After reading lot of reviews of Jhansi and stories of the great Rani Lakshmi Bai , I decided to visit this place and explore it. Jhansi Fort became the first place of choice owing to the many stories associated with it during our freedom struggle.
The Architecture of the fort
Jhansi fort is a majestic fort in Jhansi, about 100 km of Gwalior on a hilltop called Bangira, in Uttar Pradesh.It is a Giri Durg (Rock Fort).It was built in 1613 by Orchha’s ruler Raja Bir Singh Deo.The fort is built with Bundel architecture which is a blend of three styles namely Hindu Rajput, The Jain temple & Indo-Islamic / Indo Sarcenic Architectural styles.Many buildings inside the fort reflect these styles.It is situated in the middle of Jhansi and you can see whole Jhansi from here.There are 10 gates giving access to the fort. Some of these are Khanderao Gate, Datia Darwaza, Unnao Gate, badagao gate, Laxmi Gate, Sagar Gate, Orchha Gate, Sainyar Gate, Jhirna Gate and Chand Gate.The fort extends to a sprawling 15 acres (61,000 m2) and measures about 312m in length and 225m in width.
After the Bundels, the fort came in the control of Marathas and later to the British.The British destroyed many buildings inside the fort and quickly constructed Barracks etc to station there troops.This fort later became the place where the first battle against the British was fought to seek India’s freedom.
How to reach:-
I started in the morning from Gwalior and reached Jhansi in about 3 hours by bus.The road was good initially but not very good at later parts. Some construction work was also going on.On reaching Jhansi bus stand,I took an auto rickshaw to Jhansi fort.It is very near to it at about 3 km.
On reaching the fort,I had to walk a little uphill to reach the fort entrance.The entry ticket counter is just beside the gate and costs about INR 20.The fort as not very crowded.
On Entering inside, There is a courtyard where you can see the great kadak Bijli Canon.There is another exit from the courtyard on the opposite side of the main entrance where you can see some old pavillions or baradari which are not in very good condition.
I came back inside the courtyard and took the other entry inside the main fort area.On Entering you can see the Panchmahal with a large open area.Panchmahal was used by the British to station their troops.Therefore, it was not destroyed by them and is still intact unlike many other buildings inside fort.It was built in different layers and at different times.It as linked to other parts of the fort through underground tunnels.The tunnels also served for the secret movement of the troops and supplies or for escape.
Moving ahead, I saw the most popular place of this fort:- The Kudan Sthal or the jumping place.This was the place from where the great Rani Lakshmibai jumped off the fort with her horse to escape during the battle with the British.
The open area inside the fort serves as a place for regular light and sound show during the evening details of which can be obtained on this page of UP Tourism website.
Moving liitle downwards from the jumping place, there is a secret tunnel leading to Gwalior road and a hanging place where prisoners were hanged.
There is also a garden and a Lord Shiv temple nearby used by Rani.
I felt so inspired on visiting this fort.Every brick seems to tell about the valour of Rani and her soldiers like Gaus Muhammad,Motibai, Jhalkari Bai etc, ,who, in spite of being small in numbers fought bravely against the cunning British for the pride of the state.
Located nearby is the Rani Ka Mahal, built in the later half of the 18th century where an archaeological museum has been constructed today.