Nagaur Fort

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2013

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Nagaur is slightly less than 3 hours drive from Jodhpur. I had seen pictures of the o/s paintings in the fort so was keen to visit. U see main entrance to Fort. To enter fort you go straight turn left and then again turn right. Not a straight entrance perhaps designed to make it difficult for enemy and its elephants to enter.

Huge gates at entrance gate. This gate is even unlike most fort gates which have pointed nails so that when elephants were used to break open the door the pointed nails hurt the elephant making it difficult to break open the door. See Chittorgarh Fort pics Click here

This is a model of fort where u can see its design esp various entrances as referred to in pic 1. The fort was made out of mud in the 4th century by Nagvanshi dynasty, made with stone in 1119. In 1192, Someshwar Chauhan, the father of Prithviraj Chauhan took over the fort so made maths, mandirs, step-wells etc. Outer wall wall is 1.8 kms, fort spread over 36 acres.

As you enter the gate this is the fort wall on the right. The fort is not on a hill like Chittorgarh or Mehrangarh forts but is at a slight elevation. Name of this fort is Ahhichatragarh.

From entrance u turn left and then right. This is the entrance where one turns right. Again u see the entrance is narrow and small enough for only horses to go thru. As you cross the gate enter a huge open area. On right are the maths of sadhus etc (mostly in ruins) and on left is the main fort that also includes a hotel. Gates have various names like Suraj Pol (gate is english name for pol), Kachari Pol, Middle Pol, Suraj Pol.

This is the area where the King had public audiences. Left of pic is where he sat. Right of pic is Hadi Rani Mahal (palace). There is a huge ground in front of where the king sat, you see only a small part of it.

Paintings in Nagaur Fort are very good and famous. A lot of effort is being made to restore them. This pic and next one tells you about the restoration work being done by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur. Its paintings provide rare insights into the courtly life of 18th century Rajasthan.

This board tells you about the nature of restoration of work being carried out. Appreciate the work. Only when we see symbols of our culture and art will we realize the treasure of wealth that our country has. Again wealth not as money but as skills to undertake such creative work.

Entrance to Hadi Rani Mahal (palace). The palace has some exquisite paintings on its first floor that we shall see later. Today this is the entrance for the palace. U enter into a large open area where on your left is Abha Mahal and right is Bakht Singh Mahal with water bodies and fountains in front.

View of open area as taken from Abha Hall. Straight in front is Bakht Singh Mahal. On your right is Hadi Rani Mahal. Right of pic the area that you see with pillars is where the Ranis or Queens walked. In front is swimming pool for Queens using today language. U see one chhatri on left of pic. There are 2 called Sawan and Bhadu meant for queens to sit. ''The 2 storeys of the Bakht Singh Mahal made it the tallest building. From its terrace u get a panoramic view of the fort, city. King would sit in the mahal, enjoy fountain and various cultural programs in open area in front of palace not to forget the queens palace bang opposite.

This gives you an overview of the area where queens walked. It is called Rectangular Baradari, has 104 pillars. Something special about Nagaur Fort, loved the place. Queens walked in this area ie opp their swimming pool.

Straight vertical view of the walking areas, gives u an idea of the depth of this area. Note that all pillars in line. Fans hung from ceiling, see hooks, to keep area cool whilst queens walked.

Front view of Abha Mahal taken from Bakht Singh Mahal. Left of pic is the walking area for queens, centre is Abha Mahal and in front is queen swimming pool. Right in front are water fountains. Right of pic in front of pool u see two chatris, they are called Sawan and Bhadu representing seasons of the year.

Board at entrance of Abha Mahal. It has a complex water system that u shall see later. Very creative, unique ways to keep the palace cool.

As you enter the Abha Hall is this image of Amar Singh Rathore the most famous king who ruled in the 17th century. While he served Mughal King Shahjahen he eventually got into conflict with him, killed Salavat Khan in front of the entire court and then jumped off the Agra Fort with his horse Bahadur. To know all about the brave Rathore Click here

Inside Abha Mahal. In centre you see a depression ie where water flowed over pebbles to produce different sounds. It started from area at end of pic, you see a door painted in yellow which we shall see later. The water flowed from here into the queens pool that you saw in pic 13 ie outside Abha Mahal as you will see in next picture. Note the paintings on external walls.

A view from Bakht Mahal from Abha Mahal. Front centre you see slight depression. Water flowed from area as you saw in previous pic through this into queens pool that you see in front.

This painting in the ceiling is above the area that you saw in pic no 16. Note the paintings on wall and ceiling. To see a pic of the full painting on ceiling go to pic no 50.

Entrance to private meeting hall, noted the painting on external wall and design. Centre of pic u see depression. Water flowed over the stones. Every stone had a different design so when water flowed over it, produced different sounds.

Side entrance to private meeting hall, note the painting on ceiling and wall. Entire Abha Mahal designed in a manner that provided for maximum cross ventilation.

U see entrance to private meeting hall. Note the painting on top of the entrance right in front of pic. The Nagaur Fort is managed by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust that comes under the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Those interested in painting should see the pic very carefully.

A view of the private meeting hall. In centre is where the king sat. Notice the arch designs. Top area is where the Queens sat. Again walls and archs have exquisite paintings that you shall see later.

This area is part of the private meeting hall. Centre end of pic there is a vertical flat piece of marble in white. Water flowed down from there, then went underground to reach the area that you see right in front of pic. From there it again flowed under the private meeting hall to come out at place as you saw in pic no 16. Note painting on ceiling as well.

Paintings on wall in private meeting hall. Paintings in Abha Mahal done in the 18th century while those in Hadi Rani Mahal in the 17th century which you shall see later.

Painting in the private meeting hall area.

Painting in the private meeting hall area. Note the paintings in the area behind as well.

Paintings in the private meeting hall area. On left and right of pic note mirror on wall.

A side wall ka painting.

Another wow piece of work. Also do see the Junagarh Fort Bikaner photos that we shall upload later for some really good work on similar lines.

Now on terrace of Abha Mahal. Shape of structure on left of pic is such that it allowed air to enter the palace from four sides. Right of pic u can see glass. The glass allowed light to pass thru into the washroom ie below. Structure in right of pic is Bakht Singh Mahal. Note that Bakht Singh was the last ruler of Nagaur after which it became part of Jodhpur state.

This gives u an idea of the water system. At one end of fort was a well from where water was removed by bullocks. Water flowed from there to reach the washroom area through water inlets as you can see in left of pic. Part of it went to washroom that is below the dome like top which u see. Balance flowed to area in centre of pic, u can see a square like hole. From there it flowed into the private meeting hall area as shown in pic no 23.

Went to top of the Abha Mahal area where saw these lovely windows. Gives u a great view of the palace and allows breeze to flow in as well.

We enter Hadi Rani Mahal where restoration work is going on as well.

On the second floor of the palace are stunning paintings in which domestic and courtly life are depicted while flying figures and adorn the vault. This gives you an overview of the main hall and paintings.

Lady in Lehenga dress.

Paintings on one side wall.

Upper wall and ceiling. Shows group of ladies in the garden with probably the queen on the swing.

A view of the ceiling and wall painting.

View from Hadi Rani Mahal. In front is Queens pool, left you see fountain, then open area where again is a fountain, behind that is a 36 pillar rectangular baradari. Behind the baradari is Jal Mahal that you shall see in next pic.

U see Jal Mahal. Queen would sit in a swing in structure in centre of pic surrounded by water on all sides. Left of pic structure that you see is rectangular baradari referred to in earlier pic.

From Hadi Rani Mahal this is the view on the left side. U see royal tents. On right side of pic is Lord Krishna temple. There are many temples in the fort ie Krishna, Bhairavji, Shivji, Ganesha and Durga. To know more about Royal Tents Click here. As middle class Indian found them expensive. Did see tents, they are quite classsy from inside. Link has a pic of a helicopter view of fort.

From Hadi Rani Mahal u see a part of the fort that has now become a hotel, Ranwas Haveli, whose pics we shall see later. End of pic u see fort boundary wall and town beyond that.

This is Deepak Mahal. ''The lighting of a lamp is a significant ritual in Indian tradition, connected with all important Indian rituals including prayers at the beginning of the day and at sunset. Behind the swing there are small niches in the wall where the lamps were lit and placed. The king would sit on the swing with lamps lit behind and in front (as you shall see) with artists performing in the outside area that you shall see later.

A close up of base of the swing. What design!

Niches in the external area. Front u see a water fountain. In open area artists performed.

There is a Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors ie undergoing renovation.

This is a room in Ranvas Haveli that I referred to in earlier pic no 42. Very tastefully done, a good blend of the old and the new. Modern amenities in an old fort. To know more about Ranvas Haveli Click here

Another room. Also tastefully done. If you go in off season say summer or monsoons negotiate well.

Statue outside fort is of Amar Singh Rathore. To know about the brave Amar Singh Click here

Ceiling painting inside Abha Mahal. Had to lie on the ground to take this pic. Loved Nagaur Fort, recommend must visit. Keep 3 hours to see comfortably. It is only a couple of hours away from Bikaner, the route I took was Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner.

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