India's Most Historic Forts

India's Most Historic Forts

India    24.04.2015    Transindus

The history of India can be explored through its many forts. These defensive buildings were created across the country during the various struggles to keep invading powers out. Today, they stand as testament to the conflicts of the past, often quiet and tranquil places, with stunning views out across the surrounding landscapes.

Red Fort

One of India's most famous military structures is the Red Fort in Delhi, which was originally founded by Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648. After the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar was driven from the fort in 1857 and exiled to Burma, the British colonialists converted it into a barracks.

This involved removing many of the beautiful buildings inside and constructing practical blocks to house soldiers instead. Despite this, it is worth seeing what is left of the fort, which was built out of a red sandstone that gives it its name. Massive 18-metre high walls still surround the complex.

Agra Fort

The most famous sight in Agra may be a certain mausoleum, but it is also home to one of the finest examples of a Mughal fort to be found anywhere in India. Occupying the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra Fort has been added to and evolved ever since Emperor Akbar started building it in 1565.

He started the masterpiece in red sandstone, but Shah Jahan, his grandson was particularly fond of white marble, so it is easy to identify his additions. Over the years it has functioned as a military fort, a palace and a gilded prison.

Jaisalmer Fort

What is unique about Jaisalmer Fort is that it is a hive of activity, with some 3,000 people still living in it to this day. Stepping inside, visitors will find themselves amid a network of winding alleyways, houses, temples, shops, restaurants and even guesthouses, all centred around the Dashera Chowk Square.

Jaisal, the Rajput ruler, started work on the fort in 1156 and it went on to be the site of battles with the Bhatis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. Housing so many of the local population in modern times, it continues to be a living and evolving structure.

Golconda Fort

Despite the fact that the majority of the Golconda Fort that can be seen today was built by the Qutb Shah Kings in the 16th century, there has been a military structure on the site since much earlier. A mud fort is thought to have existed here as long ago as during the reigns of the Yadavas and Kakatiyas.

For 80 years, the fort at Golconda stood in the capital of the independent state, but in 1590, Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah abandoned it in favour of the city of Hyderabad. The impressive crenellated ramparts and gates studded with iron spikes can be seen from miles around, as the fort is situated atop a 120-metre tall granite hill.

Daulatabad Fort

It may be ruined, but the Daulatabad Fort is still worth a visit for a glimpse of its former splendour. The complex can be found around 15 kilometres outside of Aurangabad on the road to Ellora. Built by the Yadava kings in the 12th century and renamed Daulatabad, meaning City of Fortune in 1328, the fort is surrounded by an expansive five-kilometre long battlement.

The year of its new moniker coincided with Delhi sultan Mohammed Tughlaq's decision to relocate his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. This involved marching the entire population of the city some 1,100 kilometres to reach the new location. After discovering that Daulatabad was untenable strategically, the people then had to retrace their steps.