Arki Fort And Palace
At a distance of 38 km from Shimla, Arki is a small town situated at 4100 ft above sea level in the Solan district. Arki Fort is one of the famous historical sites near Shimla.
Arki was the former capital of the ancient hill-state of Baghal, which was founded by Raja Ajai Dev, a Panwar Rajput during 1660-65 AD. The state was founded around 1643 and Arki was declared its capital by Rana Sabha Chand in 1650. The Arki Fort was built between 1800 and 1805 by Rana Prithvi Singh, a descendent of Sabha Chand. The fort was captured by the Gurkhas in 1806. Rana Jagat Singh, the ruler of Baghal had to take refuge in Nalagarh. The Gurkha General Amar Singh Thapa made use of Arki to further the advances in Himachal Pradesh, from 1806 to 1815. Rana Jagat Singh got back the control of Arki afterwards.
The fort offers both the historical legends and artistic creations to the tourists. Rana Shiv Sharan Singh laid down the foundation of the famous Diwankhana of the Arki Fort Palace in the year 1830. It is situated on the upper floor of the two storey Palace. It presents a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles and shows heavy influence of Rajasthan. In 1850, Raja Kishen Chand added the stunning frescoes and murals done in the 'Pahari School' of miniature paintings. These frescoes are supposed to be the most precise record of the contemporary lifestyle in the nearby hills of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Thematic contrasts and a balance of colors, forms and designs can be seen all around.
Arki fort is now in ruins and is the private property belonging to descendants of the erstwhile ruler Raja Rajendra Singh. A part of the fort which is still in good condition has been converted into a heritage resort and its well-maintained rooms reflect its royal grandeur and splendor. Another part of the Arki Fort is being used as residence by the royal family, while some of it has been lent to Home Guards.
There are many temples in Arki that attract tourists from all parts of the country. Among them, Durga Temple, Lutru Mahadev Temple and Shakhni Mahadev Temple are the most prominent.