Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, over
looking the pink city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The view of the city from the fort is impressive.
Along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh once formed a strong defence ring for the city. The fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, but it became known as Nahargarh, which means ‘abode of tigers’. The popular belief is that Nahar here stands for Nahar Singh Bhomia, whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort. Nahar’s spirit was pacified by building a temple in his memory within the fort, which thus became known by his name.
Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, the fort was constructed as a place of retreat on the summit of the ridge above the city. Walls extended over the surrounding hills, forming fortifications that connected this fort to Jaigarh, the fort above the old capital of Amber. Though the fort never came under attack during the course of its history, it did see some historical events, notably the treaties with the Maratha forces who warred with Jaipur in the 18th century.During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Europeans of the region, including the British Resident’s wife, were moved to Nahargarh fort by the king of Jaipur, Sawai Ram Singh, for their protection.
The fort was extended in 1868 during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh. In 1883-92, a range of palaces was built at Nahargarh by Sawai Madho Singh at a cost of nearly three and a half lakh rupees. The Madhavendra Bhawan, built by Sawai Madho Singh had suites for the queens of Jaipur and at the head was a suite for the king himself. The rooms are linked by corridors and still have some delicate frescos. Nahargarh was also a hunting residence of the Maharajas.
Until April 1944, the Jaipur State government used for its official purposes solar time read from the Samrat Yantra in the Jantar Mantar Observatory, with a gun fired from Nahargarh Fort as the time signal
History Of The Fort
Nahargarh Fort was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur, on the Aravalli hills, as a retreat place. Nahargarh Fort is connected to the Jaigarh Fort through its fortifications. It is believed that the construction of this fort was obstructed by the spirit of a Rathore prince, Nahar Singh Bhomia. However, the spirit was pacified when a temple dedicated to him was built inside the fort. Sawai Ram Singh renovated this fort in 1868.
Architectural Layout Of The Fort
The fort follows Indo-European architecture and there are many structures inside the fort. To the left of the entrance gate ‘Tadigate’, there is a temple dedicated to the deity of Jaipur rulers. Apart from this, there is another temple inside the fort, dedicated to the Rathore prince, Nahar Singh Bhomia. Another attraction in the fort is the ‘Madhavendra Bhawan’ built by Sawai Madho Singh. This is a two-storey building which has suites for the king and his twelve queens. It is divided into nine similar apartments and each of these apartments has a lobby, bedrooms, toilets, kitchen and store. Other structures inside the palace include Diwan-I-Aam, an open air enclosure where the king met the common men and listened to their problems and complaints.
Nahargarh Fort was never attacked but, it witnessed some major historical events, like the treaties with the Maratha forces which attacked Jaipur in the 18th century. This fort gave shelter to many Europeans in this region, including the British Resident’s wife, during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.