Rajgad, India. Known as the "king of forts", the ruins of this staggeringly huge mountain fortress blanket several different plateaus thousands of feet high surrounded by cliffs. Once claimed "unconquerable", It covers 40 kilometres and is over 2,000 years old. I'll post much more in the comments.


Epic i am struggling for any other words we need to wonder just just how people that are many had manning the walls and running the fort there. It had to take thousands of people to run that plain thing which then ...



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Some random comments on reddit about Rajgad, India. Known as the "king of forts", the ruins of this staggeringly huge mountain fortress blanket several different plateaus thousands of feet high surrounded by cliffs. Once claimed "unconquerable", It covers 40 kilometres and is over 2,000 years old. I'll post much more in the comments.

  • Epic I'm struggling for other words
  • I have to wonder just how many people they had manning the walls and running the fort there. It had to take thousands of people to run that thing which then would take tons of supplies to keep it running.
  • That's the obvious weakness. So many kilometers of wall to defend, so few possible soldiers garrisoned. Throw a few thousand man siege wall around it for a couple months to starve out surplus defenders. Then stage a new-moon night ascent with dawn attack on entire crest wall. Defenders couldn't possible meet every warrior coming over those plateau walls.
  • Two things... A few thousand men would not effectively be able to completely cut off such a large fortress (although, with a large enough force it could be done). Also, defenders would only need to be concentrated in certain sections of the fortress. An attack on the entire crest wall would not have been realistically feasible due to some of the extreme topography (not to mention the HUGE amount of men needed that would be very spread out). I'd think it would be better to pinpoint the weakest spot and attack that with all your men en masse.
  • En masse point attacks require extreme dedication on part of forlorn hope troops. It's my impression that Indian armies of this era were huge but undisciplined. A full crest attack would play to strengths and weaknesses of this type of army. Sheer numbers would bring scaling ladders against the full crest line. Defenders would be too spread out and unable to meet all of them. With no effective defense along scattered points even poor fighters would flow up and over.
  • Defenders would be too spread out and unable to meet all of them. Based on what I know from Indian history, this is not really the case though. Such mountain fortresses would have thousands of defenders (there were caves that could store food and giant cisterns for water which would have been able to supply a lot of men). However, like I said earlier, I don't think you would need quite as many men as one might first think to defend such a well placed fortress. For example, the giant hill fortress of Chittorgarh is even bigger than Rajgad (several times bigger in fact) and it was impregnable to numerous assaults from the army of Akbar the Great (one of the most powerful rulers in all of Indian history). Chittorgarh eventually succumbed to the great Mughal leader, but it was not an easy siege and victory was not achieved via an all out attack on the length of the walls... -- Here is a short video describing the epic siege of Chittorgarh All that being said, I am the furthest thing from an expert, and your method of attack might indeed have worked, I could not say for sure. All I can say for sure is that such fortresses were anything but easy to capture (although definitely possible). Either way, it's fun to think about from the safety of my 21st century home!
  • I'm going to stop. I really enjoy your original posts and don't want to discourage them. You do well-researched history and photo coverage.
  • No worries! Discussions such as these only encourage me to post. I'm a history nerd, so by all means make questioning comments in any posts that strike your fancy (they are my favourite kind of comment). I don't even particularly care about castles, I just like history in general. Cheers!
  • Well... Had a little trouble finding this since 'Rajgad' means 'Royal Fort' and searching for 'Rajgad Fort' translates to redundant 'Royal Fort Fort': Wiki reports Rajgad was captured in 1490, 1626, 1630, 1647, 1689, 1692, and 1707. It was successfully defended in 1665. It would be interesting to know how it was attacked each time. I get the impression it was intended more as a palace complex than a fortress; serving to intimidate the citizenry, not defeat invaders.
  • 'Rajgad Fort' translates to redundant 'Royal Fort Fort' In much the same way, "Akbar the Great" translates to "Great the Great"! It would be interesting to know how it was attacked each time. Indeed... If I could get detailed accounts of each siege that would make me very happy. I get the impression it was intended more as a palace complex than a fortress; serving to intimidate the citizenry, not defeat invaders. From what I've read it was certainly more than just a palace complex. Unfortunately, I could find little history about the original ancient fortress so I can't say if it was ever used as some sort of lone border fortress to defend against invaders... However, once taken by Shivaji, Rajgad was used as a fortress to control the surrounding areas for the Marathas, as were hundreds of other forts (Shivaji had as many as 360). Shivaji used these forts to help bring about "Hindavi Swarajya" (Hindu self-rule). Some interesting things I learned from Wikipedia... Each of Shivaji's fortresses were placed under three officers of equal status lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance. Also, all of these forts supposedly had a strong garrison and were designed to cover and support each other. In some cases, hill forts were supported by seaforts, but at Rajgad there were other large Hill forts nearby to help cover. For example, As you can see here , the large mountain forts of Torna and Sinhagad are each only a few miles from Rajgad and all were under the control of Shivaji. Thus, laying siege to one of these fortresses would be made more difficult by garrisons within the others. All of this was necessary when one has enemies as powerful as the Mughals. Of course, all of these fortresses have nevertheless fallen at one point or another. Given a long enough time frame, the only fortresses that are truly "impregnable" are those that see no action! Cheers for all the informed replies!
  • -- Here is a short video describing the epic siege of Chittorgarh Bah, cannons. That's cheatin'. And I'm kinda skeptical about the claim that any damage caused by cannons would/could be repaired overnight.
  • Well, look at it this way. Every wall of the fort has two advantages: There is another wall facing the opposite direction very close to it. It would be very simple for each wall to support the one behind it. Given the ebb and flow of battles, it would be unlike that all the wall sections were simultaneously in pitched battles. Due to the concavity of the walls, most wall sections would be partial kill zones as they were subjected to enfilade fire from different points of the triangle.
  • There were no doubt many men within this fortress in its heyday (it was at one point the capital of an Empire after all)! However, it would take less men to defend such a fortress than you might first imagine. For example, unless you have an Army of Reinhold Messner clones, only certain points along the walls would have been attack-able with any sort of numbers. As such, defenders would only need to be concentrated in a few key spots.
  • Wow. I know little about the Maratha empire, really only about the massaive fortresses. I need to read up about it.
  • Wow, so many pics. Thanks for taking the time to do all this, Hoohill. Gotta say, when I read "king of forts" the first thing I thought of was Miller High Life, the "The Champagne of Beers".
  • Wow.
  • Oh wow . That's amazing.
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