Junagarh Fort Bikaner: The most colorful fort of Rajasthan

Junagarh Fort Bikaner
                                                
Junagarh Fort Bikaner
Often referred as Junagarh fort, Bikaner fort is one of the finest forts of Rajasthan. Situated in the center of the city, it is a massive structure with a series of art galleries, corridors courtyards displaying various artifacts related to history, culture of Bikaner. Exquisite gold work on the walls and pillars are the most impressive façade of the fort which is rarely depicted anywhere else in the country. With its series of palaces, courtyards and temples, Junagarh fort is certainly the key attraction of Bikaner.
Sur Mandar Jharokha at Junagarh Fort
                                      
Sur Mandar Jharokha at Junagarh Fort
Entrance fee and other instructions for travelers:

 

Jungarh Fort

Prachina Museum

Indian

30

20

Student/Children

20

10

Foreigners

200

100

Still Camera

20

20

Movie Camers

100

100

Colorful Corridors Junagarh Fort Bikaner
                                                   Colorful Corridors Junagarh Fort Bikaner

* Junagarh Fort is kept open for visitors from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Ticket window will close at 4:30 PM.
* unlike other archeological sites of India, Tourists are only allowed in groups of 10-15 accompanied by a guide. Independent entry without an authorized guide is not allowed.
* Luggage and pet dogs are not allowed in the palaces.
* Smoking and spitting inside palace is prohibited.
* Personal under intoxication of wine will not be given entrance.

Courtyard at Junagarh Fort Bikaner
                                          Courtyard at Junagarh Fort Bikaner
History of Bikaner fort (Junagarh Fort history):

* Rao Bikaji the son of Roa Jodhaji established the kingdom of Bikaner. He founded the city of Bikaner in 1488 AD. He constructed his fort at "RATTIGHATI" now known as "BIKAJI KE TEKARI" and brought the Heirlooms of the Rathore Dynasty from Jodhpur to Bikaner in lieu of his giving up the claim over the Jodhpur throne.

* Foundation of this magnificent and imposing fort was laid by Maharaja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner in 1589 AD. This fort has been the residence of 20 rulers of Bikaner till 1902 A.D. Many important Palaces were added to the original by the various rulers :-

* KARAN MAHAL :- Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji the 14th ruler (1745 to 1787 AD)
* ANUP MAHAL :- Built by Maharaja Surat Singhji the 17th ruler (1787 to 1828 AD)
* GAJ MANDIR :- Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji the 14* ruler (1745 to 1787 AD)
* PHUL MAHA :- Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji the 14th ruler (1745 to 1787 AD)
* CHHATAR MAHAL :- Built by Maharaja Dunger Singhji the 20th ruler (1872 to 1887 AD)

* Maharaja Anup Singhji the 10th ruler of Bikaner brought statues of various gods, and goddesses from the Deccan during his campaigns with Aurangzeb and also brought Sanskrit manuscripts and other valuable books.

 

* During the minority of Maharaja Ganga Singhji Ganga Niwas Durbar Hall was built by the Regency Council in 1896 A.D. The Vikram Vilas Durbar Hall was built by Maharaja Ganga Singhji in the year 1935. The silver Julbilee Durbar of Maharaja Ganga Singhji's reign was held in Ganga Niwas Durbar Hall in the year 1912 and Golden Jubilee Durbar of Maharaja Ganga reign was held in Vikram Vilas Durbar Hall in the year 1937.

* Maharaja Ganga Singhji continued to live at Junagarh Fort till 1902 at which time the Regency council commissioned Sir Samue Swinton Jacobs to construct the Lallgarh Palace. The widow of Maharaja Dunger Singhji Rajmata Mahrab Kanwarji continued to reside at Dalel Niwas till her demise on 19th November 1959.

* Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji the 23rd ruler, out of his benevolent nature created Maharaja Rai Singhji Trust in 1963 and donated the Junagarh fort to the trust. Since then the fort has beeen open to visitors from all over the world.

* Junagarh fort is one of the finest land laid forts. Although many battles have been fought over the centuries no enemy has been able to conquer the fort despite many attacks.
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King's Bedroom Junagarh Fort
                                         
King's Bedroom Junagarh Fort
It’s a big complex and will take at least 2-3 hours to watch everything that is on display inside the fort. For detailed understanding of art, history and culture, you should better hire a private guide. Bikaner is one of the well maintained fort of Rajasthan and indeed the most colorful fort of the state. It is adorned with beautiful tile work, walled paintings, intricate artwork on the walls and too much of golden work in some of the corridors which surprised me instantly.  A story goes behind the excessive gold work in the fort.
Gold Work at Karan Mahal at Bikaner fort
                                       
Gold Work at Karan Mahal at Bikaner fort
Evolution and development of the art of golden works in Anup mahal and Karan Mahal, Fort Bikaner

Maharaja Karan Singhji of Bikaner (1631-1669 A.D) was a great admirer and patron of indigenous art of exquisite nature. He was an outstanding general in the Mughal army and once when he was camping near Golkunda in Southern India. An Artist named Ali Raza asked for an audience with him and presented him with three exquisite pieces of art done with medium of Gold.

The first one was in Sonakin style a piece of white plaster on which delicate patterns in gold had been painted. The second was in Jangali:Sunthari style, again a piece of plaster with green back ground showing a blooming tree with petals, The green back ground standing out and shining as if it were studded with real emerald; and third piece in Manovat style a pillar on clay embossed on plaster and the entire work painted in gold which gave the impression as if the pillar was made of solid gold.
Golden Swing at Junagarh Fort Bikaner
                                  
Golden Swing at Junagarh Fort Bikaner
Ali Raza told maharaja karan singhji that his family originally belonged to Jaisalmer, from where due to famines, it had migrated to multan and later after many generations had settled in south India. The maharaja invited him and his family to Bikaner and granted him royal patronage and conferred the title of court artist on hum. This resulted the fabulous gold work in Karan Mahal and Anup Mahal at Fort, Bikaner.
 

This style of wall pillars and ceiling decoration caught on. Soon, more and more local craftsmen started working and earning in this medium and the rich people of Bikaner also patronized this style of craftsmen to decorate their havelies. As time went on, this art found other mediums for expression like paintings on camel hide, wood, goat skin and even on ostrich egg shells.
 

Following our guide, we passed through many art galleries and colorful corridors and Finally we reached to the last gallery which displays a vintage plane that catches everyone’s attention.
Haviland Plane Junagarh Fort Bikaner
Brief history of DH-9DE Haviland Plane

In recognition of the services rendered by the Bikaner state forces led by Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner during the 1st World war the British government presented him several war souvenirs amongst which were the shot down parts of the two DH-9DE haviland war planes. These war trophies were transported to Bikaner along with the Bikaner state forces by ship around 1920.
 

Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji of Bikaner was very keen to get the DH-9DE haviland trophy properly restored and around 1985 with the help of the local craftsmen one completed trophy was assembled from the decaying parts of these two war souvenirs. This was then put on display at vikram villas durban hall of the fort since the time of late Maharaja Karni Singhji.
 

After the demise of Maharaja Dr. Karni singhji all the artefacts loaned by him including this war souvenir became the property of the estate of late Maharaja Dr. Karni SinghJi of Bikaner and are on loan to the Maharaja of the executors of his estate for public viewing.
Pigeons at Bikaner Fort
                                           Pigeons at Bikaner Fort

Junagarh fort is not high lightened much in guide books of Rajasthan because it is not supported by any other major monument/attraction which can cause more tourist inflow in this part of Rajasthan but It certainly wins the title of “Most colorful” fort of Rajasthan in my travel memoirs.

ohh.. my favorite fort in

ohh.. my favorite fort in India

Very useful information,

Very useful information, thanks. Please tell me if it is open on Dassera day as I will be in Bikaner then. Thanks.

Yes it would be open on

Yes it would be open on Dassera...In fact I feel the whole town will be very vibrant during Dassera festival...

this is a very nice fort. i m

this is a very nice fort. i m very happy to see it

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