No visit to the Ranthambore National Park is complete without seeing the ancient Ranthambore Fort that is located right at the center of the park. It is said to date back to somewhere around 944 AD though opinions differ as to who constructed the fort.
Ranthambore Fort in Rajasthan is one of the oldest forts in India. It was a fiercely contested seat of power between many rulers. In fact, the fort has been a witness to some of the bloodiest battles in Indian history. Legend has it that the Ranthambore Fort is where ten thousand women committed Jauhar or mass suicide to escape dishonor at the hands of enemy in 1381 AD.
The Ranthambore Fort is situated on a hill but there is no path leading to the fort. So you have no option but to take a flight of stairs that starts from the bottom of the hill and leads you to the fort. After a 20-minute climb, you finally reach the fort, which offers a fantastic view of the Ranthambore National Park. Inside the fort there are some old but interesting monuments and buildings. You should not forget to see the Hamir Court, which has some beautiful acoustics. The Ranthambore Fort also houses some temples, including a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh that attracts many pilgrims.
Pols inside the Fort
Built with Rajasthan architecture, Ranthambore Fort has many pols or gates. To name a few, there is Hathi Pol (elephant gate), Bada Darwaza (big gate), Mor Dwara (peacock gate) Ganesh Pol (hindu elephant god gate), Suraj Pol (sun gate) and Navlakha Pol (the nine lakh gate).
Temple of Lord Ganesha
Just at the main gate, one is welcomed by the most revered temple in the Ranthambore fort. Devotees come here to invite Lord Ganesha for various occasions in their family like weddings, births and more.
Open court area, this is an echo corner where one can listen to the echo of even the lowest of whispers. This part was designed with special acoustics so that the sound can be heard in every part of the court.
In the northern section of the fort, the Badal Mahal has huge 84 column halls. This is the place where Hammir Singh used to hold his conferences and meetings.
A water source in the middle of dessert, surprisingly this water source doesn?t dry up even in the state?s harsh summers. Leopards can be seen drinking water here.
Bhamattis Kba Chattri
Dome supported by 32 pillars, though dilapidated now, stand as a mute witness of the royal past of the massive fort. Carvings and murals here are highly impressive.
Things to Do
While on a visit to the grand Ranthambore Fort, one can also visit Kachida Valley, Surwal Lake, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve or National Park and other historical places such as the Jogi Mahal, Raj Bagh Ruins, Ganesha temple and the Jain Temple.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Ranthambore Fort is between the months of October and February. Summers should be avoided as Rajasthan experiences scorching desert heat.
How to Reach
By Air: Jaipur airport at 180 km from Ranthambore is the nearest airport. From you can either take a train or hire a taxi to go to Sawai Madhopur.
By Rail: Sawai Madhopur at 10 km from Ranthambore is the nearest railway station.
By Road: State-run and private buses are easily available in Ranthambore. Taxi cabs can also be hired.
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