Through history, many dynasties have fought for control over the Indian subcontinent. Succeeding in ruling over parts of it, each dynasty built forts and palaces to guard their territories borders, as garrisons for their troops, as royal residences for their ruling families and as mausoleums for their loved ones when they passed away.
Some of the cities, forts and palaces you will see on this tour are:
It is from the ramparts of this majestic building, in Delhi that the Indian Prime Minister addresses the nation every August 15th or Indian Independence Day. Built during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-58), this magnificent fort, made of red sandstone, was the seat of governance of the Emperor. Within the fort is the Diwan-e-Khas or Hall of Special Audience and Diwan-e-Am or Hall of the People, where the Emperor held court and dispensed justice. The fort contains a museum of arms and weaponry. There is a sound and light show in the evening that depicts the history of the fort and the life and times of the medieval rulers of Delhi.
This elegant monument in Delhi was the first tomb to be set within a formal garden, in the Indian subcontinent. Commissioned by Hamida Begum, Humayun's wife, after his death in 1556, this mausoleum's symmetrical proportions and setting on a large platform influenced the design of other monuments, including the Taj mahal.
Old Fort or Purana Qila
Completed by Sher Shah during his reign (1540-1545) this massive fort is located in South-East New Delhi. The Octagonal tower or Sher Mandal was used by Humayun as a library. It was on the steps of this library that he fell and died while trying to kneel upon hearing a Muezzin's call to prayer.
The mosque of Sher Shah and the Delhi Zoological Park are also located near the fort. Numerous migratory birds from colder regions in Central Asia and Russia fly south and spend the winter in the warmer environs of Delhi Zoo.
Cities of Forts and Palaces
The capital of Rajasthan is around 258 km from Delhi and 232 km from Agra. The great warrior king Sawai Jai Singh II (1693-1743) laid the foundation of the city in 1727. He was one of the few kings of his time who had a scientific temper and was concerned about the welfare of his citizens. The city was well planned and had one of the best drinking water systems in the medieval world. Amer Fort, a grand monument, the Hawa Mahal and the royal observatory or Jantar Mantar are places worth visiting in Jaipur. The Gangaur and Teej festivals are colourfully celebrated in this city. Jaipur is also known for the fine handicraft, jewellery and textiles produced by skilled traditional craftsmen.
Situated in the westernmost part of Rajasthan, in the heart of the great Thar Desert this city was founded by Bhatti Rajput Rawal Jaisal in 1156. The fort in Jaisalmer is called the Golden Fort because of the colour of the sandstone blocks of which it is made. The Fort, beautiful old havelis or mansions, the Jain temples and the sand dunes at Sam, where the sunset is spectacular, are all must-sees in Jaisalmer. The Desert Festival in winter is a popular tourist attraction
Situated in the heart of Rajasthan this desert city is the capital of the Rathore clan. The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort set on a high hill overlooks the city. The grand Umaid Bhavan Palace and the Jaswant Thada are sights worth seeing on a tour of Jodhpur.
Situated in the north of Rajasthan, Bikaner also has a glorious past with courage of courage, endurance and valour. It was in 1488 that a Rathore Prince, Rao Bikaji (a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodhaji), established his kingdom here. It has faced many foreign intrusions and fought a number of wars with the Mughals and the British. Sights to see include the Junagarh Fort, the Lalgarh Palace, the Kali temple, the Ganga Golden Jubilee museum and the Camel Research Farm. The camel festival held in the month of January is also an event worth witnessing
This city is named after Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia dynasty. The most memorable sights in Udaipur are its lake palaces, shimmering like jewels on Lake Pichola. Overlooking the aquamarine waters of the Lake Pichola stands the shimmering granite and marble Lake Palace. Jag Niwas, the summer residence of the princes of Mewar, is today a magnificent luxury hotel. Jag Mandir, the other island palace, with a marble dome, is a marvel in red sandstone.