The six majestic citadels of Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambhore, Jhalawar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer now have UNESCO World Heritage status.
Enclosed within these fortress walls were major towns, palaces, markets and temples that often predated the fortifications.
Some of the urban centres enclosed in the fortifications have survived, such as Jaisalmer, as have many temples. The forts all used natural defences of the surrounding landscape: hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. They also feature extensive water harvesting structures, largely still in use today.
Visiting them is a great introduction to the best of Rajasthan’s built heritage, and a memorable itinerary in itself.