In the bygone era, India was divided into multiple different kingdoms. The rulers of each built divinely beautiful palaces to reside in, and inviolable fortresses to guard them. In this post, we’ll tell you all about the famous palaces and forts of India, their mysteries, and their fascinating histories.
If you aren’t jealous already, these folks also built forts to protect their (luxury pro max) palaces, and glorify themselves. In today’s post, we’ll tell you all about the famous palaces and forts of India, their mysterious and fascinating histories.
1. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
One of the most stunning forts of India is Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh. From carvings and paintings to sculptures, the fort is a showcase of tasteful art at an elevation of 400 meters. Rao Jodha started building Mehrangarh in 1459. It took 500 years to make it look the way it does today. Several descendants of his contributed to the construction of this majestic fort. To know more please check, 30 fantastic places to visit in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
After ruling Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, the Rathores moved to Jodhpur and established Mehrangarh as their headquarters. The fort has seven gates, each built to commemorate the kingdom’s victories. The dynasty’s riches can be seen from the fabulously ornamented mahals of the fort.
The Sheesh Mahal was the royal family’s private praying space. The Phool Mahal was Abhay Singh’s contribution to the Sun Fort. Pure gold, which was won upon defeating the Mughal governor, Sarbuland Khan, decorates the walls of this mahal. Jaswant Singh II and Pratap Singh further decorated this mahal with portraits, raga mala, and paintings. In the Takhat Vilas, one can find paintings of Lord Krishna, Dhola Maru, and some other authentic Rajasthani scene depictions.
Other highlights of the Mehrangarh Fort are the Moti Mahal, Umaid Vilas, Sardar Vilas, Jhanki Mahal, and Khabka Mahal.
2. Mysore Palace, Mysore
Mysore is famous as the city of palaces. With 7 dignified palaces, it is a feast for the lovers of History. The star of all is the Mysore Palace. The foundation stone was laid in the 14th century by the rulers of Wadiyar dynasty. The structure was initially built using wood. In the six centuries of its existence, the fort has been reconstructed numerous times, as the wooden structure was highly susceptible to damage.
From lightning, fire, and the ruler’s whim, the range of reasons for reconstruction is wide. This fort was last rebuilt with Henry Irwin’s architecture between 1897-1912. The Mysore Palace is not that historic afterall.
Reconstruction was a fairly expensive affair. Artifacts and furniture that ornament the castle were imported from all across the globe. Everything, from the floor tiles, the skilfully carved doors, to the stained glass on the ceiling, screams uniqueness and magnificence. One can see elements of Hindu, Mughal, Gothic, and Rajput architectural styles.
With such opulence, Mysore Palace is indeed one among the most picturesque forts and palaces of India. The Gombe Thotti, Kalyana Mantap, Ambavilasa, and the Casket Room will awaken your inner photographer, and you’re sure to come back with a gallery brimming with stunning shots for the gram!
And this is not it! Mysore has so much more to offer. For a thorough traverse, the travelers should stay in town for a minimum of 2.5 to 3 days. Mysore is a wondrous place for a holiday, to know more please check the 11 coolest things to do at night in Mysore.
3. Shaniwarwada Fort, Pune
A trip to Pune is incomplete if the traveler doesn’t visit the city’s historic monuments. The most talked-about is Shaniwarwada Fort. The Prime Ministers of the Maratha rulers resided in this fort of Pune. This exquisite fortification, which boasted of a rich Maratha Imperial architecture back in the day, was built over 625 acres of land by Peshwa Baji Rao-I in 1732.
A lot has been written about the beauty of the premises. One can only close their eyes and imagine the splendor of the Aayna Mahal, also known as the Juna Arsa Mahal, which could be illuminated by one small candle or diya. Scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata were depicted on the walls of the grand palace.
The Peshwas were devotees of Lord Ganesha. The Ganpati Rang Mahal was, hence, built to carry out all the religious ceremonies. The Hazari Karanje is a fountain that has a thousand jets arranged in the shape of a lotus.
The first storey of Shaniwarwada was built using stone, while the remaining ones on top were made out of bricks. The ground floor was hence much stronger than the storeys made above. These floors could not survive the British artillary’s attacks, and collapsed. In the year 1818, the East India Company snatched the wada from the Peshwas. A major portion of the fort was consumed by an unexplainable fire which broke out in February, 1828.
In the present day, this old edifice is in a state of tatters. The history buffs can still visit the place to admire the spiked gates, Nana Wada, Vishrambaug Wada, Lal Mahal, the various temples, Mahatma Phule, and Raja Dinkar museums, etc.
Pune is home to a number of famous palaces and forts of India, which a tourist can explore, along with experiencing the happening nightlife. What are you waiting for? Prepare your itinerary, book a hotel, pack your bags, and get set to put your explorer’s hat on. The cultural capital of Maharashtra has a lot to offer. To know more, please check 24 things to do in Pune to have a great day.
The Lohagad Fort lies in Lonavala, a hill station close to Pune. It was built in the 14th century and has seen several dynasties come and go. The Lohagad Fort of Maharashtra indeed justifies its name. The resilient structure has been through numerous battles, but even after all these centuries, it stands tall.
In today’s times, a trip to Lonavala is considered incomplete if a traveler doesn’t visit Lohagad, one of the strongest forts of India. It’s one of the favorite spots for those who enjoy trekking. The town has been developed as a tourist destination due to a large number of tourists it hosts every year. Hence, one can enjoy a good laid-back holiday exploring the history and adventures of this town.
5. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
Golconda Fort of Hyderabad is one of the most famous forts of India. It was built by the Rajah of Warangal in the 13th century, atop a granite hill. It was initially built out of mud and named Mankal. This fort was built to guard the Kakatiya empire from the West. However, soon after, it was taken over by the Musunuri, Bahamani, and Qutb Shahi dynasties.
There are 23 diamond mines, including the Kollur Mine, near the Golconda Fort. Kohinoor, the diamond that now adorns the crown of Queen Elizabeth II, was extracted at one of these mines.
Planted at the premises is a 400-years old African Baobab Tree, commonly known as “Hatiyan ka Jhad.” It is believed that the Arabian traders gifted this tree to Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah. Hyderabad has something for everyone, to know more please check a complete list of things and places Hyderabad is famous for.
One can still find mounted cannons, drawbridges, halls, and gateways in this dilapidated architectural marvel. Several believe that the fort is haunted, which is why the place is vacated after 5:30 PM.
6. Sakthan Thampuran Palace, Thrissur
The Sakthan Thampuran Palace of Thrissur is also known as Vadakkekara Palace. It is a part of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam dynasty’s alluring heritage. It was formerly known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam. Ramavarma Thampuran reconstructed the old structure in a Keralan-Dutch style in 1795.
The palace was given two storeys with really high roofs and extra thick walls. The attractive marble on the floors was imported from Italy. In the year 2005, the palace was converted into a museum and is now preserved by the Archaeological Department of India. It has several galleries and a serpent grove, known as Sarpakaavu in vernacular. One can find idols of Naja Raja and Nagayakshi in the grove.
All the rich legacy that is housed in the Sakthan Thampuran Palace makes it absolute must to add the it to the list of famous forts and palaces of India.
7. Sajjangarh Fort (Monsoon Palace), Udaipur
The Sajjangarh Fort, also known as the Monsoon Palace, was built in 1884 by Maharana Sajjan Singh of Udaipur. It’s the crown jewel of Udaipur. One can see the Monsoon Palace from almost all parts of the city. Here is some interesting stuff to draw you towards this architectural marvel built in the good ol’ days:
- It was originally built as an astronomical center to help track the weather and monsoon. Sajjangarh Fort is the best place in the country to admire rain and clouds. Hence, the nickname.
- It was supposed to be 9 stories tall, but after the Maharana’s demise, the plan to construct it further was dropped.
- The construction was completed under the reign of Maharana Fateh Sagar. The abode was later used by his family as a hunting lodge.
- It is surrounded by the Sajjangarh Wildlife Century, that’s home to tigers, boars, panthers, jackals, and several other animals.
Make the most of your stay at Udaipur, and explore the forts, monuments, and culture in the cities nearby. The ‘City of Lakes’ has something for everyone and especially for all the history lovers you can check out the 16 best places to see in Udaipur in one day.
8. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh
Let’s move on to one of the largest forts of India. Once upon a time, the Chittorgarh Fort was home to Rani Padmavati. Yes, the same beautiful queen people just wanted to catch a glimpse of. It was built sometime in the 7th Century A.D. by the local Mauryans. The fort has witnessed several tragedies, defeats, and jauhars. Someone who’s up for a spook should visit this place at night, as it is reportedly haunted.
The last remnants of one of the most legendary forts of India are several temples, the ruins of Rana Kumbha Palace, the restored Padmini Palace, the towers of Victory and Fame, and the seven gates, known as pols, of the fort. The Chittorgarh Fort was built with around 84 water bodies. Out of all, only 22 survived the wrath of wars and time.
The Rana Kumbha Palace is now in a ruined state. The abode once served as residence to Meerabai. The mass-Jauhar performed by Rani Padmavati and the wives of all the soldiers who participated in the battle against Alauddin Khilji took place in this mahal.
The Padmini Palace, which Rawal Ratan Singh had built for his divinely alluring wife, was restored in the 19th century. One can visit the palace to understand where and how Khilji saw her reflection and decided to possess her.
One can witness the Indo-Aryan architecture in the Meerabai Temple built in 1449, in honor of the princess. As Meerabai was a devotee of Lord Krishna, her temple has been built beside the Kumbha Shyam Mandir.
Upon defeating Mohammed Khilji, Maharana Kumbha built a Vijay Stambh (the Tower of Victory). It takes a flight of 157 stairs to reach the terrace of this 9-storeyed tower. The Tower of Fame, named Keerti Stambh, is dedicated to the first Jain tirthankar, Adinath Ji. This tower is seven storeys tall.
Chittorgarh is around 111 kilometers away from Udaipur. While visiting the Venice of East, one can take a fun road trip to Chittorgarh, and visit this monument.
9. City Palace, Jaipur
The City Palace of Jaipur was built by the founder of the city, Sawai Jai Singh II, around the same time when the city was established. Designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya and Samuel S. Jacob, the palace showcases Indian, Mughal, as well as European influences. The initially built structure was further developed as the generations passed.
The royal family of Jaipur still resides in a portion of this grand palace. The remaining part has been turned into a museum and a school. The list of attractions includes outfits and jewelry of several kings and queens, gigantic vessels, cannons, palanquins, chariots, and the four gates that represent four seasons and deities.
Like all royal palaces, this too has the Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khaas, which were used by the rulers to hold meetings. Travelers can find audio guides in various languages.
The City Palace makes a great destination for photoshoots and video shoots. In recent times, this famous palace has also emerged as a royal venue for Indian weddings. If you’re visiting City Palace in Jaipur, you should surely check the 14 most popular places to visit near Jaipur to make your trip a worthwhile one.
10. Gwalior Fort, Gwalior
This palatial 10th century fort is built atop a hill in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. It’s popular as a pearl among all the forts of India. The mighty fort can be seen from all the vantage points of Gwalior. It’s believed to have been built in 3 CE. After being in Suraj Sen’s family for 83 generations, the fort was invaded by a number of rulers. The throne was held by the Tomars, Mughals, Marathas, British, and lastly, the Scindias.
Reportedly one of the oldest and the largest forts of India, it encompasses three temples and six palaces. The ones interested in knowing more about the fort and the ones who resided in it can attend forts light and sound show that happens every evening. One can hear the stories in Hindi, as well as English.
We hope this History lesson kindled your curiosity and inspired you to hop on to the next flight to visit each one of them! Are there any more palaces and forts of India which you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!