Rajasthan is famous all over the world for its stunning forts and palaces that have been gloriously standing since decades in this princely state. They are the perfect example of the architectural heritage of Rajasthan. The reminders of rich history of this eternal land are one of the major attractions of the state as well our country. A journey through these masterpieces makes travelers come back here again and again to enjoy the majestic blend of royal past and modern comforts.
Kumbhalgarh and Ranakpur
Perched atop one of the loftiest parts of the Aravalli Hills, Kumbalgarh is the highest fort in Rajasthan. The Badal Mahal, or the Palace of Clouds, rises above it although you come rather more for the tranquil views than any architectural tour de force. Within the large fort stand clusters of disused Hindu temples and shrines along with a couple of small villages.
You couldn’t ignore all you’ll hear of the fort’s massive walls extending more than 30km: you can, however, enjoy the Aravalli countryside by orbiting the entire site on these remarkable walls in a marvellous day-walk (it’s about 15km to 20km), during which the distant Badal Mahal often remains in view. Nevertheless, night view is altogether a different experience.
Nearby Ranakpur boasts the Chaumukha Temple, a confection of intricately sculpted marble. Known for their sculptural prowess, this is one of the Jain faith’s most important and beautiful temples.
Bundi, the former capital of a similarly-named princely state, is one of the nicest little towns in southern Rajasthan. On the hillside looming over its old quarter’s convoluted lanes stands Bundi Palace. For decades this extraordinary pile was officially closed to the public by the reclusive titular maharajah. Now it’s open and although the royal contents are long gone, it remains an extraordinary place to explore. On the plateau above stands Taragarh fort, with its semi-ruined buildings and step-wells, another wonderful place to visit with fine views across town. Farther south nearKotaat the confluence of the Chambal and tiny Brahmani rivers lies Bhainsrorgarh.
Still owned by the descendants of the ruling nobleman, the modest fort-palace stands atop a cliff overlooking the Chambal. A nearby dam ensures the river is always full. Clean and edged by farmland, there’s an almost European softness to the landscape.
Today’s travelers have a great opportunity to experience the royalty of these forts and palaces by staying in them as most ancient structures have opened their doors to travelers and running as heritage hotels. Plan your vacation to Rajasthan and experience the grandeur of these three magnificent destinations.