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Rajasthan Forts And Palaces

Amber Fort - Jaipur

Raja Man Singh built Amer Palace in 16th century. It is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Rajputs made use of this Amber Fort from the 16th Amber Fort Jaipurcentury up to the foundation of Jaipur in 1727. The Amber Fort was used by the Rajputs both for defense purpose as well as the residential purposes. Thus within its mighty walls, one finds charming gardens and magnificent palaces made from marble and precious stones, richly decorated with intricate stonemason works and paintings, which represented royal splendor and luxury.

Situated at Jaipur, the reflection of Amber Fort in the lake below looks almost divine. It is not at all surprising to know that this majestic and stately fort was once the Capital of Minas. Amer Fort houses Jai Mandir, a famous temple which has Sheesh Mahal, a beautiful hall of mirrors that are so artistically set that even a tiny ray of light gets reflected in the mirrors and illumines the hall dazzlingly. Sheesh Mahal is famous all over the world as one of the most desirable tourist attraction. Other places of interest in this fort are Sukh Niwas and Ganesh Pole.

Chittorgarh Fort - Chittorgarh

The Chittorgarh Fort has witnessed three bloody sieges and 'jauhars' (a Rajput tradition in which royal maidens and ladies immolate Desert Festival themselves in the fire to save their honor from the cruel hands of the enemy, when there is no chance of defeating the enemy). The walls and the atmosphere is still haunted with the gloom of despair, valiant pride of the Rajput queens and ladies and sheer zeal and bravery of their men

who refused to cow down before the enemy. The Rajput style of architecture is clearly visible in the fort, which is said to be the Gahlot and Sisodia ruler of Mewar from the 8th to the 16th century. Named after Chittrangad Mauraya, the magnificent fort rises 150 m above the surrounding region and runs to an approximate length of 3 km covering an area of 60 acres and peripheral length of 13 km.

The legend says that when the talks of Rani Padmini's beauty reched the years of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, the powerful ruler of Delhi, he requested her husband, Rana Rattan Singh, for a glimpse of the queen. Though, it went against the honor code of Rajputs, yet he was allowed to get a glimpse of the queen through the reflection of the queen in a water tank that overlooked the palace. Alauddin, then, had the audacity to attack Chittor to gain her possession. He won the war but lost Rani Padmini who committed 'jauhar' to save her honor.

The entrance of the Chittorgarh has seven massive gates, the two towers known as the 'Kirti Stambh' (Tower of Fame) and the 'Vijay Stambh' (Tower of Victory) along with several temples, reservoirs, and palaces dating between the 9th and 17th centuries

Gadsisar Sagar Jaisalmer

Gadsisar Tank is situated south of the city walls of Jailalmer. It was once the main source of water supply to the city and is surrounded by Nagaur Fairsmall temples and shrines. It looks quite beautiful with its elaborate arched way and calm waters. Winters are even chirpier with a variety of water birds that flock here and there. An interesting legend finds its place in the construction of the beautiful arched gate.

It is said that a beautiful and renowned courtesan offered Maharaja to pay for its construction. However, Maharaja considered it derogatory to take money from a prostitute and let the gateway be built with it, more so, the one through which he would have to pass every time he goes to the tank and comes back. He refused the offer. The offended lady waited for her opportunity and when Maharaja went out of the city, she got the gateway built and crowned it with a Krishna temple, so that the king could not break it, when he came back.

Jaigarh Fort Jaipur

Not very far from the Amber Fort, Raja Sawai Jai Singh built the Jaigarh Fort (translated as fort of victory) in 1726. This former royal Kite Festival treasury in Jaipur is remarkably well preserved for the military structures of that period and is regarded as one of the three mightiest forts of India. The fort crowns a cliff and is surrounded by huge fortification walls, which have inside pathways that offer astounding views on all sides. It houses the

World's largest cannon on wheel, Jaivan. Its meticulate planning is quite evident in its intricate water supply and storage system. Similar to Amber Fort, in structure, Jaigarh Fort provides some spectacular views of Jaipur and Amber Fort from the Diwa Burj watchtower. There were rumors that there was a large treasure of gold buried in the premises of the fort. Thus, it had to be sealed from the public for seven long years. Now, it has been opened to the public to display its several beautiful palaces, gardens, its granary, an armory which has a stunning collection of arms and weapons and its temples.

Jaisalmer Fort-Jaisalmer

Crowning Trikuta Hills, the majestic fort of Jailalmer is more than 800 years old. Made of golden yellow sandstone, the fort stands in the Jaisalmer Fort-Jaisalmer heart of the Thar desert, and has witnessed better times of wealth and prosperity when it was an important trade centre and fell on the ancient silk routes. The valiant rulers, and intricately carved stonework in its palaces and havelis marked the old city of Jaisalmer. The fort, amongst

the amber hued sands of the city, is surrounded by the fortification walls and 99 turrets. Overlooking the city from 30 meters above, it houses an an entire living area and narrow winding lakes that twist like snake and are a pleasure to walk through. The four entrances of the fort, Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoot Pol and Hawa Pol, lead you to havelis with the most delicate, latticed windows and a group of Jain temples that date back from 12th century to the 15th century. There are five interconnected palaces in this sandcastle. Jaisalmer Fort has the distinction of being the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and being the oldest living fort in India.

Jal Mahal Jaipur

Built to be a pleasure palace for the royal family in 1799, Jal Mahal Palace (translated as Water Palace) of Jaipur is an extremely romantic place with its red sandstone intricate architecture casting beautiful reflections in the calm waters of the Man Sagar Lake, full of hyacinths. Surrounded by Nahargarh Hills, Jal Mahal is known for its majestic architecture and sophisticated design. It was once used for the royal duck shooting parties.

It has also been home to one of the prime ministers of Jaipur estate. Though abandoned, it is very well-preserved and provides a picturesque view from Nahargarh Fort. Set opposite the cenotaphs of the royal family, the first four floors of Jal Mahal is under water and only the top floor is above the water level. The lake eco system is a favorite home of a number of migratory and resident birds. The Mansagar Dam is situated on the eastern side of the lake and provides a good vantage point for viewing the lake and the valley.

Junagarh Fort Bikaner

Junagarh Fort of Bikaner was built by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most able and trusted generals of Akbar, in 1587. The fort is surrounded by a high wall and deep moats. There are 37 bastions guarding the fort with only two gates as the entrance pathway to the fort, the main one being the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate. The Junagarh Fort has yet been unconquered excepting the brief victory of Kamaran, which he could not retain for more than 24 hours.

Just like the 37 bastions, there are 37 red sandstone marvels inside the premises of the fort, which include palaces with intricately carved windoes, delicate balconies, towers and kiosks, temples and pavilions. The highlights are the Chandra Mahal or the Moon Palace decorated beautifully with mirrors, paintings and carved marble panels, the Phool Mahal or the Flower Palace, the Karan Mahal and definitely the multi-storeyed Anup Mahal, which was once used as the governance chambers for the rulers. Ganga Niwas, Dungar Niwas, Vijai Mahal or Victory Palace, and Rang Mahal or Color Palace are also fine examples of the splendid architecture. The fort also houses a museum with an extensive collection of illuminated and rare manuscripts, jewellery, utensils, carpets, arms and weapons, treaties and other royal paraphernalia.

Kumbhalgarh Fort Udaipur

84 km from Udaipur, Maharana Kumbha built Kummbhalgarh Fort in the 15th century. It is the second most important fort in Rajasthan after the Chittaurgarh Fort. Crowning Kumbhalgarh Fort Udaipur the Aravalli Hills, the fort is not so easily accessible with seven great gates that stand guarding its entrance. Just 6 kms, from the Kumbalgarh Sanctuary, this mighty fort boasts of some great temples and the Badal Mahal or the Cloud Palace, which gives scenic view of the city.

The unwelcoming topography the fort made it invincible and served as a refuge to the rulers of Mewar, especially the baby king Udai. The fort fell only once to the combined armies of Mughal and of Amber and that too, not for the want of any technicality or chivalry on the part of the brave Rajputs, but for scarcity of drinking water. The birthplace of the legendary leader, King Maharana Partap, marks it with sentimental significance. The 36 km long fortification wall is wide enough to take eight horses at once.

Lalgarh Palace Bikaner

Oriental fantasy and European comforts are blended together most tastefully in the Lalgarh Palace of Bikaner. Maharaja Ganga Singh built Lalgarh Palace. There are Lalgarh Palace Bikaner terraced lawns that have been artistically planned and are in forever bloom with Bougainvillea bushes and peacocks that charm almost everybody who witness it. The palace has now been turned partly into a heritage hotel, while the other

part still serves as the royal residence. The elaborate filigree work and intricate latticework are glorious achievements of the craftsmanship. The museum of the palace boasts of some well preserved hunting trophies, royal portraits and old photographs. The palace also houses a library, which is said to be the largest collection of original and rare Sanskrit manuscripts on parchments, copper and gold or silver plaques.

Meharangarh Fort Jodhpur

One of the largest forts in India, Mehrangarh Fort holds its place on a steep hill. The number of palaces in its premises are made of sandstone and are excellent examples of Meharangarh Fort Jodhpur stone the highlights of the palace are Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace, which has a delicately carved stone screen and houses the Sringar Chowki, royal throne of Jodhpur, Umaid Villas that displays Rajput miniature paintings, Ajit Villas

that houses musical instruments and royal costumes and a beautiful mirror room. Phool Mahal or the Flower Palace depicts musical moods in its paintings. It houses the Jodhpur Coat of Arms is kept in the Phool Mahal. Walls of this Flower Palace is covered with paintings depicting various musical moods. Maan Villas displays weapons and arms of Rathore and the 'Tent room', which used to be an imperial Mughal campaign tent. It was used by Shahjahan and now, it is displayed as a trophy of victory of Jaswant Singh over Aurangzeb in a battle. It is beautiful to behold the royal tent with its red velvet and golden embroidery.

Nahargarh Fort Jaipur

Cradled in the Nahargarh Hills, the Nahargarh Fort of Jaipur was built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh in 1734. Jaipur was the capital of Raja Jai Singh II and Nahargarh was a fitting standguard, rightly called the Tiger Fort. It was the first of the three forts built by the rulers of Jaipur. Though in ruins, there are lovelyNahargarh Fort Jaipur buildings that the fort houses, added by Sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II in the 19th century, which

are well preserved. It provides some breathtaking views of the Man Sagar Lake and the city below. Interesting folklores ring in every nook and corner of the fort. A palatial duck blind stands gracefully in the midst of the lake, which once lured the shooting parties of the royal family. It has also served as a personal treasury for years and a royal retreat for the queens.

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