There’s much more to the highway than the roads and the travelers. On both sides of the highway runs life and in its midst, death. The highway, though, bears a silent witness. You never realize when a journey across the road becomes an unintended trespass into that, which lies beyond. Life, then, can never be the same.

A chance encounter with something sinister, staring you right in the face is one that leaves you with memories that haunt you for a lifetime. The cold winter night was ominous enough to keep us packed in our blankets as the car sped along the highway to Jaipur. On the back seat lay my little sister tugged into the arms of my Mom. My Dad, the experienced driver that he is, had his eyes set in the distance, his gaze piercing the winter fog that had engulfed us, looking back with a bland face that had no form. I sat beside him, the newfound navigator, looking out across the window that blared cold as the car lost its way deep into the remoteness of the highway.

”Shit!” murmured Dad, slowing the car down, steering it to one side of the road. I wondered if that was really necessary; there was no vehicle in sight for as far as the eye could wander. The mist had cleared. ”There!” exclaimed Mom. In the space between the seats, I could see her hand pointing towards something. It wasn’t really clear but appeared to be a distant hut with a faint lamp dangling across the roof that had well outlived its time.

The car neared the light. It wasn’t really a hut now, but a makeshift roadside dhaba or eatery as they are called in local parlance, the kind you see by the side of the highway every ten miles or so in this part of the world. And it was well-lit on the front facade which directly faced us as we parked the car, turning the jaded engine off.

It was then that I realized it didn’t all really feel right. Something, somewhere was just not right, the way it was meant to be. Maybe it was the rows of the familiar glass containers rendered dusty by the highway dirt or the woven khats that lay empty out in front of the dhaba or even the Doordarshan montage that played on an archaic Cathode Ray Rube TV Set lodged on the counter, bringing back the nostalgia of times bygone: I hadn’t really seen the montage and its haunting tune in ages. There was something very wrong about that place. Very wrong.

There are things that are right, things that are wrong, and things that fall somewhere in between filtered by the perspective of the onlooker. However, here, I knew, was something that was terribly wrong. Through the glass of the window, unclear as my inner self, I could see a woman sitting on the chair.  A tall, well-built structure, her head covered, facing the television. I could well see she was all decked up in fineries as the window rolled down.

”Madam!”, shouted my father, ”Is this the route to the highway?”. A gush of wind, dead as ice entered through the window and I realized I was shivering. The breeze carried a muddy odor that bore the fragrance of a time long lost.

The woman, her back to the window, began turning her face. My pupils dilated in utter horror as her neck spun a whole 180 degrees; she was now facing us albeit only with her face that was stern and frigid, dead as the winter wind. ”You’ve lost your way!” she whispered, her voice barely audible.

Suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a man, a stout and plump figure, putting his leg on the very chair, oblivious to the lady’s presence. My heart was pounding fast– if we could see the woman, why couldn’t he? ”There!” he continued, in an authoritative tone, ”go straight for a mile and turn left to meet the highway.”

”There you go!” he yelled and the next thing I heard was the squeal of the wheels spinning fast with a jolt. We were back again on the highway a mile later as the man said. Gasping for breath, my father stopped the car in the middle of the road. ”The lady!” I screamed, ”did you see her?”. ”Her neck, ” my Mom shrieked, ”it wasn’t right!”

I wanted to speak so much but the words failed me. None of us uttered a word as we drove back silently.

Author’s Note: A true story from the author’s diary that draws upon an incident that happened on the author’s travels in Chittaurgarh, Rajasthan, India. Later, similar incidents stormed the media where lost travelers were misled by a woman by a roadside dhaba, drove to their death. The author still ponders over the identity of the man who saved his life that fateful day. Who, really, was this savior?

3 Absolutely Great Experiences To Have Before You Die!

Where are we heading towards? Death. The ultimate truth. The inescapable end. There’s no need to be afraid, though! Not everyone remembers this inevitable truth, however. We are running blindly in a chaotic race, knowing not where we’re heading. Is this the right way to live? We might continue running in the rat race, only to discover, in the end, how the entire chaos has been futile. You might live for more than a hundred years but you’ll die for certain. Guaranteed!

If you’re healthy and in the best of your spirit, it is time you introspect and examine the course your life is taking. Are you really doing what you’ve always wanted to do? Really? Now is the time to start living, this very moment. We’ve chosen 3 absolutely great things you must give a try  your hand at before you die:

1. Experience the power of love

The word “love” usually resonates with romantic relationships for most. Is it really so? Or is love a much more profound and deeper experience? Love is what drives us when times are really tough. It inspires us to keep going and is often the strongest and most powerful experience that redefines existence. Love can take many varied forms- you can love the mighty snow-clad mountains, the soft gentle breeze or the charming green of the exotic forests. Love inspires hope, which eventually gives way to growth. Growth, in turn, powers our lives. Therefore, love with all your heart and surrender. You’ll be surprised!

2. Never be afraid to take risks

Let not fear prevent you from taking risks. You’ll never know what you can do if you never try! You’ll fail, fall, and rise again. Never stop. Keep going and take risks. Remember, there’s only one constant in our world, and that is change. It is essential to push the limits and strive hard to succeed. It does not matter if you fail, what’s important is to learn from mistakes, every time. To put it in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing but in rising every time we fall”. Even single time! Come on, rise again. The world is waiting!

3. Travel the world!

To find yourself, you must actually lose yourself first! The best way to lose yourself is to travel. No matter what you do or where you live, always make it a point to travel whenever you can. The world’s a great book and those who do not travel read only a page. Travel is a great way to experience the world’s incredible cultures and their philosophies first-hand. If you cannot travel great distances, consider exploring your local area- you’ll be surprised how many gems still lie undiscovered! The main idea is to let the soul revel in adventure and freedom, for this is a great way to relax and unwind. Travel inspires new ideas and helps you truly live each and every moment. As J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all those who wander are lost!”. Some find their way. What about you?

Top attractions in Sarasota, Florida

Top Attractions in Sarasota, Florida which must not be missed

Sarasota, the beautiful city on Florida’s southwestern coast is known the world over for its unique culture, resorts, and beaches. The city is home to numerous cultural institutions, which exhibit the masterpieces of the great masters as well as specimens of modern art. The warm climate of the city makes it a favourite amongst golf lovers.

While you’re here on a trip, a visit to the top attractions of Sarasota, Florida is a must to experience the incredibility of this beautiful city. Here they are:

The Ringling

  • This monument preserves the rich legacy of John and Mable Ringling, the famous American circus owners and art collectors.
  • The structure houses a museum of art, the historically important Ca’ d’Zan mansion, the art library, Circus Museums, and the Historic Asolo Theater.

    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
  • These are lush green botanical gardens sprawling an area of about 15 acres.
  • What distinguishes these gardens from the others is the fact that these gardens are dedicated to the study and display of Epiphytes, which are plants such as mosses that grow on other plants. It is the only botanical garden of its kind in the whole world!

    Asolo Repertory Theatre
  • This is counted amongst the top attractions in Sarasota, Florida, of which it is the main professional theater.
  • The performance space for the theatre was originally located in Asolo’s historic theatre in Italy!

    Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
  • This is a marine research organisation founded in 1955 and is amongst the most visited attractions in Sarasota.
  • The Mote Aquarium houses over 100 species of marine life including sea sharks, seahorses, jellyfish, manatees, rays, and others.

    Ca’ d’Zan Mansion
  • A majestic Venetian Gothic palace, which functioned as the home of John and Mable Ringling.
  • The mansion boasts Mediterranean Revival architectural style introduced in the US towards the end of the 19th century.Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary 
  • The sanctuary serves as an animals rescue, which creates habitats as close to the native habitats of the residing species as possible.
  • The animals are provided with a daily behavioural, manipulative, and sensory enrichment to ensure they stay active, healthy, and happy.Beaches in Sarasota
  • Sarasota is most famous for its sandy beaches, which are known for their shallow waters and fine sand textures.
  • Some of the most famous beaches are the Lido Beach, the Siesta Key Beach, etc.

Wrap Up

Sarasota is most famous for its exquisite sandy beaches that are known the world over. The Ringling Museum is known for its Italian architecture and culture while the Mote Aquarium is famous for its rich collection of marine life.

The Sarasota School of Architecture is a famous style that developed as the mid-century Modernist architecture’s variant. The Crocker Church is a famous historic structure counted amongst the top attractions in Sarasota, Florida.

While you’re in the city, consider visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which are unparalleled in their collection of epiphytes and orchids. Numerous TV series and films have been shot at Sarasota’s exotic locations, bearing testimony to the beauty of this incredible city that prides itself in being one of Florida’s most colourful cities.

Planning a trip to Sarasota? Consider visiting these top attractions of Sarasota, Florida and discover the many colours of this incredible city.

Best Places to Visit Around Lisbon With Car Rental In Lisbon Airport

Lisbon is one of the most visited destinations in Western Europe. The city is famous around the world for its historic monuments, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful climate. Numerous activities and events are organised throughout the year, which draw visitors from far and wide.

A car rental in Lisbon airport is a great way to explore the best places around the city. This is ideal for exploring places in and around Lisbon, which we list for you below.

Must-See places in and near Lisbon

With a car rental in Lisbon airport, the opportunities to explore the city are literally endless. You could begin with an experience of the nightlife of Barrio Alto located towards the west. This is a colourful warren comprising of stylistic bars and live music venues where you could revel in the magic of Fado, which is a characteristic Portuguese melancholic song accompanied by the tunes of mandolins and guitars.

Equally famous are the sandy beaches of Lisbon. One could also drive to the coastline of exotic sandy beaches close to Lisbon, which are a favourite amongst families. A car rental in Lisbon airport is an ideal choice for visiting the coastline in a convenient and hassle-free manner. The beaches are suited as both pleasure resorts for families and surfing hotspots for adventure lovers.

A visit to the city viewpoints is a must when you visit Lisbon. Each viewpoint showcases a different aspect of the city- from the Alfama district’s jumbled tiled rooftops to the river Tejo’s cooling waters or Baixa’s organised streets and paths- each view has a charm of its own! Rent a car from the Lisbon airport to get to these viewpoints.

If you fancy a quiet stroll amongst the ancient streets then Alfama is the right choice for you. This is Lisbon’s ancient district and is a network of narrow streets and winding paths from the Tejo estuary right up to the castle.

The Ponte 25 de Abril Suspension Bridge is constructed over the river Tejo where it flows at its narrowest. The bridge connects Lisbon, located on the north bank with the districts of Almada on the south. The bridge derives its name from the revolution of Portugal.

The Lisbon Cathedral is a historic gothic cathedral which traces its origins to the 12th century and is the city’s oldest Church. The cathedral can be reached from the airport through a comfortable car rental.

The Tower of Belem is a landmark site. Once an important fortification that guarded the city at the mouth of the Tagus river, this structure served as the first sight of Portugal for the returning Portuguese sailors. Today, the tower stands as the icon of Lisbon.



After a long day of sightseeing in the city, you could enjoy a glass of Ginjinha, a famous sweet alcoholic drink, which is made from cherries and is served with cherries too! Lisbon, indeed, is one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities and charms visitors from across the world with its rich culture and heritage. A car rental in Lisbon airport is one of the best ways to explore the city at your own pace.

Ranthambore: The Untold Saga


रणथम्भौरकहानी अनकही 


सिंह सुवन सत्पुरुष वचन कदलन फलत इक बार |

तिरिया तेल हम्मीर हठ चढ़े न दूजी बार ||

A lioness gives birth to a cub only once; 

once alone is the word of a good man given;

Once alone does a plaintain bear fruit; 

a woman is anointed only once with oil for marriage;

And once alone did Hammira give his irrevocable promise.



There has never been a man so valiant.

A man of his words; of an indomitable spirit,

He put down everything at stake

to protect and uphold the glory of his motherland.



A supremely glorious emperor.

Founding a great kingdom beyond the bounds of time and dharma,

he began a golden era in the history of the Chauhans.


There’s never been a man as valiant as Hammira. There’s never been.


Rajputana: The land adorned with tales of dauntless warriors who bravely fought until death and beyond as Junjhaars.

This is the story of Ranthambhor:

of the invincible fort that, for centuries, remained unconquered by war.

Where the honor of the Chauhans’ victories

Infallibly bejeweled the crown of Goddess Durga.





Situated on the junction of the World’s most ancient mountain range- the Aravalis and the Vindyas, the fort constructed on the ‘Ran’ and ‘Thambhor’ hills came to be known as- ‘Ranthambhor’.





Five ponds there are, in ‘Rinthambhgadh’;

the water never, thus dries!

two graneries huge, with food, abound;

and Lord Ganesha Himself, here resides!


With sunrise, devotees begin thronging the fort. Located near the defence wall on the western end of the fort, the ‘Ganesha Temple’ is one of the most revered temples of the region. On the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi, a huge fair attracts thousands of devotees from far and wide.

Lord Ganesha here, is in His ‘Trinetra’ (three-eyed) form.


Lord Shiva, it is believed, resides on Mount Kailasha; Vishnu in the Ksheersagara (ocean of milk); and Lord Ganesha resides, here, in Ranthambhor.

A letter in the name of Ganesha  from anywhere in India, always finds its way to the Ganesha Temple in Ranthambhor.

The first invitation to a wedding ceremony is given foremost to the supreme Lord Ganesha.





According to popular belief, the Ranthambhor Fort was built by Maharaja Jayanta of the Yadava dynasty in the 5th Century A.D.

Other versions ascribe the construction of the fort  in 944 A.D. to the Chauhan king Sapadlaksha.

In A.D. 1283, Raja Hammira Deva ascended the throne. A descendent of the celebrated king Prithviraja Chauhan, Rao Hammira came to be known as the most glorious and chivalrous ruler of Ranthambhor.





Constructed in the reign of Hammira Deva, the ‘Hammira Mahal’ (the ‘Palace of Hammira’) is Ranthambhor Fort’s most enchanting structure. Built with beautiful red stone in the Rajputa style, the palace has high walls and is adorned with traditional outward projecting pillar supported Jharokhas (windows).

Exquisite curtains and canopies would have once adorned the grand entrance gate!

In the large palace complex are several chambers. Apart from the main rooms, the compound also has stables and servant quarters. The magnificent pillars are a remarkable confluence of ancient Indian architecture and construction technology.

All around in the Hammira palace are galleries in which are built the primary rooms. The walls and doorframes of the grand chambers have been sculpted with exquisite specimens of floral art.

In the middle of the ceiling hang bunches of lotus flowers carved in stone.

In the palace are separate rooms for men and women. On the inside too, are constructed tunnel like galleries which lead to the womens’ chambers.

The interconnected inner chambers, a completely self reliant royal residence equipped with all facilities are indicative of an era of prosperity, luxury and sumptuousness.

In this solid, secure multistoreyed palace are three segments above the ground, and some constructed underground.

The upper segments’ chambers are connected to the lower segments through internally constructed stair systems: such construction seems to have ensured the secure movement of the royal family within.

In Hammira Deva’s reign- art, literature and architecture were given a prominent position: this is clearly evident in the second segment of the palace even today. In the third segment of the palace is a lounge like chamber- a perfect place to behold the distant valleys far across; the fort’s magnificent defence walls and parapets spread far and wide.


The various components of the palace- roofs, pillars are constructed  with stone blocks firmly interlocked with iron clamps. An epitome of the era of a prosperous and grandiose Hammira Mahal: the beautiful temple, secure  kitchen and provision store, all within the palace premises.





According to the Hammir-Mahakavya composed by Nayachandra Suri, Rao Hammira was an extraordinarily gallant and chivalrous emperor- he extended far and wide the boundaries of his kingdom and came to be known as a ‘Digvijayin’ (conquerer of all quarters). After his victorious conquests, on the advice of the royal priest Vishvaroopa, Hammira performed the ‘Koti-yajna’, similar to the ‘Ashvamedha yajna’ rite.




On the northern edge of the fort, constructed atop a high platform of Hammira Deva’s period is the ‘Chhoti Kachahari’ (‘The Small Court’). Tradition maintains that this building was used for administrative purposes.




A little distance away from this place is situated the ‘Badi Kachahari’ (‘The Large Court’, or ‘Hammira’s Court’). This solid, secure edifice was constructed by the Chauhan kings. The emperor, it is believed, would sit here, attending to the subjects’ problems and issues.

The magnificently grand structure’s pillars, verandahs and chambers- all resonate with its exquisite symmetry.




Rao Hammira Deva, after the death of his father, Maharaja Jaitrasimha, had a magnificent ‘Chhatri’ (Pavalion) constructed in his memory. Built exquisitely with red sandstone, this structure is an extraordinary specimen of matchless classical architecture. Commemorating the 32 glorious years of the strong and stable reign of Maharaja Jaitrasimha are the 32 pillars of the monumental pavilion.

In the interior of the Chhatri’s primary dome are beautiful ornamental and sculptural engravings. Undoubtedly, the ‘Battis Khamba Chhatri’ (‘The Twelve Pillared Pavilion’) is, a sublime expression of ancient Indian architecture.

In front of the pavilion is a beautiful fountain pond. Beneath the Chhatri  is a beautiful shrine to Lord Shiva, in the sanctum sanctorum of which is installed a majestic Shivalingam. The monument indeed is, a perfect testimony to the brilliance of Chauhan period architecture.





In front of the Battis Khamba Chhatri is the third Chhatri in the fort complex. On account of its incomplete construction, this Chhatri is known as ‘Adhura Swapna’ (The Unfulfilled Dream).




The Chauhan kings gave due reverence to dance, music and literature in their period. The ‘Badal Mahal’ (‘The Palace of the Clouds’) situated in the fort is an imposing palace constructed in three sections. The Nrityamandapa (Dance Pavilion) of the Nrityashaala (the Dance Theater) is built beside the fort wall.

Adorned with beautiful Jaalis (lattice-screens) and Jharokhas (windows), this palace would have been used for recreation.


The architecture of the palace is a blend of the Rajputa and Mughal styles. The niches in the interior of the building would once be lit with lamps, em-brightening the whole palace with soft, dreamy glow!

The geometric patterns constructed with stucco are mesmerizing.

It is said that the ‘Badal Mahal’ acquired its name from the clouds that  lashed against its porticos. Beneath the palace complex in the rampart wall is built a secret chamber. It seems the chamber was used for spending time in solitude.





The Hammir-Mahakavya mentions how Raja Hammira Deva learned from his father- Maharaja Jaitrasimha, the art of keeping the subjects happy and contented; their rights protected. Hammira’s reign was truly the fort’s golden period.

In the fort premises is positioned an extremely well planned metropolis. In the ancient city of Ranthambhor were wide roads, open markets and neatly decorated houses. The city configuration was such that the houses had Moonsteps sculpted on the entrances for welcome, which are hemispherical ornamental stairs.

Numerous homes were multi-storeyed; even the space beneath the staircases was ingeniously used!

Situated on the primary trade route from the North to the South in India, Ranthambhor flourished as a major metropolis- such also is the description found in the works of foreign travelers. The city is constructed in a grid layout pattern, where lanes branch out from the main road on both sides.

In the city are also built multi-storeyed Havelis (mansions) of ministers, merchants, traders and other rich citizens. The windows, Jharokhas and Jaalis of the Havelis have exquisitely carvings.




A major edifice of the Ranthambhor city is the ‘Dulha Mahal’ (‘The Groom’s Palace’). The structure is characterized by the platforms built in the outward projecting Jharokhas, which were seemingly used for musical performances. From the Dulha Mahal can be seen a breathtaking view of the ‘Padma Talab’ (‘Lotus Pond’) below.


In the numerous rooms of the palace would once reside together a multitude of people: apparently, the Dulha Mahal was a kind of a great community centre.


The large niches as well as the vault like structures built within the inner chambers stand as a testimony to such use.




Since the ancient times, all sects were equally revered in Ranthambhor. Consequently, in the city are found Shiva temples, temples to Krishna, Jaina temples, Shrines to Rama, etc- worship centers of all sects and communities.




The ‘Annapurna temple’ is one of the finest examples of Indian sculptural arts. The mention of the sculptor’s name in the inscriptions found in Ranthambhor justify the high esteem in which the arts and artists were held.




On the inner walls of the ‘Raghunatha temple’ are exceptionally beautiful coloured murals.




The chief characteristic of the ‘Sitarama temple’ is a pulley used for attending to the Lord’s service, which apparently moved a fan in the sanctum sanctorum.




In the present time, the ‘Laxminarayana temple’ houses the idols of all major temples of the fort which are ceremoniously worshipped even today by the devotees.




The ‘Jaina temple’ situated in the central portion of the fort is a classical example of North Indian temple architecture- the Nagara architectural style. The protection of the Jaina temples by Chauhan kings is indicative of the  increasing influence of Jaina acharayas (teachers) of the period.


At the center of the Mandapa’s (assembly hall) dome like ceiling is an exquisite lotus flower figure. The sculptural ornament of the Sabhakaksha (assembly hall) is unparalleled in its beauty and spleandour!


The Jaina temple is very ancient: the Chauhan king Prithviraja I ‘s  Jinmata inscription of 1105 A.D. mentions the donation of golden cupolas to the Jaina temple of Ranthambhor by the ruler.




The Rajputa emperors worshipped Kali as the Goddess of power, and before leaving for war, would seek Her blessings to slaughter the enemy forces. Here, the divine idol of Goddess Kali is ‘Trinetri’ (three-eyed). Local beliefs consider the ‘Kankali Kali temple’ (‘The temple of the Skeletal Kali’) as an ancient Shaktipeetha (seat of divine energy) and a Tantric worship site.




Near the Hammira Palace is built the ‘Raj Mandira’ (‘The Royal Temple’). Evidently,  the Raj Mandira, in accordance with its name, was a major  worship center of the royal family. The temple’s grandeur stands as a testimony to such use.





It is said that the Ranthambhor Fort is spread across an area of 20 sq. km- given such a tremendous extent, within and outside the fort premises are several large ponds and reservoirs for water supply.




Behind the Hammira Palace is located the reservoir ‘Padmala’. On the upper reaches of the tank are small Jharokhas (windows) for enjoyment of cool, fresh air. There once stood a beautiful garden called the ‘Pushpa vatika’ (‘The flower garden’) here, enriched with the fragrance of ‘Ketaki’ (umbrella tree flower) and ‘Champa’ (Plumeria) flowers.

During fort construction, the large scale excavations for stone extraction must have resulted in the formation of these huge reservoirs.




Near the fort’s ‘Jangali’ talab (pond) was developed an extremely effective water harvesting technique- the rainfall in the entire region was made to flow through a channel of hard, impermeable rock, ultimately flowing into the Jangali pond.




The huge Ghats (stepped banks) of the ‘Rani Talab’ (‘The Queen’s pond’) suggest the use of its waters by the royal family. In the huge catchment of the reservoirs were also built wells and Baoris (stepwells).




The ‘Gupta Ganga’ (‘The hidden Ganges’) is an imperishable source of water hidden deep within an unknown aquifer. In this cavelike space is a temple to Goddess Ganga. The Kund (small pool) inside remains full of clean, cold water all year round.

In the chamber built in the upper reaches is an idol of the great sage Bhagiratha.

In the Gupt Ganga is distinctly visible the fort construction scheme: these rock cliffs act as a great natural barrier for the fort built atop the impregnable rocky terrain.

This natural rock terrain was ingeniously integrated into the fort construction design with profound dexterity.




Behind the Hammira Mahal are situated ‘Johra-Bohra’- the large grain stores. The massive amount of grain that would be stored here is immediately evident from the humongous proportions of these constructions.

The grain sacks were brought up the slopes and then emptied into the storehouse constructed beneath through the holes on the roof.



This grain would be used by the royal family and the military during dire situations. Secure grain storage necessitated appropriate measures for safe rain water discharge.




Built at a height of about 1,580 feet above sea level, the Ranthambhor Fort, according to fort architecture, is a ‘Giridurga’ (hill fort). The Giridurga is regarded as the most secure and impregnable fort among all.


From the defence point of view, the fort has two main characteristics: the steep mountain precipice which, acting as a natural barrier provides additional security to the fort, and the surrounding natural chasm, gorges and impassable forest ravines which make the entry into the fort, an extremely precarious ordeal.

With the steep mountain precipice was constructed a gigantic fort wall- the ramparts being several kilometers long. The ramparts were constructed wide enough, so soldiers could easily inspect the whole region on horseback.

Thick steely walls were constructed to protect the fort from cannon attacks. On the Fort’s lofty walls, at regular intervals were constructed semicylindrical bastions and turrets which not only stablized the enormous security ramparts, but also acted as shelters for soldiers standing sentinel, concealed from enemy eyes.




During the reign of Rao Hammira, Jalal-ud-din Khalji, the first Sultan of the Khalji dynasty, attacked Ranthambhor in 1290 A.D. and again in 1292 A.D., but couldn’t succeed. Yahya-bin-Ahmad in his Tarikh-i-Mubarakshahi wrote thus: ‘The fort’s walls are so high that even eagles could not fly!’



When the next Sultan of the Khalji dynasty, Ala-ud-din Khalji’s efforts too went in vain, in A.D. 1299 he ordered, this time, his generals Ulugh Khan and Nasrat Khan to conquer Ranthambhor. Raja Hammira Deva, however, had been keeping a close vigil from the fort’s lofty walls.

Mounted on the fort walls, the ‘Bhairava’, ‘Dhikuli’ and ‘Markati’ yantras (war machines) started showers of stones and heavy boulders on the army of the Sultan below. A ball shot from the ‘Maghrabi’ yantra struck Nasrat Khan, thus killing him. Now, Ala-ud-din himself assumed the command of the army, and marched to Ranthambhor, camping at the  nearby ‘Randoongri’ (‘The Battle hill’). The Muslim army began filling the fort’s moat with sand, stones and wood; but high above, posted on the fort’s lofty bastions, Hammira Deva’s soldiers with their weapons and fire balls burned to ashes the wood piles in the chasm.

When the enemy army began constructing mines to capture the fort, the Chauhan soldiers threw on them boiling oil mixed with resin, incinerating them all in a flash.

After repeated failures, the Sultan’s big army was now getting tired, leaving the soldiers dispirited. Contemporary historian Minhaj-us-Siraj wrote: ‘The fort, for its exceeding strength, solidity and impregnability is famous and notorious throughout all Hindustan’. Amir Khusro in Khazain-ul-Futuh writes, ‘The towering Ranthambhor fort talked with the stars through its lofty pinnacles’. The Indian historians too inform us, ‘despite attacks by as many as 70 kings, the fort could never be conquered’.




At many points in the Ranthambhor Fort are built the Gunpoints. From these gunpoints were fired Cannons- the Topgatta’s (Gunpoint) extremely thick mammoth walls justify their use as gun mounting points.




In the due course of time, the fort changed hands with many kingdoms- Delhi, Malwa, Mewar, and eventually, Bundi’s ruler Rai Surjan Hada. It is said that in 1527 A.D., after the battle of Khanwa, Rana Sanga took refuge in this very invincible fort, and once again, began gathering military strength against Babur.

In A.D. 1569, once again the emperor Akbar, with the aim of conquering the fort, camped at Randoongri. Akbar had paths built to drag great culverins up the mountains so as to bombard and demolish the fort’s solid walls; however, after political mediation by the king of Amer, Rai Surjan Hada handed the fort over to Akbar.




In the security mechanisms of the Ranthambhor Fort, its colossal gates in all four directions played the extremely crucial role of a solid, secure shield: ‘The Delhi Gate’, ‘Suraj Pol’, ‘Sat Pol’ and the ‘Naulakha Pol’.




The Fort’s primary prodigious entry gate is- the ‘Naulakha’.




The second gate in the sequence is the Hathi Pol (‘The Elephant gate’). It is said that a gigantic statue of an elephant and Mahout once stood here as a barrier and hindrance for defence reasons; their remains can still be seen even today.




Built right beside the cliff, this gate is, the ‘Ganesh Pol’.




On entering through the Ganesh Pol, a zig-zag path leads to the last entry gate on this side of the fort, which is extremely critical from the military and defence point of view. This is, the ‘Andheri Pol’ (the ‘Dark gate’). In the event of external attacks, the sharp spearlike iron thorns fixed to the gate would combat elephants trying to force their way into the fort. These thorns add further solidity and strength to the gate.


To check enemy progress into the main inner area of the fort at every step, the path further ahead was constructed narrow and tunnel-like.




Built right above the Andheri Pol is the ‘Supari Mahal’ (‘The Welcome Palace’). From the towering bastions of this palace could be inspected all ramparts, gates, outposts- even the distant valleys far across.




Standing on the Fort’s western fringe, the Sat Pol (‘The Gate of Truth’) has been a witness to that horrific deciding battle fought in A.D. 1300.




The onset of incessant rainfall increased still further the difficulties of the besiegers- of the frustrated army of Ala-ud-din Khalji. Camping at the Randoongri, the Sultan’s army was at the very aim of Hammira Deva’s  dauntless warriors.


Behind this cataclysmic war was a momentous character- Muhammad Shah: Ala-ud-din Khalji’s rebellious warlord to whom all Rajputa rulers refused to render refuge, owing to the Sultan’s influence. It was then that Rao Hammira Deva, following the conduct of a true Kshatriya warrior, bestowed upon the asylum seeker, protection, which in the course of time, became a significant reason for this war.

Unable to conquer the fort with military strength and might even after a prolonged seige, the Sultan, now resorted to diplomacy.

On the pretext of a peace negotiation, Ala-ud-din concealed under the cover an intention to manipulate Hammira’s confidante and advisor, Ratipala, and successfully turned him to his own side.

Angered by the growing scarcity of food within the fort and the betrayal of his most trusted servants turning traitors, Rao Hammira Deva decided in favour of a final, decisive battle.




Maharani Ranga Devi, with her daughter, Princess Devalladevi, along with the other indomitable royal females decorated the pyre of the Jauhar. The heroic Rajputa warriors wore Kesariya banas (saffron cloths) and set out for the last battle. Situated near the Hammira Palace, this place turned witness to this historic Jauhar. It is said that 13,000 amazon females together ascended into the intense raging fires of Jauhar.

The formidable, mighty Hammir Deva, like a fearless lion, wreaked havoc on the enemy army. In the final hours, rather than fall into the unholy hands of the enemy, Hammira, found the prospect of embracing death much more glorious, and with a roar of ‘Har Har Mahadeva! (Liberate O’ Lord of the Lords!) offered his very head, in devotion to Lord Mahadeva. At this very place today stands a Shiva temple.




Tuesday, the 11th day of July, 1301 A.D.-with the mighty Rao Hammira Deva’s death, the sun set over the glorious reign of the Chauhanas of Ranthambhor.

In the war, the neo-Muslim chief Muhammad Shah who had sought the protection of Hammira, stood with Hammira till his last breath, and fighting against Ala-ud-din, ultimately attained martyrdom.

In the fort is the tomb of the Sufi Saint Malik Bahauddin.

The fort which the Chauhans had, for centuries, adorned; enriched; showered upon with unparalleled love; extending far its glory-pride; today, that very fort saw an end to the days of pomp and spleandour- to its days of prosperity and opulence. And thus ended, a golden era.



Truly indeed- Ranthambhor isn’t just an invincible fort; but a real, living representative of the glorious Indian history, culture and those dauntless warriors who laid down their lives for their country.

There’s never been a man as valiant as Hammira. There’s never been.


Ranthambhor: The Untold Saga”


Written by: Vidhu Rashmi Jain