Metal-spiked entrance gate doors of Indian forts- a defensive feature!

The ancient forts of  India, particularly in UP, MP, Rajasthan and Maharashtra,  are popular tourist attractions today. They  not only bear testimony to India's past glory, the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the builders, but also the rise and fall of so many dynasties often accompanied by deaths, destruction and mayhem.  Almost every Indian state has forts, more so in the northern states  because of  threats posed by the Islamic rulers of NW of India

Since Maharashtra, Rajasthan and parts of  Madhya Pradesh were vulnerable to raids from NW.  sturdy forts built by the Moguls  - the Agra Fort and the Red Fort in Delhi, besides six fascinating hill forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer (clubbed under hill forts)  in the state of Rajasthan are  among the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. They are self-contained and are  known for their fine architecture, defensive features in and around them, ingenious  escape routes in case of emergency, provisions for survival in case of long siege by the invaders, etc. 

Besides, big forts there are  a large number of  hill forts, marine forts, and jungle forts  to safeguard the kingdom from  invasion by the enemies. With some  exceptions, many of them are in ruins due to lack of regular maintenance. They are under the custody of the ASI, the government agency that is working hard to maintain them as much as they could. though they  are damaged.  In this post I am dealing with the forts' main  doors., particularly entrance gate doors which are the most important parts of a fort. These huge doors are provided with metal spikes to discourage war elephants to attack them to break open. 

Centuries ago trained battle elephants were used by the rulers while on their war campaign. The elephants played the role of battering rams to attack  the massive doors of forts to break open them. In the process the injured elephants would run amuck and attack the soldiers standing behind. them. 

Being ingenious,  later to present battle elephants  directly ramming  big doors, they firmly fixed heavy doors with sharp metal spikes  called Anti-Elephant Spikes, to prevent  direct threat from elephants. The door would be tall and heavy, 12-16 feet high. The doors had spikes right on the top too, The elephant had to make a few attempts before breaking down the doors. If fixed with sharp  spikes, it is impossible for the elephants to attack the door without getting hurt. 

To prevent elephant death, in the past era as part of offensive  approach, the soldiers would keep a camel parallel to the spiked gate (to prevent injuries to elephants) and made the tuskers  ram the camel. This way they could open the massive gate, but at the loss of camels that acted as a armor or cushion. 

To retard the ramming elephants with big wooden logs, some forts had a wall in front of the gate. When the wall is demolished, the broken debris  and fragments on the ground making it rough near the gate and this may may reduce the ramming distance and the rubble would prevent elephants' forward movement.  With the advent of firearms and gunpowder, the use of battle elephants became obsolete in the later years. 

spiked door of  Kumbhalgarh Fort Rajasthan

 spiked door of  Kumbhalgarh Fort Rajasthan.

Above image: Spikes against elephants at the door of   Kumbhalgarh fortress, Rajasthan; 15th century fort by Rajah Rana Kumbha.

spiked doorway Golconda fort, India

Golconda Fort, Telangana.

Above image: Golconda (Golkonda) Fort in Hyderabad, a Fort built by Hindu Kakatiya dynasty. The thick iron gate and the protrusions on the door were to keep invaders away.....

Door with spikes, Jodhpur. Rajasthan.

Above image:  Door with spikes for defense against elephant attacks. 10th century. Jodhpur. Rajasthan. India

Spike door Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur. ,

metal spiked door, Taragarh Fort,Bundi, Rajasthan

metal spike studded door, Daulatabad,

metal spiked door, Daulatabad fort, 
Above images:  Daulatabad fort (formerly Devagiri fort; early 14th Century CE), 17km away from the city of Aurangabad. Maharashtra - spikes on gate to keep war elephants out.....

Shaniwar Wada kevin standage photography.
Above image: Shaniwar Wada (built in 1746), near Pune. metal spiked door way. Built by Maratha Peshwa, Maharashtra.  To prevent  discourage elephants charging the gates, each pane of the gate has 72 sharp twelve-inch steel spikes arranged in a 9 x 8 grid, at approximately the height of the forehead........

metal spiked massive Indian fort entrance gate door.

Above image: The gate in the old Indian fortress. On the gate there are metal spikes - protection from battle elephants against ramming to break open the door......