Lohagarh Fort: The Invincible Fortress

Located in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, Lohagarh Fort was constructed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, of the Jat dynasty, on February 19, 1733 CE. This fortress is renowned as India’s only impregnable fort. Surrounded by double-layered mud ramparts, it is also known as the “Iron Fort” due to its formidable defenses.

Strategic Features:

  • Moats and Water Supply: Surrounding the fort are deep moats filled with water from the Sujaan Ganga canal, sourced from the Moti Jheel.
  • Gates: The fort has two main gates, with the northern gate constructed of eight metals (Ashtadhatu). Notably, the craftsmanship reflects the Kachhwaha artistry.
  • Historical Significance: Lohagarh Fort witnessed numerous invasions by neighboring states, Muslim conquerors, and British forces, all of which failed to breach its defenses. Lord Lake attempted unsuccessfully to blow up the fort with gunpowder in 1803 CE.

Jat Royalty and Defense:

  • The fort was ruled by Jat kings, who designed it with such skill that thwarting enemy attacks became nearly impossible.
  • The walls were covered with mud, causing cannonballs to embed themselves harmlessly. The same principle applied to bullets.
  • A protective moat surrounded the fort, housing crocodiles to deter any attempted crossings. A bridge with a metal gate was constructed over this moat.

Ashtadhatu Gate and Historic Events

During Alauddin Khilji’s invasion, Queen Padmini of Chittor committed Johar (self-immolation) along with her female companions on August 25, 1303 CE. Angered by this, Alauddin Khilji ruthlessly pillaged the Mewar region, including the Chittorgarh Fort, where he seized the invaluable Ashtadhatu gate. This gate, weighing around 20 tons with approximately 6 tons of precious metals, was then transported to the Lal Qila (Red Fort) in Delhi.

In 1765, Maharaja Jawahar Singh of Bharatpur sought revenge for his father Maharaja Suraj Mal’s death by attacking the Mughal ruler Najibuddaula in Delhi. Learning about the insult to Chittor’s honor, he seized the Ashtadhatu gate from the fort and brought it to Bharatpur. Even today, this gate stands as a testament to the bravery and valor of the Jat warriors.

Kamra Palace: Treasure Trove Turned Museum

Originally used to store the fort’s armory and treasures, the Kamra Palace now serves as a government museum. It exhibits Jain sculptures, a Yaksha statue, a Shiv Nataraja idol, a red sandstone Shivling, an array of weapons, and inscriptions in Arabic and Sanskrit. The palace’s small chambers and intricately patterned marble floors are noteworthy. Within its premises lie several other structures, including the Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, and Kothi Khas.

This comprehensive article encapsulates the historical significance, architectural marvels, and strategic importance of Lohagarh Fort, showcasing its enduring legacy as a symbol of Jat valor and resistance.