One approach for finding forts is to go through each grid of the AMS. A few weeks ago, in preparation for a trip to Mathura, I was scanning the map around Mathura for forts I could visit on the way. Among the many forts in the area, the one that fascinated me most was the one at Govindgarh. Fascinated, not just because of its wide moat and 15 bastions but also the fact that it was located in a plain with almost no vantage over the surrounding areas and that it was only about 11-12 KMs north-east of Laxmangarh.
My fascination grew as further research started throwing up information about forts that once stood in the area. The first sign that a fort was missing came from the map above. It clearly marks two forts at Govindgarh. The first one north of the village, shown below, was easy to spot but there is no sign of the second one on images available at Google Maps or Wikimapia.
In the time of M. R. Bakhtawar Singh, a family of Khanzadas
held many villages round the present site of Govindgarh. Nawab Zulfikar Khan was the principal. His seat was known as the Fort of Ghasaoli. About A.D. 1803 Bakhtawar Singh, in conjunction with the Marhattas, expelled him and the 500 horse he is said to have employed. Ghasaoli fort was destroyed, and the site of it is now a Raj grass preserve. The local seat of authority was removed to Govindgarh, a spot very near the old fort. The present fort is said to have been built by Bakhtawar Singh in s. 1862 (A.D. 1805). It is remarkable for the extent of its moat.
There are a Thana Tahsil and school in Govindgarh, and the population is 4290. The town is twenty-five miles east of Ulwur.
Bainsrdwat, a village four miles south of Govindgarh, containing inhabitants. Here there is a platform and building (thara) where formerly Nar Khan Khanzada, brother of Zulfikar Khan, already mentioned, dispensed justice, and a ruined fort in which he resided. It is curious that people of the neighbouring villages, which belonged to Nar Khan or his brother, still come to this thara to settle disputes by oath.
That description mentions two more forts in the area. First at Ghasaoli, which I could not find on the map. Instead, I found a Ghasoli around 36 KMs north-west of Govindgarh. Not surprisingly, there is no sign of a fortification at Ghasoli, assuming this is the same village as Ghasaoli.
Second fort that it mentions was at Bhainsdawat, about 5 KMs south of Govindgarh. Again, there is no sign of the ruins of the said fort.
In the end, we have two forts documented but missing. One at Ghasaoli which was destroyed and replaced with a grass preserve, which certainly means it was completely leveled, although I was hoping to see the remnants of the bastions at least. In the case of Bhainsdawat, if the fort was in ruins in or before 1878, the date when the Ulwar Gazetteer was published, it is possible the ruins are completely destroyed by now.
In both cases, it is possible that the forts ruins have been built over as the Villages expanded or that I am not even looking in the right place or the ruins are present in exactly these locations but just not visible from satellite. Regarding the third missing fort shown south of Govindgarh on the AMS map, it may be a mistake while creating the map or it could be any of the situations above.
A note of caution, Wikipedia page for Govindgarh has the co-ordinates mixed up with that of Govindgarh in Ajmer district not the one it describes or the one talked about here, which is in Alwar district.
the old name of Lachhmangarh was Taur. Partap Singh got possession of the place from Sariip Singh, and enlarged the fort and renamed it Lachmangarh. The
fort subsequently endured a seige laid by Najaf Khan.
The walls and bastions are barely visible on Google Maps and Wikimapia. The fort would hardly be recognizable if the moat was not as prominent in the center of the town. I would not be surprised if even this sign of a fort is covered up and gone in the decades to come.
On the ridge south-east of Laxmangarh are two more structures that look like fortifications.
Continuing from the previous post, here are four more forts in the vicinity of Jaipur.
Two forts on the right side of the map are at Naila in the north and Kanota towards the south. Both Naila and Kanota seem more like sarais/caravan stations than self-sufficient forts. Fortification at Naila extends north-wards to the hill. Amidst the hill is the Naila Bagh Palace resort.
On the range bounding the city of Jaipur from East, are two more fortifications. First is Amargarh and name of the second remains unknown to me.
I had previously mentioned how group of forts come together to create a unified line of defense. In most cases, the separate forts are built over centuries to suit the needs of different rulers, whose threat perceptions change over centuries. One such group is the Nahargarh–Jaigarh–Amber forts complex in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The Southern End of the Aravallis
The complex commands a strategic location at the southern end of the Aravalli range and protects Jaipur from the North while a few ridges of the Aravalli’s cover the eastern approaches to the city. In its hay days, it must have provided excellent defenses against Mughals in Delhi and Agra, which are both to the North-East and East, respectively.
The white lines below follow the fortifications that are visible in Google Maps.
The fortifications connect the three forts into a single entity. I’ve managed to discern the general axes along which the forts must’ve connected and covered the hills.
There are remnants of a wall/fortification that can be seen in the terrain map above, running along the top of the ridge on the left which runs away North-east towards Delhi.
The strategic importance of the area reflects in the fact that a modern day fort exists on the hillock adjacent to Jaigarh in the form of an IAF radar station. It is not surprising given the fact that a similar high ground does not exist towards the west for another 100KMs or so.