Located around 47 km from Mandvi, 51 km from the district of Bhuj, and about 127 km from the famous Rann Of Kutch in Gujarat, Roha is an offbeat destination sure to be a hit with history lovers and hikers. The fort stands at 800 feet above sea level on Roha Hill and overlooks the vast Roha town encircling it.
The famous Gujarati poet Kalapi is believed to have spent a lot of time on this hill, penning many of his romantic verses. The serene and calm atmosphere of the place influenced the poet.
Built during the 1550s, the fort complex was built in phases and came up over several decades under the various descendants of the rulers of the Roha jagir. The ‘jagirdar’ or ruler of the place Rao Khengarji–I established the town and his brother Sahebji then took over. There were once 52 villages under this fort. Covering an area of 16 acres, Roha also goes by the nickname of ‘Sumari Roha’, after the princesses from the Sumara state who took samadhi here after being defeated by Allauddin Khilji.
It was his successor and grandson Thakore Noganji who built the fort with baked bricks and stones. The fort complex is replete with a temple, living palaces for the king and his queens and even a separate jailhouse for anyone violating the law in the jagir.
An architetectural marvel, the fort complex has a number of jaw-dropping sites and every corner is intricately carved and ornamented. The structure reveals that the palaces of the king and his queens were connected by a long, raised passage which was completely covered in detailed wooden jaali work. The lace-like carved walls allowed those within to have a clear view of the outside but no one from the outside could see in.
History has it that during those days, Roha was considered to be one of the wealthiest provinces in Gujarat. Even during British raj, Roha was so affluent that the reigning family had the power to maintain their own laws and keep the jail. During the period, several changes were also made to the structure, and renovation was carried out in spurts.
Today, it is a popular offbeat destination for anyone interested in history. Nature seems to have pulled a blanket over this 500-year-old fort. Curious travellers can feast their eyes on the fine architecture of the palaces, visit the temple, and soak in history of the once resplendent and affluent province that Roha was.
Winter is the best time to visit the place and enjoy the surroundings. Drive down from Bhuj or Mandvi for a day trip.