India has several palaces and forts that are on every tourism calendar, and on everyone's must-visit lists. The Amer Fort, for instance, or the Gwalior Fort. But there are quite a few lesser-known ones that dot the country, once glorious but now forgotten. If you've been looking for less crowded places to visit in the post-pandemic world, these are a good choice.
Situated in a gorge in the Kadappa district of Andhra Pradesh, Gandikota is also known as India&rsquos Grand Canyon. Flanked by the Penna River, the hauntingly beautiful valley also houses the Gandikota Fort which once served as the base of many dynasties. The fort houses two temples, a mosque and a couple of other structures. However, the ramshackle structures are filled with debris and sand now. Recently, two underground chambers and eight cannonballs were also found at the site. The place is now a common getaway for city tourists looking to escape the grind.
Also known as Prabalgad Fort, the Kalvantin Durg is located in the Western Ghats, between Matheran and Panvel. Characterised by steep gorges and rivers to its east, west and south, the fort isn&rsquot as easy to access as it looks from the Mumbai-Pune highway. Built on a rocky plateau, it poses a challenging trek to those willing to brave the climb. The history and origin of the fort remain unclear. It was passed on to various kingdoms under signed treaties. Owing to its location at a higher altitude, the fort is frequented only by some and remains isolated for most of the year, especially during the monsoon.
Located on an island close to Mumbai, near the coastal village of Murud, the Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rock in the Arabian Sea. Built by the &lsquofisherman kings&rsquo, the island fort was one of the most difficult to conquer and kept invaders at bay for almost 200 years. The fort remained a sole independent outpost even under the British Raj. After Independence, it was united with the state of Bombay. The structure, with 22 massive bastions and imposing black granite walls, is considered a military marvel. It remains open to tourists who visit in small numbers, and is only accessible by ferry boats from Murud.
Chiktan is located in Kargil district. The brown, sandy town has a population of little over 1,200 and is famous for its dilapidated fort, the Chiktan castle. It bears testimony to the existence of various kingdoms, and now stands atop a mountain, in ruins, rising from the cliff. It was built in the 16th century by Balti craftsmen and is composed of rammed earth and stone masonry with mud mortar. It was also said to incorporate a pirouette room that revolved with the flow of the air. The surrounding snow-capped mountains form a stunning backdrop.