Last and the only day in Bikaner or if more precisely i say i had only some hours to explore Bikaner. Though it was quite easy as only some 2-3 places were to be seen and in which first one was Junagarh Fort of Bikaner.
I was going to visit one of the major fort of Rajasthan which was unique in itself as it was not built on a hill top like other forts of Rajasthan, had passed the Junagarh fort when arrived in Bikaner the previous night but this time it was time to enter it.
Same procedure followed here , ticket for me and my camera but here guide was free from the fort , but they take people inside in groups and one guide with a group , it was nice.
Majestic view of Junagarh fort before entering to buy the ticket.
The fort was originally called Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh fort or “Old Fort” in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to “Lalgarh Palace” outside the fort limits. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop. The modern city of Bikaner has developed around the fort.
Before entering the main premises of the Junagarh fort area we had to gather at a specific point just in front of this lovely view of fort. This view had already marked its impressions on my heart and camera and i was dying to go inside but it was going to take some time as some 30 people were to come to make a group. Generally groups are of only some 10 people but due to heavy footfall because of visitors going for Ram Devra Mela in Jaisalmer , who had given me company in all the destinations on this Rajasthan tour.
Junagarh Fort is primarily build of Red sand stone , and the mines of Red sand stone are owned by Royal Family of Bikaner though they are closed now , just to keep them safe and intact and whenever there is any repair needed in Junagarh Fort , Lalgarh Palace or Laxmi Niwas palace , Red Sand Stone is brought from there and they get the matching right.
This courtyard is an exception in Junagarh Fort , built of Italian white Marble brought from Italy in the 16th century. Wow.
Courtyard connecting palace on 1st floor of the fort , though i found it quite abrupt as one wall of the courtyard was partialy made of Red sand stone. This palace was in itself a rarety , built of Italian White marble and the tiles having the designs of Camel herds , elephants and boats were brought from England. Suddenly one thought was coming in my mind , ” Were they aware of the word Globalisation ? “.
On my Jaipur trip i had seen the biggest cannon “Jaivana” placed on Jaigarh Fort of Jaipur , but this time i was watching the blend of small and big together. On one side was the longest gun used in the battles that placed inside the holes of walls of the forts and on another side was this smallest of cannon which was placed on a frame and which was placed on the back of a Camel to allow them to reach to the nearest to target. Though these were not the patented things of Bikaner.
Our guide was very boastfully saying this that “Historical records reveal that despite the repeated attacks by enemies to capture the Junagarh fort, it was not taken, except for a lone one-day occupation by Kamran Mirza (second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur) who attacked Bikaner in 1534, which was then ruled by Rao Jait Singh. In the battle, the Mughals were defeated by Rathors.
Junagarh Fort is said to be the most well maintained fort of India , after Mysore Fort of Tipu Sultan. I had not seen the Mysore Fort but i would say for me till now Junagarh Fort is the most well maintaned fort i have visited.
Leaving aside its grand structure , its carving on Red sand stone and the use of Italian White Marble and imported England tiles , the designs made on the roofs of the Darbar hall were something very unique.
Apricot wood boards were glued to the roof and then the designs were carved on them , it was some thing which i was watching for first time , had never heard before that Apricot wood is also used for decoration purpose or in furniture.
This fort covers some 5.28 hectares area , though whole complex is not open for public but still it took me some 3 hrs to cover the portion open for visitors , thanks to the detailed narration by the official guide of the Junagarh fort. Now it was time to move ahead and reach my next destination Laxmi Niwas Palace.