Junagarh Fort is situated in the arid region of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan which forms the city of Bikaner. This majestic fort is one of the most impressive fort complexes in India. Built by Raja Rai Singh in 1588 AD, the fort stands tall even today with a proud historical background. The fort of Junagarh is also one of the rare forts which were not built on a hilltop and remained unconquered throughout its history. The magnificence and grandeur of this fort is manifested through many of the palaces, courtyards, pavilions and balconies lying within its premises. Raja Rai Singhji was a great admirer and patron of arts and architecture. The knowledge he gained from his innumerable sojourns to several countries is evident and is reflected through carvings, paintings of the Junagarh Fort. To explore more about the Junagarh Fort, go through the following lines.
Junagarh Fort Bikaner
Location: Bikaner, Rajasthan
Built In: Between 1589 and 1594
Built By: Raja Rai Singh
Junagarh Fort Bikaner Rajasthan
History Of Junagarh Fort
In the city of Bikaner, prior to the construction of the present day Junagarh Fort an old stone fort existed. Rao Bika whom the city of Bikaner is named after, established the city in 1472 and six years later in 1478 he built the old fort. Around 100 years later, during the reign of Raja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, the city started to flourish. He accepted the suzerainty of the Mughals and served the Mughal Empire as an army general both during the reign of Akbar and his son Jahangir. He won half of the Mewar kingdom for the Mughal emperors which earned him many rewards. He was endowed with the jagirs (lands) of Gujarat and Burhanpur which generated handsome revenues. With this wealth, he built the Junagarh Fort on a plain land. The foundation ceremony for the new fort was held formally on the 17th of February, 1589 and the construction was over by 17th of January 1594.
- According to the historical evidences, even though the fort was subjected to frequent attacks it was never really captured, except a one-day occupation by Kamran Mirza, who was the second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur. He attacked the city of Bikaner in 1534, during the reign of Rao Jait Singh. Mughals were defeated in the battle by the brave Rathors and Kamran returned to Lahore.
- In the year 1818 ‘treaty of paramountcy’ was signed and Bikaner came under the suzerainty of the British Raj. After that the Maharajas of Bikaner invested huge sum on the renovation of the Junagarh Fort. During the 18th century, before the treaty was signed, the fort witnessed a conflict between rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur. However, the British troops subdued the battle. But during this attack by the Jodhpur army two of the entrances to the fort, one towards the east and the other to the west, underwent sever damages.
Architectural Layout Of Junagarh Fort
Fortified with high strong walls, the fort is encompassed by deep moats and 37 bastions, to protect the fort from invaders. Two of the gates namely, Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate makes serve as the entrance to the fort. The Junagarh Fort is also the home to a number of magnificent palaces. The fort has 37 palaces, temples and pavilions which are made in red sandstone. It also encompasses numerous public court buildings and intimate ‘zenanas’. The interiors of Junagarh Fort are endowed with exquisite Rajput paintings, elegant mirror-work and some of the finest lacquer-work.
The Junagrh Fort is now owned by the royal family which houses a museum that displays several of the antiquated treasures.
Best Time To Visit Junagarh Fort
The fort of Junagarh is in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan where the climatic conditions are extreme. During the summers, the temperature can rise up to 48°C. However, the climate becomes pleasant during the months of September to February and therefore is the best time to visit the fort. The fort remains open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
How To Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport to the city of Bikaner is Jodhpur which is around 256 km away.
- By Train: There are several regular trains available for Bikaner from Jaipur. There are overnight trains from Delhi and the city enjoys good railway connectivity to the city from all over the country.
- By Road: The city of Bikaner also enjoys great roadway connectivity from all other tourist destination of Rajasthan.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around Junagarh Fort
The old fort constitutes over 37 beautiful palaces and temples such as Anup Mahal. Ganga Niwas, Chini Burj, Chandra Mahal, Chetar Mahal, har Mandir, Phul Mahal (Flower Palace) which flaunt their rich and elegant architectural features belonging to the medieval period. Outside the walls, there are some splendid havelis which have somehow survived the test of time. There are some fine rural villages which also offer an insight into rural desert life and its traditions. Some of the major tourist attractions in the city are Lalgarh palace, Rampuria Street, Purana Bazaar and Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum.
The above lines provide a rich and detailed account of the Junagarh Fort pertaining to its history, architecture and also the accessibility of the fort from different regions of the country. Read and learn all about this magnificent monument.