Junagarh Fort Fast facts
Built- Karan Chand under Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner
Built in- (1589- 1594)
Known as- The Unconquered Fort
Highlight- Magnificent palaces, Gujarati and Mughal architectural design and heritage museum
Open- The fort is open on all days of the week
Visiting hours- 10.00 am to 04.30 pm
Entry fee- Rs 100
Charges for camera- Rs 30
Charges for video- Rs 100
Junagarh Fort stands unconquered not only in the annals of history but also in terms of impressive architectural style that has stood the test of time. Tourists visiting this fort are transported to a bygone era that is as alive and fresh as the as makers of the beautiful monument always intended it to be. A marvel in the arid and dry landscape this monument enamors visitors with its regal feeling that is visible in ornately decorated palaces complete with carved stone marble paintings and inlaid patterns that resonates the spirit of the bygone era to the strong fortified courtyard that stands a memorial of the invincibility of the monument. It is an experience that is sure to live in lasting memory.
History- The construction of the fort was started in 1589 by Karan Chand under Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner. Another peculiarity is that this is one of the few forts not be constructed on hilltop. Built in one of the most arid regions of Thar Desert and bordering the Aravali ranges the monument took six long years to complete. However like most forts in the region various extention works was completed in the following centuries. The Junagarh fort was built without compromising on grandiosity with the sole intention of outlasting time. The fort is known for its 37 palaces and the family temple. Historical records also state that this fort remained unconquered never being under siege by the enemy. The only exception to this being the one day long occupation of the fort by Kamran Mirza who attacked Bikaner in 1534.
Junagarh Fort Attractions- As mentioned the Junagarh Fort is known for 37 palaces and the family temple dedicated to Laxmi Narayan that is the combined representation of Lord Vishnu and Laxmi. The prominent and must see places in the fort include
Haveli of Bikaner
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Karan Mahal- This is one of the first monument and at the same second oldest Rajputana monument in the city of Bikaner. Commissioned by Maharaja Karan Singhji this monument was built in memory of his father Maharaja Anup Singhji. The architecture of the monument stands out as a testament of the significant influence that the Mughal style of building had on the Rajputanas. The wooden ceiling resting on a board cornice the cusped arches pillars with intricate designs bears a distinctive resemblance to the architectural pattern that was followed during the time of Emperor Aurangzeb. The hall was used as hall of public audience and the silver throne red and orange cushion is the attractive point of this room. Modeled on the Diwani-i- khas this monument is an eloquent example of the economic architecture which is characteristic of classic art.
Phool Mahal- the Phool Mahal the oldest part of the palace is embellished with intricate floor paintings that cover both the ceilings and columns of the rooms. A product of stucco and glass inlay work, these delicate impressions bears a distinctive resemblance to the Jahangirian style of decoration that is part of many Mughal monuments.
Anup Mahal- The hall of the Privy Council or the hall of private audience as it is called is a stunning example of gold vermillion varnished work. The rich motif is rendered a glorified a splendor that is caressed even further with strong and dominating shades of green, blue and violet and also embellished with mirrors and glass mosaics. The columns of the room are embellished with leaf work and portray the multiplication of leaves and trees that is distinctive of golden inlaid forests. The glass mosaics depict the scene of the Ramayana. The room also has the rulerís throne. Old and antique carpets made in Indian Bikaner jail adorn the floor. Apart from that the mall was used for private hall and entertaining guests.
Chandra Mahal- Chandra Mahal is one of the most luxurious rooms in the palace. This room is also embellished with inlaid paintings and precious stones and also houses gold plated deities. In the royal bedroom there were mirrors at strategic position to warn the king of any intruder who entered the royal quarters.
Ganga Mahal- One of the later additions to the fort the Ganga Mahal was built in the 20th century by Ganga Singh. This large hall today known as the Ganga Singh hall serves as a museum. The museum has on exhibit war weaponry and a biplane dating that is perfect state of preservation even today.
Badal Mahal- This is an extention to the Anup Mahal. The central attraction of this place is the painting of Shekawati Dundlod paying respects to the Maharaja of Bikaner. There are also photos of people standing on nails, woods, swords and saws in what can be best described as an endurance of faith. There are also frescos of the Lord Krishna and Radha.
Bikaner Havelis- Located in the outside as well as the inside of Bikaner forts these havelis are known for their unique architectural style and at the same time can well be called the pride of Bikaner.
Laxmi Narayan Temple- The family temple dedicated to Laxmi Narayan that is the combined representation of Lord Vishnu and Laxmi is the main temple of the palace. The Ratan Bihari temple located near Bikaner fort was built by the ruler in the 18th century. Built in fine white marble in indo Mughal architecture the temple is dedicated to the Lord Krishna.