Forts and Palaces in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is known for its historical background with forts and palaces dating back to centuries. Kingdoms. The ancient Vedas illustrate that King Dasarath’s marriage took place with princess of this region. Also, they describe that Lord Rama and Sita spent most part of their 14 year exile in forests of this region. Talking about history of Madhya Pradesh, it takes us back to fifth century when most of it was ruled by the Gupta Empire. Emperor Harsha ruled till seventh century and slowly the Ghazni and Gori took over Central India. By close of 18th century, Marathas ruled this part of India. After Independence, 35 new princely states were formed with few coming together to become Madhya Pradesh in 1956. Almost every ruling monarch build strong forts in this part of India which at that time were epitome of their power and prestige. One can find almost 12 historical important forts in Madhya Pradesh.
Gwalior Fort is one of the largest forts in India. It is located in Gwalior district of Madhya Pradesh. Built on a high hill in 8th century Gwalior fort
with some astonishing man made cliffs around the fort, is one of the major attractions of the state. Many dynasties ruled over this majestic fort. The Mughal Emperor Babur had described it as pearl in the necklace of forts in Hind. Inside the great tall walls of the fort; there are two palaces that have history. Man Mandir Palace built during early rule of Tomar. The other is Gurjari Palace built by Raja Man Singh Tomar for his queen, Mrignayani in 15th century.
Some historians claim that the fort was built in 3rd century during rule of Rajputs. There is another Lord Vishnu temple built in 15th century. It is believed that Prathiar, Kachhawa Pal Dynasty, Turkic rulers, and Tomar Kings ruled from the Gwalior fort since 15th century.
Ibrahim Lodhi captured the fort in early 16th century. Mughal emperors hoisted their flag on the fort after death of Lodhi and continued to rule till mid 16th century. The throne shifted from Humayun to Adil Shah Suri during this period. A Hindu warrior, Hem Chandra Vikramaditya of Adil Shah’s battalion was appointed as Chief of Army and Pirme Minister of Gwalior. He formed Hindu Raj in 1556 and betrayed Adil Shah. Vikramaditya fought and won more than 20 times against Adil Shah and also won over Akbar’s army in Delhi.
He finally settled down at Purana Qila in New Delhi.
How to Reach Gwalior Fort ?
Gwalior has an airport just about eight kilometres outside the city. There are many buses, taxis, and rickshaws from the airport to drive to the city. Delhi is the nearest international airport that is 321 kilometres from Gwalior
, and Agra
are all well connected by air.By Train:
GWL is the station code for Gwalior. It is one of the main stops for Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai trains. There is a direct train from almost every city of southern and western part of India.By Road:
The nearest tourist junction from Gwalior is Agra; it is at a distance of 120 km. Delhi is the next nearest tourist destination. Jaipur is also located at a distance of 350 km. Gwalior is also surrounded by military area hence; the roads leading to the city are well maintained. Chambal Sanctuary, Datia, and Shivpuri are other destinations for tourist attraction.
Some interesting facts about Gwalior fort
Rani Laxmibai or Jhansi ki Rani as she is fondly called fought and died near the fort.
The first account of zero identified as number was found in a temple near Gwalior. It was recorded on tablet during 9th century. This temple was located on eastern side of the plateau.
Agra and Chambal Sanctuary are couple of important tourist destinations closest to Gwalior.
Madan Mahal Fort
Madan Mahal Fort
Most of the historical monuments are located towards western and northern Madhya Pradesh. The geographical conditions of Madhya Pradesh are made for architectural monuments, temples, and palaces as it is dry and rocky. Other parts are occupied by lush green forests. Madan Mahal Fort is located in Jabalpur
city which is south east of Madhya Pradesh. The south east region of Madhya Pradesh was ruled by Gond tribe and Kalchuri rulers. This fort was built in 11th century during Gond rule to keep a close watch on the approaching enemy troops. Touring visitors can see stables, rooms, ancient scripts, and corridors which clearly indicate that the fort was an army post. As this fort mainly used as military outpost, there was another fort built in the plains called Garha fort. Garha Fort as the name suggests was the home for Gond’s royal family. All the kings and rulers of Gond dynasty lived in this fort.
How to Reach Madan Mahal Fort ?
Jabalpur city is also having an airport. The fort is located at a distance of 22 km from the airport. There are pre-paid taxis and rickshaws to drive to the city. Domestic flights are available from Indore, Bhopal, Delhi, and Jaipur.By Road:
Adequate numbers of state transport buses are available from nearby cities like Nagpur, Bhopal, Indore, etc. Jabalpur is well connected by road from these places.By Train:
Jabalpur railway station is the nearest one to the fort. There is Madan Mahal railway station too but very few trains stop by. Hence, tourists may opt for trains connected via Jabalpur which is 10 km away from destination. Good numbers of trains run from Mumbai, Delhi, Varnasi, Agra, and Hyderabad.
There are couple of temples around the area to visit after touring the fort. Balancing fort and Dhaundhar waterfall are other tourist attractions around Jabalpur.
Dhar Fort is located in Dhar
district of Madhya Pradesh. Dhar is a prime area in Malwa region. The fort was built in 14th century by Mohammad Tughlak. This fort has a unique construction material compared to rest in the district. It was built with red stone, black stone, and murram. Just a few centuries back into the history, King Raj Bhoj ruled Dhar for nearly half a decade. During his reign, he had also set up a library in a temple called Bhoj Shala. The fort and whole of Dhar district started to fall for Islamic influence as Alauddin Khilji captured Delhi and surrounding areas.
Sheesh Mahal is a small palace built by Jahangir inside the fort. It was here that Jahangir’s eldest son hid during the war. Kharbuja Mahal is the other palace inside. The name was derived from its shape as it looked closely to musk melon in shape and color of the tomb. These two were built in 16th century. In 18th century, Pawar dynasty captured and ruled Dhar for few years. Dhar Fort was also used as hiding place by Indian freedom fighters during mid 19th century. Revolutionist Anandi Bai also fought for Maratha from this very place and also gave birth to Peshwa Bajirao. Sadly, most of these monuments are in ruins due to governments changing frequently and none taking up appropriate initiatives to protect them. Until recently local government has sent officials to get the repair process underway.
How to Reach Dhar Fort ?
Indore is the nearest airport to Dhar, located 64 km from the destination. Domestic flights from cities across India are available to Indore as it is the financial capital of Madhya Pradesh. IDR is the city code of Indore to be used while searching for flights.By Road:
Tourists have to travel to Indore and board state transport buses that will take them to their destination. Dhar is well connected by road from Indore and other nearby cities.By Train:
Indore is the only city connected to to Dhar by all means of transport. It is the nearest railway station and people can hire taxis to reach Dhar.
Bandhavgarh fort is known to be one of the oldest forts in India. Historians have no data about when and who constructed the fort. However, few ancient books suggest that the rulers of Gond Empire had built the fort more than 2000 years ago. The architecture of this fort resembles with other forts built by these rulers hence, we are informed that the Bandhavgarh fort belonged to their regime. It is also believed that the fort was named after the hillock of the area that was gifted to Lakshmana by his brother Lord Rama to keep a watch on Lanka.
'Bandhav' means brother and 'garh' means house or fort. There was a time when traders commuting between Kaushambi and Bharhut used the fort as a business centre. It was then called as Bardawati. Similarly, the fort was given new names under various rulers. Haihay Kshetra was the name under Kalchuri's rule, and people during Vakataka dynasty carved sculptures on the stones of the fort for a living. Some of these statues found are of Lord Vishnu's avatars in the form of fish and turtle.
Shesh-Saiya, the sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu
Apart from wildlife creatures and fort in Bandhavgarh forest, the tall statue of Vishnu sleeps on seven-headed serpent bed called Shesh-Saiya, is a major attraction for tourists. It is a rare carving out of a single stone, and is in ruins now. This reincarnation of Lord Vishnu in the jungle belongs to the 10th century and is possibly a strong evidence of fort's history. A small stream of river flows from the feet of this statue, called Charanganga. You can also spot this gigantic idol from the highest peak in Bandhavgarh forest.
How to Reach the Bandhavgarh fort ?
Bandhavgarh National fort is located one of the Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh. The whole area is spread over an area of 105 sq km. It is a popular habitat for Royal Bengal Tiger and research reports have suggested that the population of tigers is highest here when compared to rest of India.By Road: Jabalpur
are some cities that are well connected to Bandhavgarh by road. The reserve is located at 200 km from Jabalpur, 100 km from Katni, and very close from Umaria that is connected by rail route too. The destination is 35 km from Umaria. There are good numbers of state government buses that connect to the Bandhavgarh National Park from these nearest cities/towns.By Train:
Madhya Pradesh government ensured to connect the National Park by rail for convenience of visitors. Katni and Umaria are the nearest railway stations. The park is a two hour drive from Katni and less than an hour from Umaria.By Air:
The most convenient way to reach Bandhavgarh is fly down to Khajuraho from Delhi and take a taxi for a hour drive to the destination. It is a long drive but fascinating as you cross over Ken river that is the home of Ghariyal. Ghariyal is the rare fish eating crocodile and the river bed of Ken is popular for these species. The road passes through Panna town that is popular for diamond mines. Also, enjoy the nature's beauty while driving by the ridges of Vindhya Hills.
Singorgarh Fort is another constructed by Gond rulers. It is located in Damoh
district of Madhya Pradesh. The fort is located at a distance of 45 km
from Jabalpur city in a forested area. There is also a pond to store
water on hill top. Currently, the fort is in a bad state due to no
proper maintenance. Tourists visiting this place can see tall watch
towers around the fort that are still intact. As per historical records,
the fort was first under dominance of Chandela rulers till 14th
century. Later, it was taken over by Kalinjar rulers. The King of Gond,
Sangram Shah attacked with his army when fort was ruled by King
The Gond ruler conquered the fort and ruled till late 16th century. Then, Mughal general Asaf Khan conquered the fort. Queen Rani Durgavati, daughter in law of Sangram Shahi ruled the fort. She moved to Garha fort when she was informed that a huge army of 70,000 soldiers with Asaf Khan were approaching Gond kingdom. A bloddy battle took place between the armies and most of the fort was destroyed but Asaf Khan conquered the Singorgarh fort.
How to Reach Singorgarh Fort ?
Jabalpur is nearest airport; it is located at 65 km from the fort. There are pre-paid taxis to hire from the airport to destination. Many south Indian cities are well connected by air from
Cities like Hyderabad,
Mumbai, Indore, Bhopal, and Delhi have direct flights to Jabalpur.By Train:
The railway station of Jabalpur is located at 75 km. State transport buses are available from railway station to the fort. Alternate option is to hire cabs for a round trip.By Road:
Madhya Pradesh government has facilitated good number of buses between the states to promote tourism. Jabalpur is well connected by road from all the main cities in India. However, the last 10 km to the fort isn’t good enough for any vehicle to drive. Hence, tourists should manage to trek through forest trail and reach the fort.
King Asa Ahir built this fort in Satpura Range of Burhanpur district. The fort was named after the king but, it was difficult to pronounce. So, they changed to Asirgarh by removing three letters in middle of the name. The fort was built sometime between 12th and 13th century. It wasn’t attractive but later, Mughals conquered the fort and renovated it. Adil Shah who was the ruler of Asirgarh fort after Asa Ahir surrendered to the forces of Akbar and joined his army. It was he who looked after the construction of mosque and upper portion of the fort. The renovation was so good that it was called the gateway to South India. Rivers Narmada and Tapti flowing through the district and close to the fort have added more beauty.
It is believed that this fort was invincible and cannot be conquered by war and straight win. The only alternate that rulers chose is to enter the fort in disguise and capture it. The first incident happened when forces of Faruqi dynasty came in disguise and sought Ahir’s help for shelter to the royal ladies of the family. However, it was trained and armed soldiers in the palanquin who then attacked and conquered the fort. This historical incident happened in year 1399. As Akbar moved forces across India to conquer all the kingdoms, he marched towards Burhanpur and conquered it too by end of 16th century. Though the fort was built by Hindu King, it was ruled by Ahirs, Mughals, Bargujars, and British. A mix of Islamic, Hindu, Persian, and Turkish can be seen in the architecture of Asirgarh Fort.
How to Reach Asirgarh Fort ?
The nearest airport to Burhanpur is Indore. It is located at a distance of 183 km. As Indore is well connected by air from different corners of India, tourists can reach here and take state transport of train to Burhanpur district. There are pre-paid taxis also from the airport to reach the destination.By Train:
Burhanpur has a railway station and the code is BAU. Punjab Mail, Mumbai-Howrah express, Kushinagar Express, and Karnataka express are some of the trains that stop by this railway station. People travelling from south should look for trains connecting to Indore so that travel to the destination becomes easy.By Road:
Burhanpur is located on state highway 27 that heads to Indore. Most tourists coming from other states take train or flight to Indore and board the state transport buses to Burhanpur district.
People visiting the Asirgarh Fort wouldn’t want to miss touring world heritage sites like Sanchi and Bhimbetka rock shelters near Bhopal. There is also the very famous Ujjain temple that temple lovers can visit.
Bajrangarh Fort is located in Guna
district of Madhya Pradesh. It was built between 16th and 17th century on the banks of river Chapet during the reign of Chanderi rulers. It is constructed on a hill top at a height more than 90 meters. The whole area of the fort is spread in close to 29 acres. The fort was also called Jharkon. This fort was also made headquarters of Chanderi dynasty during Akbar’s rule. Bajrangarh fort was attacked and taken over by Raja Jai Singh and Daulatrao Scindia in early 19th century.
Moti Mahal, and Rangmahal are two monuments inside the fort apart from two Hindu temples. All these four monuments are still intact while the rest of the fort was ruined during the war between Chanderi rulers and forces of Raja Jai Singh. There is also a step well to store drinking water for horses and people living inside the fort. The temples are still frequented by local people as they are informed that these were built during the Maratha rule. Tourists can also go for a ferry ride in the reservoir of Gopi Krishan Sagar Dam. The district also has a digital library to know more about its history. Bajrangarh Park in the district is also a tourist spot.
How to Reach Banrangarh Fort ?
Bhopal is the nearest international airport to Guna district. Although Raja Bhoj airport exists in Guna district, there are very few flights from Bhopal and other cities in India. Hence, it is easier to fly down to Bhopal and drive to Guna district via taxi or state transport. Bhopal is located at 151 km from Guna district.By Road:
Guna falls on the National Highway 3 and it is one of the best roads to go for a long drive. People travelling from West or South West India can take the highway to reach the destination. Alternately, there are state transport buses from Bhopal
and others cities in Madhya Pradesh to reach Guna district.By Train:
Guna railway station is one of the oldest in the country, built in mid 19th century. It is well connected via Bhopal. Jhansi-Bandra express is one train that stops by Guna station. Since it is a small station, people can take train to Bhopal and take roadway to Guna district.
Built in Rajasthani style in early 18th century, Sabalgarh Fort was constructed by a Gujar. The fort is located in Karaoli Tehsli of Madhya Pradesh. Karaoli was a small state and the fort was ruled by Gopal Singh, then Raja of Karaoli. It was attacked and captured by Maratha forces in 1795, led by Lakhwa Dada. Later, they went on to capture Baijaipur too. Ambaji Ingale was in charge of Bijaipur after the attack. However, one of the local kings Daulat Rao Scindia captured the fort in 1806 and imprisoned Ambaji. Few years later, the fort was added to kingdom of Scindia. During his reign, he built a palace and pool inside the fort. There were continuous attempts to capture the fort by Mughals from north and East India Company in early years of 19th century. But these efforts were strongly retaliated by Maratha forces led by Jaswant Rao Holker and Scindia’s forces. Scindia’s ruled the fort from 1764 to 1837. But finally, the British captured it by mid of 19th century as used it as palace for higher rank officials.
Other Attractions around Sabalgarh Fort
Janganath ji Temple, Royal Court, and Naval Singh Haveli are few
highlights of the fort apart from its three huge gates and small
temples. Pahargarh is a town few miles away from the fort. This place is well known for its cave paintings. There are about 86 cave paintings, and the cave shelters are called Bhim Baitka. The paintings depicted men and women dancing, hunting of birds and animals, etc
Bateshwar, is a place of interest for archaeologists with nearly 200 ancient shrines. These were believed to be built almost 300 years before Kajuraho was built, sometime between 8th and 10th century. Bateshwar is located around 25 km from the Karaoli Tehsil of Morena district. All these temples were made of sandstone during the rule of Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty. Rani Ka Taal, Nagar Devi Annapurna Maa Temple, Atar Ghat, and Tonga ka Taal are few more places of attraction around the fort.
How to Reach Sabalgarh Fort ?
Gwalior, Jaipur, and Agra are the nearest international airports located at distance of 100-200 km with Gwalior being the nearest. There are pre-paid taxis available from these airports for tourists to drive down to Morena district.By Rail:
There is a narrow gauge connecting Gwalior and Sabalgarh, called Gwalior Light railways. This line currently managed by Central Railways and has a history too. The narrow gauge line was complete in 1909 during the rule of Maharaja Madhav Rao II over Sabalgarh. It runs all the way from Gwalior to Sheopur Kalan.By Road:
Sabalgarh is well connected by road from all the big cities around like Gwalior, Jaipur, etc. State Road Transport has ensured that there are enough buses for tourists.
Garh Kundar Fort
Garh Kundar Fort was earlier called as Jinagarh fort. It was ruled by Chandelas. During the year 1180 AD, Khet Singh, the chief of Khangars captured the fort and started living there. His grandson took the throne after his death and renovated the fort to name it as Garh Kundar. The Khangars ruled for almost two decades from this fort. The fort has some pillars and walls with incarnation of how the princess Kesar De self-immolated when the Mughals attacked the fort. Mohammad Tughlaq’s force launched war on Garh Kundar fort in 1347 AD, during their campaign of conquering the entire region. Khet Singh’s grandson, Maharaja Khub Singh Khangar rebuilt the fort. The Mughals also didn’t stay long in the fort and passed the rule to its allies to Bundelas. It was in 2006 that the state government released funds to save the historic monument from decaying. Then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh announced about the funds during Virasat, a popular cultural festival.
Garh Kundar Fort
The fort is located amidst hills and forests making it a picturesque landscape. There are many ancient structures beside the fort. Gajanan Maa Temple is one of the attractions though it is decaying. There are some ruins left that narrate its history. Ganajan Maa, a form of Goddess Durga was worshiped by Khangars during the medieval time. The temple was built by their king, Maharaja Khet Singh Khangar. Giddha Vahini Devi Temple is the other tourist attraction near the fort.
How to Reach Garh Kundar Fort ?
Kahjuraho is the nearest airport to Tikamgarh district. It is located at a distance of 125 Km. Khajuraho is well connected from Delhi and Agra by air.By Road:
There are daily state buses running from Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Nagpur, Jhansi, and other important cities of Madhya Pradesh.By Rail:
Until recently, there wasn’t a rail route to Tikamgarh. The rail route was completed in 2012 and Tikamgarh railway station is connected by Lalitpur and Singrauli rail line.
Cannon at Narwar Fort
Located in Vindhya range on a hill top of 500 feet, Narwar Fort is spread in eight sq.km. Locals claim that the fort was built by Kachwaha Rajputs in 10th century. Some villagers indicate that three dynasties successfully ruled Narwar for four centuries; Parihara and Tomara Rajputs are the other two. It was during 16th century that Mughals conquered the fort and by Scindia’s army men in 19th century.
The fort is popular for its architecture than history as its magnificence was second to Gwalior fort. It was to match Rajput’s lifestyle. Their forts are common with flat ceiling and multifold arches. The inner portion of the fort is divided by cross walls. The walls are usually painted with bright colors and glass beads. Jai Stambha, monument of Sati, Ladu bungalow, Chhip Mahal, and Kacheri Mahal are some of tourist attractions around the fort.
How to Reach Narwar fort ?
There is no exact information about transport options however; state transport buses to Narwar or prepaid taxis must be available from nearest bus stand or railway station which are the best options for tourists visiting here.
Raisen fort is one of the unique forts India that depicts integrity among religions with temples and mosques built inside. The fort was built in 1200 AD and ruled by various rulers; from Rajputs to Mughals till mid 18th century. Rajputs and other Hindu rulers took over the fort till 15th century. Later, Sher Shah Suri captured it in 1543 and subsequently, occupied by then Nawab of Bhopal, Fiaz Mohammad Khan in 1760. Since then, the fort was considered to be part of Bhopal state till independence. It was merged as capital city of Madhya Pradesh in the year 1956.
There are several cave paintings in the surroundings. Added to it, is a large water body with 40 wells gives a splendid view from the fort. A shrine of a Muslim saint, Hazrat Peer Fatehullah Shaha Baba is very popular amongst the locals. It is believed that desires of people who visit this shrine are fulfilled.
How to Reach Raisen Fort ?
Bhopal is the nearest airport to Raisen, located at 48 km. There are pre-paid taxis and state run buses at affordable rates for tourists. Bhopal is well connected by air from all parts of the country.By Road:
All the main cities in the state are well connected by road to Raisen fort. Infact, it is the most convenient ways to reach the destination from nearby cities. State transport vehicles and taxis are abundant for travel.By Rail:
Nearest railway junction is Bhopal and there are many trains from Southern and Western parts of the country that pass by Bhopal.
Ajaigarh Fort was ruled by the Bundela Rajputs. It was founded by Guman Singh in 1765. It was constructed on 800 ft. high hill. The fort is spread in an area of 2000 sq.km. approx. The British had captured the fort in 1809 and merged it as a state of Bundelkhand Agency. The Hindu rulers of Ajaigarh Fort carried title of ‘Sawai Maharaj’ during their reign. Currently, the fort is left in ruins with few sculptures, and temples. Under the British rule, the people of this town suffered Malaria and famine during 1860s and 1890s. Ajaigarh was part of Vindhya Pradesh until it was merged into Panna district of Madhya Pradesh in 1951. There were some grants by British to the chiefs of Ajaigarh to maintain style. However, these were revoked after Independence in 1971.
How to Reach Ajaigarh Fort ?
Khajuraho are the nearest railways stations and infact Ajaigarh Fort is located 3 km from railway station. Taxis are available from the station.
Kajuraho is the only nearest bus stop to reach our destination. Air route is not so feasible to this interior part of Madhya Pradesh.
Hinglajgarh or Hinglaj Fort
Hinglajgarh or Hinglaj Fort is named after the goddess Hinglaj Devi. She was the deity of Kshatriya Dynasty. It is learnt that Kshatriyas frequented Balochistan town of Pakistan in ancient times. The Devi’s temple was originally found there. Later, it was also built inside the fort. It is one of the oldest forts built in India. Because of its location in middle of Vindhya Hill range, the dense forests made it difficult to access. Built by Mauri rulers in fourth or fifth century, the fort was ruled by mostly Hindu kings; Guptas dynasty to Parmara dynasty. During Parmara rule several temples were built inside the fort. It is located in Navali village of Bhanpura Tehsil, Mandsaur district.
Apart from Mauri, Guptas, Kshatriyas, and Parmara dynasties, Hinglaj Fort was also ruled by Hadu. Chandrawat, and Holkar rulers. The fort underwent few renovations under the rule of Holkar. Some Hindu temples had come up. It was in 1281 AD that Hadu ruler occupied the fort that was later taken over by Chandrawat rulers. King Gopal Singh of Chandrawat dynasty built a haveli for himself inside the fort. Towards end of second century, Queen Ahilya Bhai of Holkar dynasty led her troops to win over Laxman Singh of Chandrawat dynasty. However, this fort was never a permanent capital town for the rulers.
The architecture of the fort is splendid that tourists would surely enjoy their visit and take away some good memories. The fort has four gates of which three on east and one facing west. There is also a huge water body inside the temple. The grand tank was Suraj Kund. Rani Mahal, Shiva Temple, and Fateh Burj are the other popular attractions of this fort.
How to Reach Hinglaj Fort ?
Four wheeler vechiles are means of transport to reach this destination. Pre-paid Taxis are available from all main bus stand and railway stations.
Gohad fort is located at 45 km from Gwalior in Bhind district. A prominent area of Jat caste developed as they moved from Agra and settled in Gohad town in early 16th century. It was then the chief of Jat group, Singhandev II founded the Gohad fort. This place slowly grew as a stronghold of Jatse. The area had more than 300 forts and Gohad fort had most unique architecture. The fort was conquered by Rajput King of Bhadawar in 1708 and went on to win Rampura also in 1712. The other side of the history also states that this fort was gifted to Wazir of Scindia’s court for his exemplary service.
The fort was strategically picked by Jat rulers for better protection.
Vaisli river takes a semi-circular turn at the fort. It has 11 gates; all named after the villages that were part of kingdom. In addition to architectural brilliance outside, the fort had few ponds and temples inside. The most fascinating construction of the fort is the curvy route that kings can ride on a horse and reach top-tier of the fort. There is another very attractive building inside the fort called Navin Mahal that is currently used as Govt. Offices. There is another wonderful palace constructed outside the fort by Maharaja Chhatra Singh. It was built on one of the hill tops in Behat village and used as summer capital for Gohad rulers. Locals say that singer Tansern was also born here.
How to Reach Gohad Fort ?
The fort is well connected and near to Gwalior. Tourists can opt for state transport buses and txis to reach Gohad.By Air:
Gwalior is the nearest airport that is well connected from cities within the state and neighbouring states too.By Rail:
There aren’t direct trains to Gohad however; Gwalior is the most suitable option by train and take local transport to reach the destination.
Chanderi Fort is located on a hill top southwest to Betwa river; at a distance of 37 km from Lalitpur. The fort is surrounded by monuments built by Bundela Rajputs and Malwa Sultans. Chanderi was ruled Shishupal of Mahabharata fame. Chanderi has a history as it was a major stop for traders on the way to ports of Gujarat and Central India. Hence, it became an important outpost for the military.
Chanderi is very old town and the fort on hill top is huge and tall. It gives beautiful view from the hill top. The main gate of the fort is called ‘Khooni Darwaza’. Most of the construction was done under the observation of Muslim leaders. They also built a mysterious gateway in southwest direction called ‘katti-ghatti’. Prior to the construction of fort, Chanderi had great history as a town. It was first spotted by Persian rulers in 1030.
The town was first captured by Ghiyas Ud Din Baiban in mid 13th century. Later, it came under attack again by Sultan of Malwa, Mahmud Khilji took over the reins from Sultan of Delhi. This trend of capturing the town till late mid 16th century and then, Mughal Emperor Akbar stayed here for a while and converted it as a sarkar. However, it was again captured by Devi Singh Bundela in late 17th century and thus remained under their rule for long time. Sometime in mid 19th century, one of the Maratha rulers conquered the town and handed over to Dualat Rao Scindia of Gwalior which slowly got transferred to the British in 1844. After a revolt in 1857, the town was recaptured and Scindia’s took over reign again in 1867. Eventually, Chanderi town got merged into Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh in 1956. Babur’s mosque, Jama & Juma Masjid, Nizamuddin Tombs, Jain Temple, Koshak Mahal, and Singpur Mahal are some of the popular attractions around the town.
How to Reach Chanderi Fort ?
Bhopal, Gwalior, and Khajuraho are the nearest airports from Chanderi. These three airports have abundant flights from Delhi.By Road:
State run buses are available from nearest bus stations like Bhopal, Gwalior, Sanchi, Khajuraho, etc.By Rail:
There are trains from Bhopal that pass by Lalitpur station. It is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 40kms from Chanderi.
Rudra Pratap Singh of Bundela Rajput clan found the town of Orchha and built a fort here. The fort is located on the banks of Betwa river. Despite Orchha fort being small, there are many other such monuments built around the area. The complete look of the town is uplifted with these structures and river flowing beside them. Chaturbhuj Temple is a popular shrine built by the Queen of Orchha, Ganesh Bai in mid 16th century. There was also a Raj Mandir constructed by Madhukar Shah during his reign. There is also reflection of Mughal architecture in Jahangir Mahal with eight large domes on the roof of towers around the Mahal. Another must-see is the camel shelter of those times. In fact, tourists can get a spectacular view of the Orchha town from roof top.
How to Reach Orchha Fort ?
Gwalior airport is a distance of 120 km and it is well connected from Delhi and Bhopal. Tourists can opt for the convenient choice and take local transport from the airport.By Road:
Regular state transport buses that run between Jhansi
and Khajuraho are diverted to Orchha bus stop.By Rail:
Alternately, people can also train to Jhansi as it is very well connected from most of the important cities of Southern, Western, and Northern India. Orchha to Jhansi is a 16km drive.
Mandsaur fort also known as Dashpur Fort is located in Mandasaur
district, Madhya Pradesh. Because of its location, on the border of Malwa and Mewar, this fort became significantly important. Apart from its geographical location, this fort is very famous because of the history associated with it.
From Dilawar Khan to his son Hoshang Shah, Rana Sanga to Sir John Malcum, there are many rulers associated with this historical fort. Dilawar Khan Ghauri, (governor of the Malwa province of central India) declared himself Sultan of Malwa in 1401.
He had no obstacles, as Delhi Sultanate was weak with the Timur attack. Hushang Shah, successor of Dilawar Khan Ghauri, built this fort Mandsaur city to strengthen his north-west territory.Mandsaur fort was mainly Mandu rulers. In 1519 Rana Sanga, declared Ashokmal Rajput as its Kiledar by occupying it. Mandsaur got its status as Sarkar during Akbar’s reign. Maratha’s occupied this fort by defeating Malwa subedar, Sawai Jaisingh in 1733. The treaty of 1818, by which this fort came under British occupation, between Holkar II and Tantiya Jog Senapati and Sir John Malcum was signed in this very fort. This fort is now used a government office by collector, District Judge and other Govt officers.
How to Reach Mandsaur Fort ?
To take a view at the Mandsaur Fort, you need to go to the city Mandsaur.Mandsaur, a city in Malwa, Madhya Pradesh.Before India's independence; Mandsaur was part of the princely state of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.By Train:
There are many trains connected to Mandsaur. Ajmer/Udaipur-Bandra Terminus SF Express, Indore-Udaipur Express, and Ajmer-Hyderabad Express are a few examples. Once out of the stations, you can hire a taxi/auto and reach the fort.By Road:
There are many private as well as government run buses to reach Mandsaur. If interested, one can go to Ajmer and from there book a local taxi to reach Mandsaur.By Air:
Though Mandsaur doesn’t have a direct flight, the nearest airport is Dabok Airport, Udaipur, Rajasthan. You can go to Udaipur and hire a cab (or) take a bus directly to Mandsaur.
Mandsaurand cities near it are full of tourist spots. Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Shivana river, Teliya Talaab, Taxakeshwar temple, Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary, Bandi Ji Ka Baag are a few examples. Bandi Ji Ka Baag is full of glass interiors. It is a Jain temple, believed to be 120 years old. It is not very far from the main bus stand and so is easily reachable.
Utila Fort is in village Utila, Gwalior district, Madhya Pradesh. This fort is located 20 km away from Gwalior, towards the north-eastern region of Madhya Pradesh. RanaonkiGarhi (Rana’s manor) is located in this very fort. This was built under the reign of Gohad ruler Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana around 1740. Like many forts in India, Utila fort was surrounded by deep ditch to protect it from invaders. The sole purpose behind building Utila fort was central defense of Gohad Fort. Soldiers from Utila would send signals to Singhpur fort which would be redirected to Gohad and Behat forts. Use of techniques like this, shows the immense talent of GohadJats.
How to Reach Utila Fort ?
To visit Utila Fort, the only way is to go to Gwalior and book a private taxi to Utila. Gwalior airport is eight kilometers away from the center of the city. After coming out of the airport, one can hire a taxi/car, auto (or) even take government run buses. Gwalior is well connected to all the major cities in India like, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.By Rail:
Gwalior railway station is in the heart of the city. So, this is the best mode of transportation. It connects to all the major parts of the city as well as all the major cities in India. This is the best way to travel entire Gwalior.By Road:
Gwalior has very good bus facility as well. There are many state service buses, private buses that connect Gwalior to many tourist spots.
Saasbahukamandir (Temple of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law): One can hire a car/taxi and visit this place. It would take a maximum of 45 minutes to reach Saasbahukamandir from Utila Fort.
This place is of a great architectural value. The actual name of this temple is Shashtrabahu. This temple was named so, as they built lord Vishnu’s idol with thousand hands. King Mahipala of the Kachchhapaghata (Kachchhwaha) dynastybuilt this temple, for his wife, as she was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. As his daughter in law was a great worshiper of Lord Shiva, they built another temple beside Shashtrabahu with Lord Shiva’s idol in it. Hence, these two temples together are called Saasbahukamandir One can also visit, Phoolbagh, Gujarimahal, Deobagh, Sarod Ghar, Shekh Ki Bagiya, which are not that far from Utila fort.
Palaces in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is not just known for tigers, chanderi fabrics, and national parks. It narrates about the grandeur of the past and the battles fought in the land, through its splendid palaces and forts. Marathas, Rajputs and other warrior clans fought for the control of the region, but each of them left many beautiful palaces behind that are now the most popular tourist attractions in India. The palaces show the excellent craftsmanship, fusion of architectural styles, and robust engineering even at the times of no technology and provide a sneak peek into the opulence the ancient rulers of India enjoyed. They also tell us the tales of executions and the deadly wars fought between the kings and carry an air of melancholy, for the glory and grandeur of the place inspired those violent wars.
Jai Vilas Palace
Many foreign and Indian tourists flock the state to visit the forts, palaces, temples and other tourist attractions in the state. A beautifully made Incredible India advertisement made Madhya Pradesh a hot travel destination among foreigners visiting India, but sadly it couldn’t reach many Indian tourists.
In this article we provide you with information about popular palaces in the state that can inspire you to plan your next holiday to Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India. Palaces were constructed in ancient capitals of various princely states, these capitals are now the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore, Dhar (ancient Mandu), Orchha are all dotted with major tourist attractions like temples, palaces, forts, resorts and parks. All the major tourist attractions are accessible from the city centers. You may hire autos, cabs for longer distances and travel in auto-rickshaws for shorter distances. The tourism department also provides you with detailed maps of the place, available at hotels and resorts. Here are some of the prominent palaces in and around these cities. Plan your trip after the monsoons, between October and March, to escape from Summer heat and intermittent monsoons. The tourism board provides good facilities for travelers, there are also many resorts and hotels. Some palaces are renovated into Hotels; they make you feel like a king when your stay there.
Usha Kiran Palace in Gwalior
Located at the historic Gwalior fort, this former palace and a family home of the Scindia’s has been remodeled into a five star hotel. It not only provides travelers luxurious rooms and serves tasty native cuisine, but also shows the rich cultural heritage of MadhyaPradesh
Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior
Not far from the Usha Kiran Palace is the Jai Vilas Palace that is famous for its Belgian glass chandeliers and gold covered gilded walls. The palace houses Scindia Museum that explains Greco-Roman and Baroque Architectural style, the history of the place, and showcases interesting artifacts and memorabilia of the kings and queens. Tourists shouldn’t miss visiting this place to look at the beautiful Belgian Chandeliers in glass and gold each weighing about three tonnes. Just as we lose ourselves looking in awe at the glittering chandeliers we hear that eight elephants tested the strength of the chandeliers by walking on the dome for many days, before the chandeliers were lit. These stories, whether true or not, add a mystical aura the structure.
Man Mandir Palace in Gwalior
Located in Gwaloir fort, this palace built by Man Singh Tomar between 1486 and 1517 is said to have heavily influenced the Mughal architecture as can be seen in many famous Mughal constructions like Fatehpur Sikhri. Intricately carved stone walls, glazed tiles of bright colors and paintings of flowers and animals decorate the chambers of the palace. Many rulers of Gwalior Kachwaha Rajputs, Qutubiddin Aibawk, Tomaras, Mughals, Marathas, the British and the Scindias resided at the palace.
Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal
Jehan Numa Palace
Located in Bhopal it was once the Nawabs office that was later turned into a house and then into a hotel. The hotel is maintained by the Nawab’s descendents, pictures of bejeweled Nawabs and NawabBegums adorn the walls of the palace and gives us a glimpse of their luxury.
Gauhar Mahal in Bhopal
This popular tourist destination usually hosts cultural events, fairs and craft exhibitions. The fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture is evident in its domes and pillars. Located on the banks of Upper Lake, this palace was constructed by Qudisiya Begum, a prominent queen of Bhopal and an admirer of good art and architecture.
Shaukat Mahal in Bhopal
This palace is also constructed by Nawabs of Bhopal, but it looks different from the other palaces in the city for its unique architecture. It is believed to be designed by a French architect and has elements of both Mughal/Nawabi and European styles. Sadar Manzil adjacent to the palace was once used as a hall where the king met the public and is surrounded by green meadows. Like other palaces in post –renaissance era, this one is also constructed in white alabaster and has Gothic style triangular domes. Delicate floral patterns and designs adorning the walls add a indo-Islamic touch to the palace.
Rajwada Palace in Indore
This tall palace is where the Holkar kings lived. The lower three stories are constructed with stone, and arches carved in stone line up the palaces’ varendahs. The top floors are built of wood and the balconies give you a panoramic view of the city below. You can see the palace walls and windows outlined with bright divas on Diwali day. This palace is believed to have been burnt three times, probably by rival kings, but it still stood strong and intact.
Lal Bagh Palace in Indore
It was constructed by Holkar kings who ruled Indore from the early nineteenth century till it was merged into Indian state after independence. LalBagh palace hosted the king’s royal functions and was later made a museum. The Belgium stained glass windows, the Italian marble pillars, chandeliers and flying nymphs carved in the ceiling speak about Holkars successful trade relations with the west. The interiors of the palace are inspired from the palace of Versailles, and the gates are replicas of gates at Buckingham Palace with the emblem of Holkars engraved on them.
Sukh Nivas Palace in Indore
Surrounded by lush green gardens on one side and the Sukh Mahal Lake on the other side, this palace is the summer resort to Holker kings. A mysterious tunnel connects this beautiful piece of Indo-European architecture to the Holker Palace . The palace museum houses exquisite antique furniture, glass chandeliers, and portraits of the royal family.
Kalideh Palace in Ujjain
This wonderful piece of Persian architecture was plundered and damaged by Pindaries, but was restored by Sri. Madhav Rao Scindia, a famous politician and a descendent of Scindia kings. Ancient Persian scriptures found on one of the corridors record the visit of Mughal emperors Jehangir and Akbar.
Jahaz Mahal in Dhar
As the name suggests, this two storied mansion situated between two artificial lakes, Munj talab and Kapur talab, looks like a ship floating in water from a distance. The mahal with beautiful spacious lawns, pavilions, terrace and balconies built by sultan Ghiyas-ud-din served as his harem.
Hindola Mahal in Dhar
This palace is smaller and unique for its sloping walls and is also called the swing palace for the symmetric slopes of walls make it look as if it is swinging. This peaceful mahal was built by Hoshang Shah in 1425 and houses wide arches, a big bath open bath pool and a huge stair case.
Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati Pavilion.
The love story of Hindu singer Rani Roopmati and sultan Baz Bahadur resembles an Indian version of Romeo and Juliet. Baz Bahadur lived in his Baz Bahadur palace constructed in traditional Afghan style architecture during the 16th century. His love Roopmati who poisoned and killed herself when the king was defeated stayed in the Roopmati pavilion, located in an elevated hill not far away from the palace, and can view the palace from her pavilion. These palaces are admired for their architectural beauty, but they also gently blow a deep air of melancholy for the tragic story behind the place.
Jahangir Palace in Orchha
Though the place is named after Jehangir, this palace never housed Jehangir. It was built in 17th century in indo-islamic style to commemorate the cancelled visit of Jehangir, the famous Mughal emperor. This is also called the Rani Mahal as the queen of Raja Madhukar Shah has resided in the palace. The queen’s room is decorated with paintings depicting stories of Hindu mythology; parts of the mahal entrance and corridors are decorated with turquoise blue tiles against the huge brown walls. Elephants carved out of stone carrying bells around their necks, on either sides of the entrance used to indicate the kings arrival.
Built on a small hill in Orchha by Bundela kings, this palace is converted into a star hotel and is a perfect getaway from city life. You can breathe some unpolluted air as you sip your evening tea at sunset while chirping birds on their way back to their nests take your view into the sky, across the frontiers of the palace to the Orchha cenotaphs and ruins of other heritage towers around the palace.
Raj Mahal Palace
This palace situated on the banks of Betwa river served as the residence for erstwhile kinds of Orchha. It showcases Bundela architecture and was built by 17th century king Madhukar Shah. Mural paintings depicting various scenes in Hindu mythological decorate the walls. Many of the palace’s rooms are decorated with lined mirrors; a sheesh mahal or palace of mirrors is also a part of the Raj mahal.
Climb to the dome shaped pavilions or chhatris on huge towers, that house many vultures, or the huge balconies constructed in mandapa style, where the Bundela queens once walked, for a view of the town and surrounding historical monuments.
Bir Singh Palace or Datia Palace
Almost abandoned Datia Palace or Bir Singh Deo Mahal, was founded by King Bir Singh Deo in 1614, at about 40 kms from Orchha. This robust mahal in brick and stone was constructed to mark Jehangirs visit to Orchha, but Jehangir couldn’t visit it. The palace was almost abandoned and surprisingly no king ever lived in it. The palace has seven stories, but the first two are underground and are closed for visitors. It has a large courtyard a five storey tower, of 440 rooms and several courtyards, at the center. Intricate stone carvings across the labyrinths of corridors and detailed paintings of flowers, birds, and animals decorating the walls of various rooms are sure to make you spell bound and suggest Rajput architectural style. The palace has many arched doorways and domes in Mughal architectural style, but the lotus petal shaped carving that tops the dome reflects Bundela architecture .
Amalgamation of various Indian and Mughal styles made this piece a magnificent architectural marvel, so brilliant that it is said to have impressed Architect Edward Luytens with its great design, and he used some of the elements of this architectural style while designing North and South Blocks in Delhi. Don’t miss climbing the tower to enjoy a breathtaking view the Datia city, its temples, and fort along with its royal quarters from the balconies and through the lattice work veils from windows at the top floors.