The Aravalli Range, written in Hindi and Sanskrit as अरावली, is a range of mountains in Western India, that spans across the Indian states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Gujarat; covering roughly 430 miles (692 kilometers).
These mountains are extremely old, and had been used to mine copper and other precious metals dating back to the fifth century BC. However, in 2004, India’s Supreme Court banned the practice of mining here.
Nestled right on the edge of the hills of the Aravalli, you’ll want to add the Nahargarh Fort (formerly known as Sudarshangarh Fort) to your list of sites to see when you’re visiting the colorful Pink City of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Let’s take a look at what you can expect while visiting this almost 300-year-old fort.
A brief history about Nahargarh Fort
Just like Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, the Nahargarh Fort at one period in time was included in this strong line up of defense. The founder of Jaipur, Maharaja (great king) Sawai Jai Singh II, built this stunning piece of architecture in the year 1734.
Although this fort has never seen battle, other historical events unfolded here, such as the treaties that were made with the Maratha forces who went to war with Jaipur in the 18th century. You may notice the stunning palaces here that were later added on after the extension of Nahargarh Fort in 1868. However, there is only one that is referred to as being the main attraction.
The Madhavendra Bhawan suites
The palace most noted today is the Madhavendra Bhawan built by Sawai Madho Singh, which held many suites (9 in total) for the queens of Jaipur, including another suite built exclusively for the king. You will be taken aback by the beauty of this elegant yellow sandstone facade. As you walk through the ornate archways, you will notice that each of these suites were two storied and fully equipped with a lobby, kitchen, and bathroom.
The style of architecture is mainly that of Indian design, though you will notice some European influences that include the use of rectangular windows, and western toilets. It’s amazing that throughout the almost 200 years that this palace has stood, you are still able to see the same frescoes that were seen by the royal families so long ago. Many of them still hold their color, showing off rich floral designs.
What you need to know before making the trip
You’ll want to prepare by ensuring you are wearing good walking shoes, as it takes roughly 20 minutes, depending on your stride, to walk up the winding hill side. Since some of the road is fairly steep, you don’t have the option of riding a golf cart like you will have when you visit Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort.
Even auto rickshaws will decline the ride to avoid any possible safety hazards. Nonetheless, as soon as you make it to the top, the short trek up will have been worth it. The panoramic views from the top of Nahargarh Fort, looking down at the city of Jaipur, are like none other.
The legend behind the name
Nahargarh means ‘abode of tigers’ and you will often hear Nahargarh Fort referred to as the Tiger Fort. Yet, there is also a local legend that says this fort is haunted by Prince Nahar Singh Bhomia, who would often cause mischief, and hinder the continuation of construction. Finally, in an effort to have the spirit move on, a promise was made that the fort would then be named after him, and a small temple would be built in his memory.
After paying the small entrance fee of 30 INR (0.45 USD) for foreign tourists, or 10 INR (0.15 USD) for Indian citizens, you can view this small shrine behind Madhavendra Bhawan. Opening times are from 10am until 5pm daily, and it is advised to not visit Nahargarh Fort alone, but instead to go with a group of people, such as your family or friends. This is due to the many youths who hang around the area that may stop you and ask for money.
The best time, that I have found to go, is later in the afternoon due to the spectacular views. Especially if you’re able to travel here on a clear day; the white clouds, almost seem painted against the brilliant cerulean sky; the deep rouge, with undertones of copper coming from the sandstone of the fort, resemble a streak of fire; and the lush greenery spreading across the mountain side, is a jewel-toned feast for the eyes that makes you never want to have to look away.
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