Forts and Palaces

Delhi

Red Fort – Delhi

The Red Fort and palace within are considered by many to be the pinnacle of Shah Jahan’s building projects, aside from the Taj Mahal of course. Started in 1638, the chief architect was Ustad Ahmad Lahori who had previously worked alongside the Persian architect Ustad Isa Khan Effendi […]

Purana Qila – Delhi

Completed in 1538 AD during Humayun’s rule, Purana Qila fort was originally the inner citadel of a city called Din Panah. After Humayun was defeated in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri dynasty, the city was renamed Shergarh and several more structures were added […]

Feroz Shah Kotla – Delhi

Built around 1354 by the Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq, the remains of Feroz Shah Kotla today reside in a peacefully green open area containing a number of interesting structures. This was the Sultan’s own version of Delhi city which was called Ferozabad. Feroz Shah Kotla is often referred […]

Adilabad Fort – Delhi

Adilabad Fort (also known as Muhammadabad) is located about 1km east of the entrance to Tughlakabad Fort, on the opposite side of the Mehrauli-Badarpur road. Combining this fort along with Ghiyasuddin Tughlak’s Tomb and Tughlakabad Fort makes for a great day exploring this heritage area of Delhi. Adilabad […]

Tughlakabad Fort – Delhi

Built over a period of just two years during the short reign of Ghiyasuddin Tughlak (1320 – 1324), Tughlakabad is believed to be the third city of Delhi after Lal Kot and Siri. With an outer perimeter wall over 6km in length and with a further two walled […]

Gujarat

Baroda : Lakshmi Vilas Palace

Baroda, also known as Vadodara, lies 140km from Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, it takes about two hours to get there on decent roads. The city is most famous for the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, which is reputed to be the largest private dwelling ever constructed. It was built […]

Jammu & Kashmir

Leh Old Fort

At the very top of a ridge that overlooks Leh town are the remains of the 16th century palace and fort of King Tashi Namgyal. The relatively small white building sits just above the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, so a visit to both can be combined to save you […]

Leh Palace

Leh Palace is without doubt one of Ladakh’s most imposing structures, dominating the landscape around Leh it’s impossible to ignore, it’s ever present, and both amazes and awes all visitors to the region. Although partly gutted and in a dilapidated state, the towering nine storey fort-like palace is […]

Karnataka

Mysore Palace

Officially known as the Amba Vilas, the Mysore Palace that stands today was built between 1897 and 1912. Of all the palaces I’ve visited across India, this is possibly the most ornate and exuberant of those built by the Indian maharajas during the period of British rule.

Madhya Pradesh

Ranighati

On a day trip out of Gwalior heading to Narwar Fort I came across what seemed to be an interesting location pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The route I had taken out of Gwalior was on the AH47 heading south-west, just prior to it becoming National […]

Jai Vilas Palace and Scindia Museum – Gwalior

The Jaivilas Palace was constructed in 1874 by Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior, and is still the residence of his descendants, the former royal Maratha Scindia dynasty. The palace is simply enormous, estimated to be over 1,240,000 square feet. Designed and built by Sir Michael […]

Gwalior Fort – Other Monuments

In addition to the main monuments to see up at Gwalior Fort, there are a number of far less frequently visited structures that I briefly explored during my time here. None of these warrant a separate blog, so I have clubbed them together in this post. Here’s the […]

Man Singh Palace – Gwalior Fort

Standing on a long, narrow, rocky hill of sandstone rising 100m above the surrounding countryside, the great fortress of Gwalior has imprinted itself indelibly on the imagination of generations of poets. Seen from the north the view is impressive, with a long line of battlements punctuated by formidable […]

Narwar Fort

Perched on top of an irregular hill 500 feet above the town, Narwar Fort is 70 km south-west of Gwalior in the Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh. I have struggled to find much information regarding this fort, so almost all the information here will come from the Archaeological […]

Gohad Fort

Having spent a few days exploring the city of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, it was time to explore some of the sites that lie outside of the city on a number of day excursions. First on my list was Gohad Fort, located 45km north-east of Gwalior on the […]

Gohar Mahal

Gohar Mahal

Situated close to the banks of the Upper Lake, the Gohar Mahal (or Gauhar Mahal) is Bhopal’s earliest surviving city palace. Prior to my visit I had heard that there were plans to turn this heritage building in to museum and center for handicrafts, but in Feb 2018 […]

Datia Palace

Datia, 40km north of Orchha on the road between Gwalior and Jhansi, is home to one of India’s most imposing 17th century residences.

Orchha Fort

Orchha Fort is a huge complex containing a large number of monuments including palaces, gateways and temples, accessed from the town by an arched causeway. The entrance ticket for the fort is valid for all other monuments in Orchha, so it pays to get here early in the morning so you have time to visit some of the other sites later in the day.

Shaukat Mahal – Bhopal

The Shaukat Mahal was constructed in the 1830s as a wedding gift for Sikander Jahan Begum, the first female ruler of Bhopal. Architecturally it is a bit of an oddity compared to other buildings in the heart of Bhopal, the building has many western elements combining both gothic and islamic themes. This is due to the design being attributed to the Bourbons of Bhopal, widely considered to be descendants of renowned French kings.

Taj Mahal Palace – Bhopal

If I told you I had just visited the Taj Mahal that was built by Shah Jahan whilst I was staying in Bhopal, you could quite rightly claim I’ve perhaps had a couple of Kingfishers too many. But I did exactly that, although this monument was built by his namesake Shah Jahan, she was the begum of Bhopal in the late 19th century.

Maharashtra

Lohagad – The Iron Fortress of the Deccan

Located 3km south of Bhaja Caves at the southern limit of the Indrayani valley, Lohagad Fort is one of the strongest and most famous Deccan forts. Although I have now been to this region on over twenty separate occasions, I confess to not having explored many of the […]

Malhargad / Sonori Fort

Malhargad Fort is a hill fort located not far from Saswad, about 30km (19 miles) from Pune. It is also known as Sonori Fort due to the village of Sonori being situated at its base. This was the last fort built by the Marathas in around 1760, and was named after the God Malhari.

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad (also known as Sinhgad) is the nearest hill fort to Pune, located around 25 km southwest of the city. The fort stands on a high point of the Sayhadris, 1,315m above sea level and rising more than 700m from the plain below.

Pratapgad Fort

At 1,080m above sea level, Pratapgad Fort (also known as Pratapgadh or Pratapgar Fort) is located 15km from Poladpur and 23km west of Mahabaleshwar. It’s an easy half day excursion from Mahabaleshwar, and is certainly one of the most dramatic settings of any Maharastra fort I have visited over the years.

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada was built in 1732 at a total cost of Rs 16,110 by Bajirao I, the Peshwa (Prime Minister) to the Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shahu. At it’s peak in the 18th century, the Maratha Empire controlled an area over half of present day India, and easily rivalled the size of the Mughal Empire that preceded it.

Aga Khan Palace – Pune

The Aga Khan Palace in Pune was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III. The Palace is a national monument of India’s freedom movement. Following the launch of the Quit India movement in 1942, Gandhi, his wife Kasturba, and his secretary Mahadevbhai Desai were interned […]

Devagiri / Daulatabad Fort

Devagiri Fort, later known as Daulatabad Fort, lies 11km north-west of Aurangabad and is only 16km away from the famous Ellora Caves. The two could be combined with an early start, although it would make for an extremely tiring day. The fort is situated on an isolated cone […]

Tikona Fort

A trek up to Tikona Fort is an easy day excursion from Pune, located just 50m west of the city overlooking Pawna Lake. I visited in September towards the end of the monsoon season which is perhaps the best time to visit. I can still clearly remember how […]

Rajasthan

Deeg Palace – A Perfect Blend of Persian and Indian Aesthetics

Deeg is located 38 km west of Mathura and 40 km north-west of Bharatpur in Rajasthan. The fortress and pleasure palaces of Deeg are of major architectural importance, and combined with some wonderful gardens makes for a great day trip out of Agra. Deeg can lay claim to […]

Jaisalmer Fort and Palace

Built on the summit of Trikuta Hill in the middle of the Thar desert by Rawal Jaisal in 1156, Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fully preserved fortified cities in the world.

Mehrangarh Fort – The Interior

Make no mistake, Mehrangarh fort is absolutely huge. Anyone planning to see the fort for just a couple of hours is not going to do the place any justice at all.

I ended up spending more than two half days here, firstly exploring the exterior of the fort on the day I arrived in Jodhpur, and then the following day spending over 4 hours touring around the interior.

Mehrangarh Fort – The Exterior

“The splendours of a Palace that might have been built by Titans and coloured by the morning sun.”

This is how Rudyard Kipling described Mehrangarh fort when he visited Jodhpur in 1888, probably Rajasthan’s grandest and most visitor friendly fort.

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is a mightily impressive hill fortress looming high above the town of Chittor, 100km east of Udaipur. This is the perfect day excursion from Udaipur, although the conditions did make for great photography when I was there. The combination of harsh sunlight only to be followed […]

Udaipur City Palace

Dominating the shore of Lake Pichola, the City Palace in Udaipur is enormous. The same can be said for the crowds of people that visit the Palace each day, so if you are staying in Udaipur try to get there early before the steady stream of coaches arrive. […]

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort is one India’s finest hill forts, set on one of the highest peaks of the Aravalli Hills, 65m north of Udaipur. It makes for a good day trip out from Udaipur, but remember to bring a hat and plenty of water as there’s quite a lot […]

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal is likely to be one of your first destinations when you visit Jaipur, and who can blame you ?  Located just around the corner from the City Palace, a short 5 minute walk to reach it whilst doing battle with the shop keepers camped out along […]

Nahagarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills directly overlooking the pink city of Jaipur. Surprisingly for me, I found this fort more interesting than it’s neighboring and perhaps more publicised fort of Jaigarh. Along with Amer and Jaigarh, Nahargarh fort once formed a strong defence ring […]

City Palace

The City Palace lies in the heart of Jaipur and can be easily combined in a day on foot with the Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions […]

Jal Mahal

This is a short excursion just outside Jaipur directly on the route to Amer Palace. So you can easily combine this with a visit to the palace on the same day. Jal Mahal means “Water Palace”, and is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. I’ve read […]

Jaigarh Fort

The Jaigarh Fort is a majestic stronghold built by Sawan Jai Singh II. This almost-intact fort is surrounded by huge battlements and is connected to the Amer Fort with subterranean passages. Originally built to protect the Amer Fort and the palace within the complex, the Jaigarh Fort is […]

Amer Fort

And so to the main event, the No.1 attraction in Jaipur that quite rightly demands the attention of both the discerning traveler and those who merely want to tick the box. Amer Fort (also known as Amer Palace) is situated just 11 Km from Jaipur, perched on a hill overlooking […]

Tamil Nadu

Thirumalai Nayak Palace – Madurai

Thirumalai Nayak Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak as a focal point of his capital at Madurai. The king ruled over Madurai from 1623 to 1659, and intended the palace to be one of the grandest in Southern India.

Thanjavur Palace

The Thanjavur Maratha Palace Complex, known locally as Aranmanai, was the official residence of the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855. The palace is a mixed bag of ruin and renovation, superb art and random royal paraphernalia. The maze-like complex was constructed […]

Uttar Pradesh

Man Mandir Palace and Jantar Mantar – Varanasi

The imposing Man Mandir Palace is one of the major central landmarks along the string of ghats that line the west bank of the great Ganga in Varanasi (Banaras, Kashi). The palace was built in 1585 by the Sawai Man Singh, the Rajput king of Amber (Jaipur in […]

Agra Fort – From Palace To Prison

Planned by a Muslim king and built by Hindu masons, the imposing Agra Fort is the most visible testimony of Akbar’s rule. This citadel is a statement of empire, and perfectly illustrates the young emperor’s vision and creativity, which ultimately unified the diverse geographical and racial entities within […]