There are numerous forts in Rajasthan, and some of them have become famous. Most of these well-known forts are situated on hilltops. The area which falls under Rajasthan was divided amongst several clans. These clans were collectively known as Rajputs. The Rajput kings are remembered for their courage and hospitality. But they were also fiercely territorial and would often conspire to topple down neighbouring kingdoms. So, there was a pressing need of building strong fortifications. Today some of these forts have become well-known monuments. Read about them.
Note: At the end of the post there is a playlist of videos of the forts mentioned here.
Amer Fort (or Amber Fort)
Amer Fort, also called Amber, is one of the finest forts in Rajasthan and is famous across the globe. Spread across the spur of a hill, this fortress encloses beautiful palace apartments and huge courtyards. Amer is about 14 km from Jaipur city and is situated by the Jaipur-Delhi highway. It took its position on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2013. This fortress and the adjoining historical town of Amer are enclosed in the ramparts that are spread across the surrounding hills. Amer enjoys a beautiful setting in the undulating hills of the Aravalli Range. Its ramparts snaking up and down the surrounding hills add an element of might into the otherwise graceful fort. Read More
Travel Tips: Adjacent to the fortress of Amer is the historical town of the same name. It has a few impressive temples and a step-well. There is a motorable uphill road from the village to the fortress.
Location: Amer Fort is a short drive (12 km) out of Jaipur City.
Jaigarh fort is situated right above Amer and is enclosed within the same outer walls as Amer. A tunnel connects Amer with this fort. This fort was to be used to shelter the royals in case of an attack, but the need never arose. Jaigarh has a cannon foundry and its grounds were used for army training. Its mighty appearance and its hilltop location have made it a famous fort. Walking along the ramparts of this fort is an exhilarating activity as you get the spellbinding views of the undulating hills. On one corner of the fort is a huge cannon-on-wheels called ‘Jaivana’. It is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. On the other end are the palace apartments connected by the dark passageways. A path from the apartments lead to the beautiful Mughal Garden. Read More
Travel Tips: You can either drive up to Jaigarh or you can climb up on foot through the tunnel in Amer Fort. It is advisable to hire a guide if you want to explore the entire Jaigarh fort.
Location: A diversion on Jaipur-Amer Road leads to Jaigarh. It is about 14 km from the Jaipur City.
This small hilltop fort provides commanding views of the Jaipur City. Commissioned in 1734, Nahargarh served two purposes. It was a retreat for the royals and could also be used as a safe haven in the times of war. Apart from the motorable road, there is also a trekking route which connects it to the city. Much of the original fort is in ruins, only 19th-century additions are in good condition. A palace called ‘Madhavendra Bhawan’ has remained intact. It has beautifully decorated palace apartments which were used by the queens. Don’t miss to climb to the rooftop terrace of the palace to take in the scenic views of Jaipur City. Read More
Travel Tips: There is an open-air fine-dining restaurant alongside the palace. Along with this there is also an open-air cafe and a food court in the fort. Sunsets are pretty much enjoyable from here but that’s not the time when solo women should venture alone, given the seclusion of the place.
Location: Nahargarh is about 18 km from Jaipur, and just 5 km from Jaigarh.
Mehrangarh Fort is one of the most famous forts in Rajasthan. It is owned by the descendants of the erstwhile royals who have set an example in effectively managing the heritage structure. It was constructed by Rao Jodha, a Rathore Rajput in 1459, after moving here Mandore (8 km north of Jodhpur). This mighty fort, straddling a lone hill, encases elegant palaces and intimidating battlements. Ajit Singh, a descendant of Rao Jodha, who drove Mughals out after Aurangzeb’s death, had added considerably to this fort. For many travellers Mehrangarh is the prime reason for visiting Jodhpur. Read More
Travel Tips: A motorable road leads up to Mehrangarh from Jodhpur City. Alternatively you can also climb up the hill from the old city to reach the fortress. There is a lift in the fort that takes the travellers straight into the palace complex, though climbing up the ramp is more enjoyable.
Location: Mehrangarh is situated on a hill that overlooks the old Jodhpur City.
Jaisalmer Fort is popularly known as ‘The Golden Fort’ because it is entirely made of yellow-coloured sandstone. It is famous due to its desert setting and its dramatic past. Straddling atop 80 m high ‘Trikuta Hill’, this fort appears to be rising like a mirage out of the sands of the desert. The ramparts of this fort are surrounded by a continuous wall of solid stone blocks forming a double line of defence. The fort is enclosed within 9 km long wall, bolstered with 99 bastions. Jaisalmer fort is home to hundreds of people even today. Its streets are lined with tiny houses with ornamental facades and shops selling knick-knacks and souvenirs. Walking along these streets, it is easy to imagine how people would have been living here during the medieval period. Read More
Travel Tips: Cars have to be parked near the main entrance, whereas auto-rickshaws (tuktuks) can go until the main courtyard. There are a few cafes set along the ramparts of the fort, sitting there with your coffee is an enjoyable experience.
Location: Jaisalmer Fort is situated on a hill around which Jaisalmer town has developed.
Chittorgarh Fort is massive and is the most famous fort in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. It covers about 700 acres of land and once enclosed a huge town. It remained as the seat of power of the mighty rulers of Mewar Kingdom from the early 13th-century to 1567, when Akbar ransacked the fort. This wasn’t the first time that Chittorgarh was ransacked; there were two previous sieges in which the enemies had wreaked havoc on this fort. The geographical location of Chittorgarh had made it vulnerable, hence in 1567 Uday Singh abandoned this fort and shifted to a new city – Udaipur. So, for Chittorgarh, the time has stopped and it only stands to tell the stories of its good and bad times. After living in an oblivion for a long period, Chittorgarh is now becoming popular as a bastion of the erstwhile Mewar Kingdom. Read More
Travel Tips: You need a vehicle to visit the monuments in this fort. Most of the travellers do Chittorgarh as a day tour from Udaipur. You can accomplish visiting all the monuments in about five hours.
Location: Chittorgarh is 122 km east of Udaipur.
Kumbhalgarh must be the largest fortification in the entire country. Its 36 km long wall, encompassing numerous shrines and a palace, is considered to be the second-longest wall in the world. It is this huge wall that has brought Kumbhalgarh in the list of famous forts in Rajasthan. Major attraction in the fort is ‘Badal Mahal’ which is enclosed in the inner ramparts. Apart from exploring the palace, it is an exhilarating experience to roam around in the fort and explore the old shrines. You can also walk along the outer ramparts. Some of the temples situated opposite the ‘Badal Mahal’ are magnificent. Kumbhalgarh is the birth place of Rana Pratap – the celebrated Mewar warrior king. Rana Kumbha built this fort in the 15th century. Read More
Travel Tips: Along with being a heritage destination, Kumbhalgarh doubles up as a hill retreat. It has a few resorts, retreats, and guesthouses. The fort is massive and is dotted with the ruins of numerous temples. To visit the remains of those shrines, you’ll need the help of a guide.
Location: Kumbhalgarh is 102 km north of Udaipur.
Ranthambhore Fort is 1500 ft above sea level and is 500 ft tall. Its ramparts are 7 km long and are bolstered with semi-circular bastions. The view of the surrounding hills and the forests from the ramparts is unforgettable. The large expanse of land within the fort encloses the remains of royal quarters, chambers, pavilions, and shrines. A few temples, a cenotaph, and a mosque have remained in good condition. The land inside the fort is also dotted with several spring-fed ponds. Ranthambhore is amongst the earliest forts of India. As per some of the records, this fort is older than any other fort in Rajasthan. It is situated within the Ranthambhore National Park, 6 km inside the main gate of the sanctuary. The path within the sanctuary meanders through the thickly wooded hills, the drive is scenic and soothing. Read More
Travel Tips: Though Ranthambhore Fort is situated within the protected sanctuary, you can take your car inside. There are a few temples in the fort which are revered by the folks of the surrounding villages, so while climbing the fort you will be amongst the numerous locals and pilgrims.
Location: Ranthambhore Fort is situated in the Ranthambhore National Park and is 170 km south of Jaipur.
Taragarh Fort sits astride on top of a hill and overlooks the town of Bundi. This 14th-century fort belonged to the Hara Clan of Rajputs. You need to take a steep hike of about 30 minutes from the base of the hill to reach the fort. Everything up there is in ruins and largely unmaintained. The major part of the land inside the fort is covered with bushes. You can check out the palace apartments, walk along the ramparts, and climb up to the cannon tower called Bhim Burj. Read More
Travel Tips: The hike to the fort is exerting, so carry enough water. If you want to explore the palaces, do hire a guide from ticket window downhill. For solo women, it is advisable to go accompanied.
Location: Taragarh Fort is situated on a hill that overlooks the town of Bundi, which is 38 km northwest of Kota, and 190 km northeast of Chittorgarh.
The Junagarh Fort, situated in Bikaner, boasts of richly decorated interiors. It is the most well-preserved fort in the western Rajasthan, albeit its location on the flat land makes it less appealing. This fort was built during the rule of Raja Rai Singh in the late 16th century. The land on which this fort stands today is the place where Rao Bika, the founder of Bikaner, had built a fort in 1478. Junagarh encloses palaces, temples, and pavilions. The art and architecture of this fort is impressive.
Travel Tips: This fort is unique as it is the only fort in Rajasthan which stands on a flat land. Hence, it is extremely easy to explore this fort.
Location: Junagarh Fort is right in the middle of Bikaner City, and is 3 km south of Lalgarh Palace.
Here is the playlist of videos of the popular forts in Rajasthan: