Location: Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Built In: 1732 – 1792
Built By: Maharaja Suraj Mal
Dynasty: Bharatpur Jat
Other names: Iron Fort
The Lohagarh, which means the ‘Fort of Iron’, is one of the strongest forts built in Indian history and has been a symbol of strength and power for a long time. Situated in Bharatpur, the construction of the fort began in 1732 by Maharaja Suraj Mal and was completed 60 years later in 1792. The sturdy fort withstood attacks from the Mughals as well as the British. The deep moats that surrounded the fort acted as a defense mechanism. The Lohagarh fort is a living testimony to the chivalry and bravery of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur. Due to its impregnable defenses the fort came to be known by the name of Lohagarh. The British laid siege to the Lohagarh Fort four times but had to retreat on all occasions. If you wish to learn all about the history and architectural layout of this majestic fort then scroll down.
Lohagarh Fort Bharatpur India
History Of The Fort
The Lohagarh Fort or the ‘Iron Fort’ was built in the 18th Century by the Bharatpur Jat rulers to protect the city of Bharatpur from external attacks from the Mughal and British forces. The site of this fort is a man-made island that adds to the whole majestic look of the fort. The Lohagarh Fort was surrounded and protected by deep moats. Though, Lohagarh Fort lacks the flamboyance of other forts of the region but its strength and magnificence is matchless. In 1805, the British forces launched an attack to capture the fort. They fought for over four months trying to force their way into the fort but, were eventually unsuccessful.
Architecture/ Layout Of The Fort
The walls are 7 km long which only took 8 years to complete. The main gate that stands is called Ashtadhatu Gate meaning ‘Eight Metals Gate’, as the spikes in the gate are a mixture of 8 different metals. This gate was actually constructed for the Chittorgarh Fort. There is another gate at the south of the fort called, Lohiya Gate. The rulers built 3 palaces inside the fort namely, Mahal Khas, Kamra Palace and the Palace of Badan Singh. The first palace, Mahal Khas, built by the Maharaja Balwant Singh has beautiful wall paintings, small chambers that have ornate pierced stone windows and patterned marble tiled floors. The Badan Singh’s Palace was built by the Sinsini Jat king Suraj Mal, Suraj Mal’s father. The Kamra Palace is known as the arsenal and treasury. The fort is decorated with Jain sculptures and carvings of a yaksha. The fort has eight big towers, some of them were ruined during the attacks but the two of the towers that stood the test of time are Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj. The pillars have been designed with intricate frescoes. The iron pillar called the Vijay Stambha or the ‘Victory Column’ is inscribed with the history of the Jats. Maharaja Balwant Singh also constructed two temples inside the fort premises called Ganga Mandir temple and Laxman Mandir. There are many other monuments inside the fort icluding Kishori Mahal and Kothi Khas.
Major Battles or Events Associated With The Fort
In 1805, Lord Lake laid siege on the fort with the intention of overthrowing the ruler and establishing British rule in the region. But even after 6 weeks of fighting the fort couldn’t be captured and the British lost some 3000 soldiers in the attack. After being unsuccessful in their endeavor, the British army retreated and signed an agreement with the Bharatpur ruler.
The Archaeological Survey of India has proposed a restoration project for the fort. The states of Haryana and Rajasthan will come together for this project. In 1944 The Durbar hall of the Badan Singh Palace and Kamra Palace were transformed into the State Archaeological Museum. There is also an Art Gallery here.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the fort is during the period between October and February. You can visit the Lohagarh Fort on all days except Thursdays and Saturdays. It remains open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum inside the fort is open on all days except for Mondays. A small amount of Rs. 5 is charged as entry fee.
How To Reach
By Road: Bharatpur is well-connected through national highways to some of the important cities in the region.
Nearest Railway Station: there is a railway station in Bharatpur from where you can board trains to cities in the region including Delhi.
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport is Delhi International Airport which is 154 km away.
Around The Fort
Because of its dense forests, Bharatpur hosts many natural landscapes worth visiting. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and Keoladeo National Park are two of the most visited parks in India. Hire a bicycle or cycle–rickshaws outside the park and watch different species of birds that migrate from Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet.
This historic fort of Bharatpur is now open to public and they can enjoy a nice afternoon in the splendid lawns covered with flowers in the Nehru Park. The fort hosts many artifacts of great importance including pottery, paintings and other items.