India has always been associated with grandeur, royalty and magnificence. No wonder, the nation is embellished with some of the most beautiful forts in the world. The lifestyle of the rulers of India has always been a lavish one. The raja or the ruler during olden times had a fort around which the whole of city developed quite unlike the democratic government we have presently. These monuments have contributed in a great way to help study and unleash the history of India. They form a big part of our cultural heritage and have definitely helped India stand out on the basis of architecture, planning and efficient ruling. Bringing out to you the top 40 forts in India that should be in your must-see list.
1. Chittorgarh Fort: We are talking about forts and the one to top the list had to be from Rajasthan. A state known for its rajas and the maharajas, their valour and aristocracy, Rajasthan has the maximum number of forts. Chittorgarh Fort is the largest one in the country and has been standing tall even before the 7th century. Don’t miss the evening light and sound show that explains the history of the fort perfectly.
2. Jaisalmer Fort: The next in line is the Jaisalmer Fort. Touted as one among the largest of forts in India, it has amazed one and all by its beauty and splendor. Rao Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler had got the fort built in the 12th century at Jaisalmer and since then it has been standing tall and high.
3. Nahargarh Fort: Situated at Jaipur, this fort was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. It is said that this fort was named after Nahar Singh Bhomi whose spirit would haunt the fort time and again. A masterpiece to adorn in awe, Nahargarh should not be missed by the tourists.
4. Mehrangarh Fort: Listed among the top attractions of the city of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh was built during the times of the Rathores. It is beautifully designed, has seven entrances and boasts of having the only professional museum shop. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner at its terrace restaurant that serves delicious Rajasthani food.
5. Amer Fort (Amber Fort): A major attraction of Jaipur, Amer Fort is an epitome of beauty and glory. In order to study the life and times of the Rajputs, this place is the best place to be, observe and imbibe.
6. Ranthambore Fort: This fort finds itself placed near the town of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan and plays a major part during the times of the Chauhan dynasty. It holds importance among the Jain community due the presence of a temple dedicated to the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Sumatinath.
7. Agra Fort: Located in the beautiful city of Agra, this fort was a part of the Mughal dynasty. Apart from the Taj Mahal, this attraction draws the maximum number of tourists all the years round for its sheer brilliance and royalty.
8. Red Fort: Red Fort, situated in New Delhi, is undoubtedly one of the most popular places under tourist destinations. Domestic as well as international travelers, all come this side to witness the residence of the noble Mughals.
9. Gwalior Fort: till date, the city of Gwalior is associated with the rajas and the maharajas. The princely city boats of the grand Gwalior Fort that has been ruled by several dynasties including Kuchwaha dynasty, Jats, Suris, Mughals and the Marathas.
10. Bandhavgarh Fort: Located in the calm, silent and incredibly wonderful state of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh Fort has an indescribable imperialism to itself. Vacationers need to reach the Umaria district in M.P where this fort is built on top of the Bandhavgarh Hill. It was built ages back during the times of the Mauryans.
11. Rani Durgavati Fort: This fort is associated with the martyr queen, Rani Durgavati of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. She is worshipped for what she did to the region there and is touted as the bravest woman of her times.
12. Fort William: Kolkata has always been known as the Queen’s land. A city that is known for its aura and vivaciousness, Calcutta during the times of the British used to serve as the capital of India. This fort depicts the British rule and the East India Company’s reign in the best possible manner. Modern Indian history is simply incomplete without the mention of Fort William.
13. Pithoragarh Fort: The fort finds itself located at Pithorgarh in Uttarakhand and is said to have been built by the Gorkhas. Though it isn’t in a condition it should have actually been but if there’s someone who wishes to study the region of the hills in a great manner then this is the place for you.
14. Raigad Fort: Raigad Fort was built by Shivaji, the Maratha king and lies near Mahad in the district of Raigad, Maharashtra. It lies on the Sahyadri range and has a height of over 800 metres. The Maratha Empire was built in and around this fort. Later, the British overtook it after a long era of battles, clashes and crusades.
15. Ahmednagar Fort: If you happen to read the times of the British Raj in India, you’ll probably get to know the significance of this fort in India. Initially used by the Marathas, this fort was taken over by the East India Company in the Second Anglo Maratha War and served as a prison during the Goras’ rule.
16. Golconda Fort: An important place for sightseeing in Hyderabad, Golconda Fort was constructed some 800 years back by Kakatiya kings of Warangal. It is known for its wonderful acoustic effect as per which a clap at the entrance can be heard even on the top-most point of the fort. It is said that this was used in order to warn the army about any enemy attack.
17. Daulatabad Fort: In the sleepy city of Aurangabad lies the old fort hidden behind the dust. It may have lost its charm with time but it still has so many stories to tell, so many tales to boast about and so many legends to talk about. If you are a photographer, you’re going to love this place.
18. Fort Agauda: Goa may be the paradise when we talk about beaches but it doesn’t wish to be left behind from history point of view. The Portuguese have a long association with this beautiful city and they left their imprints in the form of Agauda Fort.
19. Junagarh Fort: Forts and Rajasthan are totally synonymous and that is why we are here with the mention of another fort located in the princely state of Rajasthan. We are talking about Junagarh Fort of Bikaner built in the 16th century that has witnessed more than 20 rulers of Bikaner before the British rule.
20. Jhansi Fort: Think about Jhansi and the first thing to come into your mind is Rani Laxmi Bai. This fort may have been built by Bir Singh Ju Deo, an Orcha King but people arrive here because of Jhansi ki rani, the lady who shall always remain alive in the pages of history for her exceptional courage and valour.
21. Murud Janjira: This sea fort is located in Maharashtra in the district of Raigad. It is famed for being undefeated and unconquered even in the times of the Marathas, the Dutch, Portuguese or British. It was built in the times of the SIddis and remained to be theirs for a long long time. It should definitely be in the must-visits of Maharashtra.
22. Sindhudurg: Yet another sea fort located in Maharashtra, Sindhudurg was built by Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Its basic location is Malvan town in the district of Sindhudurg, Maharashtra. It is a protected monument and even though in the recent times, it has been abandoned by local residents due to lack of employment opportunities, it remains to be one of the most important heritage of the Maratha Empire.
23. Bidar Fort: Situated in the Bidar district of north Karnataka, Bidar Fort was constructed during the times of Bahmanid Dynasty when the emperor decided to shift the capital of the state from Gulbarg to Bidar in the 15th century. This dynasty was popular was intriduing the beautiful Bidari work that is still talked about for its elegance.
24. Kulaba Alibaug Fort: Stretching to almost 275 metres of length from North to South, this fort lies near the twon of Alibaug in Maharashtra. It is said to be the last of forts built by Shivaji. In fact, it got completed during the time the brave warrior and king expired. The Ganpati temple constructed inside the fort draws a number of devotes all the year round.
25. Zorawar Fort: Also referred to as General Zorawar Fort, this monument lies in the beautiful city of Leh. Earlier it was named as Riasi Fort and was ruled by the Dogras but later on, it was renamed in the honour of the General Zorawar Singh. He is famed for playing a major role in protecting the place from Chinese attacks.
26. Gulbarga Fort: Situated in Gulbarga district of the state of Karnataka, this fort was built in the 14th century and continues to lure a number of tourist and vacationers all the year round. The architecture has mixed influences of Turkish and Islamic architecture.
27. Bekal Fort: Touted as the largest fort of Kerala, Bekal is situated in Kasaragod near Mangalore. It is said to be about 300 years old and is a popular shooting spot for local as well as national film industry. The beautiful surroundings and the scintillating views are sure to leave you spell bound for ages together.
28. Karnala Fort: In the district of Raigad, Maharashtra lies a place of beauty of the ancient times. Yes, we are talking about Karnala Fort. This hill fort just doesn’t talk about history altogether. It is a place for the romantics at heart, for the poets, for the writers, for the nature lovers, for the photographers and for everyone who wishes to have a moment of peace and tranquility.
29. Junagarh Fort: Apart from the Junagadh Fort in Bikaner, there’s another one in Gujarat that needs to be praised as much as the one in Rajasthan. Originally referred to as ‘Sorath’, this fort was renamed to Junagadh that means the ‘Old Fort’. It finds its existence since the Mauryan Empire and is believed to have been built by the great Chandragupta Maurya. Since then, it has been ruled by numerous dynasties including Kalingas, Shakas, Greeks, Kshatrapa, Guptas, Mughals and Nawabs. It is easily accessible by different modes of transport however, those preferring to come over by air will have to stop at Ahmedabad and take a bus or train thereafter for Junagadh.
30. Pachewargarh Fort: This is a special kind of a place in Rajasthan. Its existence dates back to almost 300 years ago and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful forts of Rajasthan. Situated in Pachewar district of the state, this fort has now been converted to an exquisite hotel and is a family run heritage hotel.
31. Bhujia Fort: The name just made me crave for a packet of Bhujia. Anyway, let’s get back to the Bhujia Fort situated in the district of Bhuj in Gujarat. It is built on a hill that offers a great view of the town of Bhuj and is indeed a delight for any photographer.
32. Fort St. George: Located in the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, this fort is the first ones to be built by the English. Built as per the European style of architecture, Fort St. George is a must see place for tourists in Chennai. Though all of it is not open for public viewing, the fort has a charm that will surely sway you away.
33. Mahim Fort: It is situated at Mahim in Mumbai and is one of the most beautiful places in Mumbai to admire the whole of city. It is strategically located with Worli on its south and Bandra to its north. Vacationers can spend some lovely moments with their loved ones here.
34. Roha Fort: A number of forts can be found in Kutch, Gujarat and one prominent out of those many is the Roha Fort. It is said that this place is perfect for writers of romance. No wonder, Kalapi, the popular poet wrote beautiful romantic lines in the company peace, natural air and peacocks.
35. Chandragiri Fort: This historical monument dates back to 11th century and is situated in Chandragiri at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. It was initially ruled by the Yadava Naidus but later on the Vijayanagar rulers took control over it.
36. Udayagiri Fort: It is located at Nagercoil in the Kaniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and is one of the main attractions of the place. Constructed on an isolated hillock, this fort came into existence in the 17th century although the present structure got built in 19th century.
37. Palakkad Fort: Also known as Tipu’s fort, this fort is situated in Palakkad in the state of Kerala and was built by Haider Ali in 18th century. It is one of the most preserved and maintained forts of Kerala.
38. Akhnoor Fort: Jammu and Kashmir is known for its beauty and a fort that adds to its exceptional grandeur is Akhnoor Fort. Built in 18th century, it is situated on the banks of river Chenab.
39. Buxa Fort: In the Buxa Tiger Reserve at Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal lies the Buxa Fort that has hazy history associated with it. Its origin remains unknown but it believd that it was used to safeguard the portion of Silk route by the king of Bhutan.
40. Palamau Fort: Located in Daltonganj in Jharkhand, this fort was built during the times of the Chero dynasty and forms a significant part of the tourism industry of the state. Its architecture is inspired by Islamic concept clearly depicting its conquest by Daud Khan.
By Harshita Srivastava (with inputs from Rajesh Baruah)