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Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

Junagarh Fort Overview

This 96 metre fort with two entrances was built in 15th century by one of the most able and trusted generals of Akbar, Raja Rai Singh. The Suraj Pol, or Sun Gate, is the main entrance to the fort. The distinctive feature of this fort and its palaces is the unparalleled quality of the stone carving. While the Rajputs are glorified, and appropriately, for their feats on the battlefield, its not realized that they came into their own only after they reconciled themselves to Mughal over-lordship. All their lasting achievements the cities, the art can be traced back to this time. Junagadh Fort is testament to another Rajput - Raja Rai Singh doing well for himself as a member of the Mughal court. He built this impressive structure in a span of five years, which has 37 bastions and two entrances. Constructed in red sandstone, the fort has a moat around it. The palaces have exquisitely carved windows, balconies, towers and kiosks.

Unusual yet interesting

This fort was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Instead it was built on the desert plains, perhaps using the very inconspicuousness of its location as defense. Its rugged sandstone bastions and graceful pavilions and balconies are silhouetted against the sky. As one enters the main gateway Suraj Pol, one can see the twin statues of the fort's guardians, Jaimal and Patta, the warrior-heroes of Chittorgarh's defense. Beyond this lies a complex of splendid palaces, each one built by a different ruler over the centuries. However, the last portions were added on as recently as 1943.


Number of palaces within

The Chandra Mahal with carved marble panels and brilliant paintings, the Phool Mahal, a coronation hall ornately decorated with lacquer, mirrorwork and glasswork, the Har Mandir, the majestic hall of ceremonies where royal weddings and formal celebrations were held, and the Karan Mahal built to mark the Rajput victory over Mughal king Aurangzeb. The multi-storied Anup Mahal was the governance chamber for the rulers. The fort also has a library containing books in Persian and Sanskrit. Palanquins and armoury used by the Maharaja are also put on display. Other places of interest include the Durga Niwas - a handsomely painted courtyard, and the Ganga Niwas - another large courtyard, which sports a finely carved red sandstone front.


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