When we talk about the beauty of Architectures one can’t miss out the Forts in Bikaner, Rajasthan and the one which is full of amazement is the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner. Junagarh Fort stands for Morals, culture, structure and is an epitome of the beauty in the state of Rajasthan and its tourism.
For all the Adventurous enthusiasts, Photography lovers and Architecture buffs the fort is an ideal structure. If we talk about the beauty of the fort, It is built with red and pink sandstones from the period 1587 to 1593. Junagarh Fort kept on reconstructing over time shaping itself as one of the beautiful architectural heritage of Bikaner city. Bikaner is one of the most beautiful cities in India, read about 13 best places to visit in Bikaner.
History of Junagarh Fort
Junagarh fort built in the city of Bikaner is one of the most invincible forts in the whole history. Junagarh Fort was built by Raja Rai Singhji, who was the Army General of the Mughal Emperor Akbar who ruled Bikaner from 1571 to 1612 AD. The fort was earlier named as “Chintamani” and later the old stone fort was renamed as Junagarh Fort during the period of the 20th century when the ruling family resided in Lalgarh Palace.
The idea of constructing the Old Stone Fort and its foundation was done by Rao Bika in 1478, the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha. The main purpose of this Junagarh Fort construction was to protect the old stone fort. It was during the reign of the 6th rule of Bikaner, Raja Rai Singh when the fortune of Bikaner started smiling and he completed the construction of the Fort successfully during the period of 17th February 1589 to 17th January 1594.
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Raja Rai Singh also held a very high rank in the Mughal dynasty which during that time was under the control of Akbar. He had a very good knowledge of art and architecture and hence his talent led him to the construction of the beautiful Junagarh Fort in the town of Bikaner. The fort was tried to be captured by many rulers but no one succeeded.
It was only Babar’s son Kamran Mirza who captured it for a day but soon lost his control over it. The fort has witnessed many wars and attacks by various rulers but still continued to maintain its intact structure and glorified architecture.
The Architecture of Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort is one of the finest pieces of architectural work in Bikaner city. It has a perfect blend of various architectural styles. The first half of the palace is built in a typical Rajput style with an inspiration from the Gujarati architecture. The second part of the palace has an influence of semi-western architecture and the final part of the palace is built of Rajput revivalist structures.
The fort spans across an area of 63119 square yards and has a rectangular structure stretching in length up to 1078 yards. The fort is intricately carved with beautiful balconies, gates, kiosks and has an amazing colour combination of red and gold sandstone. The fort consists of seven gates housing number of palaces and temples.
One of the beautiful structures of the Fort is Karan Pol which is built of yellow sandstone and offers a beholding sight when the golden sun rays are reflected in the gold sandstone. The two main gates of the palace are Karan Pol and Suraj Pol and both of them are constructed in gold sandstone and hold a beautiful vision. The interiors of the fort follow the traditional Rajasthani architecture and have a lavish decoration.
The fort has a total length of 986 meters and its walls breadth wise ranges from 4.4 meters to 12 meters. There is also a moat guarding the fort which is 6.1 to 7.6 meters in depth. Other important structures inside the fort are the collection of palaces in the southern side which are known as- Chandra Mahal, Phool Mahal, Karan Mahal, and Anup Mahal. The fort is a glorifying architectural beauty of the bygone era.
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Structures inside Junagarh Fort
The fort which is made of red sandstone and marble has made many subsequent additions and modifications by sixteen successive generations of Bikaner rulers.
The square-shaped walled fort is encircled with a 40-ft-high boundary wall and it once had a 30-ft-deep moat around it for protection. Every pavilion inside the fort contains splendid stone carving and architecture influenced by the Indo-Islamic style. Almost every ruler who lived in this fort added a new structure with unique architecture like:
Gates in Junagarh Fort
a) Surajpole: The main gate built in 1593 is known as Surajpole, which is made of yellow sandstone. Other gates, which are equally massive and richly decorated, are Karan, Daulat, Chad, and Fateh. The mouth of the gate is guarded by two statues of elephant built in red sandstone.
b) Daulat gate: There are 41 handprints of different women on the wall who sacrificed their lives on the death of their husbands in the war. The wives of various Bikaner kings committed sati after their husbands died.
Temples in Junagarh Fort
The fort houses many Hindu and Jain temples but the main temple inside the fort premises is the Har Narayan Temple which is also known as the royal temple and is the abode of Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Laxmi. Another important temple located nearby is the Ratan Behari Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.
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Palaces in Junagarh Fort
The fort houses different palace and all of them are equally beautiful as the architecture of the main Junagarh Fort. They are:-
a) Karan Mahal – It was established as the honor of victory by Karan Singh when he defeated Aurangzeb in 1680.
b) Phool Mahal – It was constructed by Raja Rai Singh which is the earliest structure inside the fort.
c) Chandra Mahal – It is the most beautiful and lavishly decorated palace.
d) Ganga Mahal – It is now a museum, once this palace was built by Raja Ganga Singh during the period of 20th century.
e) Badal Mahal – It is a wonderful dedication to art and architecture housing various beautiful paintings.
f) Bikaneri Havelis – These are another exemplary architectural works inside the premises of the fort.
Museum in Junagarh Fort
The fort also houses a museum which was constructed in 1961 by Maharaja Karni Singh. It has exclusive collections of jewelry, paintings, arm and ammunition from the royal era depicting their lifestyle.
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Places to Visit Around Junagarh Fort
There are many tourist attractions near Junagarh Fort which you will enjoy some of the best are mentioned below:
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is 4.2 Km away from Junagarh Fort which is home to a number of wild animals. Some of the famous attractions include wildfowls, deer, antelope, nilgai, chinkara, black buck, desert foxes, wild boars and many more.
The sanctuary also houses a shimmery lake which enhances the scenic beauty of the sanctuary and also gives the visitors a chance to observe various wild animals coming there to drink water.
You can avail the exciting ride of the camel safari at a distance of 14.7 km from Junagarh Fort. It ensures you a memorable trip which you will cherish forever. The ambiance is extremely funfilled with good hospitality and super tasty cuisines.
The evenings are enchanting with the traditional music and folklore performed by various local artists. The best part of this camp is the amazing desert safari ride!
Lalgarh Palace and Museum
Lalgarh Palace and Museum is located at a distance of 2.4 km from Junagarh Fort. The museum is built in Red sandstone with a fusion of British Mughal architecture and a royal hospitality. The guide will give you a tour of the hallways, public areas, and gorgeous 1930s indoor pool room. Many movies like “Khoobsurat” and some other Bollywood movies were shot there.
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How to reach Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort is in the heart of the city of Bikaner and can be accessed by all major Indian cities by Air, Rail, and Road.
Bikaner airport has recently opened in 2014. The airport is 13km away from the city. Currently, no flight arrives to or departs from the airport but the government is trying to start some flights soon. The nearest airport to Bikaner is Jodhpur. People can reach Jodhpur by air and then hire a cab to Bikaner to visit the Fort.
The two closest railway stations near Junagarh Fort are the Bikaner Junction and the Lalgarh Junction which has connected trains from various Indian cities. Junagarh fort is situated at only 1 km distance from Railway station and hence can be reached easily.
Various buses are available from the major cities to Rajasthan to Bikaner junction or you can also use a private car if you reside in the nearby areas.
Junagarh Fort Timings
Visiting Times: 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Opened all days of the week
Visiting Duration: 2 to 3 hours.
Junagarh Fort Entry Fee
Junagarh Fort fee is quite affordable to all individuals. The ticket for Indians is Rs. 50 per person, Rs. 300 per person for Foreigners, Rs. 30 per person for Indian students and Rs. 150 per person for foreigner students.
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Best Time to Visit Junagarh Fort
The best time to visit Junagarh Fort is during the winter season, due to the pleasant weather and the temperature during this time ranges from 13 to 31 degrees maximum. The summers are extremely hot with temperature soaring up to 43 degrees.
In Monsoon time from July to September are have temperatures ranging from 23 to 30 degrees which makes it uncomfortable to enjoy in summers. Monsoons are also not recommended as they are accompanied by regular rainfalls and thunderstorms causing road blockage and landslides. The monsoon season receives an average rainfall of 1000 to 1200 mm and the weather still continues to remain humid during that time.
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