The Ranthambhor fort is situated at the Sawai Madhopur district, 1578 feet above the sea level. The fort has an unrivalled historical past full of thrilling deeds of bravery and sacrifice. The rocky terrain around Ranthambhor is full of dense forests. Here the plateau breaks into lofty ranges their white summits sparkling in the sun, cragged but not peaked and preserving the characteristic formation though disunited from the mass. Here there are no less than seven distinct ranges through all of which the Banas has to force a passage to unite the Chambal.
The historic fort is 12.8 km from Sawai Madhopur which is 360 km from Delhi and 132 km from Jaipur. On each side of the ranges, narrow gorges of great depth add to the inaccessibility of the terrain. As one reaches above, the range becomes steeper and the steps only can lead to the upper portion. Four huge gates are thrown across this narrow ascent. The crest of the hill is nearly one mile in length and breadth and is encircled by a massive embattled wall, the numerous bastions and towers.
The height of the rampart varies and depends upon the situation of the top of the range. The hill on which the fort stands is one of the highest and rises principally by sheer precipices all around which in themselves constitute sufficient defense. Where the rise is less precipitous or mounts up in vertical tiers, strong walls with bastions at intervals are built; these walls wind up along the hillside here and there to connect the lower with higher levels.
The main gate of the fort called “Bada Darwaja” is a massive tall structure with projected balconies and is particularly formidable. A stairway rises from the ground level to this gate which is flanked on with sides by huge bastions. Ranthambhore is so strongly defended by nature and fortification that except on rare instances when the hillsides and walls were carried by escalade, the attempt to capture it was either abandoned or resort made to the tedious and time-consuming blockade.
According to Amirkhusraw the circumference of the fort was in 8 miles. The embattled rampart walls were unusually thick made of stone blocks. Bhairava, Dhikuli and Markati yantras were set on the fort-walls to shower big stones on the besiegers. It is said that there were five big deep tanks in the fort which were kept ready full of water, Whenever the fort was threatened the big holes provided in the bottom of these tanks suddenly opened as a result of which a violent torrent rushed out sweeping away the invading army gathered before the Nolakha gate.
The fort is approachable through a narrow and sinuous path and is not visible until the end of the valley is reached through a series of gateways. A visitor can go up to Misra Darra by car and forward by a jeep up to the steps leading to the main gate. Scattered about within the fort are temples, shrines, tombs, walled enclosures and courtyards. Notable among these are Ganesh temple, Laxminarayan temple, Brahma and Raghunath temple and the Jain temple.
There are two large sized rooms known as ‘Johara-Bhora’ which were used to store the grains. The mausoleum of Pir Sadruddin is built on the bank of Ranihar tank. Hamir mahal, Supari Mahal and Badal Mahal stand in a dilapidated condition. On the east side, there is ‘Gupta Ganga’ which flows underground. There are also many interesting things in the Ranthambhor fort which are magnificent.