Visit Kankwari Fort: The Fort Where Dara Shikoh Was Captivated Till His Very Last Breath (2023)
While the entire country of India boasts of a glorious past, but when talking specifically, the glorious past of the Indian state of Rajasthan is almost unmatchable. The plenty of majestic forts and grand royal palaces that the state houses till date are witness to the many historically significant events that once happened there. If you are someone who is a deep fan of history and loves exploring the unexplored, then Kankwari Fort located in the Alwar city is probably one of the best forts to visit in Rajasthan for you.
Owing to its mysterious historical relevance, Kankwari Fort is considered as a top tourist attraction in the area but despite that not many people like including the place in their itinerary. Located nearby the world – famous Sariska National Park, the Kankwari fort is located amidst true natural beauty.
It is believed that the very first buildings of the Kankwari fort dates long back to about 300 years ago and hence, it is not much surprising to know that most of the fort complex is in a semi – ruined state at the moment. However, owing to the great historical background that the fort houses along with its blessed location which overlooks pretty lakes, ridges, mighty mountains and hills make it almost irresistible to miss visiting it. Offering a naturally serene view, carrying an interesting historical relevance and the vintage charm of the fort, there is a lot to explore and know about the Kankwari Fort. Continue reading to know more about this gem of a fort!
History of the Kankwari Fort
Constructed long back during the 16th century, the Kankwari fort was built by King Jai Singh, who was the ruler of Amer then and a senior general of the Mughal empire. Owing to the natural camouflage around the fort, Kankwari fort was primarily used for keeping the political prisoners in custody centuries ago but at the moment it serves as one of the top tourist places to visit in Alwar. In the earlier times, forts were usually built at high mountains or hills to make them visible from afar but the Kankwari fort is constructed on a relatively shorter hill in the heart of a lush green forest and mountains to make it a completely safe place for the purpose of imprisonment. One can basically say that the Kankwari fort was constructed with the sole intention of Dara Shikoh’s imprisonment. The story of exile of Dara Shikoh is still very vivid and fresh in the minds of the local people.
Initially Shah Jahan and his elder sister Jahanara wanted Dara Shikoh to be the next successor after the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan but his other son, Aurangzeb wished to be the next successor and hence did not like this decision. As a result, in order to prevent Dara Shikoh from being the successor, Aurangzeb imprisoned his brother in the Kankwari fort with the sole purpose of getting the throne. Kankwari fort was chosen by Aurangzeb because this fort was located at a convenient distance from Delhi and was under the supervision of Jai Singh, who was one of his most trustworthy people. It is believed that Aurangzeb was so particular about the imprisonment, that he surrounded the fort with a huge rampart from all the sides and kept it guarded all around by placing his armed soldiers so that none of the supporters of Dara Shikoh from the Mughal Army could help him in fleeing away from the Kankwari fort. If the rumours are to be believed, it is said that Dara Shikoh was captivated in this fort till his very last breath. It is this incident of Dara Shikoh’s imprisonment which has granted this remarkable fort a great historical significance.
Architecture of the Kankwari Fort
When it comes to the architectural design and appearance of the Kankwari fort, it is as stunning as any other fort located in the state of Rajasthan. The Kankwari fort sports distinctive white minarets which give this grand fort an appearance which resembles more to a Mughal architectural style building rather than a traditional Rajasthani fort.
Also, there are huge entrances to the Kankwari fort which makes it appear grander. However, since not many people visit Kankwari fort, you may think the place to be deserted. The Kankwari fort boasts of being a home to plenty of spacious rooms and wide hallways. The best part is that all of these rooms and hallways are beautifully made and sport stunning designs as well as intricate carvings on their walls which are surely worth admiring, no matter whether you are an architecture student or not.
Other than the fact that the delicate carvings engraved on the walls are truly spectacular, the thing which sets them apart is that these designs are painted colourfully as well which multiplies their beauty manifold. While exploring this grand fort, you will come across several other structures apart from just rooms and hallways. For instance, there are a plethora of open spaces, balconies and open galleries in the fort from where one can truly enjoy the mesmerising natural beauty all around and at the same time take advantage of the fresh natural air. From the Kankwari fort, you can even see a small but pretty lake which is located nearby.
Attractions of the Kankwari Fort
The historically significant background and the story of the exile of Dara Shikoh are undoubtedly one of the most important highlights of this top tourist place in Alwar. Many history buffs from far and away come to visit this place which served as the place for the lifetime imprisonment of Dara Shikoh. Moreover, since the Kankwari fort is located right in the heart of a dense forest, away from the chaos of the hectic city life, one can literally forget about all their worries once here. In fact, the place is so isolated from the city that even if you climb to the top of the fort, you still won’t be able to get a glimpse of the city. With the mighty mountains, pure waters and lush greenery all around, a visit to the Kankwari fort will be a relaxing one amidst peaceful natural surroundings.
Also, as you travel to the Kankwari fort, you may feel the journey to be a bit too long to the point of being never ending and pointless but the scenic beauty all along the path makes it worth all the effort. The road that leads you to the fort sports mountains and forests on both the sides which are worth admiring. Also, if you are a nature lover, you will be pleased to know that the fort area is surrounded by dense forest from all sides. In Fact, the back of the fort has a really dense forest region. The Kankwari fort is located at a distance of about 22 km inside the forest area. In order to reach the Kankwari fort, you can use the forest gypsies’ facility which is easily available. It is highly recommended to carry food, drinking water and a good camera to the Kankwari fort for the best experience.
Timings of the Kankwari Fort
The grand Kankwari fort is open for public visitors twice. In the morning, you can visit the fort from 8 AM till 12 PM while, in the evening, the fort is again open from 3 PM till 6 PM. On average, a visitor spends about 2 hours in completely exploring this top historical monument of Alwar. However, it is better for you to have some extra time in hand, in case you get lost in the scenic beauty and magnificent architectural style of the Kankwari fort.
Location and Entry Fee for the Kankwari Fort
Kankwari fort is located in Alwar right in the heart of the dense forest, however if you are looking for the specific address of Kankwari fort, then it is: Rundh – Kankwari, Dist. Alwar Rajasthan. All of those people who are keen on visiting the grand fort but are a bit sceptical because of the entry fee, we have good news for you. There is absolutely no entry fee charged to visit this historical marvel.
Best Time To Visit The Kankwari Fort
Like the rest of the state of Rajasthan, Alwar experiences a hot and dry climate throughout the year. In fact, during the summer season the temperatures during the day sometimes go so high to the point where the heat becomes unbearable. Though the winter season can be a bit chilly but usually during the day the weather is pleasant enough for sightseeing and exploration. As a result, it can be said that the best time to visit the Kankwari fort will be somewhere in the winter season. Alwar experiences winter from October till February. Though the natural beauty is at its peak during monsoon, the roads can be a bit slippery.
How To Reach The Kankwari Fort?
Kankwari fort is one of the most popular forts to visit in Rajasthan and is very easy to reach. Located among the Aravalli hills in the well – known Sariska Tiger reserve in the Kankwari village of the Alwar district in the Indian state of Rajasthan, there are multiple modes of transport available to reach the fort. Some of the ways to reach the Kankwari fort are:
- By Air: The nearest airport to reach the Kankwari fort is located in Alwar itself. This is a domestic airport but if you are looking for an international airport, then it will be the Jaipur International Airport which is about 126 km away from the Kankwari fort. Once you reach the airport, you can take a cab or hire a taxi to reach the fort. This road trip will probably be about 3 to 4 hours long. You may think this journey to be long but the scenic natural beauty on the way will keep you engaged and entertained.
- By Rail: The nearest railway station to reach the Kankwari fort is located in Alwar. The Alwar junction railway station provides a plenty of trains connecting the place to several major cities of the country including Jodhpur, Delhi, Mumbai and many more. Since the railway station is located not much far away from the fort, you can easily take any of the public means of transport for reaching the destination.
- By Road: Alwar is well – connected by roadways as well. Since the roads are in excellent conditions, you can travel easily by personal vehicles too. Alwar is pretty easily accessible by road from some of the major tourist destinations located nearby such as Sariska, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Delhi and Deeg.
Flanked with majestic hillocks covered with lush green plantations and sprawling meadows which add to the picturesque beauty of the place, Kankwari fort is one of the must-visit forts in Alwar for all the history buffs.