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Amber Fort

Forts and Palaces


Rajasthan ‘The Land of Valour And Chivalry’ is best experienced through its forts and palaces. As Rajasthan straddles the Great Indian Desert Thar and Aravali mountains, its forts and palaces have also incorporated these into its architecture. Most of its forts are located on hilltops, there are palaces bang in the middle of artificial lakes and some are even situated in forest reserves.

The architecture of palaces and forts in Rajasthan draws inspiration from all sources, be it Rajput, Mughal or European. The interiors are opulent, done up with the best objects obtained from all over the world, and befitting to the status of the ruling families. The monuments were and still are usually surrounded with manmade water bodies, lush gardens, fountains and ramparts. The interiors were large complexes, divided into various palaces (separate for males and females), audience halls (for private and public audiences), galleries and temples. In the present day, most of these forts and palaces also have a museum to showcase the armory, costumes and other aspects of the royal families. Several of these palaces and forts are now successful heritage hotels that serve up a slice of royal living.

Some of the most popular forts and palaces of Rajasthan

Amber Fort, Jaipur

Amber Fort was built by Raja Man Singh of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs. A mere 11 km from Jaipur, Amber used to be the capital of the Jaipur estate, until it was shifted to Jaipur city. The Amber Fort is a sprawling complex on top of a hill, with numerous palaces, gardens, temples and other structures inside. It is a fine example of Rajput architecture. The Amber Fort overlooks the Maotha Lake and is reflected beautifully in its calm waters. An elephant ride is the most enjoyable way of reaching the hill top to access the Fort.

City Palace, Jaipur

City Palace is among the most imposing buildings of Jaipur. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan, the City Palace is a massive complex occupying nearly one seventh of the area of the city of Jaipur. The City Palace is a seven storey complex. Numerous palaces, temples, courtyards, gardens, pavilions and other buildings can be found inside the complex. Built according to the tradition of those times, it had a separate zenana section for the ladies.

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

The Palace of Winds or Hawa Mahal is a beautiful red sandstone building rising five storey high. Designed in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna, the purpose of Hawa Mahal was to create an extension to the Zenana section of the City Palace and allow the ladies of the court to view the life of the city from behind purdah. Hawa Mahal is the most famous landmark of Jaipur, recognized by the 953 windows on its facade. The tiny windows with lattice work provide the much needed ventilation and give a pyramid like outline to the building.

Lake Palace, Udaipur

The Lake Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. The Lake Palace was built in the 17th century on a natural foundation of 4 acres of rock. It was initially called Jagniwas after its founder Maharana Jagjit Singh. The rooms are decorated with cusped arches, inland stones of pink color, green lotus leaves and painted mirrors. Among the facilities available are swimming pool, conference hall and a bar. This five star luxury hotel is managed by the Taj Group of Hotels and is considered among the best heritage hotels of Rajasthan.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The stunning red stone palace was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh in 20th century with a purpose to give employment to people. The palace has 347 rooms & counted among the finest palaces of India. A part of the palace is a museum showcasing clocks and tea sets to paintings and royal costumes & the rest of the past is converted into a luxury hotel. The museum is open to visitors for a chosen entry fee and is closed on Mondays. Based on a hill top, the Umaid Bhawan Palace gave a new meaning to luxury from the time of its construction itself. It took over 5000 workers more than 16 years to complete it. Its Indo-Art Deco style broke with the convention of Rajputana architecture; however the palace still had separate residences for males and females according to medieval traditions.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

This fort was built by Rao Jodha and is situated on a 150m high hill; the fort is one of the largest forts in India & still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur. This fort has a museum which houses antiques, ornaments & weapons and literature including some unique products like 'Pea Pulao Poster'. The fort is a delightful mix of elaborate latticed windows, intricately carved panels and gracefully curved porches. Every part of the fort has a distinctive appeal, the Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana all add to the distinct ambience of the fort. High on the wall is the second largest cannon in Asia, whose recoil itself requires as large an area as a football field.

Sardar Samand Palace, Jodhpur

Sardar Samand Palace is just 55 kms away from Jodhpur; It was built in 1933 by the Maharaja of Jodhpur Umaid Singh. The palace was once a beautiful hunting lodge and now turned into a heritage resort, situated on the banks of Sararsamand Lake. The hotel is managed by the Welcome Heritage Group of Hotels. Saradar Samand sports the Art Deco style of architecture.

Devigarh Palace, Udaipur

Devigarh is an all suite property and is called a Boutique Hotel. It has 39 suites, all uniquely designed with a different theme. All the suites are luxurious and beautiful equipped with all modern facilities. The stunning beauty of Devi Garh Palace hotel is second to none. All suites are embellished with semi-precious stones. The public spaces have also been done with different metals. Each suite has a different design concept. Devi Garh is considered to be an ideal place to organize fairy-tale weddings. Devigarh is divided into Presidential suite, Aravali Suite and Garden Suite.

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Rambagh Palace was originally a hunting lodge of the Jaipur royal family. Built in 1835 for the Queen’s handmaiden Kesar, it underwent refurnishing later to make it more suitable as a hunting lodge. Now, it is managed as a fine heritage hotel by the Taj Group of Hotels. It is a beautiful property with mere 106 rooms spread amidst 47 acres of lush gardens. Rambagh is appropriately called the Jewel of Jaipur. The suites here include historical suites, royal suites, grand royal suites and Presidential suites.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

A Mighty Fort; The Great Jewel Of Bikaner; A Fort Never Conquered; The Fort With Mighty Turrets And Battlements; the only way to describe Junagarh Fort is in superlatives. Junagarh Fort was built by Raja Raj Singh and has beautiful palaces, temples and pavilions numbering thirty-seven in all. Built in red sandstone and marble, they are all richly decorated with mirror work, paintings and outstanding stone carvings; the architectural brilliance of the fort is worth seeing. A 986 meter long wall along the periphery stands guard.

Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner

Lalgarh Palace is the pride of Bikaner. This palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881-1942), Sir Swinton Jacob being the chief architect. It is a beautifully designed building, made of red sandstone on a lavish scale and has a perfect blend of Rajput, Mughal and the European style architecture. The palace is adorned with beautiful old paintings & hunting trophies. It has some exquisite latticework and filigree work that is done by craftsmen from Bikaner itself. The Palace has wild peacocks spreading their feathers at almost every step among the flowering rows of bougainvillea.

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan after the Chittorgarh Fort. It rises spectacularly among the golden sands of Jaisalmer. Situated atop the Trikuta Hill in the midst of the Thar Desert, it is a spectacular sight. Jaisalmer Fort was constructed by Raja Jaisal in 1156 AD when he was searching for a site for his new capital. The Fort is made of yellow stone and its name Sonar Kila or Golden Fort from the same. Standing at a height of 250 feet, it is reinforced by a sandstone wall thirty feet high. It has 99 bastions; a majority of these were used as gun platforms. The view from these bastions is spectacular to say the least. The fort has three layers of walls that were a part of an elaborate defense system.

Khimsar Fort, Khimsar

The Khimsar Fort was made by Rao Karamsiji in 1523. In the eighteenth century, a ladies wing was added to the fort according to the tradition of the times and during the 1940s, Thakur Onkar Singh a descendant of the royal family living in Khimsar Fort added a royal wing for his personal use. The magnificent fort is now a grand heritage hotel managed by the Welcome Heritage Group. It has 50 rooms that have been maintained in their original grandeur while modern amenities have been added. Khimsar is 90 km away from Jodhpur that is also the nearest airport. The towns of Khimsar and Jodhpur are connected by rail and road.


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