Gagron Fort or Jal Durg Travel Guide: History, Architecture, Attractions, Legend, Timings and Entry Fee, Best Time To Visit The Alwar Fort, Getting There (2023)
The western state of Rajasthan is home to a number of forts, and it is not surprising to see that this royal state is also sometimes referred to as the land of forts. A trip to Rajasthan is simply incomplete without visiting at least one or two of these gigantic forts. Though most of the forts are almost in ruins today, there are still quite a few of them which are intact till date and worth exploring.
Though most of these forts are worth visiting, there are some which should definitely feature on your Rajasthan itinerary. One such fort is the popular Gagron Fort located in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar district. This fort is considered to be one of the best forts not just in Rajasthan, but throughout India. In fact, the Gagron Fort also features in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The Gagron Fort is one-of-a-kind fort and it is unlike any other forts in Rajasthan. This hill and water fort, also known as Jal Durg, was not very popular a couple of years ago. However, since its inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list, the Gagron Fort has risen in popularity, and thus, features on every tourist’s Rajasthan itinerary.
In this Gagron Fort travel guide, find out all that you need about the Gagron fort, right from its history to structure of the fort to entry fees to timings to places to explore within the fort, and more.
History of Gagron Fort
Though there is no proper evidence, it is estimated that the construction of the Gagron Fort began the 7th century and was completed by the 14th century. According to historical data, the Gagron fort was first established by King Bijaldev who belonged to the Doda/Parmara empire. As per some legends, the Gagron Fort was also known as ‘Galkangiri’ as the fort was believed to be place of meditation of sage Garg Rishi.
The Khinchi kingdom ruled the Gagron Fort for more than 300 years and the fort has seen 14 wars and two jauhars. Jauhar is the act of women sacrificing their lives instead of being captured by the enemy. This magnificent fort was also conquered by two great emperors – Sher Shah and Akbar the Great.
In 1423 AD, the Gagron Fort’s last ruler was Achaldas Khinchi. During this year, the Gagron Fort was invaded by Sultan Hoshangshah of Mandu who came with a massive army of 30,000 horsemen, 84 elephants, infantry from a number of other kings. Once the fort was surrounded by the extensive army of Sultan Hoshangshah, Achaldas Khinchi realized that it would be impossible for him to win against the Sultan. However, he did not accept defeat easily, and instead fought bravely and finally succumbed to death. Looking at his sacrifice, the women performed jauhar instead of losing their self-respect at the hands of the enemy.
The Sultan was mighty impressed by Achaldas Khinchi’s bravery and valor and after taking over the fort, decided not to mess with the King’s private residence and other souvenirs. Though the Gagron Fort remained under the power of Muslim rulers for many centuries, there were no changes made to Achaldas’s bedroom and in fact, his bed was removed from its place only in the year 1950.
Structure of Gagron Fort
One of the reasons why the Gagron Fort has become immensely popular and was also included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list is because of its astounding structure and architecture. As mentioned earlier, the Gagron Fort is also known as Jal Durg and this is because it is surrounded by water on three sides. The Gagron fort is surrounded by the serene and calm waters of Ahu and Kali Sindh. The fourth side features a deep moat which was an integral part of the fort’s defense system. Both the Ahu and Kali Sindh rivers confluence just outside the fort.
The Gagron Fort is one fort which is not just surrounded by water, but it is also protected by a ‘van’ or a forest area. It has the beautiful Mukundara Mountain Range serving as the perfect backdrop and the surrounding valleys further enhance the appearance of the majestic Gagron Fort.
The Gagron Fort’s unique location is one of its most attractive features and a popular reason why it attracts tourists from far and near. Another unique feature of Gagron fort is that it is the only fort which has been built without using any foundation! Built on a rocky hillock, it is truly amazing to see this gigantic structure standing tall even today – bravely withstanding nature and its effects.
Unlike most of the forts which feature two ramparts, the Gagron Fort has three ramparts and its rising towers seem to blend in with the Mukundara Hills in the background. Visitors will observe that the fort has two entrances. One entrance takes you to the river while the other will take you towards the hilly road. It is believed that this fort was also used as the site of execution for those who were guilty.
Places To Visit Within The Gagron Fort
The Gagron Fort is also popular as it is one of the few forts in India which has both Hindu as well as Muslim shrines. You can visit the Hindu temples dedicated to Lod Ganesha, Goddess Durga, and Lord Shiva. Visitors can also explore the absolutely striking mausoleum of Mitheshah, a Sufi saint. This mausoleum within the Gagron Fort also serves as the venue for a grand fair which is held every year during Muharram. There is also a monastery near the Gagron fort which is dedicated to saint Pipa.
You can also spend your time exploring the popular gates within the Gagron Fort, such as Ganesh Pol, Kishan Pol, Bhairavi Pol, Selekhana, and Nakkarkhana. Apart from these, you should also check out some of the historical sites located within the fort, like Janaana Mahal, Madhusudhan Mandir, Dewan-e-Aam, Diwan-e-Khas, Rang Mahal, etc.
The Gagron fort which is a beautiful reminder of the bygone era is today occupied by parrots and peacocks. In fact, the parrots which stay within the Gagron Fort are quite unique and different to the regular parrots. These parrots are almost twice in size, are darker in color, and have black stripes running down their neck. These parrots are known as Hirman parrots and they are quite experts in mimicking human speech.
Best Time to Visit Gagron Fort
Rajasthan is a dry and arid state which experiences extreme climates – be it summer or winter. However, it is best to avoid visiting the state during the summer season as the temperatures can soar up to 50oC, making it extremely uncomfortable for sightseeing. Winters are the best season to visit Rajasthan as you can leisurely explore all the places without worrying about any sunstroke.
So, if you are planning a visit to the Gagron Fort, then make sure that you plan your visit sometime between August to March. If you are touring Rajasthan during the months of December and January, ensure that you carry sufficient woolen items as the nights can get extremely chilly.
Gagron Fort Entry Fees and Timings
Visitors to the Gagron Fort do not have to pay any entry fees and you can visit the fort from 9 AM to 4 PM.
How to Reach Gagron Fort?
You can reach Gagron Fort either via road, rail, or air.
By Road: Gagron Fort is located in Jhalawar which falls on the National Highway 12. There are a number of state and government-run buses plying from different parts of Rajasthan as well as other nearby states. You can easily book your bus tickets and reach Jhalawar town.
By Rail: You can take a train and get down either at the Kota railway station or the newly constructed Jhalawar railway station. Once you de-board at the railway station, you can hire private taxis or take a bus to reach the Gagron Fort.
The Gagron Fort is truly one of the best forts in the whole of Rajasthan and being a hill and water fort, it is definitely a unique experience exploring this majestic structure.