India’s forts speak volume about its architectural relics. Let’s have a look at some of the oldest forts where history beckons brick to brick, inch to inch:
Kangra Fort, Himachal Pradesh
Kangra Fort goes back to the days of Mahabharta. The Katoch Dynasty, which is believed to have built this magnificent fort, has its roots in that era. Kangra Fort has a distinction to its name for the fact that it finds a mention in Alexander’s war records. The wonder of this fort demands to be witnessed as it fuses ancient and medieval style of architecture on its walls. This beguilingly beautiful fort paints a true picture of India’s well-heeled history.
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort reminds you of a king who knew how to spend his panas (name for the Ancient India money). Though, the sand of time has quite glaringly left its imprints on the Jaisalmer Fort, but this much-ruined fort retains its timeless swagger. Named after Jaisala, the Rajput ruler who built it in 1156 AD, Jaisalmer Fort is a complete town within a fort. Thanks to the huge palaces, temples and havelis inside the fort, it is also home to a large population of Jaisalmer. Yes, you actually have people *living* there!
Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad
No need for a time machine, there you are! The Daulatabad Fort stands amidst a blanket of greenery that unsurprisingly fails to catch your imagination, as the overwhelming structure doesn’t let your mind float elsewhere. Built by Rashtrakuta Kings, the fort hasn’t stood the test of the time per se, but a tour to it nevertheless remains a splendid affair.Yadava dynasty is said to have ruled it for close to 150 years between 12th and 14th century AD.
Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh
The Gwalior Fort represents art and splendour at their fullest. Also described as, “the pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind” by none other than the Mughal Emperor Babur, this breathtaking structure is a time capsule to an era where craft and creativity ruled. Inscribed for the first time in 525 AD, the fort took shape somewhere in 8th century AD, and has been a significant souvenir of India’s history.
Even with a history of close to 500 years, Red Fort looks remarkably spectacular and undated. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Red Fort does not need an introduction. Built first as just a brick fort, it was transformed into a red sandstone structure by Akbar, and further given a new face by Shahjahan who beautified it by the use of precious gems for the walls and floor. In the last years of his life Shahjahan was confided in the Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, and legend has it that he died in one of the towers, Muasamman Burj, of the fort.
With a structure that’s so old, yet so ripe, Qila Mubarak plugs you into the era which can’t boast of many souvenirs. Located in Bathinda, the roots to this fort built by emperor Kanishka and Raja Dab can be tracked back to 90 AD. The bricks of the fort are said to belong to the Kushana. It is also the same place where Razia Sultan was imprisoned in 1204.
There is no conclusive proof as to which is the oldest fort ever in India. But that’s a debate for another day. For now, let’s revel in the nostalgia swung right into our laps.
Authored by Rohit Raina