Location: Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh
Built In: 1613
Built By: Raja Bir Singh Deo
Dynasty: Bundelkhand Dynasty
Tags: Home to Rani Lakshmibai
Situated in the city of Jhansi, the fort has been a symbol of pride and melee. One of the greatest fortified strongholds in the country, commissioned in the early 17th century by Raja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha, Jhansi Fort has witnessed many ups and downs in Indian history. It stood as a towering shield during the ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ in the year 1857, and the bloody massacres led by the British Armed Force. The fort was modified into residential quarters and was also home to the martyr Rani Lakshmibai who died protecting the fort from the British. Extending over 15 acres, this colossal structure is supported by a moat on both sides on the Bangara hill. The Jhansi Fort, built in 1613, is a titanic reminder of the city’s historical importance. Scroll down and learn all about this colossal structure starting from its historical background to its architectural layout.
Jhansi Fort Jhansi
According to folklore, Raja Bir Singh Deo was resting in his palatial chamber in Orchha, when he saw a faint outline of the Bangara hill from his room. He recalled that the site was very ‘Jhainsi’ meaning ‘vague shadow’. Later, the city fort was built on the Bangara hill, and according to Raja Bir Singh’s ‘Jhainsi’ image of the site, the area eventually came to be known as ‘Jhansi’.
The fort remained under the tenet of the rightful Bundelas for two decades before it was captured by the Mughals. However, in the early 18th century, the fort came under the possession of the Maratha rulers who then made several modifications to the stronghold and also founded the city of Jhansi that extended in a circumference of over 7 kilometers. The Marathas continued to rule Jhansi with the fort under their skim, and also witnessed the first woman regent, Rani Lakshmibai, who fought the British valiantly, against annexation and went on to be become an illustrious female figure in Indian history.
The Jhansi Fort is an architectural marvel with its chambers, gates, entrances and also the structures within the garrison. The three prime stages of its assembly were ‘Panch Mahal’, ‘Baradari’ and ‘Shankargarh’ where which different styles of architecture and workmanship can be viewed by the tourist. The massive fort is home to many important ancient structures such as the Ganesh Temple, the Shiv Temple, the execution tower, Panch Mahal, the museum and the grave of Gulam Gaus Khan.
The fort is supported with 22 bastions and a fortified wall cushioned by a moat on two sides. A cannon called the ‘Kadak Bijli’, which was used in the battle at 1857, along with a memorial board for Rani Lakshmibai are also placed in the fort. There are not many intricate wall cravings that can be seen today, and also the battlements of the fort are slowly degenerating. However, the internal wood-frame and trellis work are sure to leave the visitors awe-struck.
Major Battles And Events
- The Jhansi Fort is synonymous with the revolt of 1857, which many people refer to as the first struggle of independence from the British.
- The Queen of the Marathas, Rani Lakshmibai, popularly known as the Queen of Jhansi, led an army against the British and died while protecting the fort. This wasn’t the first attempt to seize the fort, but the battle was definitely one of the most significant aspects of Jhansi history.
- The Mughals had previously seized the Jhansi Fort from the Bundelas and ruled over Jhansi and the fort for the next hundred years before it came under the possession of the Marathas in the year 1729.
- The fort has breach marks imparted by the British ammunition on its strong wall between the Sainyar and Jhirna Gate. The fort also lost one of its bastions on the eastern part during the Sepoy Mutiny.
- Every year in the period between January-February, the Jhansi Mahotsav is held at the fort commemorating the Queen’s sacrifices for the city of Jhansi. At this time, stage plays and dramas based on the life of Rani Lakshmibai are showcased.
- The archeological departments, along with the tourism Government of Uttar Pradesh are now responsible for the maintenance of the fort with the help of private trusts and funding.
- Visitors can be allowed inside the fort in presence of a local tourist guide.
Best Time To Visit
Tourists and visitors can visit the Jhansi Fort all year round, thanks to its convenient access and pleasant weather throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the fort is during the period between September and March. The fort is open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm on all days.
How To Reach
- Jhansi can be conveniently accessed from the Gwalior Airport, which is connected to many important cities in the country. Although, Jhansi does not have an Airport of its own, the city is expected to have a new Greenfield airport in a few years.
- Jhansi is well connected by train routes and is an important railway junction in central India. It functions under the North-Central Railway and is located next to the Sipri Bazaar in the city.
- Once in the city, the tourists can opt for private cars, tempos, buses, auto-rickshaws and private tourist buses to visit the Jhansi Fort.
Around The Fort
Tourists can visit the Rani Mahal, the government museum, Orchha which is a half an hour drive from Jhansi city, the ‘Nag’ temple and local shopping bazaars for traditional handicrafts and local variety.
Being associated with Rani Lakshmibai Jhansi Fort is symbol of courage and is also known for its architectural brilliance and grandeur. The fort may be degenerated in places today, but has still managed to retain its sheer aura and radiates a rich heritage of a bygone era.