Top 10 Forts in India

Ranthambore Fort

Ranthambore Fort is a formidable fort and has been a focal point of historical developments of Rajasthan. It is situated near Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan.It is surrounded today and lies within the famous Ranthambore National Park which was formerly the hunting grounds for the Maharajahs of Jaipur before Indian independence.The name Ranthambore is an amagmation of the names of two hills-Ran And Thanbor.As the fort is located within the two hills this massive structure is called Ranthambore Fort.Though the exact origin of the fort is unknown the settlement around it dates back to the 8th century.

History

The fortress of Ranthambore was founded in 944 by the Chauhan(TATU MEENA) Rajputs.The fortress commanded a strategic location, 700 feet above the surrounding plain. After the defeat of the Chauhan king Prithviraj III by Muhammad of Ghor in 1192, Ranthambore, led by Govinda Raja, grandson of Pritviraj, became the center of Chauhan resistance to the expanding Sultanate of Delhi. Govinda Raja was succeeded by his son Balhana.The Delhi Sultan Iltutmish captured Ranthambore in 1226, but the Chauhans recaptured it after his death in 1236. The armies of Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud, led by the future Sultan Balban, unsuccessfully besieged the fortress in 1248 and 1253, but captured from Jaitrasingh Chauhan in 1259. shakti Dev succeeded Jaitrasingh in 1283, and recaptured Ranthambore and enlarged the kingdom. Sultan Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji briefly besieged the fort in 1290-91. In 1299, Hamir Dev sheltered Muhammad Shah, a rebel general of Sultan Ala ud din Khilji, and refused to turn him over to the Sultan. The sultan unsuccessfully besieged the fortress in 1299, but returned in 1301 to personally oversee a long siege, and succeeded in capturing the fort.The fortress was captured by the kingdom of bemawar under Rana Hamir Singh (1326–1364) and Rana Kumbha (1433–1468). After the reign of Rana Kumbha's successor Rana Udai Singh I (1468–1473) the fortress passed to the Hada Rajputs of Bundi. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat captured the fortress from 1532 to 1535. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fortress in 1559.The fortress passed to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence. The area surrounding the fortress became a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur state acceded to India in 1949, becoming part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.Inside Ranthambore fort there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath (3rd Jain Tirthankar) within the premises.

Architecture

The Ranthambore Fort is located at the top of a rocky outcrop in the middle of the forest, which almost literally marks the meeting of the Aravali and Vindhya hills ranges. A marked difference can be noticed in the terrain in front of and that behind the fort. The fort is huge and covers an area of approximately 7 kilometers in circumference. It is one of the oldest forts in the country and is said to have been built in 944 AD a Chauhan warrior. Due to it's location and structure, it is considered to have been one of the most difficult forts to overthrow. It repulsed attempts by great warriors such as Alaudin Khilji, Kutub-ud-din, Feroz Tughlaq, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. The most successful ruler of this fort is known to have been Rao Hammir in the 11th century.

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