|“Let the sky be torn, the earth turned upside down, let the iron armour be cut to pieces, body fighting alone, but Jalore would not surrender.” This famous couplet exposes the dignity once enjoyed by Jalore Fort which has the distinction of being one of the most impregnable forts of India.
Jalore FortThe impressive structure stands striking atop a steep perpendicular hill at a height of 336 m (1200 ft) in the Rajasthan town of Jalore. It has been known through history as the Sonagir or the “Golden Mount”. It is one of the 'nine castles of “Maru” built by the Parmaras probably between the 8th and 10th centuries.
Jalore Fort will captivate you as soon as you begin the long 3 km serpentine trek, about 1 hour walk, that will take you to the entrance after passing three rows of fortification to a single rampart wall. The massive wall is 6.1 m (20ft) high 15 feet in width with a striking traditional Hindu style of architecture. Each of the bastions has cannon mounted upon them. All of its four massive gateways are accessible only from the north. The Suraj Pol or the sun gate, the grandest of the lot, has been designed to receive the first rays of the morning sun. Near the main gate you will find a mosque and tomb of Malik Shah, a noted Mohammedan saint.
If you want to capture the glory of Jalore’s yesteryears, then the Topekhana or "the cannon foundry" is the place. Though in a crumbling state, one can still have an idea of its grandness from the architecture with tastefully carved colonnade and ceiling. The complex is imposing with an intricate façade and spacious courtyard. But Topkhana has a bloody past being constructed by Alaud-din-Khilji when he captured Jalore in the 14th century. History tells that he also built the mosques after destroying 84 Hindu and Jain temples.
The Fort houses plenty of temples that spill with aura and architectural splendor. The Topekhana Masjid (Arsenal Mosque) and the Kila Masjid (Fort Mosque) are particularly striking for its architectural style associated with Gujarat. The Jain temple of Adinath is an important pilgrimage centre for the sect along with the other Mahavira, Parshvnath and Shantinath temples.
Adinath with its glaring marble walls is quite distinctive in contrast to its rocky backdrop but Parshavnath is the grandest of all graced with idols sculpted on the walls in the back side. There is also a triple Hindu temple dedicated to Amba mata, Ashapuri and Hanuman and an ancient Shiva temple.
Surprisingly, the palaces are quite simple and without any superfluous embellishment. This is unlike any other palaces of the Rajputs. Today much of it is in ruins. The palace of Mansingh houses a human-height red stones pillar that probably is the only memorial of Parmars.