Forts With History in India – A Photo Essay

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Beach Below Bekal Fort

Forts with history have been around for hundreds of years. They help in protecting an area or kingdom from enemy attacks. The strong fort walls of masonry and stone shielded the garrison from bombardment. Arthashastra, the ancient Indian thesis on military strategy, economics and statecraft, mentions six different types of forts.

Forts with history are spread all over India. The ones that I describe below are not in any particular order.

Bekal Fort

Bekal Fort overlooks the Arabian Sea. The 300 year-old fort is spread over 40 acres and is perhaps the largest in Kerala. Many believe that Bekal fort  belonged to the Chirakkal Rajas. Subsequently Shivappa Nayakar conquered the area and rebuilt the fort in the 1650s. Later Bekal was a base for Tippu Sultan in his military expeditions. Tipu was killed in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799 and thereby Bekal Fort came into the possession of the East India Company.

Bekal Fort is today a major tourist destination. It is 75 km from Mangalore International airport.

Sinhagad Fort

 

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Sinhagad Fort

Thirty kilometres to the southwest of Pune is Sinhagad Fort,  at an altitude of 1312 metres. It was one of the top military outposts during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.  The climb takes about two hours. You can spend one to four hours in the fort, depending on your interests and the weather.

Fort Aguada

 

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Fort Aguada and Its Lighthouse

Fort Aguada is a 400 year old Portuguese-built fort in Goa. It overlooks the Arabian Sea where River Mandovi flows into it. It is a top travel destination in Goa and draws many visitors from India and outside.

Fort Aguada is at the confluence of River Mandovi and Arabian Sea. This had strategic importance to the Portuguese colonists who had established Goa as their headquarters in India. They built the fort in three years, 1609 to 1612. From the fort, they sought to control the waterways into Goa.

Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort is on top of a hill. It was once the residence of King Sawai Jai Singh II. The fort houses Madhavendra Bhawan which was the summer residence of the royal family. It is one among the forts with history. When lit up at night, it looks brilliant . From Jaipur railway station, it is 18.3 km (49 min) .

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Nahargarh Fort

Daulatabad Fort

 

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Chand Minar in Daulatabad Fort

Daulatabad Fort is formidable fort near Aurangabad. It is on a conical hill which is 200 metres high. Visitors have to climb 750 steps to reach the top. The fort dates back to the twelfth century.

Raja Bhillamraj Yadav of the Yadava Kingdom founded the town of Daulatabad in the year 1187. At that time, it was known as Devgiri. Later Muhammad ibn Tughluq  captured the town of Devgiri along with the fort. He changed the name of Devgiri to Daulatabad. He in 1327 famously shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. Within two years Muhammad ibnTughluq abandoned Daulatabad and went back to Delhi.

Kannur Fort

 

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Horse Stable at Kannur Fort

Kannur Fort stands on a cliff by the side of Mapilah Bay. It has a history going back to more than 500 years. The waves of Arabian Sea break against one side of the fort. It is also known as Saint Angelos Fort.

Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, constructed Kannur Fort in 1505. This was at a time when European maritime powers were locked in battles to control the spice trade with India.

Vasai Fort

 

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Ruins in Vasai Fort

Vasai Fort is a large fort overlooking Bassein Creek. It also goes by the name of Bassein Fort and has a lot of history behind it. The fort is spread over 110 acres. The ramparts are in reasonably good condition. We can climb up the fort walls via staircases. Some old cannons are also on display. There is a small Hanuman Temple, probably dating back to the times of Chimaji Appa, the Maratha general. Archeological Survey of India looks after the fort.

Fatehpur Sikri Fort

 

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Panch Mahal

Fatehpur Sikri  is 36 kn from Agra. It was the capital of Emperor Akbar in the late sixteenth century. He constructed many palaces, mosques and buildings in Fatehpur Sikri which are his architectural legacy.

The design of Panch Mahal is distinctive. The building has five floors. Size of the floors decrease as we go up. Columns with intricate carvings support all the floors. There are no doors or windows.

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