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18 Great Forts in India That You Must Visit

Manali Oak Jan 16, 2024

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Red Fort
Built in 1639 during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, its architecture is a blend of Persian, Hindu and Timurid traditions, and has influenced many other structures in the country. Constructed in red sandstone, this fort houses several museums.

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Agra Fort

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Built by Emperor Akbar from 1565 to 1573, refined by Shah Jahan, this fort served as a military structure and the place of residence of many kings of the Mughal dynasty. Shah Jahan spent 8 years in imprisonment in this fort, from where he could view the Taj Mahal. Agra fort is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Mehrangarh

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Built by Rao Jodha in 1459, this fort overlooks the blue city of Jodhpur from 410 feet. The royal history of Rajasthan is well-preserved in the Mehrangarh Museum where you can see collections of palanquins, howdahs, turbans, armory and paintings.

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Amer Fort

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Built by Raja Man Singh I in 1592, using red sandstone and marble, this fort is known for its architecture. Its palace houses the famous Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) and Sukh Nivas with an air conditioning mechanism. An underground passage (used as an escape route during wartime) links this fort to Jaigarh Fort.
Jaisalmer Fort
Built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal, a Rajput ruler, this fort is the second-oldest in Rajasthan and a living fort (one fourth of the city's population stays inside the fort). It is also known as the Golden fort because of the yellow sandstone it is constructed in, that houses palaces, havelis and temples.
Chittorgarh
It is believed to have been built by Chitrangada Maurya. According to another legend, it was built by Bhima (from Mahabharata). In 1303 CE, it witnessed one of the biggest jauhars (mass suicide) in history. This fort in included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

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Kumbhalgarh

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Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site grouped under the Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Its perimiter walls that stretch to 36 km are one of the world's longest walls. It is the second-largest fort in India and known for being the birthplace of Maha Rana Pratap.

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Junagarh

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Situated in the Thar desert region, it is one of the few forts that's not built on a hilltop. With various architectural styles, this fort depicts composite culture. Carvings in red and golden sandstones are the highlight. Monuments in the fort depict 16 generations of the Bikaner rulers. It has 7 gates, the Junagarh Fort Museum and many temples and palaces.
Gwalior Fort
Believed to have been existing since the 6th century, this fort consists of many temples and palaces. The two main structures include Man Mandir and Gujari Mahal built by Man Singh Tomar. Queen Mrignayani built the Gujari Mahal palace. The world's second-oldest record of 'zero' can be found in a temple in this fort.
Located near Kollur and other diamond mines, Golconda was a renowned trade center of the Golconda diamonds. Some of the world's most famous diamonds like Koh-i-noor and blue Hope were produced in this region. Katakiyas originally built this fort on a 120-m high granite hill.
Golconda Fort
Built by the Rajput family of Kangra State, located next to Kangra town, it is the largest fort in the Himalayas. Believed to have been built 3,500 years ago by Raja Susharma Chandra, it is perhaps the oldest in India.
Kangra Fort
Panhala Fort
Built by king Bhoja II between 1178 and 1209 CE, it has witnessed many small battles that involved the Marathas, Mughals and the British East India Company. It is among the largest forts in Deccan and most well-known for the battle of Pavankhind.
Daulatabad Fort
Built around 1187 by the first Yadava king Bhillama V, this fort was once the capital of the Delhi Sultanate. It is also known as Devgiri because Lord Shiva is said to have stayed around this region. This fort has no exit gate, the arrangement of entrances and walls is complex, and there are false doors.
Jhansi Fort
Built by Raja Bir Singh Deo in 1613 CE, this fort is well-known for being the place of residence of Rani Lakshmi Bai and the fort that witnessed her bravery in the battle against the British East India Company. It spans an area of 15 acres and has a North Indian style architecture.
Murud-Janjira Fort
One of the strongest sea forts in India, this fort is located on an oval-shaped rock off the Arabian sea coast. It is known for housing 3 enormous cannons, Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam, which had an exceptional shooting range.
Chitadurga
This fort was constructed between 10th and 18th centuries by different kings which included Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. It has several temples, a mosque and a palace along with many granaries, oil pits and water tanks. Due to the rainwater harvesting system in the fort, it never faced shortage of water.
Qila Mubarak
Raja Dab and king Kanishka are believed to have built this fort. It is said to have existed since 1100-1200 AD and is the oldest surviving fort in India. Razia Sultana, the first woman ruler of the Delhi Sultanate was imprisoned in this fort.
Bhangarh
This fort was built by Bhagwant Das, ruler of Amber, around 17th century. One is not allowed to enter this fort after sunset and before sunrise. This fort is known as the most haunted place in India.