The Rajasthani countryside is dotted with forts, big & small. Not surprising given the rich history, culture & traditions dating back hundreds of years that the region boasts of!
Like I have said earlier, having an ‘office in the sky’ does have its advantages 🙂 Flying in Rajasthan I recently had the good fortune of catching a splendid bird’s eye view of many such beauties. While the aerial views do not do true justice to the magnificence of the bygone eras that these forts represent & a lot more can be discovered on a ground visit, I have made a small attempt to bring these forgotten gems to public notice again.
These particular forts or ‘Thikanas’ (meaning, settlements) are located in the Ajmer & Pali districts of central Rajasthan & are easily approachable by road from Beawar or Ajmer either of which can be a good base for planning a visit there.
Though there are a number of such forts in this area in various stages of neglect, I could find some history on only three of these.
The Meera Fort, Kurki
My first encounter was with this magnificent fort. We had been flying a little away from it for a few days & gradually inching closer. When we were near enough I managed to get some great shots.
Having noted the approximate coordinates of the place I went back & did a Google Earth search to put a name to what I had found. Little did I know that this fort would turn out to be the birthplace of the famous poet Meerabai!
Meera, better known as Mirabai and venerated as Sant Meerabai, was a 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. She is a celebrated Bhakti saint, particularly in the North Indian Hindu tradition.
Kurki Fort was a little village near Merta, which is presently in the pali District of Rajasthan in India. Meera Bai’s father, Ratan Singh was warrior of the Rathore clan, the son of Rao Jodha of Mandore and founder of the city of Jodhpur in 1459. On Meera’s birth, Ratan Singh had a new palace built at Kurki Fort, which became her home for her early years.
From the architecture it appears that this ‘fort’ was constructed & designed more for a residential purpose than to serve as a defensive outpost.
Jamola Thikana was founded by Thakur Girdhardas Jagmalot, sixth son of Rao Saheb Ajab Singh of Masuda, in 1734. The family traces its ancestry to Rao Jagmal of Merta, and thus, to the legendary Rao Jodha ji of Marwar.
A link to more history on the Jamola lineage can be found here.
This was another large fort that we saw in this area, comparable in grandeur to the Meera fort at Kurki.
The fort of Masuda as it stands today has been built in or around 1595 AD on the site of a ruined fortress and township.
The fort had been restored in its present form by Nar Singhji Mertia (1583–1623) who traces lineage from the family of feudal Chiefs or Mansabdars who long served the Mughals.
The fort it seems was designed by Kishan Singh; who planned the fort as well as the township which had been a ruined site or “Ujari Dhani” at the time. The fort is located at a strategic site between Ajmer and Chittore.
More details about this fort can be found here.
There are a couple of other forts & ‘Thikanas’ also in this area which deserve a mention due to their architecture. Sadly I haven’t been able to find much literature about them.
I hope you will be inspired, as I am, to someday make an endeavour to visit these offbeat places & bring them on the tourist map which might ultimately lead to restoration & better upkeep of these ageless beauties.
Amazing… Looking at these forst, I feel like planning a road trip soon.
Our built heritage needs to be preserved both physically and in the mind space
Looking forward to your visit to these forts in person and learn more about them. Definitely inspiring. Keep going places