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The Splendid Songarah (Swarngiri) Fort in Jalor, Rajasthan

Jalore, also known as “Jalore” is a small town in Rajasthan that is located in the South Western part of the state. Jalore is the secretarial head office of Jalor locality. Jalore is at a distance of about 140 km south of Jodhpur city. In olden days, Jalore was referred to as Jabalipura, which is named after a sage. This city was also known as “Suvarngiri or Songir”, the Golden Mount, on which the fortification is placed. In accordance with several past sources, a division of the “Gurjara Pratiharas” was ruling at Jablipur (Jalore) between 8th & 9th centuries. Jalore was a thriving city during 8th century. In 10th century, Jalore was under the control of the Paramaras.

Jalore Fort:

Jalore fort is the principal attraction of Jalore city. This fort was one of the 9 fortresses established by the Paramaras during 10th century. Referred to as the ‘Sonagir’ or ‘Golden Mount’, the Jalore Fort is well thought-out to be one of the most unassailable forts in India. Also known as the “Swarnagiri (Sonalgarh) Fort”, the Jalore fort is also conquered by Chouhans, Parmars, Popabai, & Muslims. Suspended on top of a vertical knoll, the Jalore fort has rock-strewn projection that is almost 1200 feet high. They have a wall and bastions with cannon mounted upon them. Subsequent to a 2-mile long meandering slope, one can go into the fort through one of its 4 gargantuan gates or pols known as, Dhruv Pol, Suraj Pol, Siroh Pol and Bal Pol. Fascinatingly, the Suraj Pol was constructed in a such a way that the initial rays of the daylight penetrate through this doorway. In order to reach closer to the fort, a person should ascend a vertical, slick road all the way through 3 lineups of reinforcement to a single 20 feet fortification barrier. This endeavor can consume more than 2 hours. At present, the chief palace within the fort is deserted. However, some of its carcasses are left behind. The cannon foundry or Topekhana is the vital structure that was established in the 14th century by “Ala-ud-din Khilji”. A few mosques inside the fort are said to have been constructed with the help of the carcass of 84 Jain & Hindu shrines.

History of Jalore or Swarnagiri fort:

The exact year of the construction of Jalore fort is still not identified. On the other hand, it is believed to be constructed between 8th and 10th centuries. During the 10th century, Jalore was under the control of Parmar, a Rajput warrior. Kirtipala, the youngest son of Alhana, monarch of Nadol, is the originator of the Jalore row of Chauhans. He imprisoned the fort from the Paramaras in the year1181 and obtained the clan name “Songara” after the place. Samarsimha, his son succeeded him in the year 1182. Udayasimha became the monarch later. The rule of Udayasimha was a golden era in the olden times of Jalore. He was a commanding and talented sovereign who ruled over a huge area. In the year 1228, Iltutmish surrounded Jalore yet Udayasimha presented inflexible confrontation. Later, Chachigadeva & Samarasimha succeeded him in that order. Subsequent to Samantasimha, Kanhadadeva, his son became the emperor of Jalore.

Structural design of Jalore fort:

Jalore fort is balanced on the top of a sheer and vertical mount and is constructed in accordance with long-established Hindu architecture. The fort commands the town from rock-strewn projection which is 336m (1200 ft) high. It is supported with a wall and strongholds with field gun raised upon them. The Jalore fort has 4 massive gates yet is accessible only from one side, after a 2-mile (3 km) elongated winding climb having over 1000 steps. The entrance to the fort is from the north side, up a vertical, slick road through 3 rows of reinforcement to one fortification barrier that is 6.1m (20ft) elevated. One should climb up for an hour to reach the top.

The Chief Gates or Poles of the fort:

There are 4 strong gates or pols that show the way into the Jalore fort. They are: Suraj Pol, Chand Pol, Sire Pol and Dhruv Pol. The Suraj Pol or the “Sun gate” is constructed in such a way that the initial rays of the daylight penetrate through this entryway. Suraj Pol is a striking gateway with a small watch tower constructed above it. The Dhruv Pol is quite uncomplicated when weighed against the Suraj Pol.

Places of Worship inside the fort:

Mosques: The Kila Masjid (the Fort Mosque) inside Jalore fort is remarkable as it reveals the prevalent authority of the architectural embellishments linked to the Gujarati style of building that belongs to the second half of 16th century.

Hindu Shrines:

Jain temples: The Jain Temples in Jalore are the holy places for Jains and the well-known Jain temples of Mahavira, Adinath, Shantinath and Parshvnath are positioned at this place.

Adinath: The ancient shrine of Adinath was constructed as early as 8th century. Later, the Mandapa was established by Yasovira, a Srimali vaishya in 1182 A.D. The temple constructed with white marble is a striking structure and is rather a spectacle.

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