The biggest state in terms of area, Rajasthan, is situated in the North-Western side of India. It was ruled by the British, Rajputs, and Mughals before Independence. Owing to a rich history of diverse rulers, Rajasthan has a good number of Forts and Palaces. Jaigarh Fort has a history of 300 years attached to it. It plays a significant role in Indian history, which includes Rajput kingdoms to modern Indian history period. The significance of Jaigarh Fort lies in its historical and political importance. Situated at approximately 15 kilometers from Jaipur, Jaigarh Fort was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh in 1726. It is known to be built for the protection of Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort. It was built on the mountain hill of Arveli ranges at the height of 400 m. In the 10th century AD, Kacchawahas established their rule in Amer. Proper to this, Amer was known as “Thunder.” It has many specialties, such as the Jaivana cannon, which is claimed to be the biggest moveable cannon in the world. This cannon was just used once, which created the Jaivana cannon pond.
In addition to Junagarh Fort, Sawai Jai Singh II also established the cities of Jaipur and Jantar Mantar. Events of the late 20th century and the National Emergency period formed an important part of the history of Junagarh Fort. There are several stories, facts, and rumors attached to the Jaigarh Fort. One of the famous tales of Jaigarh Fort narrates the hiding of treasure by Man Singh, which he had captured from Afghanistan. Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort are ruled by the same royal family. In the late 16th century Jaipur’s king Man Singh’s sister Jodha bai was married to Akbar. Man Singh’s bravery impressed Akbar, due to which he was appointed as his trustworthy General. Man Singh I was one of the “Navratans’ ‘ of Akbar. Wherever Man Singh I was challenged by Akbar to a duel, Man Singh I would always emerge victoriously. Akbar then placed the responsibility of conquering Afghanistan on Man Singh I. He went to Afghanistan in 1581 and ultimately won the region. He came back home with a great loot of gold and other treasures. After a few years, a book named “Haft Tilismat-e-Ambe ” (which means treasure hidden In Jaipur) was published. The book put forward some of the severe issues. Many attempts were made by Mughals and later Britishers to excavate the treasure of Man Singh I, but all the attempts were in vain. The book mentions all the treasures hidden in seven water tanks, but no one verified their merit. This news also reached the politicians and some common people. During the Independence, Jaipur was ruled by Man Singh II, who was married to Gayatri Devi. After 28 years of Independence, The National Emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi.
In order to understand the incidents of Jaigarh Fort, it is crucial to understand the connection between Indira Gandhi and Gayatri Devi. Gayatri Devi was born to Maharaja Jitendra Narayan and Indira Devi of Cooch Behar kingdom of West Bengal. She was married to Man Singh II of Jaipur. Both Gayatri Devi and Indira Gandhi studied together at “Patha Bhavana,” which Rabindranath Tagore established, but the nature of their relationship was fragile. In 1962, Gayatri Devi fought Lok Sabha Elections from Jaipur against Sharda Devi of Congress and defeated Sharda Devi by a record margin. She fought using the ticket of C. Rajagopalachari from the Swatantra Party. Gayatri Devi was beginning to look like a powerful contender.
Along with political leadership, she also belonged to Royal Ancestry. The 26th Constitution Amendment in 1971 abolished Privy purses. The 26th Amendment removed privileges of Royal families and took strides to establish a Democratic and Egalitarian society. The landmark judgment was delivered in the Indira Gandhi regime. Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of Election Malpractice, and her candidature was declared null and void. Indira Gandhi was disqualified from holding public office for six years, and her election was also canceled. Simultaneously, Navnirman Andolan started in Gujarat. Also, in 1974, Fernandes led Railway strikes which halted operations of Railways for three weeks. Under these volatile situations, on 25th June 1975, National Emergency was imposed. Emergency provided unchecked powers to Indira Gandhi, which made hunting for treasures easier for her.
Along with many political leaders, journalists and critics, Gayatri Devi was also jailed. Sanjay Gandhi, too, was politically very active during the Emergency. On 10th June 1976, a raid by the Income Tax Department, police, and army was conducted on the premises. Amer Fort, built in 1592, and Jaigarh Fort, built in 1726, was secretly connected with a passage that was then discovered; hence, the digging took place at the Amer Fort. The Fort was destroyed during the raid, and a curfew was imposed near the fort area. The Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wrote a letter to his Indian counterpart, Indira Gandhi, on 11th August 1976 asking for half of the Jaigarh Fort’s treasure, if found. This was because there was no mention of the treasure during the partition, and according to an agreement of 1947, if in the future there’s a presence of treasure from 1945, then Pakistan will have its share, as India and Pakistan were one. The letter was reportedly leaked from the Pakistan side. The news of searching for a treasure by the Indian government spread in the world like a wildfire. In November 1976, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the search operation. She also denied any right of Pakistan on the treasure in a letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister. Indira Gandhi officially declared that India found only 230-kilo silver and no huge treasure as such was found in Jaigarh Fort.
There are various possible theories on the disappearance of the treasure. After the “search-stop” order from Indira Gandhi, the Jaipur-Delhi highway was closed down for regular traffic, and only military convoys were seen on the highway. The reason behind this sudden closing down never brimmed to the surface. Many people believe that the government found a treasure at Jaigarh Fort, which was brought to Delhi through military trucks. Some rumors also say that the treasure was moved to Switzerland with the help of the two airplanes. Another theory is that Jai Singh II found the treasure, and he spent it all on building the city of Jaipur. After Gayatri Devi came out of jail, she also chose to remain silent on the issue of the treasure. There are no pieces of evidence to prove all of these theories. What is known is that a discussion regarding the jewels of Jaigarh Fort took place between Indira Gandhi and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. There is a strong possibility that the Amer and Jaigarh Fort are fully guarding the treasure.