Rajasthan’s forts and palaces stand strong even today and speak of a glorious past. Their architecture and beauty are truly marvelous, and the grandeur is known to have made eyes sparkle, and heart skip a beat. As you wander through narrow passages, and run your fingers on curlicued carvings on the walls, you can feel the kind of craftsmanship that well intro their construction.
The only problem tourists face is not being sure of which all to include in their itinerary. To help them, here is a list of most inspiring palaces and forts in Rajasthan so that next time you take a Rajasthan tour, you know what you want to see!
Historic forts in Rajasthan
1. Amer Fort, Jaipur – Take the royal elephant ride to the hilltop
Amer Fort is a fort cum palace that greets you with warm Rajasthani folk music and mesmerizes you with its beauty. Precision of carvings and embedment of stones prove that it is a finely-crafted marvel. Being perched on a hillock of Aravali Range, Amer Fort has been regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other hill forts of Rajasthan.
Highlights of the fort: Elephant rides, incredible view of the city, Diwan-e-khas, Diwan-e-aam, Sukh Niwas and Sheesh Mahal
Entry fee: INR 100 per person (Indians) and INR 10 per person(Indian students) | INR 500 per person (Foreigner) and INR 100 per person (Foreign students)
Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm | Light show: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Tourist attractions near Amer Fort: Jal Mahal, City Palace Jaipur, Hawa Mahal and Nahargarh Palace
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2. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur – Watch the Blue City from this fort in Rajasthan
Overlooking the Blue City of Jodhpur from a height from 125 meters, Mehrangarh Fort was commissioned back in 1460 by Rao Jodha. This rigid yet fascinating structure has been featured in many movies, like The Dark Knight Rises and Awarapan. The fort has many palaces that flaunt immaculate carving and the signature interiors of the regal Rajasthan in the past.
Highlights of Mehrangarh Fort: View of the Blue City, seven gates called Pol, museum (housing armoury, paintings, documents, etc. ), temples and palaces
Entry fee: INR 70 per person (Indians) | INR 600 per person (Foreigners)
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tourist attractions near MehrangarhFort: Jaswant Thada, Balsamand Lake, Umaid Bhavan Palace and Kaylana Lake are among the best places to visit in Jodhpur.
3. Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer – Treat your eyes to the golden charm
One of the largest forts in India, Jaisalmer Fort was built in 1156 AD by King Rawal Jaisal. Merging with the golden desertscape of Jaisalmer, it is often regarded as Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort. The fort is nestled on a hill, 76 meters above the city and is located in the heart of Jodhpur.
Highlights of Jaisalmer Fort: Four grand entrances, Royal Palace, Lakshminath Temple, Jaisalmer Fort Palace Museum and Heritage Centre and palaces of the merchants
Entry fee: Entry is free for the fort. However, camera charges (INR 50 for still and INR 100 for video) are applicable for entering Jaisalmer Fort Palace Museum and Heritage Centre
Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tourist attractions to visit near Jaisalmer Fort: Bada Bagh and Salim Singh Ki Haveli are two of the best places to visit in Jaisalmer.
4. Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore National Park – Embrace the beauty of wilderness
One of the most popular forts in Rajasthan, Ranthambore Fort is located in the largest national park of Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park. Snuggled in the warmth of wilderness, Ranthambore Fort was built in the middle of tenth century. However, the exact date of its construction is yet disputed.
Like the other hill forts of Rajasthan, the entrance of Ranthambore Fort is led through stairwell and looks upon a vast expanse of the verdant vicinity.
Highlights of Ranthambore Fort: Jungle safari in Ranthambore National Park, breathtaking views of the area, Jain Temple and Lord Sumatinath Temple
Entry fee: INR 25 per person (Indians) | INR 200 per person (Foreigners) – Same as Ranthambore National Park
Timings: 6:30 am to 10:00 am and 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Tourist attractions near Ranthambore Fort: Raj Bagh Ruins, Malik Talao, Kachida Valley, Surwal Lake and Jogi Mahal
5. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh – Catch the reflections of the remnants in its 22 waterbodies
Built on 180 meters-high hill, Chittorgarh Fort is spread over an expansive area of 700 acres with seven massive gateways called Pol. It is also often known as Water Fort, as there are about 22 water bodies inside the fort.
Interestingly, the Chittorgarh Fort has been destroyed thrice and has witnessed the reign of three rulers – Allauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah and Maharana Udai Singh.
Highlights of Chittorgarh Fort: Kirti Stambha, Vijay Stambha, Padmini’s Palace, Gaumukh Reservoir, Fateh Prakash Palace, Rana Kumbha Palace, Meera Temple and annual Jauhar Mela
Entry fees: INR 5 per person (Indians) | INR 100 per person (Foreigners)
Timings: 9:45 am to 5:15 pm
Tourist attractions near Chittorgarh Fort: Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary
6. Taragarh Fort, Bundi – Find yourself in a Rajputana fairytale
Counted among the best forts in Rajasthan, Taragarh Fort served as a center for military activities during the Mughal rule in Ajmer. Also, it was known for its tunnels that went through the entire hill it stands on.
Built in 1354 AD, the fort offers an impressive panoramic view of the area. Its three main gateways – Gagudi Ki Phatak, Lakshmi Pol and Phuta Darwaza – are key tourist attractions here.
Highlights of the fort: Gateways, impressive view of the area, tunnels, reservoirs made by chiselling the rock, Rani Mahal and Miran Saheb Ki Dargah
Entry fee: None
Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Tourist attractions near Taragarh Fort: Sukh Mahal, 84-pillared Cenotaphs and Dhabai Kund
7. Gagron Fort, Jhalawar – The fort that witnessed 14 battles
Sitting on a hill, in the middle of a river, Gagron Fort is a specimen of architecture that speaks of strength and displays various aspects of Rajasthani signature style. In the 12th century, it was built by Dor (Doda) Rajputs, but later, Mughals ruled the fort for many generations. In all, the fort witnessed 14 battles and still stands strong.
Gagron Fort is also in the list of UNESCO Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Highlights of Gagron Fort: Glistening river on three sides
Entry fee: None
Timings: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
Tourist attractions near Gagron Fort: Prithvi Vilas Palace, Bhawani Natya Sabha and Chandrabhaga Temples
8. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajsamand – The second greatest wall in the world
Birthplaces of the great Mewar Ruler, Maharana Pratap, Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the most popular and best forts in Rajasthan. It was built by Maharana Kumbha in 15th century, after whom the fort is named.
Interestingly, Kumbhalgarh is also revered for having second-longest wall in the world, covering an area of 36 km sq. The route to the fort too is an interesting one, as ravines and thick woods greet you. If you are planning a visit here, pick a nice stay from the best hotels in Kumbhalgarh and explore the fort at leisure.
Highlights of Kumbhalgarh Fort: 36 km long fortified walls, Badal Mahal, fantastic panoramic vista of locale, seven massive gateways, Jain Temple and Hindu Temple
Entry fee: INR 10 per person (Indians) | INR 100 per person (Foreigners)
Timings: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tourist attractions near Kumbhalgarh Fort: Rajsamand Lake
9. Junagarh Fort, Bikaner – Displaying marvellous artwork
Among the most immaculately crafted Rajasthan heritage forts, Junagarh deserves a special mention. This fort in Bikaner, is one of the few forts of Rajasthan which aren’t built on a ridge. Junagarh Fort, being the beauty it is and was, stole hearts of many rulers, which led to many attacks to conquer it. However, nobody won except Kamran Mirza (Son of Babar) who did it for merely a day.
Highlights of Junagarh Fort: Grand gateways, Fort Museum, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Karan Mahal, Phool Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Badal Mahal and Anup Mahal
Entry fee: INR 50 (Indians) | INR 300 (Foreigners)
Timings: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Tourist attractions near Junagarh Fort: National Research Centre on Camel
10. Bala Quila, Alwar – Relive the golden era
Bala Quila, or Alwar Fort is an important landmark of the Alwar city and is located atop a hill in the Aravali Range. A 16th century fort, it has been under the rule of Jats, Maratha, Mughals and Kachwaha Rajputs. Salim Mahal, inside the fort, is where Jahangir stayed for sometime before getting caught by his father, Akbar.
Highlights of Bala Quila: Get to spot beautiful peacocks along the way, lovely route, magnificent view of the area
Entry fee: None
Timings: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Note: During monsoon, the route to Bala Quila gets difficult, and makes it difficult to explore the fort
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Historic palaces in Rajasthan
11. Jal Mahal, Jaipur – Treat your eyes to a perfect vista with lake and hills
In 1750, Jal Mahal was built by Maharaja Jai Singh for picnics with his family. Silently sitting in the middle of Mansagar Lake, it is pretty much like a star everyone loves to glance at. The palace has five stories with chhatris and cenotaphs, exhibiting rich Rajput and Mughal style of architecture.
After restoration work in 2005, this little historical marvel got a new face altogether. Today not just the fort looks magnificent but a lot many migratory birds find home here.
Highlights of Jal Mahal: Birds like Flamingo and Common Moorhen are found around, lovely backdrop of the Aravali Hills
Entry fee: None
Timings: Since one cannot enter the palace, and only marvel it from a distance there are no timings for that
Tourist attractions near Jal Mahal: Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal and City Palace
12. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur – Feel the breeze
Hawa Mahal is among the most clicked Rajasthan forts and palaces. Its iconic honeycomb-structured windows totally steal the show. It was built in the year 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. The windows, or jharokhas, in its facade were built for the queens and princesses so that they could enjoy looking at the hustle and bustle around the palace, without being seen.
Today, the palace is in the market area (Sireh Deori) where you can buy colorful trinkets, handlooms and everything that reminds of Rajasthani artistry.
Highlights of Hawa Mahal: Intricately designed windows in facade, main market around the palace, colorful glass work inside
Entry fee: INR 50 per head (Indians) | INR 200 per head (Foreigners)
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Tourist attractions near Hawa Mahal: Main market, Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort, Jal Mahal and City Palace
13. City Palace, Jaipur – Experience time travel
Former seat of Maharaja of Jaipur, City Palace is known for its Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal. The palace was built by Sawai Jai Singh II sometime between 1729 and 1732.
Chandra Mahal still serves as a residence for a royal family, but some part of it has been converted into a museum. Right from palaces to temples inside City Palace, nothing fails to captivate.
Highlights of City Palace Jaipur: Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-i-khas, Pritam Niwas Chowk, Maharani Palace, Govind Ji Palace and Bhaggi Khana
Entry fee: INR 75 per person (for Indians) | INR 300 per person (Foreigners)
Timings: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Tourist attractions near City Palace Jaipur: Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal
Must Read: 20 Magnificent Tourist Places In Jaipur
14. City Palace, Alwar – Marvel at the Indo-Islamic precision
Also known as Vinay Vilas Palace, Alwar Palace is an epitome of the lovely blend of Indo-Islamic architecture. The palace is enveloped by Aravali Range and is among the most beautiful Rajasthan forts and palaces.
The entrance has balconies on both sides, and as you step further you’ll come across Krishna Temple on all four sides. The museum inside this 1793 palace is a treasure trove of miniature paintings and also houses armours, artifacts, coins and a silver table.
Highlights of City Palace Alwar: Museum, Moosi Rani Ki Chhatri, Durbar Hall, Krishna Temples and regal entry gates
Entry Fee: INR 5 per person (Indians) | INR 5 per person (Foreigners)
Timings: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm (except fridays)
Tourist attractions near City Palace Alwar: Company Garden and SiliSerh Lake
15. City Palace, Udaipur – A little history with a romantic backdrop
Dominating the lakescape of Udaipur, City Palace of Udaipur is among the most notable Rajasthan forts and palaces. This striking white palace complements the blue waters of Udaipur. Built by Maharana Udai Singh 1559, the City Palace boasts of having the largest palace complex in Rajasthan with a fusion of Chinese, European and Medieval architecture.
Highlights of City Palace Udaipur: Jagdish Temple, gateways, Amar Vilas, Zenana Mahal and museum Bada Mahal
Entry fee: INR 250 per person (Adults) | INR 100 per person (Children)
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tourist attractions near City Palace Udaipur: Shiv Niwas Palace and Taj Lake Palace
Rajasthan forts and palaces that are now luxury properties
16. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Feel like the maharajas, but with world-class amenities in Umaid Bhawan Palace. The hotel is managed by Taj Group of Hotels and boasts of 347 opulent rooms. Umaid Bhawan Palace has also well-deservingly won the World’s Best Hotel by TripAdvisor recently.
17. Lake Palace, Udaipur
Elevating the charm of Venice of the East, Lake Palace is among the best heritage hotels without doubt. Honeymoon couples shouldn’t miss on this. The Lake Palace dates back to 1743 and now it’s a luxury property with 83 rooms that will make you revisit the olden era with the comfort of modern facilities.
18. Neemrana Fort, Delhi-Jaipur Highway
Delhiite’s favorite weekend getaway, Neemrana Fort is the epitome of comfort and heritage. This is one of India’s oldest heritage properties, where you can enjoy riding vintage cars too.
We agree, none of this is unmissable. Still, which ones of these Rajasthan heritage forts and palaces are you heading to?
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