The north Indian state of Rajasthan boasts of a rich and distinguished history. The royal dynasties who ruled Rajasthan left behind some of the most iconic structures; revered by not just Indians, but foreigners as well. And it’s only fitting that UNESCO has given them their deserved recognition of World Heritage Sites.
The tag of World Heritage Site is not just for show. It is granted to cultural and natural landmarks around the world, which are deemed to be of ‘outstanding universal value’. World Heritage Sites are huge contributors to the tourism industry, as the majority of people would want to visit these sites above all else in a particular place.
The list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Rajasthancomprises of six forts, one national park, and one royal observatory!
The Hill Forts
Rajasthan’s Hill Forts have been collectively recognized as a World Heritage Site. The list comprises of six forts that showcase the strength the once mighty Rajputana rulers in the region had.
- Amer Fort: Amer Fort is one of the highlights of a journey to Jaipur, the state capital. The fort overlooks the Maota Lake and on an average, witnesses over 4000 visitors every day. Its marble and red sandstone architecture, along with its astounding art work, is sure to leave you in awe. The fort is home to architectural marvels like Sheesh Mahal and SukhNiwas.
- Chittorgarh Fort:Chittorgarh Fort is not just another fort. It is India’s largest fort, and in its heyday, it was home to an entire city. The fort dates back to the 7th Century AD, the era of the Mauryans. It was one of the most impregnable forts of its time, its tall gates made it extremely hard for enemies to mount a successful attack. Over the years, the fort ruins have inspired countless tourists, as it might do you as well.
- Gagaron Fort:Gagaron Fort is one of Rajasthan’s most scenic forts. Surrounded by three rivers and dense forests, the fort houses temples dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses Durga, Ganesha, and Shiva. Just outside the fort premises lies a famous mosque as well. The fort witnessed many a battle in its time, as well as the practice of ‘jauhar’ (self-immolation), an act of supreme sacrifice that was performed by Rajput women.
- Jaisalmer Fort: This is one of the treats of any Jodhpur Jaisalmer tour. Situated atop a hill in the Thar Desert, this massive fort overlooks the historic city of Jaisalmer, and is the city’s most treasured tourist destination. The fort’s unique quality? Just take a look at its yellow sandstone walls during sunset, and you would see the fort turn into a golden giant. No wonder it is also fondly referred to as the ‘Golden Fort’ from time to time.
- Kumbhalgarh Fort: Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district is home to the Kumbhalgarh Fort, a reminder of the might of the MewarRajputs. The fort dates back to the 15th Century, and its location on the Aravalli Hills, at an altitude of 1100 m., is simply brilliant to behold. Further expansions were added to the fort premises during the course of the 19th
- Ranthambore Fort:The Ranthambore Fort is now in ruins, and is located within the Ranthambore National Park, a favourite jaunt for tourists who enjoy wildlife safaris. The fort was at its finest during the rule of the Chauhan Dynasty. Nowadays, casual tourists mainly visit the western reaches of the fort, which is home to a number of ancient monuments and temples. Wildlife enthusiasts tend to head east, which is inhabited by numerous birds, monkeys and leopards.
Jaipur’s JantarMantar used to serve as the royal observatory and was brought to life by Sawai Jai Singh, a Rajput King. The instruments used for astronomical purposes like time measurement, celestial altitude determination and eclipse predictions were all made from marbles and stones. The observatory is home to fourteen such instruments, and they are used till this day. Most of the instruments are gigantic in size, which makes for a unique experience.
Keoladeo National Park
The Keoladeo National Park is over 250 years old, and is one of India’s standout wildlife reserves. Over 100,000 tourists from both India and foreign nations make their way to the Keoladeo National Park each year. This man made sanctuary is home to a huge variety of birds, fishes, snakes, turtles, and other wild animals. Over 300 plant species can be found here as well. The national park was named after a famous temple of the same name dedicated to Lord Shiva in the premises. Until the ‘70s, the national park served as a hunting ground for the Rajputs. However, 1982 saw it officially receive the ‘National Park’ tag. It was inducted into the list of World Heritage Sites in Rajasthan by UNESCO in 1985.
Experience this part of Rajasthan a bit differently. Read about some of the offbeat tips for your Jodhpur Jaisalmer tour on http://www.waytoindia.com/jodhpur-jaisalmer-tour and incorporate these to spice-up your Jodhpur Jaisalmer tour.
Whether you visit the Jaisalmer Fort on a Jodhpur Jaisalmer Tour, or want to wander through the vast expanse of the Keoladeo National Park, a tour of Rajasthan’s World Heritage Sites is bound to leave you spellbound!