This page lists a sample of the hundreds of (if not over a thousand) forts and palaces in India. This is not a comprehensive list – it represents only some of the important historic forts and palaces.
These samples are diverse in architectural structure and representative of India's rich and long history. Some early designs were to build with extremely thick stone or brick walls with reinforced gates to protect against elephants, others with more delicate touches, and later modern forts have a distinct European flavor. Early towns and cities began and grew around forts.
Some palaces were built as forts, and many palaces (and religious temples) were built within the walls of forts. Some palaces owe their survival to having become heritage hotels. Museums are usually found at or near these sites.
Forts of IndiaEdit
- 1 Rohtasgarh Fort, near Sasaram, Bihar. Located near Sasaram.the massive fort stands atop Kaimur Hill. The fort gets its name from the mythological character Rohiteshwa, the son of King Harischandra. Rohtasgarh Fort came into prominence after it was captured by Sher Shah. Later Raja Man Singh, Akbar's general, added several structures. Today the fort is in ruins and is spread over a large area.
- 2 Sher Garh Fort, near Sasaram, Bihar.
- 3 Red Fort, Delhi. The Red Fort in Delhi is a red sandstone fort (and ruling palace) built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame.
- 4 Purana Quila, Delhi. Purana Quila is an old fort associated with the Mughal Emperor Humayun and Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri. Many changes were made by Humayun, and it evolved into a village and later monument.
- 5 Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi. A massive fort in Delhi built by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq as the third city of Delhi and later abandoned due to a curse of the Sufi saint Hazarat Nizamuddin. All that remains today are huge scattered ruins consisting of massive bastions, serpentine walls along with underground passageways and step wells. The fort is divided into three parts, the palace, living quarters. The palace complex is located on the western side and contains a large baoli (stepwell). The living quarters in the north is in a totally run down state and large part of it is totally inaccessible. But the star attraction is the citadel with its towering bastions, massive walls and covered passageways. A small mosque and audience hall are also part of this region. Large portions of Tughlaqabad is overgrown with thorny bushes making most of the area inaccessible. Security guards double up as guide helping people through the scattered rubble of the fort.
- 6 Adilabad Fort, Delhi. Adilabad Fort lies on the southern side of the Mehruli - Badarpur road and located southeast of the Tughlaqabad Fort. The fort was constructed by Muhammad bin Tughluq Although much smaller in size than the neighbouring Tughlaqabad Fort, the Adilabad Fort follows a similar plan and can be considered as a scaled down version of Tughluqbad Fort. Nothing much have survived in the interior of the fort all that remains are the massive walls topped with battlements and punctured with massive bastions. The interiors have been lead out with beautifully landscaped gardens complete with flower beds and paved walkways.
- 7 Nai Ka Kot, Delhi. Nai literally means barber thus Nai ka Kot is dedicated to a royal barber. Sadly nothing is known about the identity of this famous barber. This is a small fort located on the southern side of the Mehruli - Badarpur road. It lies just east of the Adilabad Fort. The fort is totally in ruins and not maintained. It serves as an open-air toilet for the locals.
- 8 Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. The fifth citadel of Delhi constructed by Feroz Shah Tughluq is located behind the Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium (now Arun Jatley Cricket Stadium). Feroz Shah Kotla lacks the massive bastions and defensive mechanism of its predecessor Tughlaqabad. Still it houses several interesting ruins, although minimalistic in nature, they still reveal the former glory and splendor of the ancient citadel. The stepped pyramid like structure is tipped with an Ashokan Pillar in front of it is a circular step well. Next to the step pyramid is the Jami Masjid. Although in ruins it still functions as an active mosque. According to local belief, the citadel of Feroz Shah Kotla is the abode of Djinns. Every Thursday thousand of visitors visit the ruins in serach of blessings from the friendly ghosts.
- 9 Aguada Fort, Bardez Taluka, Goa. Aquada Fort was constructed by the colonial Portuguese as a defense against the Dutch and Marathas. This important Portuguese fort is on the beach south of Candolim near the Mandovi River.
- 10 Kangra Nagarkot Fort (Kangra Fort), Kangra. Built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra State. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas. This is found in a very scenic area.
Jammu and KashmirEdit
- 11 Hari Parbat Fort (near Srinagar). Hari Parbat is a Mughal fort on Sharika Hill near the Dal Lake in Srinagar.
- 12 Bahu Fort, Jammu. Bahu Fort was constructed on a rock face (bank of the Tawi river). It has many gardens (Bagh-E-Bahu) surrounding it.
- 13 Bidar Fort, Bidar. Located on the Deccan plateau, the strong Bidar Fort still remains impressive even though it has suffered neglect and age.
- 14 Srirangapatna Fort, Srirangapatna. A fort in Srirangapatna (an historic capital city) of Karnataka. Under Tipu Sultan the fort became very important as a defense against invaders.
- 15 Gwalior Fort, Gwalior. This famous fort has a rich history.
- 16 Bandhavgarh Fort. Located inside the Bandhavgarh National Park.
- 17 Madan Mahal Fort, Jabalpur. A small (compact) fort in Jabalpur has a stable, a reservoir, several rooms and chambers. The famous Balancing Rock (natural wonder of India) is nearby.
- 18 Visapur Fort (Visapoor Fort) (near Visapur Village). The history of Visapur fort is closely related to that of the Lohagad Fort and their history together is closely related. Very little remains of Visapur fort; however, Lohagad fort is still standing.
- 19 Sindhudurg Fort, Malvan. Sindhudurg Fort (Ocean Fort) was built on an offshore island by Shivaji (Maratha Empire).
- 20 Shaniwar Wada Fort (Shaniwar Wada), Pune. This palace fort was built by the Peshwas (successors of Shivaji). A massive fire destroyed the building and damaged the inside of the palace though the old fortified wall remain. The brass studded gates and lotus pools remain fairly intact to this day. This palace is in the heart of the city and has become the symbol of Pune culture.
- 21 Lohagad Fort (Iron Fort), Maharashtra (34 km from Pune near Lonavala hill station). One of many hill forts of Maharashtra. Lohagad Fort is a protected monument.
- 22 Daulatabad Fort (Deviagiri Daulatabad Fort), Aurangabad. Daulatabd Fort (12th century) was built on top of a hill. This sturdy fortress has strong walls and ramparts. Nearby is a the bat cave.
- 23 Murud-Janjira Fort, Murud. Murud-Janjira is a fort on an island near the village of Murud, in Maharashtra.
- 24 Panhala Fort, Kolhapur. Panhala Fort has a rich heritage and is the largest of all the Deccan forts. Ambabai Temple is here where Shivaji sought blessings before his ventures.
- 25 Dongri Fort, Mumbai. The Dongri FortLocated at the mouth of the Vasai Creek. It is on the southern side of the creek. It is located next to the Dongi fishing harbour. Apart from some ruined bastions and crumbling structures nothing much remains of the fort. A part of the fort is converted into a children's park which contains the remains of a bastion.
- 26 Vasai Fort (Fort Bassein), North of Mumbai. A Portuguese Fort located on the northern side of the Vasai creek. In later period the fort was taken over by the Marathas and then by the British. The ruined structures still consist of massive fortification walls complete with enormous bastions. Several watch tower like structures still stands and if even the stairs leading to the top are still intact. The chapel located inside the fort is still intact and is easily identifiable. The ruined fort is also a hot favourite for Bollywood film shots.
- 27 Ghodbunder Fort, Mumbai. The ruined fort is located on the south of Vasai Creek and is located in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. The fort dates back to the mid 16th century and was constructed by the Portuguese. The fort was used by the Portuguese to trade with horses with the Arab. The name Ghobhunder originated from the Hindi word of horse. Later the British took control over the fort and turned it into the district headquarters of East India Company. Today the fort is in utter ruins but several structures still stand as witnesses of a remarkable history spanning over several centuries.
- 28 Madh Fort, Mumbai. Madh Fort is a small fort located in the northern suburbs of Mumbai. It is located at the mouth of Malad Creek. Originally built by the Portuguese it was later controlled by the Marathas and later by the British. It is presently under the Indian Air Force and entry inside is prohibited. The external walls and bastions are still intact but nothing remains of the interiors, which have largely been modified for present use.
- 29 Bandra Fort (Castella de Aguada), Mumbai. Bandra Fort, officially known as Castella de Aguada, which literally means Fort of the waterfront, overlooks the Mahim Bay. It is a Portuguese Fort dating back to 1640. Later it was taken up by the British, who demolished large sections of the fort. Today large sections of the fort still stand, which includes protective walls, bastions and gateways. It is a protected monument under ASI.
- 30 Kelva Pankot Fort, Thane District, northern outskirts of Mumbai. Kelva Pankot Fort is an island fort located at the mouth of Danda Creek. The Portuguese built the boat-shaped fort to keep an eye on approaching ships. During low tide, it is passable on foot but during high tide, local country boats provide access to the fort. The fort has never more or less intact but overgrown with vegetation. It is better to visit the fort during low tide.
- 31 Sisupalgarh, near Bhubaneswar. Sisupalgarh is named after the legendary character of Sisupal of the great Indian epic Mahabharata. Today the excavated fortified citadel is located in the southern suburbs of Bhubaneswar. The fortified settlement was continuously inhabited from the 5th century BCE to the 4th century CE. Known for its amazing town planning the city was complete with intelligent traffic management, pedestrian-friendly pathways, grand gateways with guard houses, wide roads along with vast open spaces. It was an ideal of a smart city 2500 years ago. Sadly nothing much remains of the ancient smart city more sadly the ASI protected site has been heavily encroached upon. The northwest gateway and a handful of free-standing stone pillars are all that remains of the ancient citadel.
- 32 Barbati Fort, Cuttack.
- 33 Bathinda Fort (Qila Mubarak), Bathinda. Qila Mubarak was once the official residence of the Maharaja. The complex has many courtyards and structures. Among these are the Qila Androon, the main entrance gate, Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors) , Raan Baas with its frescoes frescoes and Durbar Hall (containing weapons/arms).
- 34 Old Fort, Rajpura. Rajpura (Old Town) grew from within this Fort.
- 35 Amer Fort (Amber Fort or Amer Palace), Jaipur. Amber fort is located in Amber near Jaipur. It is a massive fort-palace complex built in the Hindu-Muslim style dating back to Raja Man Singh and former royal palace of the Kachwahas. Within the fort is the Sheesh Mahal (with thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceilings).
- 36 Chittaurgarh Fort (Chittorgarh Fort), Chittorgarh. Chittorgarh Fort in Chittorgarh has massive stone gates with notched parapets and arched reinforced doors (to defend against elephants and cannon). Within the fort a circular road gives access to the gates and numerous monuments (ruined palaces and many temples).
- 37 Gagron Fort, Jhalawar. Gagron Fort in Jhalawar is an example of a hill and water fort. Kali Sindh & Ahu Rivers border the fort on three sides. Gagron Fort (also known as Galkangiri) was built by King Bijaldev (Parmara Empire).
- 38 Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur. Jaigarh Fort was considered the strongest of the three forts in the area. It is known for the world's biggest cannon (the Jaivana). There are scenic gardens and has wonderful views of the Amber Fort and the surrounding area.
- 39 Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer Fort (known as the “Sonar Quila” or "Sonar Kella" or "Sonar Kila") in Jaisalmer displays the subtle hues of the setting sun and desert. It is a 'working fort' as its citizens reside and work within its walls. There are numerous advantage points within the fort that enable great views across the city and desert.
- 40 Junagadh Fort (Bikaner Fort), Bikaner. Built by Raja Rai Singh is a fort of the Bikaner royal family. It has a rich history. Its museum which contains weapons, ornaments and artifacts of the period. It is one of the oldest forts in India.
- 41 Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh (34 km from Pune near). Kumbhalgarh Fort (fortress) in Kumbhalgarh is protected by seven towering gates and within its walls is the Badal Mahal palace. It had long meandering walls for defense. There are many tales and stories are associated with this site.
- 42 Taragarh Fort (Star Fort), Bundi. One of the most famous forts in Rajasthan because of its complex structures and well known painting gallery.
- 43 Ratangarh Fort (Jewel Fort), Ratangarh, Rajasthan. Ratangarh Fort is considered a jewel among hill forts.
- 44 Ranthambore Fort, Ranthambore. Ranthambore Fort lies within the Ranthambore National Park, near the town of Sawai Madhopur. Initially called "Ranath Bhawar Garh" (a place of Rajput warriors). The history of Sawai Madhopur centers on the famous Ranthambore Fort.
- 45 Laxmangarh Fort, Laxmangarh, Rajasthan. The Laxmangarh Fort was built by the Raja of Sikar. The use of rocks in constructing the fort of Laxmangarh makes its architecture unique.
- 46 Lohagarh Fort (Iron Fort), Bharatpur. Lohagarh Fort was one of the strongest forts built in India. Within are monuments and towers (most notably the Victory Tower Fateh Burj).
- 47 Mandawa Fort, Mandawa, Rajasthan. Mandawa Fort (and palace) was built by Thakur Nawal Singh. It is adorned with frescoes and paintings. Durbar Hall houses antiques and paintings. It was converted into a heritage hotel.
- 48 Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. The large Mehrangarh Fort overlooks Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It is the site of Rao Jodha's new capital. The city of Jodhpur virtually grew around this fort. It has massive ramparts built it and provides an excellent view of the area. There are several palaces, a museum and preserved canon (the famous Kilkila) within.
- 49 Nagaur Fort (Ahhichatragarh or Fort of the Hooded Cobra), Nagaur. Nagaur Fort; a former Muslim fortress in Northern India, has many renovated fountains, gardens and buildings.
- 50 Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur. A small fort in Jaipur with views over Man Sagar lake and the city of Jaipur. Built by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, it is a mix of Indian and European influence. Within the fort is the Madhavendra Bhawan palace.
- 51 Golconda Fort, Hyderabad. The Golconda Fort was the capital of the Qutb Shahi kingdom.
- 52 Warangal Fort, Warangal. This fort is home to four gates (Warangal Gates) formerly to an important Shiva temple. Many "wall slabs and panels" are displayed outdoors. What remains is listed as a Monument of National Importance.
- 53 Agra Fort, Agra. This fort; primarily built with red sandstone, is similar in design to the Red Fort in Delhi The Taj Mahal can be seen from here.
- 54 Fatehpur Sikri Fort (near Agra). Built by the Emperor Akbar, it was the capital of the Mughal Empire and later abandoned as local water supplies were diminished and proximity to the rival Rajputana areas in the North-West.
- 55 Jhansi Fort, Jhansi, Manjeshwar. A hilltop fortress of the Maratha kings was built above Shankargarh town. This massive fort exists in good shape to this day.
- 56 Allahabad Fort, Allahabad. Located at prayag, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati the fort dates back to 1583 and was constructed by Akbar. It was the largest of Akbar's forts, and although its original form has been much impaired by early restoration work, the splendid Zenana Palace survives. It is a fine pavilion, with a central square hall carried on 64 columns bordered by a deep veranda of double columns and there are clusters of four in each corner. Presently the fort is under the Indian army and only parts of it are accessible to visitors.
- 57 Fort William, Kolkata. Fort William (after William III) is built of brick and mortar in an irregular octagonal star shape. There are six gates and is similar to other forts of this period (Thalassery fort). Access may be limited as the Indian Army HQ is here. The interior contains a beautiful museum. The St. Peter's Church has been converted into a library.
- 1 Naulakha Palace, Gondal, Gujarat. A very old palace found within Darbargardh Fort. It has many carved structural features and contains a private museum.
- 2 Pragmalji Palace (Prag Mahal), Bhuj, Gujarat. Noted palace of Kutch regional rulers. It was built in Gothic (Indo-Gothic) style.
Jammu and KashmirEdit
- 3 Amar Mahal Palace, Jammu. Now a popular museum; the red sandstone Amar Mahal Palace can be found in the scenic area of Jammu.
- 4 Mysore Palace (Maharaja's Palace), Mysore. This royal palace offers carved doors, inlaid ivory, paintings, marble figures and contains many personal objects of the royal family on display.
- 7 City Palace, Jaipur. This large palace complex was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in a combination of Rajput and Mughal styles. It consists of many buildings, courtyards and gardens.
- 8 Deeg Palace (Jal Mahal), Bharatpur. Deeg Palace was built for Bharatpur rulers as a summer retreat.
- 9 Gajner Palace, Bikaner. Built on a lake (Bikaner) embankment by H.H. Maharaja Sir Ganga Singhji. It is in the Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary and was used my British and Indian elite as a hunting retreat. The palace is now a Heritage Hotel.
- 10 Garh Palace (Bundi Palace), Bundi. This palace was built next to Taragarh Fort on a hill. It contains many fescoes and murals.
- 11 Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), Jaipur. Built as an extension of the women's (Zenana) chamber to the City Palace in red sandstone. Its many stories with windows allow a breeze (Hawa) to circulate within.
- 12 Jagmandir (Jag Mandir and Lake Garden Palace), Lake Pichal, Udaipur. Jag Mandir was built on an island. This is the main palace on Lake Pichola. Other smaller palaces and gardens are to be found here. This palace was converted into a hotel.
- 13 Rambagh Palace, Jaipur. This palace had humble beginnings as a garden house (1800s). It was enlarged with many royal gardens and suites. It has been converted into a hotel.
- 14 Udaipur City Palace (Udai Bilas Palace), Udaipur. In reality, this is a complex of many palaces (large and small), museums and splendid gardens. There is a view of Lake Pichal from this location. Splendid mosaics, murals, inlays etc. are to be found here as well.
- 15 Umain Bhawan Palace (Umaid Bhavan Palace), Jodhpur. A large grand private residence Chittar Palace has a museum and part is managed as a hotel.
- 16 Vinay Vilas Mahal, Alwar. This palace complex is below Bala Quila Fort. There is a wonderful garden and many murals etc. Sections of this palace were altered into government offices. A nearby city museum has a collection of miniature paintings and manuscripts.
- 17 Jal Mahal (Water Palace), Jaipur. On Man Sagar Lake, the King of Amber built the wonderful Jal Mahal.
- 18 Juna Mahal, Dungarpur, Rajasthan. Once adorned with mirror and glass inlays, murals and frescoes, this royal residence near the Thar desert has deteriorated and been vandalized.
- 19 Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner. This palace was built because the nearby Junagarh Palace did not meet the standards for a modern monarch. It has impressive intricate and detailed workmanship. Areas (wings) of the palace were converted to hotels. (one became a heritage hotel).
- 20 Lake Palace, Lake Pichal, Udaipur. Built on a lake, this palace has several courtyards, fountains and terraced gardens.
- 21 Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh Palace,), Udaipur. Under the control of the Forestry Department, this palace offers astounding views of the surrounding area. It is usually illuminated at night and is a fantastic site.
- 22 Padmini's Palace (Queen's Palace), Chittorgarh. A reconstructed palace in Chittorgarh Fort. History and many stories (legends) are associated with this moated palace.
- 23 Jahangiri Palace (Jahangiri Mahal). this palace was built by Emperor Akbar for the women of his household and his wives. It is located with the well known Agra Fort.
- 24 Cooch Behar Palace (Victor Jubilee Palace), Cooch Behar. This is a double storied palace (based upon the layout of the Buckingham Palace) was built in the time of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Most of the precious artifacts that occupied the palace have been lost or removed.