Rajasthan had been a land of rajas (kings) and forts. The state has some of the most marvellous forts artistically and architecturally. While the land was mostly ruled over by Rajput kings, Mughals also reached here and formed these establishments. But a major part still belongs to the native rulers. My immense love for history and archaeology has taken me to various places which hold great cultural significance. I heard about Bundi’s Taragarh Fort almost four years back and then it was just a thought. Never knew that this fort had such a great importance in Indian history. Taragarh Fort Bundi is not only one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan but is also an artistic and architectural masterpiece.
The fort has been constructed in parts on Nagpahari Hills by several rulers who have ruled over it and have left eternal impressions on the walls of this majestic fort. Located in the heart of the city, one can get a panoramic view of Bundi, with lots of houses painted blue just like Jodhpur. Though, there are many places to explore in Bundi but Taragarh Fort steals the show, standing gloriously, narrating its story of the past.
Read Here – Amer Fort Jaipur
On My Way to Taragarh Fort Bundi from Kota
I spent my first day in Kota where I was on my weekend trip (Saturday & Sunday). The first day was consumed in visiting three iconic places of Kota i.e. Gaipernath Waterfall, Garadia Mahadev and Seven Wonders Park. The next day I took a state bus to Bundi which is just 40km away from Kota. After deboarding at Bundi bus stand, I took an auto to Taragarh Fort and within a few minutes, I reached the fort’s entrance, passing through narrow alleyways and colourful markets of the city. The whole city felt nostalgic with congested streets with irregular plans.
Read Here – Nahargarh Fort Jaipur
Tourist Information about Taragarh Fort Bundi
Location – Bundi
Timing – 8 Am – 6 Pm
Ticket Price – Rs 80 for adults and kids above 12 years (Photography excluded)
History of Taragarh Fort Bundi – Interesting Facts and Information
Taragarh Fort is the pride of Bundi city. The city has been ruled over by several clans, has seen lots of fights, blood, politics and whatnot. The fort is said to have been constructed around 1354AD. Built on a steep hilltop, I still have to figure out who originally constructed the fort. While I went through several blogs and websites online, I found different information regarding the person who built it.
However, after reading some resources online, I came to this conclusion that Taragarh Fort Bundi was constructed by Rao Dev Hada who is also said to be the founder of Bundi City. But, I also got to read somewhere that the fort was built by Rao Bar Singh. Now I am not certainly sure who is the main person behind the construction of this massive fort. Since most of the sources quoted Rao Dev Singh Hada only, so I had to believe that. I have even read that the fort was constructed by Rao Nar Singh.
Construction and Architecture of Taragarh Fort Bundi
Since most of the forts of Rajasthan state are constructed in Rajput military style, this fort also shows some exceptional construction features. The Rajput school of architecture or Rajput style of architecture had dominated most of the construction which was later mixed with Mughal structural concepts. Taragarh Fort is an architectural masterpiece and exhibits exceptional designing and decoration which make it artistically beautiful.
Constructed at an altitude of 1426ft on a wooded hill, the fort looks like a star in the sky and that’s why it was named so (Tara means Star). This fort is constructed in typical Rajasthani architectural style unlike several other forts in Rajasthan which have Mughal architectural impressions on them.
The Fort contains several structures, impressive palaces which were later added consequently by the kings who ruled over here and added to the beauty of this fort. Though most of the Rajput forts in Rajasthan were constructed with sandstones Taragarh Fort has been constructed with green-coloured serpentine stones. This type of stone was quarried from the local areas only. It was challenging to do carving work on this stone; thus the fort’s walls were decorated incredibly which gave it an exceptional beauty.
Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur added more fortification to the fort in the 18th century. The fort looks like a rhomboid in shape. Most of the buildings and structures built inside the fort are located towards the southern end which overlooks Nawal Sagar Lake, Bundi town and Garh Palace. The fort has several bastions. Bhim Burj is the largest among them. Deep water reservoirs have been constructed at Chauhan bastion which could contain a large amount of water during emergencies. Large cannon Garbh Gunjan is placed on Bhim Burj. The cannon is said to be so massive that it would create a loud thundering sound when fired. Bhim Burj also means Thunder from the Womb. Another massive sized cannon is placed at Jairgarh Fort in Jaipur.
Gates of Taragarh Fort Bundi
The fort has three different gates also known as Pole, namely Lakshmi Pol, Phuta Door and Gaugudi Gate. The main entrance is from the car parking side where the ticket office is based. Other than these gates, there are many entrances inside the gate such as Pol Hazari (Thousand Gate), Hathi Pol (built by Raja Ratan Singh in the 17th century) which has the incredible decoration of colour elephant models. While I was reading the sources online, I came across a piece of information which said that there were four gates: the western gate was called Bhairon Gate while the eastern gate was called Palanpol, the southern gate was called Chogan gate while the northern gate was called Sukul Baori gate.
Palaces inside Taragarh Fort Bundi – Structures of Interest
The fort was constructed by several kings over a period which led to the construction of several massive palaces and other structures inside the fort. These opulent palaces exhibit incredible artwork and the idea that the kings back then were very fascinated with art and aesthetics. Zenana Mahal, Naubat Khana, Diwan-e-Aam, Badal Mahal, Anirudh Mahal, Chitrashala etc. are some of the structures inside the fort which shouldn’t be missed out. These structures are highly decorated with impressive murals and wall paintings which gave rise to Bundi School of artwork.
Chitrashala of Taragarh Fort Bundi
Chitrashala (art gallery) was built by Raja Rao Umed Singh; thus also named as Ummed Mahal. This place has open art galleries. The arts and murals done on the walls, ceilings and floors are the finest examples of Bundi wall painting style. These paintings represent court life, Raas Leela, beautiful women, Radha-Krishna, Ragamala, etc. The paintings are kept preserved in every way required and thus look fresh even today.
Though the entire fort is full of impressive murals and frescoes, this open art gallery has its unique charm. The colourful walls narrate the stories of a bygone era which is kept preserved for the coming generation to see and understand the glorious past.
Garh Palace of Taragarh Fort Bundi
Among the finest palaces of Rajasthan, Garh Palace (Bundi Palace) is a marvellous structure which highlights the epitome of Rajput architecture. The palace is said to have been built between 1607AD to 1631AD by Raja Rao Ratan Singh Hada. The palace is known for impressive artwork belonging to Bundi School of Paintings. The palace is accessible through the Hathi Pole. Two iconic palaces inside Garh Palace are Badal Mahal and Phool Mahal. Both of these two are painted with impressive artwork inspired by Chinese ceiling artwork.
Another main structure inside Garh Palace is Ratan Daulat which was constructed by Maharao Ratan Singh. There’s a throne of white marble which overlooks the courtyard. Maybe, the raja used to sit here. Maharaja Chhatrasal Singh built Chhatra Mahal which has splendid murals painted in turquoise green along with yellow colours. The statue of a horse and elephant can be seen. The statue of elephant belongs to Shivaprasad elephant which was gifted by Shahjahan as a gift to Chhatrasal while the horse statue is dedicated to Hanza horse, the war steed of Raja Ummed Singh.
The fort is now a major tourist attraction of Bundi and is visited by both Indian and foreigners around the year. The walls of the fort have turned greenish dark over the time since the fort was constructed with green serpentine stones. Many of the structures inside the fort are now closed. A part of the fort is demolished and is inaccessible due to no proper way which passes through the jungle.
Forts like this are a live heritage which should be kept preserved so that everyone could see them. These forts have been kept in this situation after lots of efforts put in restoration and preservation.