The Ranthambore Fort

The Ranthambhore fort is believed to have been built in 944 A.D. by a Chauhan ruler. It is strategically located on the border of Rajasthan and erstwhile Malwa The Undulating topography of the surrounding forests was used as an outer defense to the advantage of the fort. It was one of the strongest forts of Northern India.

The fort had many buildings inside of which only a few have survived the ravages of wars and time. Among the remaining ruins, the two pavilions, Badal Mahal and Hammirs court and parts of the royal palace give an idea of the old grandeur. For water supply there are two rain fed reservoirs in the fort.

The fort also has an old temple devoted to lord Ganesh which attracts a lot of pilgrims and visitors.

History of the Fort:

In medieval India, Ranthambhore was an important Kingdom in the eyes of the Sultans of Delhi because it guarded the passage to Central India. Muslim invasions brought about major political changes in North India.

In Rajasthan Chauhan kingdoms of Sapadalaksha and Nadol disappeared. Govinda, Grandson of Prithviraj Chauhan established himself at Ranthambhore and rules as a feudatory of the Sultan of Delhi. However relations between Delhi and Ranthambhore changed when Fitutmish deceitfully got Virnarayan the ruler of Ranthambhore assassinated and occupied Ranthambhore. Virnarayan uncle Vagbhat escaped to Malwa and ultimately founded a small Kingdom for himself bordering Ranthambhore. In the wake of disturbances after the death of Iltutmish, Vagbhat attacked Ranthambhore with a small army. He surrounded the fort and ultimately Rajia Sultan, the ruler of Delhi could barely get the Starving Garrison out of the fort.

Vagbhat ruled Ranthambhore continuously  for 12 years struggling with the sultan of Delhi. The internal quarrels within the sultans and the Mughal invasion left the Sultan with little time to check the growing powers of Vaghbhat. Vaghbhat built a beautiful temple at Jhain and beautified Ranthambhore.

Vagbhat was succeeded by Jaitrasingh who continued the struggle against Delhi and Malwa. In 1253 Balban attacked Ranthambhore but could only capture some horses and had to leave.

Hammir succeeded Jaitrasingh in 1283 A.D and launched a career carrying out raids into Malwa and Gujarat. He defeated the ruler of Chittor and received tribute from the ruler of Abu. His power also reached Pushkar, Sakambhari and Champa.

In 1290 Jalaluddin Khilji attacked Ranthambhore but was repulsed.

In 1298 A.D Hammir gave refuge to Muhammed Shah, A Rebel Against Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi. Allaudin's general Ulugh Khan sent an envoy to Hammir demanding the death of Muhammed Shah but Hammir declined saying he could not harm anyone who had sought shelter with him even though the Turks might come from all directions. Allaudin Khilji ordered the fort to be besieged from all sides. Hammir fought valiantly. Ultimately Allauddin Khilji himself marched to Ranthambhore. In spite of all the strategies adopted by him the fort withstood. However soon the fort started feeling the pinch of the siege. Famine in the fort was acute. However Rao Hammir refused to compromise. At this stage treachery raised its heads in the form of Hammirs generals – Ratipal and Ranmal. Allauddin Khilji enticed Ratipal by promising him the Kingdom of Ranthambhore if he helped him in capturing the fort. Ultimately Hammir opted for the fight unto Death. Thousand of ladies in the fort performed “Jauhar” by jumping into fire and the men rushed out of the fort to fight unto death. Hammir and his loyal generals were killed in the battle and Khilji took over the fort in July 1301 A.D


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Hammir was a bold loyal and self sacrificing ruler. His tenacity to stick to his words is legendary and till date he has a special place in the hearts of the people of this area.

Khilji made one of his generals in charge of the area and returned to Delhi. After Khilji the fort once again passed on to the Rajput rulers. When Babbar came to India Ranthambhore was under the rule of Vikramjeet. Vikramjeet accepted Babbars power and paid tribute.

Ranakhumba captured the fort in the mid 15th century and later handed it over to his son after whom the Hada Rajputs of Bundi took over Ranthambhore once again before Akbar invaded and won it in 1569.

These and later wars must surely have ravaged the area. In the 19th century Ranthambhore became a prison fortress where they executed prisoners by hurling them down the fort walls after stuffing them with opium.

The fort then reverted to the Maharaja of Jaipur and the surrounding Jungle became private hunting grounds.

Today, overrun by vegetation the scattered remains of the chattris, summer palaces, and crumbling guard posts can still be seen – reminders of a historic past set within a Wild present.

Today the entrance to the area protects a treasure of greater value, one of the finest habitats in the world for the TIGER.




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