Forts in India are closely linked to the country’s ancient history and heritage. These exquisite, towering monuments have been sites of epic battles, served as shelters for armies and have contributed to shaping India as we know it today. These mammoth structures continue to stand tall as physical reminders of India’s colourful history.
Visiting an Indian fort is a sublime experience. Architecturally, these forts are absolute marvels. The intriguing myths and legends surrounding them are equally interesting. Here are some of the best forts in India.
Amber Fort, Jaipur
A stunning blend of Mughal and Hindu architecture, Amber Fort is one of the most popular forts in India. Rajput ruler Maharaja Man Singh I began constructing the fort in 1592. It is made of sandstone and white marble. The fort gets its name from the small town Amber it is situated in. The main complex in the fort has a series of courtyards, palaces, halls and gardens. The Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) is renowned for its intricate carvings and shimmering walls and ceilings. There’s a sound and light show in the evenings that traces its elaborate history. It is one of Jaipur’s top tourist attractions.
Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Built by the Kakatiya kings, the gorgeous Golconda fort in Hyderabad is renowned for its military architecture. During the 17th century, it rose to prominence for its diamond market. It is considered to be one of the seven wonders of Hyderabad. Within the fort, there are numerous gateways, drawbridges, temples, mosques, royal apartments and halls, and stables. The fort’s eerie acoustics are also a delightful tourist attraction. A single clap can be heard at a distance of one kilometre! You can stroll around the well-maintained gardens and marvel at the fort’s colossal structure. There’s also an 800-year-old tree within the confines of the fort that you can check out.
Agra Fort, Agra
This was one of the first Mughal forts in India, from where four generations of influential Mughal emperors ruled. It was also one of the first sites in India to get a UNESCO World Heritage listing, in 1983. The fort was constructed by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century when he decided to make Agra his capital. It was essentially a military installation. The British seized control of the fort in 1803. It became a site of a battle during the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. After the British left India, the fort was handed over to the Indian government.
Gwalior Fort, Gwalior
Gwalior fort has had a long and turbulent history. It has been the site of several attacks and has seen many different rulers. The fort is pretty huge and there’s a lot to see inside it. Within the compound there are historic monuments, palaces and temples. During the reign of the Rajput Tomar dynasty the fort was built to its current state of grandeur. Ruler Raja Man Singh Tomar was responsible for crafting one of the fort’s main highlights- Man Mandir Palace. Its outer walls are decorated with blue mosaic tiles and rows of yellow ducks.
Red Fort, Delhi
The Red Fort is symbolic in two different ways. While it is a reminder of the Mughal rule in India it is also an icon of independent India. It was built in 1648. The British destroyed much of the fort’s palatial buildings after the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857. They then set up an army base inside. The Red Fort was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
The fort’s buildings have marble and floral decorations, a trademark of Mughal style architecture. Mumtaz Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas and Hira Mahal are some of the famous structures within it. At specific periods in history, it has also been taken over by the Sikhs, Marathas and the British. Every year on Independence day the Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag at its gate and delivers a speech from its ramparts.
Also Read: Where To See The Best Mughal Buildings
Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India, covering almost 700 acres of land. You’ll need to explore the fort in a vehicle owing to how expansive it is. Mewar kings ruled from the fort for almost eight centuries before Mughal Emperor Akbar took over. Some parts of the fort are in ruins, but a majority of it is still intact. It houses old palaces, temples, towers, and a reservoir where it’s possible to feed fish. Vijay Stambha (Tower of Victory) offers a stunning view of the city around. The fort was also used as a royal cremation ground.
Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
Jaisalmer fort is unlike any other fort in India. It is a ‘living’ fort that is home to thousands of people who have been residing in it for several decades. The fort’s trademark yellow sandstone makes it an unmissable site. It has a host of shops, hotels and restaurants within it. It also has a palace complex, old haveli mansions, and temples for you to visit. Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal began building it in 1156, which makes it one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan.
Also Read: 11 Reasons To Visit Rajasthan This Year
Chitradurga Fort, Karnataka
Chitradurga Fort is on the way to Hampi from either Bangalore or Mysore. It’s famous for all the legends that are associated with it. If you’re visiting the fort make sure you wear the right kind of footwear because there’s a lot of climbing and walking involved. Spread over 1,500 acres on a cluster of rocky hills, the fort was constructed in stages by rulers of various dynasties. Its ramparts are made from huge blocks of granite. Apparently, the fort also has 35 secret pathways and four invisible passages. Other attractions include ancient temples, artillery units, stone carvings and sculptures and grinding stones.
Let us know in the comments below what your favourite forts in India are!