Rich in regional culture and renowned for its ancient monuments, pilgrimages, highly dense forests to hill stations, Madhya Pradesh is a must-visit destination in Central India. What differ’s this central Indian state with other states are its brilliant forts and palaces from the ancient era which are the architectural epitome in themselves.
Madhya Pradesh is known to be the heart of the country and there are many places which you can explore here. Like Panchmari, Bandhavgarh National park, Sanchi stupa etc. But Visiting forts and places are must for everyone. As the historical and cultural legacy of the state is well preserved and portrayed in the splendid forts and palaces.
For at least the last 1,000 years Madhya Pradesh has been a land of great kingdoms and magnificent architecture. But today the tremendous grandeur and exquisite ancient forts and palaces you can witness at Gwalior, Orchha and Mandu palaces and forts.
Readers, this blog enlists the most popular forts and palaces in Madhya Pradesh. Take a look –
Residing at Gwalior Hill, the Gwalior fort is considered one of the most historically notable forts of Madhya Pradesh. Brilliant architecture from of this fort is enough to pull thousands of tourists towards Gwalior. The history of this fort goes back to the 6th century, which is expressed in various objects and inscriptions on the site. The fort had witnessed several dynasties and rulers rising and falling. The architecture of the fort is exceptionally beautiful, carrying decorations in the form of intricate carvings.
A steep road winds upwards to the Fort, flanked by statues of Jain Tirthankaras, carved into the rock-faced. The Gwalior Fort consists of two magnificent palaces: Gujari Mahal and Man Mandir, the former now a museum. In the evening, you can attend the lights and digital sound show, watch the saga of heroism and other cultural programs organised at Gwalior fort.
Orchha Fort Complex
Situated on the bank of River Betwa and Jamni in Orchha city, without doubt, Orchha Fort Complex is one the most popular destination to visit in Madhya Pradesh. The reason behind its popularity is that it holds most extensive ancient monuments and forts inside its complex. It holds three spectacular structures which are Jahangir Mahal, Raja Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal, they are a sight to behold and depicting sumptuous combination architectural styles of the Indian and Mughal styles.
The foundations for the fort complex were laid by Rudra Pratap Singh, a Bundela Rajput ruler. The fort highlights many palaces, beautiful gardens, pavilions, temples, hidden passages, winding stairs, and numerous mural paintings of Lord Vishnu.
Also Read: Orchha: A Place Forgotten In Time
Jahaz Mahal – Mandu
Jahaz Mahal or Ship Palace is positioned on the northern side of Munj Tank in the royal Mandu complex. The shape is like a boat which is nestled on the two lakes named as Kapur Talao and Munj Talao. It is thought to be built in the previous era from 1436 to 1469 during the reign of Mahmud Shah I Khalji.
This palace was initially, after his father, awarded by Ghiyas al-Din. The palace consists of two halls with, remarkably d ceilings. The walls consist of yellow marble and blue medals along with inscriptions. While it still looks captivating in ruins, exploration of the palace is must-do things in Madhya Pradesh.
Jai Vilas Palace – Gwalior
The Jai Vilas Palace was built between 1872 AD to 1874 AD for Jayajirao Maharaja and served as the royal residence of Scindhya family. The Palace’s entry gate is on its west side and a part of it has been turned into a museum. This magnificent architectural style palace was designed by Colonel Michael Filos which was totally influenced by Italian, Doric and Corinthian styles.
The first wing of the palace holds a museum which has a wide collection of Mughal portraits, adornments, Persian carpets and ancient furniture. The excellent Durbar Hall and the biggest lights of the world attached to its ceiling are a sight to bold in another wing. The palace is located on a small turret that offers a beautiful view of the vicinity. Currently, the state government currently maintains it.
Chanderi fort is an incredible Mughal fort settled on a hill in the Chanderi town of Ashoknagar District in Madhya Pradesh, on the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand. The fort was commissioned by a king named Kirti Pal. This 11th-century fort’s protective wall is five kilometres long. It’s worth checking out a palace, a mosque and a tomb. The fort is so old that it is also mentioned in the famous Hindu epic, Mahabharata. The castle lies within lush green forests and calm lakes.
It is believed that the palaces within the fort were constructed by Bundela chiefs while the fortification walls were laid down by the Mughal rulers. Khooni Darwaza is the most popular attraction of the fort and it is also the main entry point for getting inside the fort. Apart from this, below it, you can also visit Badal Mahal which is also very popular among travellers.
Bandhavgarh National Park nestled in Umaria district Madhya Pradesh is popular for Tiger reserve and amazing wildlife it offers to its visitors. But apart from it, it also holds captivating Bandhavgarh Fort located on the hill in the centre of the National Park. This Bandhavgarh Paradise contains numerous secrets of the past years, as it is believed to be more than two thousand years old.
According to locals and references given in ancient history books, the Gond Empire constructed this Bandhavgarh Fort. Bandhavgarh’s mesmerizing sandstone fort finds mention in Ramayana ‘s great epic and is believed to have been the temporary habitat of Lord Rama as he returned home after destroying Ravana. The fort’s walls are decorated in the shape of Dashavatar by several idols from Lord Vishnu.
Madan Mahal – Jabalpur
Dating back from the 11th century, Madan Mahal is settled in Jabalpur city of Madhya Pradesh. Madan Singh, a Gond emperor constructed this beautiful palace (Mahal). It carries beautiful reverberations of the 10th century AD, along with relics of the Gond Queen Durgavati.
Almost every structure in the areas is deteriorating, but Durgavati’s Palace is standing tall. This uniquely built palace has a boulder as its base and is a star attraction in Madan Mahal. Another popular attraction in its vicinity is Balancing Rocks which is the favourite haunt place of the youngsters.
Nestled along the banks of Narmada River, Maheshwar Fort is a splendid edifice. The fort used to the residence of queen Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar of Maratha dynasty but now it has been converted into a luxury hotel. It is said that there are more than 100 temples around the fort.
These temples seem to boast of the centuries-old history of the town. The heritage hotel provides guests with a relaxed atmosphere when enjoying a royal holiday. The fort also includes a terrace from which visitors can see the flowering river and the surrounding area. The fort is also called Ahilya Fort because it is related to the Queen of the Holkar dynasty.
Asirgarh Fort – Burhanpur
Asirgarh is another important fort and one of India’s most protected areas. This fort is situated in the Satpura Range and was considered the gateway to the Deccan plateaus. The architectural structure of this enchanting fort was well planned and designed by keeping the attackers and enemy mind and thus it leaves an everlasting impression on visitors mind. According to Indian history, it is stated that the great King Akbar faced various complication and difficulties while conquering this fort.
Asirgarh has received its name from Asa Ahir a landlord who built this fortress in the 15th century. Akbar seized it in the 17th century. And eventually, it landed in the hands of the British. The architecture of Asirgarh displays influences of Islamic, Indian, Persian, and Turkish styles.
Rajwada Palace – Indore
Rajawada or Holkar Palace is a significant historical site in Indore that was constructed by the Holkars. Showcasing the fine architectural skill and magnificence of those times, the palace is an impressive 7 storey structure that is placed near the Chhatris. Rajwada Palace is one of the oldest structures and popular tourist attractions of Indore.
The palace was constructed by Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of Holkar Dynasty in the year 1747 A.D. The palace was his residence and remained so till the year 1880 A.D. this remarkable structure is placed in Khajuri Bazaar, right in the middle of the city. Rajwada palace faces a well-maintained garden that has a statue of Queen Ahilya Bai, fountains and an artificial waterfall.
Mansingh Palace – Gwalior
The Mansingh Palace in Gwalior is a wonderful specimen of early Hindu architecture. The four-storied structure definitely counts as one of the must-visit destinations in Madhya Pradesh. The outer walls have tigers, elephants, peacock and crocodiles in ornamented blue, green and yellow. Whereas on the other hand, the interiors are quite simple yet attractive.
Sitting about 80 km away from Gwalior’s main city, Datia Palace, otherwise known as Bir Singh Dev Palace, shows a magnificent architectural confluence of the Rajput and Mughal styles.
The palace stretches over 7 impressive floors and beautifully adorned with elegant gravings, sumptuous paintings and intricate arches. The most interesting thing about the palace is that it has no wood or metal support, and yet is as tall as ever!
Deogarh Fort – Chhindwara
The Deogarh fort is situated amongst the beautiful scenic beauty surrounded in the district of Chhindwara at Madhya Pradesh state. The beautiful fort of Deogarh in Madhya Pradesh was built in the year 1670 by Rawat Dwarkadas of the Sisodia dynasty and sits atop a hill in the Chhindwara district. Different attractions are situated within the fort and are worth watching, it includes various houses, temples, wells and tanks. The architectural brilliance along with the fort’s exceptional mural art and carvings tempts spiritual flocks and devotees into its arena. They are mostly the oldest and ancient sites that are preserved even today in this place.
Concluding here, but the list of forts and palaces is not over yet. Apart from above-mentioned attractions, Madhya Pradesh has really preserved the jewel of India. Such forts and palaces retain the State ‘s legendary tales that are proudly mentioned in Indian literature. There are a few more attractions you can explore; they are Raisen Fort, Narwar Fort, Gohad Fort, Rajmahal and many more, which are Madhya Pradesh ‘s prominent historic sites.