Jaigarh Fort is perched right above the Amer Fort on the same hill and is one of the three forts built by the Kachhwaha rulers of Jaipur. Its name is an expression of might and so are its battlements, bastions and the huge cannon. Its commanding appearance has made it one of the famous forts in Rajasthan. This fort, made of red sandstone, was commissioned by Mirza Raja Jai Singh in 1621 AD. It is a delight to walk along the battlements of this fort. Walking along the ramparts of Jaigarh is something that you shouldn’t miss. Walking along you can check out the battlements and from various spots you can capture the surreal views of the Aravalli hills.
This fort was meant to serve as a protective castle in times of an attack. Its robust battlements are a testimony to the fact. There are also palace apartments within the fort where the royal family could be housed during the critical situations. It is believed that the rulers never had to resort to this fort for protection, thanks to their good relationship with the Mughals who held sway over the major part of India.
What to see in Jaigarh Fort?
This huge cannon is situated on one end of the Jaigarh fort and is the star attraction. This 20 ft long cannon weighs around 50 kg and is believed to be the largest cannon-on-wheels in the world. It is said that a hundred kilos of gunpowder was needed for a single shot from this cannon and its range was about 35 km, though it was never used in any battle.
Laxmi Vilas Palace
The walls of Laxmi Vilas Palace are adorned by the beautiful blue-coloured frescoes. There is a small courtyard in the palace where the royals were entertained with puppet shows. You can enjoy a puppet show here for a fee.
The remains of a Mughal Garden, square in shape, are on the northern side of the fort. This place is the most pleasant part of Jaigarh. There are fantastic views of Amer from a pavilion occupying one corner of this garden. The restored triple arched entrance on the boundary of the garden is worth a gaze.
There is a small quirky museum in the fort. It has a collection of photographs, coins and artefacts which would have belonged to the royals.
The watchtower also called ‘Diya Burj’ is a seven-storeyed structure. It is used to hoist the flag of Jaipur’s Royals.
The armoury of Jaigarh has an array of weapons on display. You can check out swords, guns and shields.
There is a cannon foundry in the fort where you can see the pit where the barrels were cast. Some of the instruments used in the process like drills, taps, dies and a capstan-powered lathe are still present. Bhagwandas, the adopted son of Man Singh I, had established this cannon foundry in the 16th century. The presence of iron ore mines in the surrounding countryside ensured regular supply of raw material to the foundry.
The water demands were met by three underground water tanks which were fed by rainwater harvesting. The largest tank is worth watching, it has a storage capacity of 60,00,000 gallons.
There are two ancient temples within the fort. One is dedicated to Lord Rama and other to Kala Bhairava.
Additional Information: As this fort was never occupied by the rulers, it was used to house the royal army. There is a belief that Jaigarh served as a safe haven to preserve the royal treasure and the war booty. Probably this belief drew the attention of Indian Government post independence and an excavation in the fort was ordered in 1976.
Travel Tip: If you have bought a composite ticket at City Palace in Jaipur, the entry to Jaigarh is free for you for a stipulated amount of time.
How to reach?
Drive about 10 km from Jaipur. You need to drive towards Amer on Jaipur-Delhi highway and catch a road that veers of uphill before Amer. A short uphill drive will lead to Jaigarh. Alternatively, you can also trek up from Amer Fort. It is a half hour climb to Jaigarh from the elephant quarters of Amer Fort.
Note: Several travellers straightaway drive up to ‘Jai Vana’ – the popular large cannon – as they have been told that this is the only thing to be observed in Jaigarh. But if time is on your side, Jaigarh is worth exploring leisurely. Hiring a guide from the entrance would make the tour more informational.