Discovering ATER FORT in Bhind, the ravines of Chambal

  • Know all about and see pictures of the not so known Ater Fort that is in the Chambal Ravines of MP’s Bhind district. 

I never knew that about this fort in the Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh. It is only 100 kms from Gwalior, which I extensively covered in 2020. Luckily, an old friend Neeraj visited and sent me pictures. That is what got me interested to compile this. So far, associated Bhind with Malharrao Holkar’s chhatri.  


I visited various sites and collected information, so all credits to them.


History of fort and Bhind

“Bhadavar was an ancient Bhadravarta kingdom in the Mahabharata period. Mahat Kantar (Hatakant) Vindhyatvi (Ater) and Vindhyakanan (Bhind) are its historical witnesses. The Bhadravarta kingdom was a prosperous republic in the Pandava period. In the Gopal Tapini Upanishad of Atharvad, Bhadravan is mentioned in Gopal’s favorite two bons which were on the banks of the Yamuna.” Source


The fort is on the banks of the river Chambal. Gharials, a family of crocodiles are found in the river. Area is quite desolate, not many visit. There is a fort caretaker though. Beware of snakes.


“Flanked by the beautiful Chambal, Kali and Sind rivers, the historical city of Bhind is known for many legendary monuments. The prime attraction is the Ater Fort, which was built during 1664-1698, by Bhadauria kings Badan Singh, Maha Singh and Bhakat Singh. The fort has been built inside the ravines of River Chambal and has many distinct parts that are worth a visit for e.g. Khooni Darwaza, which is the first and the main gate of the fort. The gate is called thus as in earlier times, criminals were thrown from the battlements above it to fall to certain death. Other attractions include a Ganesha temple.” Source


“Located at Ater, known earlier as Devagiri, the construction of the fort was started by the Bhadoria Chief, Badan Singh Judeo in A.D. 1644 and was completed by Mahsingh in 1668. It is a fort commanding strategic position. The fortification comprising 17 bastions at regular intervals and entered through a gate on the west is approached through three gates, with high walls on either side. In the residential building stands a lofty seven-storied tower. On the north and south of the upper storied are pavilions with projected balconies and spacious terraces in front.” ASI site

 “Inside the pavilion, there are paintings on the walls depicting the royal couples. Cool breeze flows from the Chambal through the jharokhas. Large terrace spreads out in front overlooking the courtyard.  This is the best part of the fort to spend some time with yourself. The pavilions outside have inscriptions dated 1765 and1776 with the names of Scindia Rulers who later ruled Ater - Mahadji,  Daulat Rao, Jiwaji Rao and Madhav Rao. 


This region called Badhwar has a strategic location where five rivers including Chambal and Yamuna meet. King Badan Singh started the construction of Ater Fort in 1644 and King Maha Singh completed it in 1668. Badan Singh also built the Bateshwar Temples on river Yamuna in Agra District. In addition to Ater Fort, the Bhadorias also built forts at Nawgaon, Pinahat and Hatkant. At their peak the Bhadorias had a kingdom extending from Gwalior in South, to Dholpur in West and Mathura and Kanpur in East. The Scindia rulers captured the fort in 18th century.” Source o/s blog


The fort measures 700 feet from east to west and 325 feet from north to south.


Now see pictures.

About Ater Fort. Pic Neeraj Jain.

Aerial view of fort. Courtesy  

Outside fort wall. Pic Neeraj Jain.

Entrance, King’s Throne. Courtesy 

Inside fort. Tall structure is watch tower or Satmanjila. Pic Neeraj Jain.

Inside fort. Courtesy  

View from Satmanjila. Courtesy

King's Throne. Courtesy

Mural motif in north pavilion. Courtesy 


How to reach

Bhind is 75 kms from Gwalior i.e. well connected by train and road. You get buses from Bhind to Ater Fort 35 kms but suggest you hire a car from Bhind or Gwalior. It is about 53 kms from Etawah, Uttar Pradesh. Best to do a day trip from Gwalior.


There is a lot to discover in Chambal. Sharing some albums – In Morena Mitawali temple, Padawali Temple and Bateshwar Temples. Chambal River Safari can be taken from Agra or Dholpur and Dholpur is a way to enter Chambal Ravines


Also read

1. A very good travelogue on Ater Fort

2. Travelogue on Ater Fort

3. To see video of fort 5.5 minutes

4. Gwalior Fort album

5. Garhkundar Fort, 55kms from Jhansi is worth a visit  

6. MP Tourism site on Ater Fort

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