Gagron Fort , Jhalawar —- Water on all Sides

March 13, 2012 By:

Table of contents for Chambal

  1. Chambal Ki Ghati — Kota Gorge through the Hadoti Belt
  2. Gagron Fort , Jhalawar —- Water on all Sides

After visiting the Mahadev shrines near Kota and returning back to my friends house, where we unanimously voted for Gagron Fort in Jhalawar (a part of the Hadoti region of Rajasthan) to be our next. Gagron Fort is so obscure but at the same time it is such an outstanding embodiment of great architecture in terms of design,structure and strategy coupled with the bravery and chivalry of the erstwhile Rajput Rulers and warriors.

Gagron Fort Entrance with two Burj's on either sides



GETTING THERE

Jhalawar, south east of Rajasthan is located on the border of Madhya Pradesh calmly situated on the tilted tableland of Malwa Plateau. It is almost 88km from Kota city.We got up early in the morning by 6.30 am,hurriedly moved out and checked for local conveyance to reach Kota Zila Dugdh Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd ( Kota Dairy for short) . Sundeep suggested that if we wanted to save time it will be convenient to catch the bus from the Kota Diary avoiding Nayapura bus stand or Ghoda Chowk which is situated inside the city.

Near the Kota Dairy there is a ‘Y’ junction from where the left side of the road (NH-12) leads to Jhalawar and the right one towards Rawatbhatta in Chittorgarh district .

NH-12 starts from Jabalpur >>>>>Bhopal>Bhojpur>Aklera> Jhalawar > Kota >Bundi> Tonk>>>>>> Jaipur.

There is no rail conectivity for Jhalawar. Nearest railway station is Bhawani Mandi (25 km away from Jhalawar) on the railway track leading towards Mumbai.

After waiting for a while , a Blue Line Rajasthan Rajya Parivahan Nigam (state owned bus service) bus arrived which took us to Jhalawar in Rs.65 or 70 (per head)

The road was not so good with its usual patchwork of asphalt laid down wherever it opened up in cracks. It was a bumpy ride with rural folk sitting inside ,many tribals barging in at every stop or even at small villages . The conductor was verbally instructing the driver where to stop and move by uttering his usual Chaleye(move) and Rukeye(stop) ,as said in local parlance . Many disgruntled by his Rukiye ,like me,were vehemently saying ” क्या भेड़ बकरियों की तरह भर रहा है भाई ” . The conductor was intolerant to our protests as he was not issuing tickets to those passengers thus making quick bucks eventually denting the exchequer. Nevertheless i will not profess Anna’ism here as i believe one has to practice what he preaches. Coming back to the story again … The major places and towns between Kota and Jhalawar are enumerated below.

Kota >> Mandana >> Dara (Wildlife Sanctuary) >> Suket >> Jhalawar.

The whole landscape was very picturesque with villages mostly looking like small hamlets inhabited by tribal folks living in makeshift huts having thatched or brick tiled roofs. The terrain, occasionally bright with fields of poppies and citrus-green groves of oranges is a sight to envy. Jhalawar is the highest opium producing regions of North India with some cases of illicit trade as well in the past.

LET’S TALK ABOUT DARA NOW

Dara ,a small village on the way to Jhalawar, is famous for its sprawling wild life sanctuary. It was once a shikaar-bari (hunting abode) for the princely maharajas . Dara as termed in vernacular language means small passages cut between small hills thus lacking height.The passages of Dara can also be seen through train while travelling to Mumbai from Kota. Presently it is a protected wild life sanctuary housing many species of flora and fauna. Crossing Dara and Suket the great plateau of Malwa seems to be tilting and descending downwards to some extent as we reach Jhalawar by 9.30 am .

NOW IT IS THE TURN OF THE JHALA CAPITAL ” JHALAWAR”

It is a very small town with only 3-4 decent hotels within the city. It can come as a surprise to all the readers. Jhalawar is a former constituency of Vashundhara Rajye Schindia ,from where her political career started in the 1980’s ,the erstwhile CM of Rajasthan.

Gagron Fort Entrance with two Burj's on either sides


This medieval city was once ruled by the Jhala dynasty of the Rajput community. The only attraction of Jhalawar for us considering the time constraint, was Gagron Fort which is situated some 10 km from the main town . We took an auto from Jhalawar and the autowallah ended up taking some Rs.150 promising to wait for an hour until we surveyed the whole fortress.

HISTORY AND ANTIQUITY

A local bard joined us who became a guide in order to meet his ends. They are known as Charans or Bhaat in Rajasthan who are known to be poets patronizing their patrons( rulers) and their ancestry. These bards ,from one generations to another pass on their knowledge to their children which they have recorded in hand written manuscripts known as pothi. I read a lot about history and love to interact with anyone having authentic resources to substantiate the events of the past. So, i took the Charan along with me.

Kalisindh and Mukundarra Hills surrounding Gagron


This magnificient fort is located on the banks of Ahu and Kali Sindh rivers.Both of these rivers are tributaries of Chambal river originating in Madhya Pradesh.

KaliSindh river meandering behind


Kali Sindh originates in Bagli village in Dewas District.It initiates its journey at an elevation of 600 meters in the Barziri Hills near Bagli village, Madhya Pradesh. Ahu is a tributary of the river Kalisindh. It is Gagron where Ahu meets its alma mater KaliSindh river.

Gagron Fort is strategically perched on a big rock at the confluence of river Kali Sindh and Ahu surrounded by water on three sides. The fourth side is a moat i.e.., a ditch filled with water to protect the fort against any infiltration and assault. “Gadh Gagron” (गढ़ गागरोन) as popularly known in Hindi holds the distinction of being one among the few forts in the country strategically designed and constructed with Van (Forest) and Jal (Water) as its surroundings. The forest behind the river is very dense with decent Mukundarra Hills acting as a natural barrier. It was evidently very difficult to conquer this fort having such natural barriers.

One can glance the Mukundarra hills through the train while travelling to Mumbai from Kota encircling the Dara passage and the sanctuary.

The fort is constructed on a natural island which is a big rock ranging to some 2.5 km in area. The fort is said to be laid in the 7th century and completed around 13-14th century. But historically this fort was laid down by Raja Bijaldev of the Parmara dynasty in A.D 1195. As per mythology , it is said this place was known as “Galkangiri” as the mighty sage “Garg Rishi” practiced great penance and meditation here.

Historically it is said that Alaudin Khilji attacked Gagron in A.D 1300 but was defeated by Raja Jaitsi. His heir Raja Prataprao developed Gagron as one of the most prosperous centers in Malwa long before Kota,Bundi or Jaipur came into existence. Although he denounced everything and wished to attain nirvana later in his life. He abdicated the throne getting inclined towards spirituality and became famous by the name Sant Pipa holding the distinction of being one among the 12 saints of the Ramanand Sampradaiya. On his name there is a monastery in Dwarka (Gujarat) known as Pipa Math (पीपा मठ ).

Gagron was again attacked by Sultan Hoshanshah of Malwawho was the ruler of Mandu somewhere around 14th century. The then ruler of Gagron Raja Achaldas Khinchi displayed immense bravery and chivalry of the highest order eventually attaining martrydom . The Rajput warriors clad in Saffron (केसरिया ) fought until their last breath.The Rajput women of royal lineage performed “jauhar” (जौहर) ,a supreme sacrifice by immolating themselves in order to protect their chastity by not falling in the hands of the Sultan. They performed jauhar when they got to know that Sultan has defeated and killed all the Rajput warriors while entering into the fort. The Jauhar Kund is also located within the Fort Complex.

Sultan Hoshangshah was deeply moved by his martyrdom and to honor Raja Achaldas’ bravery Sultan decided not to take anything from his personal room making it as a sanctuary.

After some years Raja Palhandev, a descendant of Raja Achaladas Khinchi, occupied Gagron as a token of revenge from the Sultans of Malwa. It was again under the Rajput annexation till A.D 1532 until Sultan of Gujarat Bhahdurshah occupied it.

Subsequently moving from Mughal hands in 15th century it was finally taken over by Raja Mukund Singh of Kota in the 16th century A.D. From then Gagron was a part of the Kota province until 1948.

WHAT THE FORT HAS TO SAY ABOUT ITSELF !!!! A TETE-E-TETE

The Prachir (प्राचीर) which means the walls within which the fort is situated looks submersed in the river from one side while the other sides of the (prachir)- walls seem resting on that big rock.

Ruins inside the Fort


The fort is having two Burj(बुर्ज) i.e..,watchtowers at its entrance. So, it is comprehended that the fort is guarded by many Burj. Because of its tall structure the soldiers could sight any encroachment of infiltration and act accordingly by defensive action during war or aggression.

The main entrance of the fort known as Pol(पोल) was guarded by digging a moat(खाई) filled with water.

What a shame .......... Ruins in such a dilapidated condition,Gagron Fort


Even the sub entrances within the fort walls are also known as Pol(पोल). In ancient times it was a small wooden bridge which helped passage into the fort. But now a concrete road has been laid down to facilitate tourism.

Gagron Fort .... Rear End


Standing on Ramparts (walkway) supported by small triangular walls known as parkota .


The two watchtowers (Burj – बुर्ज) are cylindrical in shape,a typical feature in almost all the forts of India. On the top, at the roof of the watchtowers there are small windows in the parapets(parkota) known as mokha (मोखा) carved in the wall in order to use it for placing cannons (तोप).

The prachir(प्राचीर) i.e.., the external wall used for fortification is ornamented by parkota(परकोटा) smaller walls at the top of the prachir…. The parkota have small windows or mokha as discussed earlier,which is used to hide and place artillery to confront the enemy.

There are ramparts i.e.., walkways for the soldiers to sit and walk accordingly while guarding the fort. In the picture above one can see the parkota and the ramparts on which i’m standing.

Kali Sindh river from Gagron .... taken from an ascent

After entering into the fort one can evidently view the influence of Turk, Sultanate,Rajput and Mughal architecture over the centuries. The fort acts as a testimony to its annexation several times by all these rulers although it originally belongs to the Jhala Rajputs.

There are small temples and mosques inside the complex in a very dilapidated condition crumbling down to its fate due to lack of restoration. At the centre of the complex there is Bheru pol guarded by Ram’Burj on its side. Ascending up 20-30 meters one enters the Suraj’Pol guarded by two long Burj at the rear end of the walls encircling the fort . The area inside the Suraj Pol is considered to be in the center of the fort complex where supplies and artilellery was stored . From the two Burj one can view the ethereal beauty of Kalisindh river and the beautiful Mukundarra hills in the background.

It is heart wrenching to see the corridors of this erstwhile superpower laid down to waste without proper care. These are not ruins but are the signs and reflection of a society which is on it’s way to the Degradation Trip failing to conserve this heritage of national eminence.

Gagron Fort will always continue to be an epitome of integrity and a wonderful architectural marvel having an endearing illustrious past.

It was time to say goodbye to Gagron and its majestic antiquity …………..

Hope this Hadoti chapter of history, architecture, mysticism and culture inspires the traveler in you.

Keep reading and travelling ……….

About Giriraj Shekhawat

Giriraj Shekhawat has written 6 posts at Ghumakkar.

39 Responses to “Gagron Fort , Jhalawar —- Water on all Sides”


  1. शेखावत जी आपने एक अनछुए और बिना कद्र के पडे राजस्थान कि किले की इस यात्रा से हम सबको परिचित कराया इसके लिये आपको बहुत बहुत साधुवाद
    आगे भी ऐेसे ही लगे रहो

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      धन्यवाद मनु जी …
      आपने बिलकुल ठीक कहा है ……….. इस किले की देख रेख करने की ज़िम्मेदारी से सर्कार भी किनारा करती नज़र आ रही है
      राजस्थान में ऐसे कई खंडहर है जो हमारी सहानुभूति के भागी है

      धन्यवाद मनु . आगे भी प्रोत्साहन बढ़ाते रहिये

  2. anupam.mazumdar says:

    Wow Giriraj, what an tour and what an information. Really beautiful and very helpful. Thanks.

    Regards
    Anupam Mazumdar

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      Anupam thank you so much for appreciating this post soaked with obscurity ……. Rajasthan is full of such places worth giving a visit.

      THANKS & HAPPY GHUMAKKARI

  3. Neeraj Jat says:

    आनद आ गया। इस किले के बारे में पहले कभी नहीं सुना था। मैं दरा से होकर एक बार गुजरा हूं। बडा बढिया दृश्य होता है वहां।

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      नीरज जाट जी गुड मोर्निंग ,
      आपको आनंद आया ये जानकर बड़ा अच्छा लगा …… हाँ मैंने भी दरा को ट्रेन से देखा है …….. बहुत की पुराना पुल अंग्रेजो के समय से बना है वहां ,बड़ा सुन्दर लगता है
      आपका धन्यवाद लेख पसंद करने के लिए . और आप कोनसी यात्रा को लेकर आ रहे है आगे ????…

  4. Wonderful Giriraj……………..

    Very beautiful fort. I like these sort of forts with water on all sides ……………..

    Thanks for giving virtual tour ……………..

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      Thank you very much Vishal
      You have been supporting with your kind comments since my first post which is highly commendable . I appreciate your kindness ……..

      Thanks and Cheers
      Ghumakkari Zindabad

  5. Kavita Bhalse says:

    मनु जी ,
    आप घुमक्कड़ के ऐसे लेखक हैं जो हर बार कुछ नया लेकर आते हैं हर बार एक नया आईडिया जो काफी दिलचस्प होता हैं .
    आपकी पोस्ट काफी जानकारियों से परिपूर्ण हैं .
    धन्यवाद.

  6. Kavita Bhalse says:

    गिरिराज जी .
    माफ़ी चाहती हूँ मैने आपके नाम की जगह मनु जी लिखा .
    धन्यवाद .

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      कविता जी … देरी से टिपण्णी करने की लिए क्षमा चाहता हूँ
      आपका बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद मुझे इस काबिल समझने का ………. “ज़िन्दगी एक सफ़र है सुहाना”

  7. देख लो जिसको मौका मिले वो यहाँ जाकर भी देख आये।

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      संदीप जी गुड मोर्नंग
      धन्यवाद पढने के लिए और जाने का विचार करने के लिए

  8. Ritesh Gupta says:

    Giriraj ji….

    Nice post…Pictures of fort are very good…

    Thanks for virtual tour of new place..

    Thanks

  9. SilentSoul says:

    EVerything in this post was a new experience for me. Jauhar ki yaad mein man bhar aya

    tks for such efforts, to show us new places

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      Silent sahab ………..
      I apologize for commenting late coz i got stuck badly yesterday in some imp. work ……….
      Thank you so much for liking it …….. I’m happy now particularly taking out Gagron from some wilderness and obscurity as it demands lot of attention which has not been extended … “jauhar ki yaad se to dil hi bharega sir …. vo to amit tyaag hai ”

      Happy Ghumakkari Silent sahab

  10. Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Giriraj,

    I would simply say – An extraordinary post. The unique combo of information and entertainment. During going through the post I was feeling that the places you have described are very closed to me as I reside near Indore in MP.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience, looking forward for your forthcoming posts. And Giriraj I extremely regret for commenting little late on your beautiful post, this I am telling specially because you are one of the persons who encourage & motivate the other authors through their regular comments.

    Thanks.

  11. Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    Mukesh Ji ………

    Thank you so much for these encouraging words. I’m just a ghumakkar and we all are bonded by one emotion —– Free ghumakkari or sirfiri ghumakkari ….
    Yes Jhalawar is 230 km from Indore or Dhar where you live … .You should surely explore this destination in the Monsoon season.

    I will come up with more obscure places which do not find mentionanywhere

    Till then we shall all celebrate Hippie ghumakkari ………. sir firi ghumakkari

    Bye

  12. Nandan says:

    It is a FOG, Giriraj. Congratulations.

    I liked the details about the access to the place , the bus ride etc. It seems that the place doesn’t attract too many visitors. Is it under ASI ? . From my own experience, I have found ASI to be doing a pretty decent job.

    Your detailing of the fort was very impressive. I would suggest that we put this story and the ‘Kota Gorge’ story under a series. Send the request and it should get done.

    Also, any connection of this place to Jha , I am just trying my luck.

  13. Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    Hi Nandan ………

    Here you come …where have u been all this while ???? …….. Any given post seems to be incomplete without your comment / inputs ….. Thank you for your admiration and making it a FOG …..

    I think it is protected by ASI as there was some restoration work being done inside the fort … but at a very smaller level … like white washing the walls

    i have mailed Vibha earlier at the time of submission of this post saying that this post is a continuation of the Kota Gorge section …..

    Yes i welcome this option of assimilating this post in that section .. Please do it

  14. D.L.Narayan says:

    Sorry for the belated response, Giriraj, but I was very busy over the past couple of weeks. The Gagron Fort is a unique structure, even in a state like Rajasthan, which has innumerable forts. A pity that the fort is slowly turning into a ruin due to apathy on the part of the officialdom. We, as a people, care little for our priceless heritage. Anywhere else in the world, it would have been bestowed with loving care and it would have attracted hordes of visitors. Thanks for making us aware of this unknown jewel of a fort.

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      D.L Sir,

      Sorry for replying late . I thank you very much for your admiration.. Yes this surely is a concern although government and the ASI are taking very unresponsive tiny measures for its restoration…… This fort boasts of an architecture which is stellar in its stature …. but to its pity quite obscure these days .

  15. Nandan Jha says:

    @ Giriraj – Done. Now both posts appear as part of a single ‘Series’.

  16. Nandan Jha says:

    By the way, are you planning to write more in this series ?

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      Well Nandan …… i will have to travel for sure towards south east Raj and few parts of M.P which is sure to happen… So,i would continue to put more on Chambal very soon ….. Don’t worry

      Thanks for putting both stories under one series

  17. Very interesting read Giriraj. Its always great to know about unexplored places.

  18. gajendra singh shekhawat mau . says:

    Giriraj
    The gagron fort is very fames fort in history of rajsthan ./ this fort is ruled by jhala shamat releted mewar rular. The fort is very unique structar even in a stat like rajsthan.

  19. Mangal Singh says:

    Thank you for write providing the history of Gagonhgar. Please can you let us know more about the ruler of this region back in the 13/ 14th century India.

    Thank you.

  20. Ravi raj mishran says:

    mene aapka description pdha.is jankari k liye thaks.or to sb aapne theak btaya but charno or bhat dono alag-2 hote h or aapne jo kam btaya wo charno ka kam nhi h.charan as a minister hote the.ye kavi hote the or raja ko sahi or galat k bare me btaya karte the.aap pahle puri charan history pdhe fir aapko pta chalega ki charan kya the.

  21. Vipin says:

    Very beautifully presented, Giri bhai! You should have been a historian rather…you have such a brilliant command over the history/architecture of these lesser known, but amazing places…I wonder why such places are not on regular tourist map in a state like Rajasthan which is the prime most state in terms of tourism…would be great exploring this majestic place! Thanks for sharing…

    • Giriraj Shekhawat says:

      Dear Vipin,
      thank you very much for your encouragement …i am equally disgruntled like you , when i find least statutory and government intervention in conserving these monuments of national heritage….thank you for comparing me to a historian but i consider myself on a very micro level as i know very little and have to learn so much ….
      Lastly i apologise for replying late..kyunki aaj hi website kholi thi dekhne ke liye ..
      Bye and Thanks

  22. Hey Giri,

    Superb work. Some of my ancestors lived in gagron and as such we have our MATAJI there (they were amongst those who performed JOHAR). While I always fascinated about this place and its history, I could barely visit this place twice, and that too while I was kid.

    I am visiting gagron again and this time I was looking forward to get good info about the place. Your post is perhaps the only in depth article I could find on gagron fort.

    Going a step further, why cant we do something about such places ? Let me know if we can somehow give publicity(may be website may help) to such places and attract more people to our history.

    Otherwise, Great work … Keep up your ghummakadi. :-)

    Regards,

    Chinmay Joshi

  23. Giriraj Shekhawat says:

    Hi Chinmay,
    I apologise for a delayed reply.Thank you so much for reading this post and coming up with ideas to do something constructive for such places.

    I am there for whatever help you require to publicize this wonderful place through whatever means you intend to suggest ,…

    you can drop a mail to me @ shekhawat.giriraj@gmail.com ….. I will be happy to extend a helping hand to conserve this obscure historical gem…. Thank you again for your kind and generous words

    Thanks & Regards

  24. Arun Samal says:

    Dear Bana Saheb,
    Thanks a lot for providing information in depth about Gagron Fort.I have stayed at Jhalawar during 1992-1996,and visited the fort several times,but quite unware about these fascinating facts,Hats of to you.
    Regards,
    Arun Samal

  25. Bhagwat singh khinchi " Yatharth" says:

    shekhawat ji, garh gagron ke bare me etihasik jankari uplabdh karane ke liye sadhuwad. nice pics indeed

  26. Amit Saxena says:

    Jesa ki apne abhi net pe ghagro fort dekha and iske bareme bhi pada. Par hakikat me ye fort kuch or hi kahani baya karta he apni badnasibi ki.
    Raja maharajao k time to ye kila bahot hi surakshit sthiti me tha kai raja is kile p lakh koshisho k baad bhi nhi pahonch sakte the kyo k iski location hi kuch esi h k agar ap top se iski diwar todne ki koshish karo to nadiya (kalisindh & Ahu) apka rasta rok leti he or agar top ka gola ek sui upar hu to kile k upar se nikal jayega or ek sui niche hua to nadi me chala jayega. Is kile pe johar bhi hochuka k jiske khun k nishan abhi tak waha ki cgattano par he is kile me kai esi jagah he jiske bare me agar batau to shayad kai din lag jaye.. Me sirf itna batana chahta hu k aj is kile ki ye kandition h k yaha dono taraf nadiyo k hote huye bhi insan ko kile me kahi pani nahi milega. Koi bhi chij esi nahi bachi jo kile ki hakikat ko baya kare. Rajasthan Govt. Ne to or iski wastvik diwaro pattharo ki kala krati ko chuna or cement k plaster k niche daba diya or kile k sondariya karan k nam pe thekedaro ko karorpati bana diya. Ese kai karan h jis se jhalawar ka ghagron ka kila apni chawi khota ja raha he or paryatak yaha ana bahi chahte.
    me Amit Saxena isi shahar jhalawar ka niwasi hu or mujhe gar wo chijo se pyaae h hame hamari sanskrati ka bodh kara ti he. Agar koi galti hui ho to shama kare dhanyawad.

  27. GAURAV says:

    Rajasthan’s six majestic forts received international recognition with Unesco including them in the World Heritage Sites

    The six forts — Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer, Ranthambhore (Sawai Madhopur), Gagaron (Jhalawar) and Amber (Jaipur) — were recognised as serial World Heritage Sites .

    cheers.



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