By Rashmi Goyal
The rich cultural past of India is reflected in the innumerable forts and palaces across the country. Most were built as defenses to keep enemy at bay and hence are mind boggling massive, with stunning temples and palaces inside, exquisite architecture, sculpture and carvings that have stood the ravages of time.
Though standard heritage tours are evergreen, customized tours are gaining popularity. The last decade saw a boom in hospitality ; the next revolution was in Historical India Tour options. India has immense historical heritage as countless valiant rulers of ancient and medieval India left traces of their empires which tourists feast on. Once a visitor to India has settled in a Delhi Hotel of his choice, the first instinct is to explore this amazing capital.
If you’re a forts and palaces buff and are wondering where to quickly find the majestic and magnificent, then don’t lose hope. There are many fortresses not far from your hotel in Delhi. India’s colorful, vibrant past is reflected in the myriad citadels dotting the country’s landscape. There is one right outside your doorstep in Delhi. The magnificent Red Fort, which is visited by nearly every tourist to India, is a masterpiece of architecture.
The next nearest is the Agra Fort; combine it with gazing awe struck at the glorious Taj Mahal, an unforgettable experience. Just an hour journey from your Delhi hotel, you can go by train or car or luxury bus. The 16th century Agra Fort of red sandstone, encompasses within its 2.5 km long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughals. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, audience halls, and beautiful mosques.
Next you can head for Gwalior and its famous fortress. You can also head for Jaipur first, then Agra or vice versa, followed by Gwalior. The Amber Fort in Jaipur is a classic example of fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture. It has a profusion of palaces including the ‘palace of mirrors’, Sheesh Mahal, with walls inlaid with exquisite mirrors that still take every first time visitor’s breath away.
Gwalior is 122 km south of the Taj Mahal . Due to massive tourist in flow, Gwalior is called the tourist capital of the state. The formidable Gwalior Fort is reputed to be one of the most invincible forts of India. It occupies an isolated rock outcrop with the hill steepened to make it virtually non scalable. Called the ‘Gibraltar of India’, it has unique architecture with Chinese influence on Indian architecture. Its intricately designed beauty is encased in 35 feet high walls enclosing stunning temples and palaces.
Do your homework at the travel desk of your Delhi hotel to work out your list of fortresses to gawk at.
Orchha, founded in 1501 AD, is just 120 km from Gwalior . A medieval city with an amazing fort along the Betwa river which is full of palaces and temples that still retain their original grandeur. Hotels here are known for their splendid décor and comfort .