In this article, we will look into 35 Famous Forts with Historical Importance in India. Forts played a huge rule in India to protect the land from foreign invading forces. Some of the famous forts in India were build in the Mauryan Period which tells us that Mauryan rulers were aware of the foreign invasive forces and hence made preparation to protect its empire. India has more than 1000 small and big forts across the country built in different periods for different reasons. Forts were not only used to protect the land from foreign invaders but also to protect from neighbouring attacking forces.
Famous Forts of India
1. Red Fort
It is one of the famous fort from Mughal Era built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD. This fort has its importance even today also as every year Prime Minister unfurl the National Flag from this very monument. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex. Red Fort was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Red Fort is mainly Known for its massive Red Sandstone. The Red Fort was once plundered by Nadir Shah in 1747 AD.
2. Agra Fort
This Fort was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It was Mughal Emperor Akbar who started building this fort on 1565 AD and then later completed by his grandson Shah Jahan. This Fort acted as the Centre Point of Mughal Empire till the Capital shifted from Agra to Delhi.
3. Chittorgarh Fort
It is largest Fort in India built by Mauryan rulers in around 7th Century AD. It is counted in one of the famous forts of India. It was also declared under the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. The Fort was controlled by Mewar Kingdom in 7th Century. Later on Alauddin Khalji took the fort by defeating Ratnasimha’s forces in 1303. Then in 1535 AD, Bahadur Shah took the Fort from Bikramjeet Singh but the most important took over was done by Akbar in 1567 AD when he defeated Maharana Udai Singh II’s troops. This battle saw mass self immolation from men and women.
4. Kumbhalgarh Fort
This fort was also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 along with 5 other Forts. It was built by Rana Kumbha in 15th Century. It is the second largest Fort of India after Chittorgarh Fort. Akbar once captured the fort in 1576 AD but it later came under the control of Maharana Pratap in 1585 AD. Before that many rulers like Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat, Mahmud Khalji tried to attack and capture the fort but went unsuccessful.
5. Daulatabad Fort
It is located in Daulatabad Village near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It is one of the Famous Forts of India. This Fort was built by Yadava Dynasty in 1187 CE. Previously, this was known as Deogiri. It is said that when Muhammad Bin Tughlaq ascended to Delhi Throne he was so impressed with this fort that he decided to move his capital from Delhi and renamed the Fort to Daultabad. Later on, in 1334 AD he again decided to move back his capital from Daultabad to Delhi.
6. Mehrangarh Fort
It is one of the largest Fort in India built in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha. Fort is situated 410 feet above the city. There are seven gates in the Fort built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Bikaner and Jaipur Armies. The museum in Mehrangarh Fort is the most famous fort museum in Rajasthan.
7. Purandar Fort
Purandar Fort is Known for its historical significance. It dates back to the time when Persian attacked, defeated the Yadavas and built this fort in 1350 AD. It is located in the Sahyadri range at a height of 1387 m above Sea Level. It was also among one of the 23 famous forts which was given to Mughals under the Treaty of Purandar.
8. Sinhagad Fort
This fort is also one of the famous forts of India located at around 35 km southwest of the city of Pune in Maharashtra. Cave and Carvings of Kaundinyeshwar Temple suggests that this fort might be as old as 2000 years. Previously, Sinhagad Fort was also known as Kondhana Fort. This Fort served as strategic importance in many battles due to its steep slope. This fort was strategically located at the Centre of the Maratha Empire. Due to its strategic location, it protected other Maratha Empire Forts like Rajgad Fort, Purandar Fort and Torna Fort.
9. Rajgad Fort
Rajgad Fort is located near Pune, Maharashtra in the Sahyadris Hills. It is one of the hill fort of Maharashtra. This fort was the Capital of Maratha Empire under the rule of Shivaji for almost 26 years till the capital moved to Raigad Fort. The Rajgad fort was one of the 12 forts that Shivaji kept when he signed the Treaty of Purandar in 1665 AD with the Mughal General Jai Singh I. As per the treaty, Shivaji handed 23 Forts to the Mughals.
10. Sindhudurg Fort
Sindhudurg Fort is an Island Fort built by Chhatrapatti Shivaji Maharaj, the ruler of Maratha Empire. The Fort was built on a small Island called khurte Island. The main objective of building this Fort was to counter the rising influence of foreign merchants(English, Dutch, French and Portuguese) and to curb the rise of Siddis of Janjira.
11. Jaisalmer Fort
It is situated in the city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. It is believed to be one of the very few “living forts” in the world (such as Carcassonne, France), as nearly one fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort. This is among the most famous forts of Rajasthan with majestic scenic beauty. More on Jaisalmer Fort.
12. Ranthambhore Fort
It is one of the Formidable Fort located in the Ranthambore National Park near the city of Sawai Madhopur. In 2013, this fort was also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with five other forts. After the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in 1192 CE, this fort was came under the control of Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor.
13. Gagaron Fort
Gagron Fort is situated in the Jhalawar district of Rajasthan. It is also known as a type of Hill and Water Fort. This Fort derives its unique heritage from Vedic Fort Architecture. It was added under UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.
14. Amber Fort
Amber Fort is also known as Amer Fort. It is located in Ajmer, Rajasthan. It was originally built by Raja Man Singh and later some additions were made by Sawai Jai Singh. This fort was most ruled by Rajput Maharajas and their families.
15. Raigad Fort
Raigad Fort is one the strongest and part of most famous forts of Deccan Plateau. It is located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It served as the Capital of Maratha Empire in 1674 AD. This fort was seized by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1656 AD.
16. Junagarh Fort
Junagarh fort was originally called Chintamani built in 1478 by Rao Bika who also established the city of Bikaner in 1472. This fort is originally located in arid region of Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Bikaner Fort came under repeated attacks from enemy but it did not got taken for long. It was taken only once by Kamran Mirza, Second son of Babur for 1 day long.
17. Tikona Fort
Tikona Fort is located around 60 km from Pune, Maharashtra. Very less information is available about the Origin of the Fort. In 1585 AD, Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I of the Nizam Shahi dynasty conquered the fort and annexed it to the Nizam Territory. Tikona fort is among the most famous forts during the reign of Maratha Empire as it was also part of Treaty of Purandar which was signed on 1665 AD. Mughal Warrior Kubadkhan took over the fort from Maratha but it was later recaptured by the Marathas again.
18. Jaigarh Fort
Jaigarh Fort was built by Jai Singh II in 1726 to protect the Amer Fort. It is located on the foothills of Aravalli Range in Rajasthan. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Jaigarh fort became one of the world’s most efficient Canon foundaries due to the availability of Iron Ore in abundant amount in the vicinity of Fort.
19. Tung Fort
Tung Fort was built by Adil Shahi Dynasty before 1600 CE but it was later captured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is one of the small hill Fort in Maharashtra which cannot hold more than 200 troops at a time. Due to its shape and size, it looks like this fort was used as a watch tower to keep an eye on maval region of the Pawana and Mulshi valleys.
20. Lohagad Fort
Lohagad Fort is located near the foothills of Lonavala, 52KM north-west of Pune. This fort was majorly controlled by Maratha Empire with an exception of 5 years when Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj had to surrender the fort to Mughals in 1665 AD under Treaty of Purandar.
21. Nahargarh Fort
This Fort was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, King of Jaipur. It is located on the hills of Aravalli near the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Though this fort never came under any enemy attacks but it does have some historical events associated. During the mutiny of 1857, all the European resident wife’s moved to the Nahargarh Fort by King Sawai Ram Singh for their protection.
22. Ghangad Fort
Ghangad Fort is a mystery as there is not much information available about this Fort. It is atleast 300 years old. This Fort is located near 100 km from Pune. Kingdom of Peshwas used this Fort to keep their prisoners. They also keep a vigil on the trade route between Pune and Konkan through this Fort. Until 1818, this Fort was under the control of Maratha Empire. After that it was surrendered to British Empire.
23. Ahmednagar Fort
Ahmednagar Fort was built by Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I in 1427 AD. He built this Fort to protect the city from neighbouring Invaders like Idar. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died in this Fort at the age of 88 on 20 February 1707. In the modern era, Britishers used the Fort as Prison where Person like Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Patel kept as prisoner.
24. Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgad Fort is located in the Satara district of Maharashtra. It was very significant at the Battle of Pratapgad. This fort was part of many regional politics. Sakharam Bapu, a well-known minister of Pune, was confined by his rival Nana Phadnis in Pratapgad in 1778. He was later moved from fort to fort until he died at Raigad. In 1796, Nana Phadnis, while escaping from the intrigues of Daulatrao Shinde and his minister Baloba, assembled a strong garrison in Pratapgad before heading to Mahad. In 1818, as part of the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Pratapgad surrendered by private negotiation. More about Pratapgad Fort.
25. Golconda Fort
It is a heavly fortified fort near the City of Hyderabad. It was first built by Kakatiyas and then later strengthened by Rani Rudrama Devi and her successor Prataparudra. This fort remain the epicenter for Qutb Shahi Dynasty for quite some time.
26. Gwalior Fort
This fort was earlier Known as Badalgarh Fort. It was built by a Sakarwar Rajput king named Maharaja Badal Dev. Some of the inscriptions on Gwalior Fort indicates its age is as old as 1500 years. There are many legends about this Fort.
27. Kangra Fort
Kangra Fort is located 20 kilometers from the town of Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. It was built by the Royal Rajput Family of Kangra state. This fort was took over by atleast three invading forces: Mahmud Ghazni in 1009, Firuz Shah Tughluq in 1360 and Sher Shah in 1540. All of them plundered the fort temples, pillaged the resources and performed mass murder.
28. Uparkot Fort
Uparkot Fort is originally believed to be built by Ancient Mauryan ruler Chandragupta Maurya in 319 BC. Later on, many rulers extended the Fort. The uparkot fort is among the most famous forts. Gupta rulers also continued using this fort but it lost its importance when Maitraka moved his capital from Junagadh to vallabhi. It was also rebuilt during reign of Chudasama ruler Graharipu.
29. Chunar Fort
Chunar Fort is located in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. Chunar Fort finds its importance right from the beginning of the 3rd Century BC to the British Era. It is also one of the famous ports in a context that it is also known as Tilismi Qila or Magical Fort due to its appearance in the great Hindi novel Chandrakanta.
30. Bellary Fort
Bellary Fort is located in the historical city of Bellary. It was built in two sections: Upper Fort and Lower Fort. Upper Fort was build by Hanumappa Nayaka, a feudatory of Vijayanagara Empire and Lower Fort was build by Hyder Ali. Bellary fort is among the most famous forts having rich history and monuments.
31. Bidar Fort
Bidar Fort was built in 8th Century. It was later reconstructed in 1428 AD by Ahmad Shah Wali Bahman. There are over 30 monuments inside Bidar Fort. Bidar fort was captured by the independent Bijapur Sultanate in 1619–20 but fell to then Mughal viceroy Aurangzeb in 1657, and was formally absorbed by the Mughal Empire in 1686. Bidar Fort has been gone through lot of restructuring over the past. The present-day Bidar fortress was rebuilt using red laterite stone around the old fort in 1428 by Ahmed Shah Bahmani.
32. Chitradurga Fort
Chitradurga Fort was built in stages between the 11th and 13th centuries by the dynastic rulers of the region including the Chalukyas and Hoysalas, later the Nayakas of Chitradurga of the Vijayanagar Empire. Hyder Ali also captured this Fort in 1779 AD. Later on, after 20 years Britishers took over the fort from his son Tipu Sultan. There were many Masjids and Temples in the Fort. Chitradurga Fort had a very interesting Rain Water Harvesting facility due to which this fort never had any water shortage. More about Chitradurga Fort.
33. Bhadra Fort
Bhadra Fort was built by Ahmad Shah I in 1411 AD. It is situated near the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was also known as Arak Fort. The fort name was taken from the nearby Bhadrakali Temple. The foundation stone of fort was laid down at Manek Burj in 1411. Sarsenapati Umabaisaheb Khanderao Dabhade became the only female Commander-in-Chief in the history of the Marathas in 1732 who commanded the Maratha Army and fought a war near Ahmedabad at Bhadra Fort defeating Mughal Sardar Joravar Khan Babi.
34. Jhansi Fort
Jhansi Fort is one of the most famous ports of Uttar Pradesh. It is located in a large hilltop called Bangira in Uttar Pradesh. It was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo (1606-27) of Orchha on a rocky hill called Bangra in the town of Balwantnagar (presently known as Jhansi). It served as a stronghold for Chandela Kings from 11th Century to 17th Century.
35. Chanderi Fort
Chanderi Fort is located at Chanderi in the state of Madhya Pradesh. As per the inscriptions excavated from the Fort, it was built by a Pratihara King called Kirti Pal in 11th Century. Chanderi Fort was under the Mughal Fort for long enough time. This Fort also find its mention in the writings of famous Persian Scholar Alberuni in 1030 AD. Historically, Chanderi Fort was used to dominate the trade route of Central India due to its strategic location.