Almost every city or town in Rajasthan is blessed with a fort. So is Alwar.
The huge Bala Quila, sitting high up on a 300m steep cliff, is what lends this
ancient city much of its character. Though we do not know who built this
forsaken fort, it has stood there watching over Alwar from even before the
Mughals came into the scene. Which means that it was built before the 16th
century. and we know this for sure because Babur (the first Mughal king in
India) is known to have spent a night here. Not just that, he even took away the
fabulous treasure that was kept here and gifted it to his son, Humayun. Later
Jahangir had also stayed there for some time when he was packed off by his
authoritarian father, Akbar. The place where he stayed came to be called Salim
Mahal. (Jahangir was actually banished by Akbar because he tried to assassinate
Abul Fazal, one of the nine jewels of his father's court). Bala Quila was
finally taken over by Pratap Singh in 1775.
The Fort Premises
The ancient Hindu scriptures, the Puranas, dictate that 'a fort is the strength of a king'. The Bala Quila exemplifies it to perfection. The extensive ramparts stretch 5km from north to south and 1.6km from east to west. Within this are 15 large and 51 small towers. The fort's security was quite solid; there are 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge bastions encompassing it.
The Major Gateways of Bala Quila (Forts)
All forts in Rajasthan have huge ornate pols (gates). So does this one. Some of them are the Jai Pol Suraj PolLaxman Pol, Chand Pol, Kishan Pol and andheri Gate. There are the remains of other structures too, like the Jal Mahal, Nikumbh Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and about 15 temples. The most impressive aspect of the fort is the spectacular view of the city and the lake studded countryside below.