|Location||Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, India|
|Area||102 ha (0.39 sq mi)|
|Built||10th Century CE|
|Designated||2013 (37th session)|
|Part of||Hill Forts of Rajasthan|
|Region||Asia and the Pacific|
|Buffer Zone||372 ha (1.44 sq mi)|
Ranthambore Fort lies within the Ranthambore National Park, near the town of Sawai Madhopur, the park being the former hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur until the time of India's Independence. It is a formidable fort having been a focal point of the historical developments of Rajasthan. The fort was held by the Chahamanas (Chauhans) until the 13th century, when the Delhi Sultanate captured it.
In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee, Ranthambore Fort, along with 5 other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
A widely held belief states that the fort was built in the reign of Sapaldaksha, in 944 CE. Another theory states that the fort was built during the reign of Jayant, in 1110 CE. According to Government of Rajasthan's Amber Development & Management Authority, it is likely that the construction started in the mid-10th century during the reign of Sapaldaksha, and continued a few centuries after that.
Its earlier name was Ranastambha or Ranastambhapura. It was associated with Jainism during the reign of Prithviraja I of Chahamana (Chauhan) dynasty in the 12th century. Siddhasenasuri, who lived in the 12th century has included this place in the list of holy Jain tirthas. In the Mughal period, a temple of Mallinatha was built in the fort.
After the defeat of Prithviraja III (Prithviraj Chauhan) in 1192 CE, the fort came under the control of the Muslim Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor. Prithviraja's son Govindaraja IV accepted the Ghurid suzerainty, and ruled Ranthambore as his vassal. His descendants made various attempts to become independent.
The Delhi Sultan Iltutmish captured Ranthambore in 1226, but the Chauhans recaptured it after his death in 1236. The armies of Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud, led by the future Sultan Balban, unsuccessfully besieged the fortress in 1248 and 1253, but captured from Jaitrasingh Chauhan in 1259. Shakti Dev succeeded Jaitrasingh in 1283, and recaptured Ranthambore and enlarged the kingdom. Sultan Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji briefly besieged the fort in 1290-91. In 1299, Hammiradeva sheltered Muhammad Shah, a rebel general of Sultan Ala ud din Khalji, and refused to turn him over to the Sultan. The Sultan besieged and conquered the fort in 1301.
During Rana Udai Singh I's reign (1468-1473) the fortress passed to the Hada Rajputs of Bundi. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat captured the fortress from 1532 to 1535. The Mughal Emperor Akbar captured the fortress in 1569.
The fortress passed to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence. The area surrounding the fortress became a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur state acceded to India in 1949, becoming part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.
Inside Ranthambore fort, there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath.