Rajasthan

Resplendent and offbeat Nagaur Fort

We are back with another travel story of ours from the Rajasthan road trip we made in March this year. Post Bikaner and Jaiselmer, the last leg of our trip was Nagaur. The popularity of the Nagaur Fort had drawn us to this less visited city and we were not disappointed. This was by far the most beautiful fort we ever saw. Here is a photoblog for on the gorgeous resplendent and offbeat Nagaur Fort.

Like some History?

Believed to be constructed by the kshatriyas (warriors) of the Naga dynasty in the 2nd century, the fort was also known as Ahhichatragarh Fort. It bears a testimony to several battles, reconstructions and destructions. The fort was rebuilt in the 12th century and underwent major renovations in 2007. It was in a poor neglected state till the 1980s. Five years later, the fort was placed under the Mehrangarh Museum Trust. It has gradually been restored to its former glory with the support of four grants from the Getty Foundation, two from the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust and contributions from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust.

Around the fort

Within the fortified walls of the fort spread over 36 acres, lies a huge expanse of open ground dotted with restored palaces, fountains, manicured gardens, underground water systems, stretch of sand and stories of the royal past. Our guide Bhim Singh showed us around, detailing the history of each place.

Abha Mahal

We started with Abha Mahal. Abha meaning splendor or luminous earned its name from the gorgeous paintings on the walls, and the water channels that would reflect sunlight. The space was used as a courtyard by the King to discuss administrative issues with his courtiers.

The complex water system which was supposedly introduced during the time of later construction. The hamams and water cannels were discovered under layers of new flooring.

Period furniture, chandeliers, carpets and antique elements accentuate the beauty of the palace. Bhim Singh also made a mention of vegetable dyes that were used for wall painting restoration. No artificial colors were allowed, as they affect the quality of stones.      

Bakhat Singh Mahal and Fountains

Located within the Ahhichatragarh Fort complex, the Bakhat Singh Mahal constructed most of the water cannels and fountains. The mahal his primary official apartment. Next to it is the Diwan Khana, or the private audience hall.

Sheesh Mahal

Allegedly Akbar’s residence, this palace was also called Akbari Mahal. Studded with impressive mirror work, ornate paintings of the king and oil lamps, the royal chamber was nothing short of magic.

It was closed for public and still under renovation. But Bhim Singh unlocked the doors for us. It is shameful to know how people had stolen precious mirrors, scribbled names and caused irreversible harm to its beauty. Thankfully under the able care of Mehrangarh Trust, the palace will be reinstated to its full glory.

Deepak Mahal

Since lighting of diya (earthen lamp) has been a significant Indian ritual, the palaces architecture encompasses it beautifully. Starting with a small cavity in a wall adjacent to a door, to elaborate embellishments of numerous cavities woven together, Deepak Mahal is undoubtedly exquisitely articulated. The space was used to lit lamps during festivals, prayers and evening time. Imagine the gleaming view of that era!  

Hadi Rani ka Mahal

This palace is the most decorative and ornate palace in the fort complex. Adorned with antique carvings and scriptures on walls, intricate art on pillars and ceiling, Hadi Rani palace left us spellbound.

As the legend goes, Hadi rani was married to Rao Ratan Sin Churawat, the chief of Salumbar. Within a week of their marriage, the latter was called by the king of Mewar for his aid in war against Aurangzeb. Rao Ratan Singh left for the battlefield reluctantly and started to miss his wife. A Rajput’s pride lies in his victory and never give up attitude which Ratan Singh seemed to have strayed away from. Considering herself an obstacle in her husband’s victory and Rajput honor, she chopped her head off and got it sent to Ratan Singh to motivate him and keep him focused on the war. Hats off to the Rajputs who always put the country and honor before themselves.         

Other noteworthy buildings/spaces inside the fort include Lord Krishna and Ganesha temples, Jama Masjid and mosque built by Akbar.

Other parts of the fort are either closed or have been converted into heritage hotel. Hotel guests get access to the parts that are generally not open for public. The resplendent beauty of this offbeat place left us astounded.  The resplendent beauty of this offbeat place left us astounded and we made an exit from the lesser known Nagaur Fort with a bagful of precious memories.

Getting there

At a distance of 434km from NCR, Nagaur is well connected to the capital via N48 and several railheads. Nearest airport is Jodhpur.

Located in the heart of the Nagaur, surrounded by a crowded market place, it is difficult to spot the fort from outside though one can easily guess by looking at the towering walls.

Ticket

100 INR for International tourists, 30 INR for Indians, 50 INR for still camera and 150 INR for video camera.         

Timing

9am to 5pm daily. Open all days.  

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