Forts that tell stories of life

To the pleasure of my supremely beloved

On my recent trip to Rajasthan, I visited many forts from Jaipur to Jodhpur and all were enriched with history,  creative arts,heritage , culture, story of victory and defeats, . The walls of the fort always made me think that no matter how tall the walls were, the threat of enemies was always eminent and the soldiers always had to be ready for war. I thought that definitely they were stronger and braver than us and wondered that how the kings would get ready physically as well as mentally for war when they know that there is no certainity that they would return from war. I wondered that how the queens would have felt for the kings during war or how a feeling of restlessness in their mind took over the luxuries of the fort.

The Darbar of the fort always took me to the time where I imagined the dancers and musicians entertaining the king. There is also a deck in the darbar where the king used to sit to watch the performance of the artists. The beautiful paintings crafted on the walls of the fort indicates how a painter silently performed his craft while all were busy performing their activities.
The tall walls of the fort are now patched. But those walls definitely have  untold stories- stories of love, sacrifice,  conspiracies and many more. Now most of them are almost ruined but still standing tall with all its glory and strength.

The small balconies attached and extended from the walls of the fort always amazed me with it’s beauty. Most of the balconies have a beautiful meshed architecture. Among them, few balconies were for flower showering once the king returns from war after victory. I imagined how the queen under her veil looked at the king with affection and pride from the balcony while showering flowers on him.  It would have been a day of relief and enjoyment in their life after rigorous stress of war.

While I walked through the forts,  I came across the bedrooms of Kings and queens  which are almost ruined and many are destroyed. The chittorgarh fort has a huge garden attached to the bedroom of the queen so that there can be  free flow of air.  While the balcony of the queen of  Amber fort in Jaipur had a different story. The balcony is well crafted with mirrors.  It seems that the mirrors helped the queen to observe others reflection while no one can see the queen. It is also said that one of the queen of the fort demanded to see stars during daytime. The king was intelligent enough to fulfill her demand. He fixed those mirrors and from darbar hall someone would light a candle. The reflection of the flames of candle would fall on the mirror and it would seem like stars glowing on the sky during daytime.

The chittorgarh fort which is spreaded widely had a Mahal standing on the middle of a man made lake. The Mahal was built for Queen Padmini. Its perfect reflection on the water of the lake added  some spellbound charm to the Mahal. Some birds on the lake made me think how beautiful it would have been for the queen to wake up from sleep in a Mahal that stands in the middle of a lake.  Then from window she will experience the beautiful birds, the small mountains and forest surrounding the lake.

There are stories of deception and revenge in those forts too. The entry gate of Ranthambore fort conveys such story. It is regarding one of the soldier who deceived the king. While the king achieved victory in war, the soldier spreaded the rumor of his defeat in the fort. The queens sacrificed themselves before the return of the king. When the king returned and became aware of the situation, he beheaded the soldier and curved his head on the walls of the entry gate of Ranthambore so that he can be remembered as a deceiver for centuries.

Sometimes, when I see those forts I felt that life is unfair and short. It took 10 to 15 years of hard work for a king to build such fort. They perished and still their legacy stood high.

Less to mention that all the kings were quite religious. The forts had temples at entry gates and there are stories of Ranthambore fort where the king sacrificed himself to Lord Shiva.  There is a Vijay Stamb in Chittorgarh fort that tells the story of the victory of king. The stambh is nine storeyed which indicates all the nine planets. Again it shows that the king never forgot the grace of those nine planets and the universe even after victory. It shows that since ages, though there are sacrifices, challenges, defeat and victory but there will always be surrendering to Supreme irrespective of who we are. It also shows that their valor was never associated with pride but with humility. Nevertheless, they are still the real heroes of the world.

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