Monday, 4 May 2015

Junagarh Fort,Fort In India,Bikaner Fort

Junagarh Fort

Address: Junagarh Fort Rd, Bikaner Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan 334001
Junagarh Fort is a fort in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. The fort was originally called Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh or "Old Fort" in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits

History:

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.

KARAN MAHAL (Public Audience Hall):

The first monument of Bikaner and second oldest in Rajputana is based on the classic Mughal style, the plans for the construction of which were conceived during the reign of Raja Karan Singhji. It was erected in about 1680 by Maharaja Anup Singhji as a memorial monument of his father Raja Karan Singhji. This monument is also a tribute to the restoration and elevation of the status of Bikaner State.


Karan Mahal is covered with rich Rajput elaboration of Mughal style in terms of the purity of white marble and stucco design. The exquisite economic design is so characteristic of classic Art like Diwan-I-Khass, Rang Mahal and Mumtaj Mahal at Delhi. It has similar style of wooden ceiling resting on a broad cornice and a surrounding Gallery behind a row of cusped arches resting on short bellied columns of the type of fashion prevailing during Aurangzeb’s period.

Maharaja Gaj Singhji was a shrewd observer and an erudite scholar, and was quick to fathom helpless Mughal Empire where the residue of the artistic life came to an end. People from Delhi and Lahore and other unemployed artisans came under the patronage of Rajput Kings. Maharaja Gaj Singhji was quick to take quite a few of them into service and it proved to be extremely beneficial. 

PHOOL MAHAL:

 is the oldest part of the palace and was built by Raja Rai Singhji. Its decoration with motifs of trays, flower vases and rose water sprinklers reminds of the decoration popular in Jehangirian period. Inside the rooms the interior walls are decorated with stucco work and glass inlay works.

ANUP MAHAL:

 (Privy Council Room) has over elaborate prettiness - the gold vermilion varnished work. Accents are effected by slightly raising the relief by replacing vermilion background with a glorying green, blue and violet, by motifs treated completely in gold and by mirrors and mirrors or glass mosaic . The richest gilt reliefs are found between the arches on top of the columns, which show leaf work, but by multiplication of the leaves and flowers the impression of a hill covered with jungle is obtained. The glass mosaic shows 

Rama and Sita in domed pairlions and surrounded by Laxmana, Hanuman and other Royal followers. Anup Mahal also features one throne where the ruler would sit and entertain most of his foreign guests and highly placed officials. Old and antique carpets adorn Anup Mahal. Maharaja Ganga Singhji had one carpet made in Bikaner Jail, this carpet was modeled on Persian design. It also matches the walls of the room. This carpet is a product of the jail, which leaves most visitors spell bound.

Badal Mahal:

 Badal Mahal (Hall of Clouds). With its stylised blue-and-white clouds, the Badal Mahal reflects the longing for rain in an arid area. At the bottom of the dado is a graphic illustration depicting the ‘pins and needles’ of a monsoon downpour.

Gaj Mandir:

 embodies the then known refinements and luxuries of architecture and tasteful decorative arts, lavished on the private apartment of Maharaja Gaj Singhji and of his two Chief Queens, Phul Kanwar and Chand Kanwar. 

This fairy world was built under the supervision of an architect whom the Maharaja had personally brought from Jaipur. The walls are covered with elaborate Mughal niches and panels enclosed by a framework of marble plaster slabs, which are carved into various Mughal open-work floral designs behind which mirrors have been placed.

Dungar Niwas:


 Maharaja Dungar Singh is regarded as the father of modern Bikaner. The room is richly decorated and gilded with the theme being predominantly white. Note the mirrors that are placed in the walls at intervals and above an alcove you will see a small picture of the ruler himself.When Maharaja Sardar Singh, the 19th ruler of Bikaner died without an heir, his widow, with the help of the nobles, adopted Dungar Singh, son of Lall Singh who is a descendent of the royal family. Later on Dungar Singh in turn adopted his brother Ganga Singh to be his successor. Thus interestingly, Lall Singh, after whom the Lallgarh Palace is named, was the father of two Maharajas of Bikaner, but never himself ruled the kingdom.

Maharaja Dungar Singh carried out various administrative reforms. He divided the state into districts for easier governance. He established regular police and courts of law. He built hospitals, dispensaries and state schools. As early as 1886 he introduced electricity in Bikaner city when elsewhere in India it was but little known.

Durbar Hall:

It is believed that this ancient throne, made of sandalwood, belonged to the kings of Kanauj from whom the Rathores are descended. This was among the dynastic heirlooms, which Rao Bika brought back triumphantly as his patrimony from Jodhpur.


It is said that the success of Rao Bika was prophesized by Goddess Karni Mata, whose temple is at Deshnok, which is about 30 Km from here.There is another interesting anecdote about Karni Mata and Bikaner. In 1937, on the occasion of Maharaja Ganga Singh's Golden Jubilee, he cancelled all functions and festivities. He said "my Bikaner has a famine and this is no time for celebration". Weeks passed and the scorching heat only increased. In desperation Maharaja Ganga Singh went to the temple of Karniji at Desnoke to pray for rain. When all hope was lost, and the heads of villages had gathered, there mysteriously appeared a cloud, which soon covered the sky, and the heavens opened. Only when the parched land was drenched did he give orders for celebration.


Vikram Vilas:

 It was named after great dispenser of justice from India's ancient past - King Vikramaditya. It housed collection of war souvenirs, elephant howdah and Nalki (Is one of three great honors, which the Mughal emperors conferred upon independent princes of the first class.