13 June 2024

Junagarh Fort: Experience the monarchy of Bikaner, Rajasthan in India

Junagarh Fort is a fort within the town of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. The fort was originally referred to as Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh or “Old Fort” in the early twentieth century once the ruling family actuated to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits. it’s one of the few major forts in Rajasthan that isn’t designed on a hilltop. the trendy city of Bikaner has developed around the fort.

Junagarh fort incorporates a rectangular (quadrangular) layout with a peripheral length of 1,078 yards (986 m). The fort walls are 14.5 feet (4.4 m) wide and forty feet (12 m) in height. It encompasses a part of 63,119 sq. yards (5.28 ha). it had been encircled by a trench that was 20–25 feet (6.1–7.6 m) deep with a base breadth of fifteen feet (4.6 m) and prime width of thirty feet (9.1 m). However, the moat now not exists.

The fort complex was designed under the supervision of Karan Chand, the Prime Minister of Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled from 1571 to 1611 AD. The construction of the walls and associated fossa began in 1589 and was completed in 1594. The 5.28-hectare sprawling fort city district is decorated with palaces, temples, and pavilions. These buildings reflect a holistic culture, manifested within a mix of architectural styles.

History:
  • Formation of Bikaner city: Bikaner city was founded by Rao Bika in 1472. Rao Bika was the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor dynasty who was the founder of the city of Jodhpur. Junagadh Fort was built in 1478 by Rao Bika after the establishment of Bikaner.
  • Raja Rai SinghJi (1571 to 1611): Raja Rai Singh Ji was the sixth ruler of Bikaner. During the Mughal Empire’s rule in the country, he accepted Mughal suzerainty and held the high rank of an army general in the court of Emperor Akbar and his son Emperor Jahangir. He built the Junagadh Fort on flat land with an average height of 760 feet (230 m). The formal foundation ceremony for the fort was persisted 17 Feb 1589 and also the fort was completed on 17-Jan-1594.
  • Karan Singh (1631 to 1639): Karan Singh was ruled from 1631 to 1639, under the suzerainty of the Mughals. He was also built the Karan Mahal palace. After Karan Singh, the rulers who ruled Bikaner added more stories to the Karan Mahal.
  • Anup Singh (1669 to 1698): Anoop Singh ruled Bikaner from 1669 to 1698 and built many palaces and janana quarters for women. He renovated the Karan Mahal with Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) and called it Anoop Mahal.
  • Gaj Singh (1746 to 1787): Gaj Singh ruled from 1746 to 1787 and renovated the Chandra Mahal (Chandra Mahal).
  • Surat Singh (1787 to 1828): Surat Singh ruled from 1787 to 1828 and he lavishly embellished the audience hall with glass and spirited paintwork.
  • Dungar Singh (1872 to 1887): Dungar Singh, who ruled from 1872 to 1887, designed the Badal Mahal (Mausam Mahal), hence, appears as a painting of falling rain and clouds.
  • Gagan Singh (1887 to 1943): Ganga Singh who ruled from 1887 to 1943 built the Ganga Niwas Palace, which has towers at the doorway patio. Ganga Niwas palace was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. Ganga Singh’s son Sadul Singh succeeded his father in 1943 however acceded to the Indian government in 1949. He died in 1950.
  • Junagarh Fort under British rule: British signed a pact in 1818 with the Maharajas of Bikaner and also the town came beneath the sovereignty of the British. The treaty was signed once the British intervened in the battle and place it down that was being fought between the rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur. At present 2 entrances of the Junagarh fort were damaged.
Tourist attraction:
  • Palaces:
    • Karan Mahal: It was constructed by Karan Singh in 1680 to mark his victory over the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It was a public audience hall. It is considered to be one of the most exquisite palaces built with gardens, showcasing the aesthetic sensibilities of the royalty of Rajasthan. It has stained glass windows and intricately carved balconies built in stone and wooden flute columns.
    • Phool Mahal: It is the oldest part of the palace and was engineered by King Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner, who dominated between 1571-1668.
    • Anup Mahal:  it’s a multi-story structure, that functioned because the body headquarters of the kingdom. it’s ornate picket ceilings with decorated mirrors, Italian tiles, and fine lattice windows and balconies. it’s additionally some gold foil paintings.
    • Chandra Mahal: it’s the foremost luxurious space within the palace, which homes gold-plated deities and paintings inlaid with precious stones.
    • Ganga Mahal: It was inbuilt in the twentieth century by Ganga Singh who dominated from 1887-1943. Ganga Mahal includes a giant room hall called the Ganga Singh hall that homes the Museum.
    • Badal Mahal: Badal Mahal is an element of the Anup Mahal extensions. it’s paintings of Shekhawati Dundlod chiefs paying respects to the maharajah of Bikaner in several kinds of turbans. The walls during this palace depict fresco paintings of the Hindu god Krishna and his consort Radha amidst the rain clouds.
    • Bikaneri Havelies: it’s set each inside and out of doors the fort within the Bikaner town by lanes also are of the distinctive style of architecture in home architecture.
Temples:
    • Har Mandir temple: It was the royal chapel – a non-public temple of the royalty. The royal family celebrated the Hindu pageant of Dussera and Gangaur here. the most deities idolized during this temple are the Hindu deities Hindu deity Narayan, a combined illustration of the god Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi.
    • Ratan Behari temple: it’s placed close to the Junagarh Fort, which was in-built in 1846 by the eighteenth ruler of Bikaner. it had been built in the Indo-Mughal style of architecture exploitation white marble. This temple is devoted to the Hindu god Krishna.
  • Fort Museum:

The depository within the fort was engineered by maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji in 1961. The museum consists of varied paintings, jewels, and different commemorations portraying the royal life the fort had once witnessed.

  • Gates:

The fort consists of seven gates. Out of these, there are 2 main gates – the Karan pole, the previous main gate of entry, and also the Suraj pole, the present min gate. The Suraj Pol is created of yellow sandstone. The Suraj pol faces eastwards, and once it receives the primary rays of the sun, the golden visage is a sight to see. At the mouth of this gate, there are two red stone statues of elephants in the midst of mahouts.

the opposite gates of the fort are Daulat pol (double gate), Chand pol, and Fateh Pol. The Daulat Pol has many imprints of the hands of all those ladies who committed Sati on the ceremony pyres of their husbands who died on battlefields. All the gates are ought to have the beautiful palace that they lead to.

Nitesh Kumar Singh

Technical content writer l Website developer

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