Sheesh Mahal and Moti Mahal.

Getting There

Air:

24 km. away from Udaipur city is the Dabok Airport which is well-connected to almost all the major cities of India like New Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad and Mumbai.

Rail:

The nearest Railway Station is at Udaipur is connected to and from Chittrogarh, Ajmer, Jaipur and Delhi.

Road:

A well-maintained network of roads link Udaipur to various Indian cities like Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Delhi, Jaipur, Chittrogarh, Indore, Kota, Mount Abu and Mumbai.

BUNDI PALACE

Undi is one of the most of the popular tourist places in Rajasthan. Blessed with an unending natural beauty, the particular place is great to visit as it boasts a perfect combination of natural beauty and historical significance. Hence, tourists of all kinds get a great experience by visiting the place. Bundi is in fact famous for baolis or step wells and water tanks. These are great attractions for tourists in Bundi. However, the forts and palaces in Bundi are also a great attraction for tourists. The Bundi Palace of Rajasthan is perfect place to visit in order to witness the extraordinary craftsmanship of Rajasthan. The various exhibits of the palace provide you a great window in to the history of the place.

Attractions of Bundi Palace

Located adjacent to the Taragarh Fort, the Bundi Palace is the perfect example to showcase the craftsmanship of the place. The main attraction of the Bundi Palace is the traditional murals. These murals get you an idea about the tradition of the place. The murals reflect the Bundi royalty and cover almost the whole palace. However, as tourists you won’t be allowed to visit all the aspects of the palace.

The Chitrasala segment of the Bundi Palace is only open for public viewing. Bundi Palace also features a number of other attractions. There is also an art gallery in the Chitrasala segment. The particular gallery exhibits a lot of miniature colorful murals. These murals bear a special significance as they depict pictures of Raaslila and Ragmala- the story of Radha and Krishna. You can explore some areas of the palace which is otherwise closed for tourists if you can avail a special permission from the Maharaja of Bundi’s secretary. You may ignore the fact but if you have permission and get to visit those parts which are usually not accessible to the tourists, then you will surely feel that the permission was invaluable. Hence, if you are really looking for a great tour then try to collect such a permission to make your tour even more enriching.

There are some rules and regulations for tourist to follows in Bundi palace. Photography is strictly prohibited. However, following these rules is too easy a task to witness this magnificent palace. When illuminated in light during night, it is an awesome sight. The various exhibits of the palace and the art and architecture of the palace that starts with a wooden gate are simply superb. Hence, if you are visiting Rajasthan then make sure you pay s visit to the palace as it will truly be a lifetime experience. So, set a date with Bundi Palace in Bundi on your next visit to Bundi. It would surely be an experience worth remembering!

CHITTORGARH FORT

Also known as Chittaur, the Chittorgarh fort is one of the greatest forts in the state of Rajasthan, whose walls shout of great sacrifices and valour of the Rajput men. It is situated on the banks of Berachriver, in the southern part of Rajasthan. The magnificent fort is built on a huge expanse of around 700 acres on a hilltop.

Legends have it that this UNESCO world heritage site was built by one of the Pandavas, Bhima of Mahabharata. In history books, Chittaur was founded back in 7th century AD, under the rule of Mauryans. It is believed that the fort served as the capital of Mewar for nearly eight centuries. However, tragedy happened when Emperor Akbar looted and destroyed the fort in the 15th century. It was during this attack, that the practice of Jauhar came into the limelight.

How to reach

By Air:

Nearest airport to Chittorgarh fort is the MaharanaPratap airport at the city of Udaipur.

By Train:

The city of Chittorgarh is well connected to the other parts of India via Chittorgarh railway station.

By Road:

Rajasthan roadways offers bus service to the major tourist spots of the state including Chittorgarh city.

CITY PALACE JAIPUR

A magnificent palace complex in the heart of Jaipur, the City Palace is one structure that rightly reflects the city’s Maharaja Culture. It is believed that the City Palace was the royal seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, who belonged to the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The architects were able to beautifully present a fusion of Indian Shilpa Shastra, Mughal as well as European style of architecture through this sprawling complex. The palace was constructed between 1729 and 1732, and its construction was commissioned initially by King Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer.

In order to preserve the heritage of the bygone era, few portions of the City Palace have been converted into museums and galleries. As one enters the palace complex, the very first thing that is likely to catch his eye is the richly decorated gateways. A total of three captivating gateways-Virendra Pol, Udai Pol and Tripolia Gate greet the visitors right at the entry point of City Palace.

Post entrance, one can make his way to different directions which lead to the prominent attractions inside City Palace. Attractions like Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Pitam Niwas Chowk, Diwan-I-Khas, Diwan-E-Aam and Maharani Palace make City Palace one of the best places to visit in Jaipur.

AMBER FORT JAIPUR

Renowned as the ancient citadel of the Kachwahs clan, the Amber fort is one of the prominent tourist attractions and a UNESCO world heritage site in the city of Jaipur. Often the next point of discussion when someone talks about Jaipur, Amer Fort in the outskirts of the city is a classic example of the Rajputana legacy. Being one of the very popular forts of Rajasthan, Amber Fort in its structure beautifully blends Hindu and Rajput style of architecture. Credits for such a majestic creation of red sandstone and marble go to Raja Shri Maan Singh Ji Saheb (Maan Singh I).

Location:

Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001 (11 km before the main city)

Visiting hours:

08:00 am to 06:00 pm

Light show timings:

o In English- 07:30 pm (Rs 200 entry fee)
o In Hindi- 08:00 pm (Rs 100 entry fee)

Elephant ride at Amber fort: Rs 900 for two persons

History

From the 11th and 16th century, the town of Amer was under the rule of the Kachhwa has clan. At that time Amer was known as Dhundar. Founding stones of the remarkable Amber fort was laid during the reign of Raja Mann Singh; the Kachhwaha king of Amber. However, complete expansion of this structure was done by his descendant Jai Singh I. In the due course of the next 150 years, certain improvements and changes in its architecture were carried out by the string of successive rulers of Amer.

Architectural Layout

Known for its artistic style, Amber fort or Amer fort is divided into four different parts. The architectural layout of the fort is such each part of it comes with a separate entrance. The prime entry of the fort is to be done through Suraj Pole (Sun Gate), which opens at the first main courtyard, known as the Jaleb chowk. This huge courtyard has a history of being the victory parade spot of the armies on returning from battles. The women folk of the Royal family used to witness the parades through latticed windows of the structure.

Reason behind naming it as Sun gate lies in its location, which faces the rising sun in the east. Jaleb Chowk was built during the reign of Sawai Jai Singh. The first courtyard of the Amber fort comprises various internal structures that held great purpose and significance for the royal family. These are mentioned as below:

Sila Devi temple

One of the prominent structures that steal attention of the tourists is the Sila Devi temple. The temple is located at the right side of the first courtyard and has a silver covered double door. On the inside lies the statue of Sila Devi; an incarnation of Kali or Durga, the sanctum of which is also made of silver. It is believed that the Sila Devi temple was the worshipping place of the Rajput Maharajas and the royal family. The temple is also associated with being the spot of animal sacrifice in the name of religious rites during the Hindu festival days of Navrathri.
Ganesh Pol (Ganesh Gate)
Another impressive structure in the first courtyard of Amber Fort, Ganesh Pol is the official entry in into the private palaces of the Maharajas. Named after the Hindu Lord Ganesh, this gate is a three tier structure that is adorned by a variety of frescoes. The Ganesh Pol was built during the reign of Mirza Raja Jai Singh.

Up from the stairway of the Jaleb Chowk is the second courtyard of Amber Fort that is also known for its remarkable structures. These are described as below:

Diwaan-e-Aam

Diwaan-e-Aam, which is also known as the ‘Hall of Public Audience’ boasts of a structure that has two beautiful rows of ornamented pillars. These rows open on three sides. The story of Amber fort describes this hall as the venue where all the complaints and needs of the general public were listened by the King.

Diwaan-e-Khaas

This beautiful hall in the premises of Amber Fort stands for the ‘Hall of Private Audience’. As per its naming, the hall served as a meeting place of the King and his ministers, special guests from other states and friends. The interiors of the hall flaunt a beautiful mosaic glass work.

The third courtyard of the Amber Fort belonged strictly to the Maharajas and the royal family. It has primarily two buildings, separated from each other by a garden; designed like that of a Mughal creation. Prominent structures of this courtyard are described as:

Sheesh Mahal

Sheesh Mahal or the ‘Mirror Palace’ is one of the highly beautified structures of Amber fort. The interiors of the hall have colored glasses and mirror mosaics on the walls and ceilings. One can also see paintings and flowers, entirely made up of pure glass, studded on the ceilings and walls of the hall. The mirror work is so wonderful; it can convert the light of a small candle into thousands of glowing stars.

Sukh Niwas

Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mandir used to be the residence of pleasure for the Kings. It is said that the Kings of the fort with their queens and mistresses used to spend time here. Designing of the hall has been kept completely artistic. Doors of ivory and sandalwood make such an impression.

Palace of Man Singh I

The oldest part of the fort, the Palace of Man Singh I is located to the south of the third courtyard. It was built during the reign of Raja Mann Singh I and is the main palace in the royal property. The interiors of the palace boast of pillared pavilion (baradari), colored tiles and frescoes.

Fourth courtyard of the Amber Fort belonged to the royal family women and also the mistresses of the Kings. The courtyard consists of numerous living rooms that were used by the queens as their residences. Besides, the premises of this courtyard also have a hall of private audience, known as Jas Mahal, and the structure of Jas Mandir as its prominent attractions.

NAHARGARH FORT JAIPUR

Located in Jaipur, also known as pink city, the Nahargarh shares the status of being one of the most visited forts in the city. The heritage monument is located on the top of hill thus providing the breathtaking view of the city. Built in 1734 AD by Sawai Jai Singh the fort experienced some further additions as Sawai Madho Singh did some more constructions. The added constructions was done with a purpose of enlarge it. That gave the ultimate shape to the fort.

Attractions of Nahargarh Fort

Tourists prefer visiting the fort dur9ing the flood lit bight as it looks best during that time. However, the Nahargarh fort has not turned into famous tourist attractions only by offering breathtaking beauty. The historical significance of the place is also a major factor. Inside the fort, you will find a number of historical buildings. Historical building like the Madhavendra Bhavan is one of the most popular among the tourists. The inter-connected apartments meant for the Maharaja’s nine wives are a major draw for the tourists.
Apart from these, you will also be able to get the taste of true Rajasthani culture and traditions by visiting this fort. If you are an ardent history lover, you will love each and every moment of their visit as the various artifacts and features of the fort will remind them of the lines of the history books. Hence, if you are traveling to Jaipur, make sure that the tour itinerary features a visit to the Nahargarh Fort. However, plan your visit to the fort anytime between 10:00 am to 4:30 pm as the fort remains open during this time.

Jaigarh Fort

Among the numerous forts in Jaipur, the Jaigarh Fort is one of the most famous. Built between 15th and 18th centuries, the particular fort is a tourist’s delight. Hence, during your visit to Jaipur, try to pay a visit to the fort so that you are able to witness the beauty of the Rajstahni history and culture.

Also known as the ‘Victory Fort’, the Jaiarh Fort is located atop a hill and offers a breathtaking view. In fact, tourists who visit the fort without any prior knowledge are often caught astonished by the beauty of the location. A hard-core fortresses and military structures of medieval India, the fort is very well-preserved adding to the delight of the tourists. Hence, the Jaigarh Fort has a great historical significance.

Tourist attractions in Jaigarh Fort

There are many Jaipur Tourist attractions. Located 15 kilometres from the city if Jaipur, the Jaigarh fort has lots of temples, palaces, beautiful granary, a tall tower and a giant canon named Jaivan. Among these various attractions, the Jaivan is most popular among the tourists as people hardly want to miss witnessing the canon, believed to be the largest in the world.

Various features of the fort like the Dungar Darwaza, the main gate or the collection of coins and puppets inside the fort are enough to lure tourists. The vast range of exhibits of the fort takes almost two hours to cover. The fort also has photographs which Sawai Bhawani Singh and Major General Man Singh II. It also has a number of loopholes for guns and boiling oil. They were very efficient system of rainwater harvesting. You should also visit the Shubhat Niwas or the Meeting Hall of Warriors. This hall contains a number of weather-beaten sedan chairs and drums.