While Rajasthan's grand forts like the Amber Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, and Jaigarh Fort often steal the spotlight, this enchanting Indian state is also home to a treasure trove of lesser-known forts, each steeped in history and exuding its unique charm. These hidden gems allow travellers to delve deeper into Rajasthan's rich heritage, away from the bustling crowds. From the rugged Jalore Fort perched on a towering hill to the quiet serenity of Timangarh Fort, these lesser-explored fortresses are portals to a bygone era waiting to be uncovered. These forts may not be as famous as their counterparts, but they hold their own secrets, waiting for intrepid explorers to unlock their mysteries.
Jalore city boasts a captivating gem in its heart—the Jalore Fort. A creation of the Paramara dynasty in the 10th century, this fort stands tall as one of India's most impregnable structures. Throughout its history, it witnessed numerous conquerors, from the Chouhans and Parmars to Popabai and, finally, the Muslims. Perched at an impressive height of 1200 feet, it exhibits a rugged facade adorned with cannons on the walls and bastions. The fort's four grand entrance gates, known as Dhruv Pol, Suraj Pol, Siroh Pol, and Bal Pol, beckon visitors after a winding ascent. Amidst recent times, the central palace lies in ruin, yet a few mosques within the fort's confines evoke a unique history, believed to have been constructed using the remnants of Hindu shrines and eight Jain temples.
Address: 8JP8+Q9Q, Jalore, Rajasthan
Hours: Open all days from 9 am to 5 pm
Nestled near Masalpur in Karauli District along the old Agra-Karauli highway, Timan Garh, or Timangarh Fort, stands as a historical relic steeped in Rajasthan's rich heritage. Unlike other forts in the region, Timangarh boasts an architectural style that reverberates with India's ancient regal legacy, with its interiors adorned with etched images of deities. The fort's impressive features include around 80 ramparts, a grand entrance called Jaganpole, and twin wells. This architectural marvel, constructed in 1100 AD, derives its name from King Timan Pal, who commissioned its creation. Located approximately 40 km from Karauli, the fort offers a glimpse into India's glorious past.
Address: Masalpur, Umri, Rajasthan
Hours: Open 24 hours every day of the week
Dhikola Fort, a centuries-old sentinel in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, has silently witnessed the ebb and flow of life's tides. As a garrison fort, it holds the secrets of Rajput military strategy, from the traditional khanda swords favoured by kings to muskets and rifles. In the Battle of Samugarh (1658), Dhikola Fort played a significant role as the loyal Shahpura state fought alongside Dara Shikoh's forces against Aurangzeb. Today, the fort stands tall, bathed in tranquillity, offering a serene escape amidst picturesque landscapes.
Address: GRXM+56X, Dheekola, Rajasthan
Hours: Open 24 hours every day of the week
Gagron Fort, a potential UNESCO World Heritage site, graces the banks of the Kali Sindh River in Jhalawar, Rajasthan. Surrounded by lush greenery on three sides, with the river completing the picturesque frame, this vast fortress invites explorers to wander its grand halls. Consider bringing along a guide to make the most of your visit, as the fort's expanse can be labyrinthine. Provisions of food and water are advisable, given the absence of nearby restaurants. Gagron Fort promises a peaceful retreat away from the bustling city, where you can soak in the serene ambience and witness the confluence of the Ahu and Kali Sindh rivers from its vantage point.
Address: J5HP+59X, Gagron, Rajasthan
Hours: Open all days from 9 am to 4 pm
The 18th-century Lohagarh Fort in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, a testament to Jat rulers' valour and architectural prowess, earned its name, "Iron Fort," because British forces could never conquer it. This formidable fort, showcasing superior design, is a living museum of Jat chivalry and courage. It features two grand entrances: Ashtdhaatu (eight-metalled) to the north and Chowburja (four-pillared) to the south. The fort houses notable structures like Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, Kothi Khas, Moti Mahal, and towers such as Jawahar Burj, Fateh Burj, Mahal Khas, Kamra Mahal, and Purana Mahal. Additionally, Lohagarh Fort hosts a government museum displaying a collection of armour and weapons. Encircled by a protective moat, this fort stands as a proud testament to the indomitable spirit of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur.
Address: Lohagarh Fort, Gopalgarh, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Hours: 10 am to 8 pm, Monday closed