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Asirgarh Fort

The Asirgarh Fort is an Indian hill fortress situated in the Satpura Range about 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the city of Burhanpur, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The fortress commands a pass through the Satpuras connecting the valleys of the River Narmada and the River Tapti, which is one of the most important routes from northern India to the Deccan. Because of its strategic importance it was known as Babe Deccan or “the key to the Deccan". In the Mughal Era, it was claimed that the Deccan started there, while a line from Asirgarh to Delhi was considered to designate the border of Hindustan. It is one of the ancient forts that has been standing tall for centuries with many tales to tell. Spread across an area of 60 acres, not only is it a great example of the Hindu and Muslim architectural styles combined, but also a witness to centuries of a very colorful history. For quite some time, the Asirgarh Fort has been one of the forts to draw the attention of archaeologists, adventurers and travelers alike exploring India.

History of Asirgarh Fort

The Asirgarh Fort is said to have been built by a king named Asa Ahir in the early 15th century. He was murdered by Nasir Khan of Khandesh. Nasir Khan's descendant Miran Bahadur Khan (1596–1600) declared independence and refused to pay homage to Mughal emperor Akbar and his son Daniyal. Akbar marched towards Burhanpur in 1599 and occupied the city. Akbar then besieged the Asirgarh Fort and captured it on 17 January 1601.

This is the fort where Mughal Emperor Jahangir imprisoned his eldest son, the rebellious Prince Khusraw after blinding him, and he was allegedly murdered by Prince Khurram, the third son of Emperor Jahangir and governor of Deccan during Jahangir’s reign here, on his way to become the next Emperor Shah Jahan. History came haunting back when Shah Jahan ‘s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died here in childbirth, bringing permanent melancholy to Shah Jahan’s family life. Mumtaz Mahal was first buried in Burhanpur, before ultimately finding a place to rest at the inimitable Taj Mahal.

Asirgarh was the seat of Emperor Aurangzeb's twenty-six-year-long Deccan campaign, and it was in Deccan that the last of the great Mughals passed away, leaving a tattering Empire which failed to maintain its full power beyond the first two decades after his death. (more in the History section)

The Fort as we see it today

Even though the Asirgarh Fort is now in ruins, it still holds immense importance for history lovers as well as for those who wish to simply explore the beauty of a monument that once held esteem and prestige, but unfortunately could not escape the ravages of time.

There is a gurudwara, a mosque, and a temple inside the grand fort. Also, the Asirgarh Fort has been divided into three parts, each with its specific name. The first part is called Asirgarh, the second part is known as Karmargarh, whereas the third part is called Malaygarh.

Its history makes it a centerpiece of tourism circuit. This fort’s grandeur and beauty was once held in high esteem.

The most unique part of this fort is the Hindu Shiva Temple at the lower part of the fort where the all worship procedures are done by Muslims. It is a great symbol of secularism in today’s world of religious divisions.

Tourist Information

The Fort is open throughout the week from 10 AM to 5 PM. The nearest airport is in Indore.

Text by Sammik C Basuu