Rajasthan is known as the home of one of the proudest clans of India, the Rajputs. The stories of their bravery, romance, and patriotism shine light on the rich history and culture of this state. These clans have also left their mark on Rajasthan by constructing some of the best forts and palaces in the entire country. These structures remind you of the glory and the magnificence of the royalty in the olden days. Some of the legendary forts and palaces that must be visited when in Rajasthan include:
- Hawa Mahal
Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh, the founder of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal, also known as the “The Palace of Winds” is located on the edge of the City Palace. It was designed by Lala Ustad Chand and constructed with red and pink sandstone. Hawa Mahal is known so because it unique five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas through which the breeze flows in and keeps the palace cool.
- Rana Kumbha Palace
Located inside the Chittorgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha Palace was built by Bappa Rawal in 734 AD. The oldest structure inside the fort, this is the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh, the person who founded the city of Udaipur. 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.
- Jaigarh Fort
Sitting atop a hill, Jaigarh Fort was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century to protect the cities of Jaipur and Amber. Inside this fort, you can find temples, palaces, gorgeous architectural structures, and gardens. It is home to the largest weapon of the Rajputs as well as the largest cannon on wheels in the world, Jaivana.
Overlooking the beautiful city of Jaipur, Nahargarh is a fort built on the edge of the Aravalli Hills. This fort is connected to the Jaigarh Fort and the architecture here is a mixture of Mughal, Rajput, and European. Sawai Raja Man Singh had this fort built specifically for his queens. According to local tales, 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. Ever since then the Major’s ghost seems to be wandering the passages here. 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 example of the blend of the Mughal and Hindu architecture, Amber Palace was the former capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs. Built in white marble and red sandstone, it took approximately 100 years to complete the construction of this palace. The light and sound show at sunset tells you about the legendary history of this palace.
- Bhangarh Fort
Considered to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, Bhangarh Fort is located in the Alwar district right on the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve. You will find no villages near this fort because of the supernatural happenings at this fort. In fact, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has prohibited locals and travellers alike from entering this fort after sunset.
- Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the oldest forts in this state and is shrouded with many legends. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was not only the home of Meera Bai, but it has also been witness to the bravery of Gora and Badal (warriors who fought to rescue Ratan Singh). This is also the place where Rani Karnavati performed Jauhar (self-immolation) with the noble ladies in 1535.
- Mehrangarh Fort
Located in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort has never been sieged, not even once. The onsite museum offers you a glimpse at 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. There is a 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 you will get a picture of how life was during the reign of the Rajputs.
- Location: Located in northwest India and shares its borders with Pakistani provinces of Sindh and Punjab.
- How to Reach: Rajasthan is well connected to the other Indian states by roadways and railways. 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 sem-arid climate
- Food & Drink: Rajasthani cuisine reflects the locals love for food, it is truly a cuisine that is fit for Kings. Dal Baati Churma, Ghevar, Balushahi, Laal Maas, Onion Kachori, and Rajasthani Kadi are some of the most popular dishes of this state.