6 HILL FORTS OF RAJASTHAN NOW IN UNESCO’S WORLD HERITAGE LIST

Cheer spread in the tourism as well as the art and culture sector today in Rajasthan when its 6 hill forts were selected to be in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The hills forts are – Amber, Chittorgarh, Gangron, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore. The Tourism, Art & Culture Minister, Ms. Bina Kak said: “the selection of these forts is a reflection of our work done in the past. We stand by our commitment towards conservation and protection of our rich cultural heritage, of which we are immensely proud.”

 

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Gagron Fort

Gagron Fort

Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort

Chittorgarh-Fort

Chittorgarh-Fort

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort, Jaipur

RANTHAMBHORE-Fort

RANTHAMBHORE-Fort

These hill forts were approved in the 37th Meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Cambodia on 21 June. The selection of these forts, located in different cities, as a serial cultural property, is the first of its kind ever by UNESCO.

Now with the selection by UNESCO these six forts will receive enhanced international recognition the way the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur did after being selected in the World Heritage List in 2010. This selection will also pave way for other monuments to be nominated for being included in the World Heritage List. In fact, the work relating to Stepwells of Abhaneri, Bandikui, Bundi as well as the Fresco paintings of Shekhawati region for being submitted for consideration to UNESCO list has already started.

All these efforts will sure reinforce positioning of Rajasthan on the world tourism map as a favored tourist destination.

It is to be recalled that several missions of ICOMOS (advisory body to UNESCO) visited Rajasthan since 2011 and discussed the nomination in great detail with State Archaeology Department, ASI and the Indian Advisory Committee on the World Heritage under the Ministry of Culture.

Within the State of Rajasthan, six extensive and majestic hill forts together reflect the elaborate, fortified seats of power of Rajput princely states that flourished between the 8th and 18th centuries and their relative political independence. The extensive fortifications up to 20 kilometres in circumference optimized various kinds of hilly terrain, specifically the river at Gagron, the dense forests at Ranthambore, and the desert at Jaisalmer, and exhibit important phase of development of an architectural typology based on established “traditional Indian principles”.

6 Rajasthan Forts poised to get World Heritage status!

India has nominated a group of six hill forts in Rajasthan for World Heritage Sites this year. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh next month will decide on conferring the status on them.

 

The hill forts at ChittorgarhKumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Gagron, Amber, and Jaisalmer are excellent examples of Rajput military architecture, which are found in palaces, temples, memorials and even in villages. Built between 13th and 19th centuries, these forts are unique to this region. The aesthetic ambiance of these marvels of architecture can be seen within their walls on various level layout plan in the opulent palace complexes.

 

Properties listed in World Heritage List, are recognised by the global community as having special significance which needs to be protected for future generations to enjoy.

Rajasthan Forts to get UNESCO’s World Heritage Tag

The famed hill forts of Rajasthan are inching closer to get the World Heritage Site status.

At the moment, seven forts Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Gagron, Ranthambore, Amber, Jalore and Bala Kila are on the Unesco tentative list.

The full landscape view of Kumbhalgarh Fort

The full landscape view of Kumbhalgarh Fort

Amber Fort

Amber Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Ranthambore Fort

Ranthambore Fort

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort

The UNESCO team was in Jaipur on Monday to discuss the nomination of ‘Hill forts of Rajasthan’ for the world heritage site status. The ‘Hill Forts of Rajasthan’ are strategically built in a series and located on the oldest mountain range of the Aravallis or the Vindhyan range in the region.

According to UNESCO, the series of seven hill forts in Rajasthan represent the genius of Rajput military architecture in the medieval and post medieval period. The forts built in local stone masonry trace the development of the fort typology and evolution of the Rajput architectural style from the 15th to the 19th century.

Historians and researchers also noted that five of these forts-Chittorgarh, Gagron, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore and Jalore-include additional historic layers from the 6th to 10th century, while exhibiting significant structure of the Rajput military architecture of the 15th and 16th century.

Jalore fort

Jalore fort

Bala Kila  Alwar

Bala Kila Alwar

The Amber Fort and Bala Kila Fort represent the later phase of a mature Rajput architectural style. The forts are important records of the political scenario of the period, marked by strife and subjugation from the Sultanate and the Mughal Empire and friction amongst the Rajput kingdoms ruled by various clans.

At the moment the Jantar Mantar and Keoladeo National Park are the two sites from state listed on the World Heritage List.

Tour de Amer Fort Jaipur

Amber Fort jaipur

When we talk about Jaipur then it is not possible that we could ignore the Amer fort. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful fort and the pride of Jaipur!!  Amber fort, also known as Amber Palace boasts of an artistic grandeur and structural expertise. It is a reminiscent of the bravery and courage of the mighty Rajputs, who had played a remarkable role in the history of medieval India.
Amber Fort 1
Crowning the crest of a hill, Amber Fort offers a panoramic view of Maota Lake and the historic old town at the base of the hill, which was the early seat of the Amber kings before they made the fort their capital.

The main entrance to the historic Amber Fort is through the imposing Suraj Pol, so called because it faces the direction of the rising sun, the Kachhawaha family emblem. The gate leads into a huge courtyard, Jaleb Chowk, lined on three sides with souvenir and refreshment shops. A flight of steps leads to the Shila Devi Temple, which has silver doors; silver oil lamps, grand pillars carved to look like banana trees, and contain the Kachhawaha family deity, a stone image of the goddess Kali. The next courtyard is the Diwan-i-Aam, the space for public audience. Near it is the Sattais Katcheri, a colonnade of 27 pillars, where scribes once sat to record revenue petitions.

Amber Fort 2

The magnificent Ganesh Pol is the gateway to three pleasure palaces, each with special features, built around a Mughal-style garden, Aram Bagh. Maota Lake, which provided water to the fort, is surrounded by two exquisite gardens. The Kesar Kyari Bagh has start-shaped flower beds once planted with saffron, flowers, while Dilaram Bagh, built in 1568 as a resting place for Akbar on his way to Ajmer, is a clever pun on the name of its architect, Dilaram. A small archeological Museum is located nearby. The farthest and oldest end of the fort was converted into the zenana, with screens and covered balconies for the seclusion of the royal ladies in purdah. Faint traces of frescoes are still visible on the walls. In the centre of the courtyard is a pavilion with 12 pillars, the Baradari.

Amber Fort 3

This rambling Palace depicts the true lifestyle of the gutsy Rajputs who are better known for their radical, audacious, volatile and decadent behavior. One among the best hill top palaces, amber palace presents a curious blend of Muslim and Hindu architectural design. An aide memoir of the yesteryears, this palace is a redolent of creativeness of the artisans of ancient time.

Recently, two major developments have taken place at Amber fort. A very old tunnel to connect Amber Fort and adjoining Jaigarh Fort is now opened for public along with the electric cab facility for the tourists. Besides, Elephant rides to fort have always been a favorite among the visitors.

Amber Mahal overlooking Maotha

Certainly, Amber Fort, is one of the few places in India  with never ending, consisting of a maze of rooms, tiny and grand!!  Spectacularly set within surrounding rugged hills and dotted with majestic architecture, Amber Mahal is one of the best places to visit on your trip to Jaipur.

Desert Festival, Jaisalmer

Bikaner Camel Festival

If you thought Bikaner’s camel festival was the ultimate in exotic Indian festivals, wait till you see the fiesta at Jaisalmer. A three-day long extravaganza of dances, music, handicraft fairs and interesting competitions- including really unusual ones like a ‘Mr Desert’ pageant, a ‘turban-tying’ contest and a ‘best moustache’ contest- the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation from February 23 to 25, 2013.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

It is a fantastic showcase of all aspects of typical Rajasthani, and is justifiably popular with tourists, both Indian and foreign. Besides the food, the music and the cultural performances, there are camel rides, processions, camel polo, and even a camel tug-of-war.

jaisalmer fort

All the cultural programmes are held against the backdrop of the awesome Jaisalmer fort and the pristine dunes of Sam. Fireworks display at night light up the area, and the fort along with desert is illuminated too.

World Sufi Spirit Festival, Jodhpur

world sufi5

World Sufi Spirit Festival on February 22nd and 23rd, 2013 at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur is giving a great opportunity to experience the divine god within us. The age-old art of those pilgrims from the past, travelers of the spirit will be revealed through dance, music, singing and rituals by traditional artists from Rajasthan, Egypt, Iran, Mongolia, China, Zanzibar, and the Comoros Islands. They will present the beauty of a spiritual art inspired by Sufism.

Various artists like Wang Li(China), Fareed Ayyaz and party ( Pakistan), Kailash Kher (India), The Musician of Nile(Egypt) and Vahdat Sisters(Iran) to name a few will be there to mesmerize you.

world sufi2

The principal aim of this festival is to witness the traditions of the East, Asia and Africa to the rich heritage of India.

This year, not only the fascinating heritage of Rajasthan will be present but we will also discover the exceptional technique of Anuj Mishra and his exceptional dance only after discover still the deep roots of Hindu and Dravidian southern India.

world sufi4

Programme Details are as follows ….
Mehrangarh Fort – Jodhpur – Friday 22nd February

7.00 AM
Bhajan songs from the Bhopa Nayak jat community
Mohissa – Chiru district – Rajasthan
Jaswant Thada

11.00 AM
Adivasi tribal art expressions
Rajasthan – India
Mataji Temple

11.00 AM
Kallaripayyat martial Art from Kerala by the young artists of The Aseema Trust
Foundation directed by Veppanthangudi Ramachandra Rao Devikra
Kerala – India
Daulat Khana Chowk

11.00 AM
Film
Art gallery at Zenana Deodi

12.00 PM
Manganiyars and the Langas children workshop
Rajasthan – India
Zenana Deodi

12.00 AM
Qawwalli Party
Rajasthan – India
Bhure sa ki mazzar – (Dargah)

1.00 PM
Bardic Divas – Women voices of Central Asia
Ulzhan Baibussynova – singing
Kazakhstan
Raushan Orazbaeva – kobyz
Kazakhstan
Nadira Pirmatova – Singing & dutar lute
Uzbekistan
Moti Mahal – Darbar concert I
In partnership with AKMI – Aga Khan Music Initiative
Aga Khan Trust for Culture

4.00 PM
Kallaripayyat martial Art from Kerala by the young artists of the The Aseema Trust
Foundation directed by Veppanthangudi Ramachandra Rao Devikra
Kerala – India

5.00 PM
Adivasi tribal art expressions
Rajasthan – India
Mataji Temple

6.00 PM
The art of kathak by Anuj Mishra – Lucknow Gharana
Lucknow – India
Moti Mahal – Darbar concert II

8.00 PM
Qawwalli night
First part – Artists to be announced
Second part – Asif Ali Khan, Manzoor Hussain, Santoo Khanqawwal & Party
Pakistan
Parade ground

11.30 PM
Into a Sufi world of ritual and dance
The Nile Sufi – A Sufi ritual from a village of Upper-Egypt
Sheikh Ghanan and the Sufis of Deir
Egypt
Chokhelao Garden

Mehrangarh Fort – Jodhpur – Saturday 23rd February

7.00 AM
Bhajan
Rajasthan – India
Jaswant Thada

11.00 AM
Kallaripayyat martial Art from Kerala by the young artists of the The Aseema Trust
Foundation directed by Veppanthangudi Ramachandra Rao Devikra
Kerala – India
Daulat Khana Chowk

11.00 AM
Film
Art gallery at Zenana Deodi

11.00 AM
Adivasi tribal art expressions
Rajasthan – India
Mataji Temple

12.00 AM
Chota Divana concert – Manghaniyars and the Langas children with Gazi Khan Barna
Rajasthan – India
Chokhelao Garden

12.00 AM
Qawwalli party
Rajasthan – India
Bhure sa ki mazzar – (Dargah)

1.00 PM
Saeid Shanbehzadeh – The art of the bagpipe
Iran
Bagpipe artists of Bikaner
Rajasthan – India
Moti Mahal – Darbar concert I

4.00 PM
Kallaripayyat martial Art from Kerala by the young artists of the The Aseema Trust
Foundation directed by Veppanthangudi Ramachandra Rao Devikra
Kerala – India
(venue to be decided)

5.00 PM
Adivasi tribal art expressions
Rajasthan – India
Mataji Temple

6.00 PM
Homayoun Sakhi – The art of rubab
Seiar Hashemi, tablas
Afghanistan
Moti Mahal – Darbar concert II
In partnership with – AKMI Aga Khan Music Initiative
Aga Khan Trust for Culture

8.00 PM
Into a Sufi world of ritual and dance
Meshk Ensemble of Mevlana
Turkey
Chokhelao Garden

11.00 PM
After party
Travelling to the mix of Sufi beating and the spiritual world of music
Chokhelao Garden courtyard

Mehrangarh Fort – Jodhpur – Sunday 24th February

7.00 AM
Bhajan
Rajasthan – India
Jaswant Thada

Mehrangarh By Night: An Exclusive Champagne Tour with Museum Curator

Mehrangarh Fort

As twilight descends on the historic fort of Jodhpur, the rugged impregnable walls and the delicate palaces come alive with a walk with the museum curator.

The Mehrangarh Museum has introduced a tour of the collection with its curator who would share his expertise and insights on the museum and its possessions. On this one hour tour you would listen to the tales of sacrifice, of extraordinary events of adventure and experience the sheer joy of discussing a painting or talking about the fort architecture.

Timing: 06.00pm to 07.00pm or 07.00pm to 08.00pm

Tour Subject to availability of the Curator

Karni Jasol: The Curator of Mehrangarh Fort

Karni Jasol: The Curator of Mehrangarh Fort

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