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8 Incredible Forts In Madhya Pradesh That Will Take You Back in Time

The majority of these architectural treasures are in excellent condition and should be visited at least once.

Team ZZ

Madhya Pradesh is known as India's heartland and is one of the most important tourist destinations in the country. The forts and palaces in Madhya Pradesh are simply irresistible among the many attractions. The list of must-see destinations in the state is long, as there are plenty of things to explore including ancient monuments, pilgrimages, forests, and hill stations. 
However, the state's historical and cultural legacy is well preserved and depicted in the magnificent forts and palaces. The majority of these architectural treasures are in excellent condition and should be visited at least once. Here are some of Madhya Pradesh's must-visit forts.

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The Gwalior Fort, dubbed "the pearl among the fortresses of the hind" by Mughal emperor Babur, is regarded as one of the jewels of MP’s heritage. Because of its intricate turquoise tiling with a hint of glistening yellow, it is also known as one of India's most colourful forts. Some of the wonders of mediaeval history are contained within the walls of this imposing structure. Man Singh Palace, Teli ka Mandir, Chaturbhuj Temple, Gurjari Mahal, and Saas Bahu Temple are located in the fort's 2.4-kilometere perimeter.

Entry fee: The entry fee to visit this fort is ₹75 per adult, and ₹40 per child.

Timings: 06:00 AM to 05:30 PM every day.

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Asirgarh Fort—which is located on the outskirts of Burhanpur and is known as the "dakkhan ka darwaza" or gateway to the Deccan—gained prominence due to its location. It was considered one of the most important routes from northern India to the Deccan because it is perched on the hills of Satpura and is well connected to the Narmada and Tapti Rivers. Its name is derived from Yaduvanshi Ahir king Asa Ahir, who was also responsible for the construction of the fort. There is a temple, a mosque, and some British graves on the grounds. According to legend, Ashwatthama, a character from the Indian epic Mahabharata, used to come to the Shiva temple every morning here to worship and offer flowers to Lord Shiva. The fort's location at such a great height makes it a one-of-a-kind place to learn about the past.

Entry fee: There is no fee to visit this fort. 

Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM every day. 

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The massive Maheshwar fort, also known as the Ahilya fort, is perched atop a hill overlooking the sacred Narmada River. According to history, the Holkar maharaja Malhar Rao ruled the fort, and after his son's death, he handed over the reins to his daughter-in-law Ahilya Bai Holkar, who possessed great administrative qualities. She rebuilt the fort, and built the ghats and temples that can still be seen today. The Maheshwar ghat is regarded as one of India's most beautiful ghats. The fort's intricate design, lovely symmetry of the stairs, colourful boats, and looming walls add to its allure. Visit Maheshwar, a divine town with a rich history, hidden behind its beautiful walls.

Entry fee: There is no entry fee to visit this fort.

Timings: 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM.

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The mediaeval royal romance of Rani Roopmati and Baz Bahadur is best captured by the architecture of Jahaz Mahal. The palace is shaped like a ship, and it houses the town's long and rich history. According to Jahangir's memoirs, the palace once served as a residence for him and his queen Noor Jahan, and the lamps and lanterns were lit, casting their reflection on the water. According to another legend, Ghiyas-ud-din built the mahal as a harem for his court's 15000 women.

Entry Fee: The entry fee to visit this fort is ₹5 per adult.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM every day. 

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The Madan Mahal Fort, perched atop a rugged hill, was built during the reign of Gond emperor Madan Singh. It houses relics of the Gond queen Durgavati as well as beautiful reverberations from 10th century AD. The royal family's residence, Garha Fort, included war rooms, secret passageways, a stable, and a reservoir. The balancing rock, which sits precariously atop another and appears to be about to topple over at any moment, is another great wonder that surrounds this palace. The Archaeological Survey of India is in charge of the fort.

Entry fee: There is no entry fee to visit the fort.

Timings: 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM

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The Jahangir Mahal, built by Bir Singh Deo in the 16th century, is one of the most prominent structures in the Orchha fort complex. According to folklore, it was built to welcome Mughal emperor Jahangir, who was a close friend of the Maharaja's. The palace's rooftop offers beautiful views of the Betwa River. The entrance gate leads to the Rai Praveen Mahal, who was a courtesan of Raja Inderjeet. Her presence can be felt inside the palace, where large portraits of her adorn the walls.

Entry fee: The entry fee to visit this fort is ₹10 per head.

Timings: 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM every day

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Datia Palace, also known as Bir Singh Dev Palace, is located about 80 kilometres from Gwalior's main city and features a beautiful architectural confluence of Rajput and Mughal styles. The palace has seven stunning floors with exquisite details such as fine carvings, rich paintings, and beautiful arches. The most fascinating aspect of the palace is that it stands tall despite having no wood or metal supports! Despite its beauty, the palace was never inhabited, with the exception of brief visits.

Entry fee: There is no entry fee to visit this fort.

Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM, every day

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Mandu Fort, Madhya Pradesh's largest fort, stretches for 82 kilometres and includes ruins, canals, and baths. The fort was built by Raja Bhoj in the 10th century and later fell under Muslim rule in 1304. It has a plethora of intricate carvings and inscriptions that enthral the senses by reciting wonderful stories from ancient times. Mandu Fort towers over all other monuments in the area, making it a must-see for history buffs. The fort has become one of Mandu's most popular tourist destinations, providing a tantalising taste of the rich history and culture of its bygone eras.

Entry fee: There is no entry fee to visit this fort.

Timings: 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM

Photo: Shutterstock
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