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Ahhichatragarh Fort (Nagaur Fort)

Hadi Rani Mahal

Although the fort is in a fairly dilapidated state it does house some beautiful palaces. One of the most beautifully decorated palaces is the Hadi Rani Mahal which has intricately carved designs all over its walls and ceilings. It is further embellished by exquisite mural paintings mostly displaying Maharani Hadi Rani (one of the most well known maharanis of Nagaur) along with her retinue. It also has a particularly fascinating frescoed ceiling which is worth travelling miles to see.

Deepak Mahal

The other palace to look out for is the Deepak Mahal which is decorated with beautiful floral designs from wall to wall. In rain parched Nagaur the temple is like a breath of fresh air, and it is natural that the desert fiefdom, deprived of any greenery, painted pictures of beautiful flowers and shrubs. Deepak Mahal represents a fantasy for the people of Nagaur.

Maharaj Bakhat Singh's Palace at Nagar Fort Bhakt Singh Palace

Also worth looking out for is the Bhakt Singh Palace although the history behind it is particularly gory. Bhakt Singh was the ruler of Nagaur in the first half of the 18th century. His brother Abhay Singh was the heir apparent to the throne of Jodhpur and was persuaded by the Mughals to become the ruler by murdering his own father. Abhay Singh assigned this task to his brother Bhakt, promising him Nagaur if he commited the foul deed. Bhakt willingly commited the patricide and became the ruler of Nagaur and built a splendid palace for himself inside the ancient fort.

Amar Singh Mahal (Palace)

The fort also houses the Amar Singh Mahal, which is decorated from floor to ceiling with intricately carved designs. Amar Singh was the ruler of Nagaur during the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's reign to avenge the death of a Mughal courtier called Salabat Khan. The palace is a fitting tribute to his memory. Although he was cremated on the banks of the Yamuna, his wives commited sati (self-immolation) in Nagaur itself, and their palm impressions can be found nearby.

Akbari Mahal

Nearby lies the Akbari Mahal, which was built to commemorate the recapture of Nagaur by the Mughals from the governor of Ajmer in 1556. The art and architecture of the palace clearly indicates a confluence of both Rajput and Mughal art. In fact, the Mughal style and influence can be seen in most of the airy palaces and pavilions.

Rani Mahal

Also to be found in the fort is the Rani Mahal and the Zenana Deori. The Rani Mahal was obviously the dwelling place of the wives of the rulers of Nagaur as was the Zenana Deori. The Zenana Deori has paintings on its ceilings rather similar to the Sistine Chapel in Rome. They must have had a local Michaelangelo in their midst in medieval Nagaur. Also in the women's quarters is the Baradari, which is another residence where the royal ladies lived. It also contains a small swimming pool. In one of the palaces is also housed an ornate hammam or bath.

Magnificent Fort Gateways

As seen, the gateways to a fort in Rajasthan are no diminutive ones - as they were massive stone structures with reinforced doors to ward off elephants and even cannon shots. Mostly, there are notched parapets at the top of the gates from where archers could shoot at their tormentors.

The Nagaur Fort Had Three Main Gates

Sireh Pol :

The outermost gate has heavy wooden doors fitted with iron spikes to prevent elephant charge.

Beech Ka Pol :

This is the second gate of the impressive fort.

Kacheri Pol :

The last gate is known so because it housed the judiciary of Nagaur in ancient times.

Fort Temples

Ahhichatragarh also houses two temples, the Krishna Mandir and the Ganesh Mandir dedicated to the two gods respectively. The interior of the Krishna temple is laced with pictures - from very primitive sketches of cows and buffaloes (Krishna was a cowherd), to beautiful murals of Lord Krishna in the company of divine gopis (milkmaids). The Ganesh Mandir has a brick-red fašade, which is in reasonably good shape, and the inner sanctum houses a marble statue of the elephant god.

Krishan Mandir

The Ahhichatragarh fort houses the Krishan Mandir, dedicated to Lord Krishna. The interiors of the Krishna temple are decorated with pictures - from very primitive sketches of cows and buffaloes to beautiful murals of Lord Krishna in the company of Gopis (milkmaids).

Mosques

The fortress houses the Shah Jahani Mosque, which was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan during the time when Nagaur was under Mughal control. In a decrepit state; the mosque is no Taj Mahal but an important historical monument nonetheless. It represents the time when the Mughals enjoyed uninterrupted power in Nagaur from the time Akbar conquered it in 1556 to when his grandson Shah Jahan voluntarily bestowed it to Amar Singh in 1638. A few kilometers away from the fort is the Akbari Masjid constructed by the Mughal emperor himself in the 16th century. The monument has stood the test of time with the interiors still quite well preserved although the fašade is in a shabby condition. The inner part is lined with blue tiles and all the inscriptions inside are intact. The mosque serves a dual purpose as it is used as a madarsa (school) in the morning where local children assemble for their lessons. However, the main mosque in Nagaur as in virtually every town and city in India is the Jama Masjid. Located a short distance away from Ahhichatragarh fort the Masjid is an impressive monument, and has four huge minarets which are almost as high as a skyscraper. The monument has become a little worse for wear over the years. Jama is a corruption of Jumma, which means Friday and is the Muslim holy day. Therefore, Friday prayers are held in the main mosque across the country.

Shah Jahani Masjid

This masjid within the fortress was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan during the time when Nagaur was under the Mughal control.

In a frail state ; the mosque is no Taj Mahal but was definately an important historical monument. In a way, it represents the time when the Mughals enjoyed uninterruped power in Nagaur from the time Akbar conquered it in 1556 to when his grandson Shah Jahan voluntarily bestowed it to Amar Singh in 1638


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