Rajasthan is home to one of the proudest clans of India, the Rajputs. While the stories of their bravery, romance, and architecture shine light on the rich history and culture of this state, the ornamented palaces and astonishing forts speak volumes about the architectural legacy of Rajasthan. So let’s dive into the royalty of Rajasthan, with a round-up of the legendary forts and palaces that you MUST visit during your stay here.
Rana Kumbha Palace
Located inside the Chittorgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha Palace was built by Bappa Rawal in 734 AD. This oldest structure inside the fort is the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh, founder of Udaipur City. If legends are to be believed, this is the palace where Maharani Padmini along with 700 other women chose self-immolation when the Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji attacked this palace. It is said that you can still hear the ladies screaming and someone asking for help inside this palace.
Sitting atop a hill, Jaigarh Fort was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century to protect the cities of Jaipur and Amber. It overlooks the Amber Fort and the Maota Lake and features temples, palaces, gardens and other gorgeous architectural structures. This fort has an intriguing history and is home to the massive Jaivana, the Rajput’s and the world’s largest cannon on wheels.
Overlooking the beautiful city of Jaipur, Nahargarh is built on the edge of the Aravalli Hills. This fort is connected to the Jaigarh Fort and the architecture here is a combination of Mughal, Rajput, and European styles. Sawai Raja Man Singh had this fort built specifically for his queens and the locals believe that the king was so passionate about this fort that his ghost still guards it.
Brij Raj Bhavan Palace
Now a heritage hotel, Brij Raj Bhavan Palace in Kota has a mysterious legend associated with it. Indian militants entered this palace and killed Major Burton, an East India Company employee, along with his family during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Ever since then, the Major’s ghost seems to be wandering through the palace’s passages. Although the ghost is not harmful, it does have a habit of slapping security guards who doze on their shifts – or so they say.
A classic blend of the Mughal and Hindu architecture, Amber Palace was the former capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs. Built with white marble and red sandstone, it took approximately 100 years to complete this magnificent structure. Attend the light and sound show, held here once the sun sets, to learn more about the legendary history of this palace.
Considered to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, Bhangarh Fort is located in the Alwar district right at the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve. You will find no villages in the vicinity of this fort because of the supernatural incidents witnessed by the locals. In fact, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has prohibited locals and travellers alike from entering this fort after sunset.
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the oldest forts in this state and is shrouded with mystery and intrigue. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was not only the home of Meera Bai, but it has been witness to the bravery of Gora and Badal (warriors who fought to rescue Ratan Singh). This is also where Rani Karnavati performed Jauhar (self-immolation) with the noble ladies in 1535.
Located in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort has never been conquered, not even once. The on-site museum offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Mughals as well as the Rathore clan. Inside this fort, you will find architectural marvels like the Phool Mahal, Moti Mahal, Daulat Khana, and the Sheesha Mahal.
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Built by Maharaja Umaid Singh, the Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last royal palace built before the independence of India. And there is even an interesting legend behind the construction of this luxurious palace. Jodhpur (Marwar) was struck by the famine in the 1920s and the locals approached the Maharaja for help. In order to employ the locals and give them a daily wage, Maharaja Umaid Singh commissioned the construction of this palace, which was completed in 1943.
All these forts and palaces have some legend or myth associated with them. Visit them all and get an insight on how life was during the reign of the Rajputs.
Location: Rajasthan is located in northwest India and shares a border with Pakistani provinces.
How to Reach: Rajasthan is well connected to other Indian states by road and rail. It is home to three main airports, namely the Udaipur Airport, the Jodhpur Airport, and the Jaipur International Airport.
Official Language: Hindi, English
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Arid or semi-arid climate
Food & Drink: Rajasthani cuisine reflects the locals love for food and it truly is a cuisine that is for Kings. Dal Baati Churma, Ghevar, Balushahi, Laal Maas, Onion Kachori, and Rajasthani Kadi are some of the most popular dishes of this state.
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