This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
On the edge of the Aravalli Hills, the Nahargarh Fort overlooks the city of Jaipur, India. The Fort was one of three, including Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, that formed a line of defense around the city. Originally named Sudarshangarh Fort, the structure was later renamed to Nahargarh Fort, which means “The Abode of Tigers”.
Although designed to defend, Nahargarh Fort never actually came under attack. Built in 1734, it was constructed as a retreat for the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the King of Jaipur. Situated at the summit of a ridge, the Fort’s walls extended over the surrounding hills creating a fortification. In 1857, the Indian Mutiny against the British East India Company resulted in the many Europeans living in the region being moved to the Fort for protection.
During the reign of Sawai Ram Singh, who ruled India throughout the 19th century, the Fort was extended to include many palaces. Inside, the Madhavendra Bhawan included twelve suites for the queens of Jaipur and a suite for the King. During that time, the Fort was also used as a hunting lodge. Up until 1944, the Jaipur State government also used the Fort to read solar time. Officials fired guns from Nahargarh Fort as the time signal.
It is believed that the fort was named after a Rajput Prince named Nahar Singh Bhomia, who owned the land upon which the Fort was built. According to legend, his spirit created obstacles during construction and haunted the area. As a peace offering, Jai Signh built a temple inside the Fort on the order of the spirit and named it after him.
With walls reaching 700 feet high, Nahargarh Fort maintains an imposing figure above Jaipur. Open daily, visitors can explore the magnificent Fort up close with tours of the historic structure.
Written By: Kelly Murray
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