The rich cultural and historical saga of Madhya Pradesh unravels in the form of its staggering forts. In fact, many forts tassel the terrain of the state and are like revelations for whoever beholds their beauty and probes their history. Frozen in time, these ancient forts are exquisite specimens of the past and still lure tourists with their eternal magnificence. These imposing forts, steeped with many stories, speak volumes about the rulers and dynasties that formed their imperial seat in the state. Like adept chroniclers of history, they narrate historical tales of love, beauty, valor, trickery and even bloody battles.
For example, the impregnable Asigarh Fort is not only famous for its
stupendous architecture, but also has mysterious stories to trade. The
tenth-century temple of Shiva that it harbors has always been a subject
of ceaseless conversations. On the other hand, the fort of Mandu
resonates with the love and romance of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati,
while the Chanderi Fort, with its Khooni Darwaza, narrates brutal tales
of murder and execution. This article will help you explore various
forts in Madhya Pradesh and dig up ancient stories that they bury.
Situated in the Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh, Asirgarh fort
nestles atop the Satpura mountainous ranges of India, at a height of 850
ft above sea level, and connects two rivers, viz. Narmada and Tapti.
Built by Asa Ahir (Ahir prince called 'Asa'), the fort has earned the
epithet of 'Gateway to the South' or 'Key to the South'. Strong walls,
built of sedimentary rocks, girdle the fort on all sides. A tenth
century Shiva temple and the Jami Masjid located inside its precincts
invest it with lot of mystical significance.
Located at Chanderi in Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh, Chanderi
fort rests southwest to the Betwa River. This unscalable Mughal fort
stands on a hillock, at an elevation of 71 m above the town. Flanked by
three huge gates, it forms a major landmark of the beautiful old town of
Chanderi. The main gate is called the 'Khooni Darwaza' (Gate of Blood).
According to legends, the gate saw the execution of many notorious
criminals and hence was named so. The ruins of the Hawa and Nau-Khanda
Mahals lie inside the fort.
Acclaimed as the most impregnable fort in the whole of Central and
Northern India, Gwalior Fort was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the
15th century. Such is its beauty that it has earned the soubriquet of "The
Pearl amongst Fortresses of India" by the Mughal ruler 'Babur'. It
stretches over an area of 3 sq. km and houses three temples, six palaces
and a large number of water tanks.
Surrounded by green-cloaked hills, Bandhavgarh Fort lies in Umaria
district of Madhya Pradesh. Located atop the Bandhavgarh hill, the fort
soars to a height of 811 m above sea level and forms the centre of the
Bandhavgarh National Park. Rolling valleys separate the many hills near
the fort and ramble to the swampy meadows below. Believed to be about
2000 yr old, this stunning citadel, ruled by many famous dynasties,
finds its name in various ancient texts.
Built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo of Orchha, in 1613, Jhansi fort rests
atop a hill called Bangra, in the town of Jhansi. Encircled by many
gates (Khandero Gate, Datia Gate, Unnao Gate, Jharna Gate, Laxmi Gate,
Sagar Gate, Orchha Gate, Sainyar Gate and Chand Gate), this titanic fort
is a living evidence of erstwhile royal valor and splendor. It preserves
a fine collection of antique sculptures that provides a vivid glimpse to
the history of Bundelkhand region. The main fort area also encloses
Karak Bijli Toup, Rani Jhansi Garden, Shiv temple and a "Mazar".
A striking display of Rajput architectural style, Narwar fort was built
by the Kuchhwaha Rajputs. It is perched on a hilltop at Narwar, in
Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh. At an altitude of 500 ft, it
commands good view of the large vistas below and stretches to an area of
about 8 sq km. The architecture of the fort, characterized by flat
ceilings and fluted columns, is archetypal of Rajput architectural
style. Cross walls erected on the inside of the fort divides it to four
'ahata' and 'dholaahata'. Vibrant paint and glass beads deck its
Rana Singhandev II founded the Gohad fort, but the credit for its
construction goes to Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana, Maharaja Chhatra Singh
and Maharaja Kirat Singh. Circular in shape, the fort lies on the bank
of the Vaisli River, in the Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh. Seven
gates, named after seven villages of the region, form a part of the
edifice. Ancient buildings like the Navin Mahal, Khas Mahal, Shish
Mahal, Sat Bhanwar, Deoghar, Khas Darbar, Am Darbar and R?ni B?gh are
housed inside its premises, along with many Hindu temples.
Mandu Fort or the 'City of Joy' is about 90 km from Indore. An
erstwhile fort capital of the Parmar rulers during the 10th century, the
hilltop fort of Mandu boasts of a quintessential and unique beauty.
Mandu fort covers a perimeter of 82 km and cuddles ruins of palaces,
baths, pavilions and mosques. The most notable is Hoshang Shah's Tomb
that provided the first inspirational notes to the construction of Shah
Jahan's classic monument, the Taj Mahal. Many other pastel-colored
monuments also dot its emerald landscape.