Saturday 18 May 2013

Ranthambore Fort

Ranthambore Fort is located within the Ranthambore National Park and one has to pass through part of the park to reach the imposing fort complex. Ranthambore Fort is near the Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan. One can take a direct train from Delhi to reach this town as it is on the main Delhi-Bombay rail network. 

Ranthambore Fort wall on a high rocky outcrop

There is confusion as to the date when the fort has been built. According to one state government information the fort has been built around 944 AD whereas the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) states that it has been constructed by Raja Jayanta in 5th Century AD. The Yadavas ruled over it till they were thrown over by Prithviraj Chauhan in 12 Century AD. It still stands tall after nearly 1100 (or shall we say 1500?) years. The most famous ruler of this place was Rao Hammir and the palace inside the fort is named as Hammir Palace. 

Pond inside the Ranthambore Fort

The fort is built on very high rocky outcrop (nearly 700 feet above the surrounding area) and then additionally has insurmountable walls. The fort is spread over  102 hectares and the fort wall circumference is 5.4 km. It is considered as one of the strongest forts in India. This is due to the fact that normally most forts have one strong defence mechanism but Ranthambore has several – built at a height, high walls, surrounded by jungles and water bodies.

32 Pillared Chattri

The 32 pillared Chattri (Cenotaph) looks impressive. It was built by the king's son in memorial of 32 years of the kings rule. The cenotaph was built on a Shiva temple that has a Shivlingam. The temple is dark and the priest invited us to come inside but I declined. Adjacent to this is another half built 32 pillared cenotaph that was being built by the queen. 

A half-finished 32 pillared cenotaph

The fort has several ponds and lakes inside the boundary walls as well as outside. While some of the structures like the Hammir Palace and the cenotaph inside the fort are being restored by the ASI others do lie in a dilapidated state. The Hammir Palace is closed to the public as restoration work is going on.

Hammir Palace

Other important places inside the fort are the Mahadeo Chattri, Samanton ki Havali, a mosque, Jain temple and Ganesha temple. I would be writing a separate post on the religious structures inside the fort.

View from the fort of the water body inside the Ranthambore National Park

Surprisingly there is no entry fee to enter the fort complex. It may be due to lots of locals visiting the fort to go to the Ganesha temple but I feel they should start levying some amount and use that for the upkeep of the place. The locals can be exempted from this charge.

What is the fun in writing your name on the walls?

The amount collected in such way can not only be utilized for upkeep but also then they can keep security guards so that people do not spoil the monuments which are of national importance.

Also read: Ranthambore National Park


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