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Timings : Sunrise to Sunset

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Narnala Fort, Chikhaldara Overview

Resting tall and strong on an unaccompanied hill of the Satpura mountain range, the Narnala Fort stands as a testimony to the Mughals' rich history and their remarkable architecture. This magnanimous fort was one of the thirteen 'sarkars' of Berar Subah and houses intriguingevidences of the majesty of the Mughal Dynasty, including the famous 27-foot cannon- Kadak Bijli. Perched upon a secluded hill at a height of 973 meters, the Narnala Fort offers a panoramic view of the Satpura ranges. Surrounded by a blanket of green and with a backdrop of the bright blue sky, the mesmerising glory of the fort is truly iconic.

This enormous fort is composed of three smaller forts- Zafarabad on the east, Narnala in the middle and Teligarh towards the west. It was originally built by the Gond Dynasty in 10 A.D. and was named after the prestiged Rajput King, Narnal Singh but was taken over by the Mughals in the 15th century. Ever since, it was named Shahnoor Fort and has been the point of interest of many Mughal emperors. Not just that, it was also the birth place of Emperor Aurangzeb's very own great grandson. The renowned Muslim saint, Hazrat Burhanuddin Bagh Sawar Wali, used to set up camp at the fort quite often and claimed to have spotted many white tigers roaming about in the fort!

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History of Narnala Fort

Mohammad Ghazni first built the Shahnoor Fort in honour of Bagh Sawar Wali Hazrat Burhanuddin. Because of its unprecedented grandeur and strategically important location, this fort was the point of interest of rulers of many kingdoms who tried to conquer and reconstruct it multiple times. The exact date of construction of Narnala Fory cannot be determined with absolute certainty, but according to a local legend, the first fortifications of the structure were laid by none other than Naryendrapun, a direct descendant of the Pandavas.

The magnificent fort is home to the tomb of Bagh Sawar Wali who was known to ride on white tigers. Hence, they say, a tiny white tiger can be seen walking to his tomb on many nights. There is a small lake inside the fort, and legend says that its waters consist magical healing properties. Anyone suffering from a longstanding disease or illness is said to be cured once they consume the holy waters of this lake. They say that the philosopher's stone or the Paras Patthar lay at the bottom of the lake, a stone that can turn everything it touches to gold. However, when the lake dried up in the famine of 1899-1900, no such stone was found.

Architecture of Narnala Fort

This flamboyant hilltop fortress is made entirely from granite, white and yellow stones. As evidence of unique craftsmanship, all these stones have been bonded together with nothing but the best quality limestone. The fort was originally built by the Rajputs and then taken over by the Mughals. The architectural style of the structure's interiors displays characteristic peculiar to both kingdoms.

On entering the fort, you are greeted with two majestic and architecturally rich gateways- Delhi Darwaza and Sirpur Darwaza. These gates have been designed with the motif of a lotus, and the cornices are inscribed with intricately carved Arabic inscriptions. The lotus motif is called the 'Ashtakamal' or the eight-petal lotus and was the symbol of Raja Narnal Singh's dynasty. One can recognise the Sultanate style of design as soon as you come across the projecting balconies with panels of diverse designs and elaborate stonework that decorate the fort so elegantly.

Inside the fort, there are tombs of King Bagh Sawar Wali and Gaz Badshah, two successful and renowned rulers of their times. Spanning over an area of a whopping 362 acres, the fort houses, 360 watchtowers, 19 tanks, cisterns, an Ambar Bangala or Kacheri and a mosque.

Best Time To Visit Narnala Fort

The period between October and January is the best time to visit the Narnala Fort. This is the period of winters when the weather is delightful and truly enjoyable. The temperature ranges between a low of 11 degrees Celsius and a high of 20 degrees Celsius, making it the perfect weather for outdoor picnics and outings.

Summers here are sweltering with the temperatures ranging from a low of 28 degrees Celsius and a high of 41 degrees Celsius. Such high temperatures make summers an offseason for the city. So if you're looking to explore the fort and the city with no crowds, this is the best time to visit Akola.

How To Reach Narnala Fort

The Akola Railway Junction (AK) is closest to the Narnala Fort and is well connected to all the major cities in and around the state. The railhead is about 70 kms away from the fort, and it takes only 1 hour 45 mins to get there through the MH SH 204 highway. You can easily hire a cab from right outside the railway station at economical rates. The cab drivers usually quote exorbitant rates, but will quickly bring down their quotes once you start bargaining.

The Akola Bus Station is a popular one at a distance of 73 kms away from the Narnala Fort. It has many government, as well as private buses, plying in and out very frequently and the fares of these buses are very cheap too.

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