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Taragarh Fort

Constructed in the year 1354, the current structure of the Taragarh Fort is one of the most impressive structures in Bundi as well as in entire Rajasthan. In that year, the state of Bundi was founded and the construction of a massive square began. Popularly known as the 'Star Fort', the tourist attraction is located on a steep hill and offers a panoramic view of the entire city of Bundi situated on Nagpahari Hill in the Aravalli Range. The fort was described by the famous author Rudyard Kipling as "more the work of Goblins than of men". Sadly, time took its toll on this magnificent structure, leaving most of the majestic and fascinating architecture of the fort in ruins.

History of Taragarh Fort

Legend has it that Taragarh is the first hill fort built in Rajasthan preceding even Chitrakut or Chittorgarh. The Bhim Burj, which was reconstructed in the 16th century, was named after Bhim, the second of the royal Pandava princes as described in the Indian epic Mahabharata. It is said that it was built by Bhim to serve as an outpost in a chain of hill forts stretching from Gurugram (Gurgaon) to the west via Ajaymeru (Ajmer) all the way east to Bharukachha (Bahrauch) to allow guards to spot of any invaders approaching from the west and south towards the capital of the Pandavas called Indraprastha near modern-day Delhi. Rao Deva reconstructed the fort at the site of the ruins of Bhim’s fort, and named it Taragarh, the Star Fort, in honour of Prince Bhim. Before Rao Deva founded the state of Bundi back in 1342 A.D., local chieftains fought for the fortress of Bhim. Once seized, it helped them defend their territory, towering 500 feet above the hilltop. (more in the Historu section)

Fort today

The Taragarh Fort is a massive architectural structure designed to satisfy the requirements of its inhabitants under a siege. Visitors can enter the stronghold via one of its three distinct gateways. These portals are known as Lakshmi Pol, Phuta Darwaza and Gagudi ki Phatak, each adorned with engravings depicting elephants. The tunnels of the fort are also worth visiting. They played a significant role during times of war, as they provided a secure exit for the king and his deputies in cases of emergency or looming danger. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to enter the tunnels as there are no comprehensive maps available.

Other than this, the magnificent fort is also home to a myriad of massive battlements and ramparts. The largest amongst these is the 16th-century bastion known as Bhim Burj, on which the giant cannon Garbh Gunjan or the 'Thunder from the Womb' was once mounted. The Chauhan bastion also has some immense water reservoirs built to store water and supply it to the residents in times of crisis. These reservoirs have been made out of the rock foundation of the fort.

The Rani Mahal in the Taragarh Fort is also a top-rated tourist attraction. The palace boasts its stained glass windows and murals, exuding the charm of the bygone era. It also houses the famous Miran Saheb ki Dargah in its complex. The Taragarh Fort offers an excellent view of the entire town and is ideal for bird watching, which makes it famous among tourists. The stronghold is at its peak of beauty at eventide when the entire city is immersed in the light of the setting sun. On the top of the hill stand the old walls of the fortress that have witnessed countless stories. One at a time, they whisper their secrets to all those who visit this stronghold. The air resounds with these tales, audible to those who listen closely. The beauty of this place lies in the mystery that shrouds the old keep. It is a must-see for all adventure seekers and history lovers alike.

Tourist Information

The fort is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and has no entry fee. It is open on all days throughout the year. The city is well-connected by road with the nearest Railway Station at Kota. The nearest Airport is at Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, which is 170 km away.

Text by Sammik C Basuu