Although many of us from all over the world are well acquainted with the role of Rani of Jhansi- Rani Laxmibai, in the contribution to the Indian freedom struggle, not many of us know about her majestic fort which still exists in Jhansi.
A four hour drive from the national capital, New Delhi, the city of Jhansi is located in a picturesque surrounding of hills, with its outskirts offering a perfect treat to all nature admirers and those who love travelling and exploring new, interesting places like me, and capturing the best of them. Yes, photography. When here, you certainly cannot keep your hands off your camera!
Amidst such a setting, away from the regular hustle bustle of the city, is located the fort of Jhansi, adding to the marvel of the place. This monument, looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India, is hundreds of years old and yet stands as solid as it must have stood when it shielded its countrymen from the attacks of the British troops.
It is built of huge, beautifully colored rocks and still preserves a number of armaments from that period including some really big cannons ( the Kadak Bijlee cannon and the Bhavani Shanker cannon) which are the special attractions. As you travel towards the fort, you can see the Indian tricolored flag waving in the sky on the the topmost floor of the great monument. Further, once you have entered the fort, there is not a single thing you can afford to miss. The grand entrance gate is made up of iron guilds and near the gate is a site plan going through which, we are made aware of the various significant spots inside the fort, out of which it was the ‘jumping spot’ which left me most mesmerized. The Rani jumped from that point while riding on her horse, Pawan and with her infant son tied behind her. As I peeped down from there, the enormous height of the tower and its distance from the ground sent a shiver down my spine. I could not help but salute the Rani’s bravery. There are innumerable other such spots and one should definitely not miss the ‘light and sound show’ for a breathtakingly amazing experience which gives you a ride into the past and you feel as if you are actually present in that very fort while all the action between the two forces is taking place.
One of the interesting facts that I was told regarding this, is that the present generation of late Rani Laxmibai’s adopted son, Anand Rao is still living in Indore, India, and every year in the month of November they come to celebrate the late Rani’s death anniversary (balidaan divas). What urged me to write this article on the Jhansi fort was its comparatively less popularity among tourists from abroad. What foreigners usually visit in India most commonly, are Agra’s Taj Mahal, the Mughal Sultanate monuments in Delhi or the Nawabi cultural heritage sites in Lucknow. I really wish such wonderful places as this in Jhansi, are thoroughly explored because I, from the bottom of my heart, earnestly believe they deserve a lot more in return, in comparison to what we are giving them at present.
I would like to conclude by reminding the people how what we term as ‘women empowerment’ now, was something Rani Laxmibai had established as a proof in those days, hundreds of years back, by sacrificing her life at a young age of just about 25.