If You're A History Buff, These 7 Forts In India Are For Your 2023 Bucket List!

Photo of India by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

There's no better introduction to India's rich historical past than visiting its grand remains! Once homes to kings and queens, forts now serve as archives for those passionate about history. While some have risen to prominence and welcome hoards of enthusiastic tourists from all over the world every day, there are many that go unexplored. However, if you are keen on uncovering the lesser-known stories of the past, plan a visit to these hidden forts in India!

1. Gulburga Fort, Karnataka

Gulburga Fort, Karnataka; (c): flickr

Photo of Gulbarga Fort, Kalaburagi by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Located on a plateau, the ruins of this sprawling fort speak volumes about its former architectural splendour! An example of Indo-Persian architecture, you will find looming bastions, cannons, rooms and corridors with pillars and arches, etc. It is said an existing fort was strengthened and enlarged to give its present shape by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah, who founded the Bahmani dynasty in the 14th century. Visit early in the day of you want to see the entire fort because it is quite a walk.

How to reach: Nearest airport is in Sholapur (81 km approx); Hyderabad to Gulbarga- 200 km (approx). Major cities like Bangalore and Chennai are well-connected to Gulbarga through trains as well as regular flights

Best time to visit: January-March & October-December

To enjoy sightseeing to the fullest it's best to roam on feet hence pleasant weather is a must. Therefore, it is preferable to visit the fort during Winters!

Entry fee: INR 25 per person

Timings: 9:00 AM to 5.30 PM

Nearby attractions: Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah , Jama Masjid, Sannati, Chandralamba Temple

2. Gagron Fort, Rajasthan

Gagron Fort, Rajasthan; (c): flickr

Photo of Gagron Fort, Gagron by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Regarded as Rajasthan's only water fort, the Gagron fort is surrounded by the Kali Sindh and Ahu rivers on all three sides and the fourth side is surrounded by a moat–therefore, also earning the status of a hill fort. For its sheer beauty and stunning architecture, the imposing structure has also found its way to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites! Also known as Jaladurg, the fort is famed for its natural beauty as much as for the fascinating tales witnessed here centuries ago.

How to reach: Nearest airport is in Kota (80 km approx to Jhalawar); Nearest railhead is in Kota and Jhalawar

Best time to visit: Winters are the best season to visit Rajasthan as you can leisurely explore all the places without worrying about any sunstroke

Nearby attractions: Shergarh Fort, Darwazas of Mandu, Manihara Mahadev Mandir, Adharshila Dargah in Kota

3. Janjira Fort, Maharashtra

Janjira Fort, Maharashtra; (c): flickr

Photo of Murud-Janjira Fort, Maharashtra by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Believed to have been completed in the 17th century by Sidi Sirul Khan (Mughal governor from 1618-1620), the fort is spread across 22 acres on the Arabian Sea. When the Kallal Bangdi boomed, they say the fort reverberated for up to a week. The largest of the three surviving cannons, Kallal Bangdi is over18 ft long and of immense weight! Shivaji’s men apparently made several attempts to take over the fort between 1661 and 1670. They never managed it. Today, all it takes is a nominal fee for a person to get into Janjira.

How to reach: Nearest airport is in Mumbai (142 km approx); Nearest railhead is the Roha railway station on the Konkan line & is connected to all major railheads through Mumbai

Best time to visit: October-February

Entry fee: No entry fee. You will need to buy tickets for the boat ride and pay for the parking, if there is a vehicle. Ticket prices: INR 20-50 to INR 100-300 for bigger boats and parking: INR 30

Timings: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Nearby attractions: Diveagar Beach, Durgadevi Temple, Mahua Bagh, Nandgaon Beach, Padmadurg Fort, Uttareshwar Temple

4. Bidar Fort, Karnataka

Bidar Fort, Karnataka; (c): flickr

Photo of The Bidar Fort - Bidar District, Karnataka, India, Bidar by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Located at the edge of the Bidar plateau in Karnataka, it was built for Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman when he shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1427. A rhombus-shaped layout, the fort is made of red laterite stone and includes pavilions, and mosques, amongst other structures! this fort has over 30 monuments inside its walls and it also has seven gates stretching from east to west and thirty-seven bastions!

How to reach: Nearest airport is Begumpet International Airport (132 km approx Hyderabad); Bidar has a train station which is connected with Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai; Bidar is well connected by road with Hyderabad and Gulbarga (110 km approx)

Best time to visit: December-February

Entry fee: No entry fee

Timings: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Nearby attractions: Shri Narsimha Jharna Mandir, Madarsa of Mahmud Gawan Masjid, Bahmani Tombs, Solah Khamba Mosque, Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib

5. Sisupalgarh Fort, Odisha

Sisupalgarh Fort, Odisha; (c): flickr

Photo of Sisupalgarh Fort, Bhubaneswar by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Situated on the outskirts of the city, this fort is a reminder of Odisha's glorious past. It is reminiscent of a lost, ancient urban city near Bhubaneswar. Various excavations have taken place here in different phases, revealing architectural patterns and artefacts. One of the most striking features are the pillars which are visible from a distance! Look carefully, and you can see various patterns and designs, including carvings, spread across most of the ruins.

How to reach: Nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar (7 km away); Bhubaneswar is well connected to all other cities and towns of the country by rail; & Sisupalgarh has a commendable network of roads and is easily approachable by road.

Best time to visit: October-March

Entry fee: No entry fee

Timings: Open 24 hours

Nearby attractions: Lingaraj Temple, ISKCON Bhubaneswar, Nandankanan Zoological Park, Dhauli Giri Hills, Biju Patnaik Park

6. Karnala Fort, Maharashtra

Karnala Fort, Maharashtra; (c): flickr

Photo of Karnala, Konkan Division by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

This fort is situated on a hilltop and overlooks the connection between the Konkan coast and interiors of Maharashtra. It is comfortably nestled in the Karnala bird sanctuary, close to Panvel in Raigad district. A bonusis the trek through lush green forests that takes you the fort. It is not for the faint-hearted though. However, what awaits at the end is one helluva magnificent view!

How to reach: Nearest railhead is in Panvel; Karnala is on the national highway 17 which is also called the Mumbai-Goa highway with good road connectivity

Best time to visit: If you are well-prepared for the heavy and continuous rains during the monsoon, then this is a fantastic time; or November-mid to February

Entry fee: Adult: INR 30 per person, Kids: INR 15 per person

Timings: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Nearby attractions: Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Ram Mandir, Gaodevi Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, Datta Mandir and Bot Lake

7. Dhanidhar Fort, Rajouri, Jammu & Kashmir

Dhanidhar Fort, Rajouri, Jammu & Kashmir; (c): flickr

Photo of Dhanidhar Fort, Rajauri by Tanvi Shah (travelstoriesbytan)

Providing commanding views of the small town of Rajouri in Jammu, the Dhanidhar Fort is situated on a hillock. Apart from defence being the objective, the fort was also used to store food grains obtained under the revenue of the Dogra kingdom. The construction material used in the fort belonged to debris that came from the destruction of of the buildings of the Jaral Rajas. The fort now provides a breathtaking views of of the town of Rajouri!

How to reach: Nearest airport is Shrinagar; Nearest Railway Junction is Jammu Tawwi; Well connected with all major cities by road

Best time to visit: September-April

Nearby attractions: Baba Dhansar, Aharball Waterfall, Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, Charar-e-sharif

Hoping this list of forts in India has already urged you to go out and explore! Which of these are you visiting first? Let us know in the comments below.

Also Read: Embark On Exciting Treks in Maharashtra To Explore These Gorgeous Forts!

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