ahchitragarh fort

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ahchitragarh fort overview

#2 of 32 Places To Visit in Nagaur
ahchitragarh fort
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address
Nagaur, Rajasthan, India
entry fee
15
per person For Indians
50
per person For Foreigners
timings
All days of the week
8:30 AM - 1:00 PM
2:30 PM - 5:00 PM

about ahchitragarh fort

The main attraction here is the Ahchitragarh Fort, which was in turn controlled by Rajputs, Mughals and the British. It’s more of a pleasure palace with a touch of delicacy to the buildings. There’s a Hawa Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Akbari Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.
Time a visit during the annual Nagaur Cattle Fair in Jan/ Feb, with cattle being sold and camel races aplenty. Don’t miss the famous Mirchi Bazaar.

Nagaur was a stop on the medieval trade routes, and hence the Rajputs and Mughals keenly contested control over it. After Amar Singh’s demise, the fort passed to the Mughals. Thereafter, it came under British vassalage, even though it was recognised as part of the Marwar inheritance. After Independence, the fort went into decline as the government neither looked after it nor protected it from vandalism. After a petition from Maharaja Gaj Singh II, the current head of the Rathore clan, it was restored to him as family property about a decade ago. It is now looked after by Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Museum Trust.

For a restoration project that won a United Nations award and could prove to be Nagaur’s turning point, it’s surprisingly difficult to obtain clear directions to Nagaur’s most imposing sight. It’s built on a slightly hilly elevation, and once you get there, you’ll park by the entrance to Hadi Rani’s Palace, and enter the section of the Zenani Deodi, into what was the women’s wing. It becomes immediately apparent that though the battlements might have been defensive, our late lamented Rathore had actually planned a pleasure palace for himself.

There is a great delicacy to the buildings, and it is clear that it was a sybaritic rather than a strategic retreat. Overlooking ghostly remains of gardens, water bodies and fountains — which await the next stage of funding for restoration — are buildings such as the Hawa Mahal, in which remnants of wall paintings reveal the hedonistic nature of pleasures once offered there. To another side is the Diwan-i-Khas, the hall of private audience, where an RAJASTHAN 300 HERITAGE HOLIDAYS IN INDIA elaborate system for trapping fresh breeze, as well as channelled water through a network of shallow canals, must have added immensely to the comfort of the apartments. 

Most of their floral paintings have survived. An interesting part of the chamber is the hamams, where the ruler bathed in water tanks with piped hot and cold water. The maharaja’s gaddi was positioned before a water pool with a fountain, more akin to Mughal style than Rajput, bearing testimony to Amar Singh’s proximity to the Mughal Court. Nagaur was also significant to the Mughals for its proximity to Ajmer — an important site of Muslim pilgrimage.

And so the fort houses the Akbari Mahal, a Mughal guest house built surrounding a water tank, with a Sheesh Mahal where faint traces of mirrors and frescoes provide a glimpse of what must have been a sumptuous palace. In fact, water played a major part in the planning of Ahchitragarh, and the pillared pavilion called the Baradari overlooks a huge pool of water that the guide referred to as “a swimming pool”. If, in fact, this was a bathing section for the queens, it must have been a first for a Rajput palace, especially given its size and scale. 

Ahchitragarh Fort’s built and renovated apartments may be an attraction for many, but its charm lies in being able to sit on any low wall, under trees probably a century old, and gaze about the shadows of its falling ruins.

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