Visit Alwar Fort or Bala Quila: The Huge Majestic Fort in Alwar, Rajasthan (2023)
When it comes to rich history, glorious past and the royal life, it is actually hard to beat the charm of the state of Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan is a home to a plethora of cities, each of which tell a tale of their own glory, victory and sacrifices. With a history dating long back to about 1500 BC, Alwar is definitely one of the most interesting tourist places to visit in Rajasthan for anyone and everyone. Offering breath – taking views of the mighty Aravalli hills, this city has plenty of interesting tourist places to see and explore. The best part is that despite witnessing modernisation, the city of Alwar has yet not lost its rustic essence and the vintage charm. Sprinkled generously with mighty forts and grand palaces, a visit to this land will for sure transport you back in time to those glorious days when the city was ruled by kings.
Out of the many sightseeing attractions that the city houses, Alwar fort is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Alwar. Also known by the name of Bala Quila, this fort situated in the mighty Aravalli ranges, above the town of Alwar is a splendid sight to watch. An impressive structure, glorious past and stunning views, what else can one want? Considered as the oldest building of the city of Alwar, people from far and away come to visit this historical monument. Having reserved the golden pages for itself in the book of history, this fort should definitely be on your itinerary when travelling to Alwar. Continue reading to know more about the gigantic Alwar fort or Bala Quila!
History of the Alwar Fort
Perched on the mighty Aravalli hills, about 300 metres above the city of Alwar, Bala Quila or Alwar fort is believed to be one of the top tourist places to visit in Rajasthan. Constructed long back in the 16th century by Hasan Khan Mewati, the fort has witnessed the rule of plenty of dynasties and rulers. Some of the dynasties which have been handed over the control of the fort include some really big names such as the Pathans, Marathas, Khanzadas, Jats Yadavas, Mughals, the Kachwaa Rajputs and many more.
After passing through the hands of several rulers, the Alwar fort was finally annexed by the Kachwaha Rajputs in the 18th century. One can say that it was the Kachwahas who laid the foundation of the city of Alwar after capturing the fort in the year 1775. Considered to be the grandest creation by Hasan Khan Mewati, the Alwar fort is one huge forbidding structure comprising 15 large towers, 51 small towers as well as about 446 openings for musketry.
If the legends are to be believed, it is said that Babar, the first Mughal King of India spent a night at the Bala Quila. While he was leaving the fort, he took away some treasure from the place to gift his son, Humayun who was to be the future emperor of India. Years later, Jahangir, the great Mughal King Akbar’s son, is also known to have spent some time here at the Alwar fort when his father banished him from the kingdom for trying to assassinate Abul Fazal, who was one of the nine jewels of Akbar’s court. In fact, in the area where Jahangir stayed in the fort then is now known as Salim Mahal. It was in the year 1775 that the control of Alwar fort was passed into the hands of Pratap Singh, who is widely known as the founder of the state of Alwar. In the glorious days of the past, the Bala Quila was widely known for being one of the most secure places throughout the city. No matter whether you are a history buff or an architecture lover, a visit to Alwar fort will be a memorable and exciting one for everybody.
Etymology of the Alwar Fort
Alwar fort is probably named after the city owing to its immense prominence there. In fact, the Alwar fort is just like a guardian to the magnificent Alwar city. Whether it is its formidable size or its exceptional location on the mighty Aravalli range, this grand fort standing tall above the city is almost synonymous to Alwar. You may also find people referring to Alwar fort by the name of Bala Quila which literally translates to Young Fort. However, almost ironically, in complete contrast to the name Alwar fort boasts to be the oldest structure of the Alwar city. Going by its grandeur and huge size, one can undoubtedly say that the Bala Quila has definitely aged gracefully and has successfully withstood the ravages of time.
Architecture of the Alwar Fort
Spreading over a vast area of about 5 km from North to South and approximately 1.6 km from East to West, one can imagine the huge size of this majestic Alwar fort. As far as architectural style is concerned, the Alwar fort is a brilliant example of the Indo – Islamic architectural style being at its finest. Even the walls of the fort are beautifully crafted with various sculptures and scriptures. Witnessing these walls will take you back to the golden era. The grandeur of the Alwar for will make you admire the artistic finesse of the bygone era.
There are 52 small and 15 large towers that are located on the ridge at the top of the Alwar fort. They are known to provide panoramic views of the entire Alwar city but they were constructed primarily with the objective of maintaining the security of the kingdom. This grand fort has six gates and the names are Suraj Pol, Chand Pol, Laxman Pol, Krishen Pol, Andheri Gate and the Jai Pol. Each of these gates is named after a ruler and speaks about their magnanimity. You will be pleased to know that this grand historical monument further has plenty of interesting structures to explore located inside its premises. Ranging from temples to mighty towers to even a radio station, completely exploring this huge fortress is nothing short of a treat for the history buffs and architecture fans.
Attractions To See in Alwar Fort
Besides being historically significant and an architectural marvel, this grand fort is a home to a plethora of other structures within its premises. Ranging from royal palaces, to temples, to ponds, to towers, there is actually a lot to explore inside the Alwar fort. The amazing part about this grand fort is that even from a distance of as long as 595 m, the fort is visible from the city itself. Boasting of being the oldest structure of the city, out of all the gates, Laxman Pole is the only metalled road which connects the Alwar fort to the Alwar city. If the rumours are to be believed, it is said that Pratap Singh who was the founder of the Alwar state, reached the fort through this metalled road only.
Besides its stunning stonework, some of the structure’s worth exploring in the Alwar fort are the Nikumbh Mahal Palace, Suraj Kund, Jal Mahal and Salim Sagar Pond. Nikumbha Mahal Palace, built using Bengal caned marble pillars along with large latticed balconies, is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular attractions to visit in the Alwar fort. The fort is also home to fifteen striking temples. Some of the most popular temples which attract devotees from far and away are the Sita Ram Temple, Top wale Hanuman Ji Temple and Chakradhari Hanuman Temple. Each of these structures stand proudly as tributes to the opulence of the past era. You may be surprised to know but the Alwar fort even houses a radio station which you can visit but only after getting the permission of the Superintendent of Police of Alwar. Another thing you will love to know about the Alwar fort is that being placed on a 300 m high cliff offers majestic panoramic views of the entire city.
Timings and Entry Fee of the Alwar Fort
This top tourist place of Alwar is open for public visitors from 10 AM till 5 PM. It is open on all days of the week, so you can literally go and visit the place anytime as per your convenience. On an average, a visitor spends about 2 to 3 hours completely exploring the place. However, it is always better to have some extra time in hand for better sightseeing and exploration activities. Also, another good news is that there is no entry charge for visiting the grand Alwar fort.
Best Time To Visit The Alwar Fort
Rajasthan is well – known for its mostly hot, humid and dry climate. The city of Alwar is no exception to these climatic conditions. In fact, summer can be really hot in the city and the temperatures can even soar as high as 50 degree Celsius. Though some people may find the winter season a bit chilly in Alwar, it is relatively pleasant during the day time which proves to be just perfect for sightseeing and exploration. Hence, the best time to visit the Alwar fort would be during the winter season which begins from around the month of October and lasts till March in the city of Alwar.
How To Reach The Alwar Fort?
No matter whoever you ask but Alwar fort is unanimously considered as a top tourist place to visit in Alwar. The city is well – connected to the rest of the country via multiple means of transports. Some of the ways to reach the Alwar fort are:
- By Air: There is no airport in the Alwar city so there is no direct flight connectivity. However, the nearest airport to reach the Alwar fort is located in Jaipur. The Jaipur Airport is about 165 km away from the city. It provides plenty of flights connecting the city to many major cities throughout the country. Once you reach the airport, you can easily take a cab, hire a taxi or even take a bus which runs on this route on a daily basis.
- By Rail: The nearest railway station to reach the Alwar fort is located in the city itself. Alwar junction is in fact, the principal railway station of the city. This station provides wonderful regular rail services which help in connecting the Alwar city to the rest of the country.
- By Road: There are many bus services which travel to and fro the Alwar city on a daily basis from many major cities located nearby such as Jaipur, Jodhpur and so on. You can even travel by personal vehicle.
Adorned with majestic forts, colorful markets, beautiful havelis and an extraordinary natural charm, there will be not even a single dull moment when your vacation destination is as interesting as Alwar.