Not many are familiar with Jhansi as it is not a popular tourist destination. However, tourists going from Agra to Khajuraho generally take a fast train to Jhansi and then drive to Orcha and Khajuraho. Before embarking on the trip to Orcha and Khajuraho it is worth while to make a short stop here and take a tour of the Jhansi Fort.
The 17th century fort was built by Raja Bir Singh on top of a hill as an army stronghold. The Karak Bijli tank is within the fort. There is also a museum which has a collection of sculpture and provides an insight into the history of Bundelkhand.
The Jhansi Fort gained prominence in the 19th century where it played a major role during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The huge fort is built on a hilltop called Bangira. The fort was a residence of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, who fought the British East India Company during the 1857 War of Independence and attained martyrdom.
There are 10 gates giving access to the fort. Some of these are Khanderao Gate, Datia Darwaza, Unnao Gate, Jharna Gate, Laxmi Gate, Sagar Gate, Orcha Gate, Sainyar Gate and Chand gate. Notable sights in the fort are the Shiva temple, Ganesh temple at the entrance, and the Kadak Bijli cannon used in the uprising of 1857. The memorial board reminds one of the hair-raising feats of the Rani Lakshmibai in jumping on horseback from the fort. Nearby is the Rani Mahal, built in the later half of the 18th century where an archaeological museum has come up today.