Junagarh Fort Bikaner, Entry Timings of Junagarh Fort, Entry Fees (Ticket), History, Guide, Architecture, Interesting Facts, Official Contact of Junagarh Fort, Things to See, How to Reach Junagarh Fort, Best time to Visit Junagarh Fort.
About Junagarh Fort
The Junagarh Fort of Bikaner is a magnificent structure around which the city of Bikaner grew up. The fort was initially called Chintamani and was then renamed as the Junagarh or Old fort in the 20th century. The foundations of the Junagarh fort was built in 1478 by Rao Bika. However, it existed just as a stone fort then. The present grand structure was inaugurated on 17th February 1589. Besides having a rich history, the Junagarh Fort is a feat of architecture. The palaces inside the fort, the gardens, balconies, kiosks, etc. depict a composite architectural style which is influenced by the cultural differences of the different rulers and also foreign inspirations. The impressive Junagarh Fort stands with all its regal glory as an epitome of architectural brilliance. The dazzling and exquisite structures of this fort attract thousands of tourists from all over every year.
The earliest smear of the architecture of the Junagarh Fort is that of the traditional Rajput style influenced by the alliance of the Gujarati association with the Mughals. Next, the architecture reflected semi-western influence and lastly the revivalist Rajput structures built mainly during the rule of Maharaja Ganga Singh. The unique monuments which are on display in the fort represent 16 generations of rulers in Bikaner starting from the late 16th century. Junagadh is an ancient fortified city with a chequered past and has an eclectic mix of mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, Gothic archways, and beautiful mansions.
The erstwhile Princely state of Bikaner and its capital city Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika (1465-1504 AD.) by the blessings of Goddess Karni Mata in the year 1488 AD. In those days this vast tract of desert country was called “Jangaldesh”. Prince Bika of the Rathore clan of Rajputs was the valiant son of Rao Jodha- the founder of Jodhpur. Encouraged and provoked by his father, Prince Bika moved out of Marwar (Jodhpur) on an ambitious military adventure, with a small contingent of Rathore warriors (500 soldier and 100 cavalry men). He was supported by his brave uncle, Rawat Kandhal, who always stood by him as his guardian and politico-strategic advisor. Those were the days when this land was inhabited by different clans of Jats and Rajputs and their Chiefs enjoyed fairly good amount of autonomy, of course some of them owing their allegiance to the Sultanate of Delhi. Rao Bika subdued all the contemporary Chiefs and was recognized as the ruler of the land. He laid the foundations of a State that existed till it acceded and merged into the Indian Union in 1947 and 1949.
Rao Bika laid the foundation of the city of Bikaner in 1488 AD, having first constructed a small fortress in the Rati Ghati area. Today this site is situated at the south west end of the old walled city near Laxminath Ji temple. The royal family of Bikaner lived there, till Raja Rai Singh Ji built a new fort called Chintamani (now Junagarh) during 1589 to 1593 AD. The rulers of Bikaner had played a prominent and glorious role in the history of India. They held high ranks as Mansabdars of special order or Governors in the court of the Imperial Mughals.
Construction of Junagarh Fort
The first dig ceremony for construction of the fort was held on Thursday, Phagun Vadi 19, V.S. 1645 i.e. 30th January, 1589 AD. The foundation was laid on Monday, Phugan Sudi 12 V.S. 1645 i.e. 17th February, 1589 A.D. and it was completed on Thursday Magh Sudi 6 V.S. 1650 i.e. 17th January 1594 AD. Later on this fort became the most magnificent example of architecture and great centre of art. The present fort is a composite structure, the result of intense building activities of many rulers through four centuries and one of the precious gems of Indian architecture in the midst of Thar Desert.
Architecture of Junagarh Fort
The Junagarh Fort has a quadrangular perimeter of 1078 yards fortified by 14.50 wide and 40 feet high strong wall. It has 37 bastions (Burj) and two entrances- the Karan Parole facing east, and Chand Parole facing west. The Karan Parole is protected by four gates and Chand Parole by double gates. The gates are fastened with iron gratings, spiky and sharp pointed, which, in olden times, were meant as a stumbling block for the enemy elephants. The total area of fort is 1,63,119 sq. yards. It has 20-25 feet deep moat which is 15 feet wide at the base and 30 feet broad at the top.
The Junagarh Fort is one of the finest and strongest land laid forts in the plains. In the absence of other natural strong forts, the fort was built in the sandy plains with suitable defensive barriers and barricades.
The Junagarh Fort is the result of building activities of sixteen successive generations of the rulers of Bikaner, beginning from the end of the sixteenth century. As a consequence, it contains antique monuments and excellent objects of art, such as the symbolic hands of ‘sati’s’, seven historic Parole (gates), nine attractive temples, little shrines of various deities, four deep wells, three beautiful gardens, post medieval stables and barracks, an old Jail, and armory stones in the ground floor. The most notable are the old palaces, with their porches and pillars, gates and doors, galleries and corridors that were added from time to time. Though they conglomerate and heap up, but fully decorated, they reflect a perfect taste of successive rulers who built them. The red sandstones of which the old palaces are built were brought from Khari and Dulmera quarries, which were discovered in time of Raja Karan Singh. The number of old palaces in the second storey are fifteen; in the third are eight; in the fourth are eleven; and in the fifth are five. Belonging to different periods, pertaining to history, the old palaces resuscitate the events and glories of Bikaner.
Interesting Facts About the Junagarh Fort, Bikaner
- This is one of the most talked-about forts in the history of the world as this fort could never ever be conquered even after constant attack.
- This fort is built on the plain land unlike the other forts that are mostly built on the hilly terrain to keep watch over the surrounding.
- This fort houses the best collection of Armory belonging to the middle ages.
Attractions Inside Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort – Gates
There are seven gates in the fort of which two were main entrances. Karan Pol was entrance from the east while Suraj Pol from west.
Karan Pol faces east and is used as an entrance into the fort. Tourists have to cross the gate and through the second gate they can enter the fort. Karan Pol has been built with red sandstone. Karan Pol has iron spikes in order to protect the gate from the attack of elephants.
Suraj Pol is situated on the western side of the fort and is the other main gate to enter the fort. The gate is made up of yellow sandstone which shines like gold when sun’s rays fall on it. The gate has iron spikes that were used to save the gate from elephant attack. There are statues of two elephants with mahouts sitting on them at the entrance. The gate was also used to make announcement of the arrival and departure of royal people.
Daulat Pol is situated to the right of Karan Pol. Tourists can find 41 hand imprints on the wall of the gate. These hand imprints belongs to the wives of various Rajput rulers who committed sati after the death of their husbands. These imprints are in red colour.
After crossing the main gate and the palace, tourists can reach Tripolia Pol or triple gate. This gate is the access to the royal chambers. Nearby the gate is the Har Mandir where the royal people used to worship. Chand Pol and Fateh Pol are the two other gates in the fort.
Junagarh Fort – Temples
There are many temples in the fort that are related to Hindu and Jain religions. The temples were built in 16th century by Rajput rulers.
Har Mandir was a temple where royal people came to worship. They used to celebrate the festivals of Dussehra and Gangaur here. During the festival of Dussehra, the royal people used to worship weapons and horses. The deity worshipped in this temple was Lakshmi Narayan which is the combination of Lord Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi. Besides these, birthdays and marriage functions of the royal family were also arranged and celebrated here.
Ratan Behari Temple
The temple is also known as Krishna temple and was mainly used to worship Lord Krishna. The temple was built by the 18th ruler of Bikaner in 1846. The temple was built on the basis of Indo-Mughal architecture and white marble was used to build it.
Gaj Mandir is a beautiful temple whose walls are beautifully decorated. There are carvings on the walls along with impressive designs. The panels of the temple are also very beautiful. Gaj Mandir was built by Maharaja Gaj Singhand he lived here with his wives Phul Kanwar and Chand Kanwar.
Junagarh Fort – Palaces
Bikaner was ruled by many Rajput rulers and they built many monuments inside the Junagarh fort. Each king either built his palace or separate room in a palace as none of them wanted to use the room of his predecessor. That’s the reason many palaces have been built.
Karan Singh built the Karan Mahal in 1680 to celebrate his victory over Aurungzeb, the Mughal Emperor. The palace consists of beautiful gardens, carved balconies, and glass windows. Polychrome glass and pattern of mirrors were added to the palace by Surat Singh and Anup Singh. They also painted the palace with red and golden colour.
Raja Rai Singh built the phool mahal and it is considered as the oldest part of the fort. The palace is decorated with flower vases, rose water sprinklers, and motifs. The walls of the palace consists of glass and stucco work.
Anup Mahal is considered as a grandest construction of Junagarh Fort. It was built by Anup Singh. The palace was previously called Karan Mahal but Anup Singh added many rooms along with wooden ceilings having inlaid mirrors. The palace also had Italian tiles and lattice windows and balconies along with gold leaf paintings on the walls.
Chandra Mahal is considered as one of the most luxurious palace of Junagarh Fort as the palace consists of gold plated deities. The palace also has paintings which have precious stones. The bedroom was built in such a way that the king would be able to see any intruder coming inside and this was done with the help of mirrors that have been placed inside the room in a well-planned way.
Ganga Singh built the Ganga Mahal in 20th century. There is a museum inside the palace known as Ganga Singh Hall which was used as durbar hall during the reign of Ganga Singh. The museum includes weapons used during the times of Rajputs and an aeroplane used during World War I.
Badal Mahal is an extension of Anup Mahal and consists of paintings of Shekhawati Dundlod Chiefs who were respecting the king of Bikaner. The king is shown as wearing a long turban. There are some paintings to show faith and these include paintings of people who are standing on saws, nails, and swords. The walls has the paintings of Lord Krishna and Radha who are sitting between the clouds.
Located in the Junagarh fort complex, Prachina Museum was founded in the year 2000. The museum has a wonderful collection of jewelry, carpets, arms, weapons, arms, portraits, textiles, rare manuscripts, costumes, textiles, ‘Farmans’, decorative objects and treaties belonging to the royal family.
The museum has a separate section for Poshaks or costumers. It houses a rich collection of costumes, which are a wonderful display of workmanship of the artisans, with work like Zardozi, Badala and Kalabhut.
The museum has Mandir Gallery too with handmade poshak clothes, jewelry and mukuts (crowns) worn by the resident Goddess or the Kul Devi of the royal family. The portrait gallery has a number of black and white portraits of men and women in traditional costumes, miniature paintings as well as group photos of significant events.
Open Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
- Audio Tour in French, German and English
- Free local English speaking Guide
- Car Parking
- Emergency Power Backup
- Emergency medication
- Still Camera and video Camera photography permission(payable) can be availed from Museum Ticket counter (Photography is restricted in certain areas of the Fort)
Museum Entrance Tariff –
Indian : Rs 50
Indian ( Student Concession ) : Rs.30
Foreigner : Rs.300
Foreigner ( Student Concession ) : Rs.150
Audio Tour : Rs.350
Audio Tour ( Student Concession ) : Rs.200
Video Camera : Rs.150
Phool Mahal and Chander Mahal : Rs.100
Do’s and Don’t
- Visitors are generally allowed to use cameras with flash, and personal video recorders except in exhibits and galleries where signs are posted prohibiting the use of cameras, flash photography, and video recorders.
- No food, drinks, or diaper changing allowed on the exhibition floors.
- Facilities are located in the Main Floor Washrooms. Visitor Services Staff will help you access the second floor First Aid Room if you require a more private facility.
- Cooperate with security staff for necessary security check-up.
- Take a look at the historic pieces of art and paintings that are displayed at the museum.
- Visit the armoury section which houses the widest collections of weapons from the medieval age.
- Take a look at the silver carriages and the carts that the royals of Rajasthan used while travelling from one place to another.
- Wonder at the incredible zari work on the royal clothes.
- Click photographs outside the museum while posing in the gorgeous Rajasthani clothes at a nominal charge.
For Information contact
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner 334001
Tel: 91 – 151 – 2202297
E-mail : email@example.com
- Wear comfortable shoes as you will have to walk a lot.
- Do not forget to carry sufficient water because mineral water is not sufficient on the premises. Moreover, you will have to buy it at double the original price.
- You are not allowed to use a still camera or a video camera without a camera ticket. You can buy the same from the ticket counter itself.
- There are some regions within the fort where flash photography or even non-flash photography is prohibited. So, you need to keep your eyes open in order to look out for the signs so that you do not have to pay a fine on getting caught by the security guards.
Availability of Guides
Guides are available at the fort premises instructing in Hindi and English. The museum provides the Audio Tour facility at a nominal charge in French, German and English.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit Junagarh Fort and Bikaner is from October to March. December and January are very cold but still tourists can enjoy visiting the place. The period from April to September is hot and humid and unpleasant weather will not let the visitors enjoy visiting.
How to Reach
Bikaner airport is recently opened in 2014. The airport is 13km away from the city. Currently no flight arrives to or depart 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 from there they can reach Bikaner by train or by taxi.
Bikaner is connected to many cities by train as many long and short-distance trains start from Bikaner or go to other cities via Bikaner. No Rajdhani, Shatabdi, or Garib Rath trains run from the city but superfast trains and fast mail and express trains connects Bikaner to various cities. Bikaner is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer etc. by rail transport.
Bikaner is well-connected to different cities via road transport. Tourists can either book a taxi or catch state-owned or private buses to go to nearby cities from Bikaner. Tourists can get direct buses to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Jaisalmer, and many other cities.
Bikaner is a very popular place to visit and tourists can either hire a taxi or take an auto-rickshaw to visit different places of the city. Due to sand dunes some roads are blocked often so tourists can hire a bicycle from railway station to roam around the city.