Junagarh Fort Bikaner – Heritage Tourist Attraction In Bikaner
Built during the 16th century, Junagarh is a beautiful example of the historical marvels built by the royals of Rajasthan. It was initially built by the famous Raja Rai Singh in 1594. Nestled in the sprawling Thar Desert, and covering over 5.28 hectares of land, this historical monument is thronged by dozens of tourists every day. Explore the exotic and magnificent palace, and get acquainted with the awe-inspiring architecture of this lovely monument. The glorious interiors of the fort will leave you dazzled and you will also get to learn more about the history of this remarkable city.
The Junagarh Fort of Bikaner has a lot to offer to its visitors. From the prolific beauty of this monument to the peaceful moments you will get to spend far away from the city life in the lovely town of Bikaner, this place is never going to disappoint you.
History of Junagarh Fort
Formally known as Chintamani, the Fort was renamed to Junagarh in the early 20th century. Locally, it is also famous as Old Fort. The foundations of the Fort were laid by Rao Bika back in the year 1478 and it was inaugurated on 17th February 1589. The Fort is an architectural feat that is built with finesse and explicit engineering prowess. The design is a unique amalgamation of Rajput, Gujarati, and Mughal styles of architecture, along with some European motifs and elements. The monuments inside the fort are an exemplary feat of engineering and architectural abilities of 16 generations of rulers who ruled the city of Bikaner in the late 16th century. The fort also comprises of an eclectic mix of Gothic archways, mansions, Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, and mosques that must be seen with your own eyes to be believed.
Top places to visit when at Junagarh Fort
To make it simpler for visitors to understand why this dazzling architectural marvel is worth a visit, we have listed the best places to explore and to go sightseeing when visiting Junagarh Fort:
1. Palaces inside the Fort
Inside the Junagarh Fort are situated numerous palaces that are constructed with amazing designs and mesmerizing views. Each castle has a story behind its construction and attracts hundreds of tourists every year that get awed by its beautifully designed walls and vibrant interiors. Here are top forts you must add to your itinerary when visiting Junagarh Fort:
2. Karan Mahal
Built by Karan Singh back in the year 1980, it was constructed to mark his reign over the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Fort displays the aesthetics of Rajasthani culture with its stained-glass windows, beautifully carved balconies, intricate mirror patterns, and glorious colored walls. If you are an architecture enthusiast, this is something that would leave you mesmerized with the dexterity and skills of the architects that constructed this palace.
3. Chandra Mahal
Counted among the most luxurious palaces of all time, Chandra Mahal is a pleasure to eyes and an epitome of creativity. The entire palace is gold plated with mirrors aligned throughout the palace that adds to its mesmerizing beauty and gives it an otherworldly charm that needs to be seen to be believed.
4. Badal Mahal
The construction of this palace began when the first rains commenced in the desert region of Rajasthan. Hence the name – Badal Mahal. The palace is painted in cool color combinations of blues and whites which are soothing to the eyes, and opulent designs that tell the story of those times.
5. Phool Mahal
The palace is a symbol of Jahangir’s era of rule. What attracts tourists to this palace is how it is designed entirely using floral designs on walls and ceilings. Make sure you visit Phool Mahal if you are interested in Mughal architecture paired with traditional motifs.
Temples inside the Fort
The Fort also houses many worship places including mosques, temples, as well as Buddhist monuments that signify the cultural diversity and range of rulers who ruled over the city. And talking of temples, Junagarh Fort also features the gorgeous Har Narayan Temple dedicated to Lord Lakshmi Narayan and his consort Lakshmi as the principal deities. This temple happens to be the royal temple of the Fort. There is another place of worship located nearby, the Ratan Bihari temple which is dedicated to Lord Krishna
1. Gates of the Fort
The entrance to the Junagarh fort is a masterpiece in itself. Seven massive gates surround the Junagarh Fort. Karan pole is the main entry gate to the fort and Suraj Pole is the mini gate used for entrance and exit nowadays. Suraj pole is named so because it is the first gate that receives the rays of sunlight in the morning as it faces east. When the golden rays of the sun touch the gate, its yellow sandstone makes it glow with brightness. This is an otherworldly phenomenon that must be observed when visiting the fort. On the sides of the gate are two red stone statues of elephants along with their mahouts.
Other gates of the Junagarh Fort are named as follows – Chand Pole, Fateh Pole, and Daulat Pole. All of them feature the imprints of the hands of women who committed Jauhar in Bikaner.
The Junagarh Fort complex also features a museum that was built by Maharaja Dr. Karni Singh in 1961. It houses several paintings, jewels, and other items that depict the royal lifestyle witnessed in the Fort. It is a good place to get an idea about the opulent and luxurious lifestyle of the regal families that once resided in the fort.
How to Reach Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort is located 1.5 km away from Bikaner. The best way to commute to this palace is via roads which are in excellent condition. Moreover, there are plenty of RSRTC buses that ply between Bikaner and major Indian cities like Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Ajmer, and Delhi.
The nearest airport to Bikaner is located at Jodhpur. There are numerous flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Jodhpur. From Jodhpur, you can take a state transport bus to reach Bikaner, or even hire a private taxi.
Things to do at Junagarh Fort in Bikaner
Junagarh Fort enjoys a picturesque location In Bikaner, with majestic sand dunes and spectacular vistas. From its splendid palaces to the myriad temples nestled inside the fort, it is truly a spectacle to watch and admire the unparalleled beauty of this place. Here are some of the best things to try out and explore in Junagarh Fort:
1. Take a trip to the museum
The Durbar Hall museum comprises of artifacts and materials which were used during the ancient days. You can also find a myriad of art and paintings housed in the museum since ancient times. The museum is a great place to transport yourself to the kind of lifestyle that the royals of Junagarh had.
2. Enjoy photography
There is no shortage of splendid sceneries and views to capture in your celluloid in Junagarh. Photography is allowed in most of the places situated inside the fort. Additionally, you can even hire photographers within the fort to click wonderful pictures of you and capture the magnificent architecture of palaces inside the complex.
Please note that flash photography and non-flash photography are prohibited in some regions of the fort. It is advised to keep your eye peeled to look out for signs that state not to click photos. It should also be noted that visitors are required to buy a camera ticket to carry their still cameras and video cameras inside the fort.
3. Enjoy sunset and dinner at Camel Safari
If you are in Rajasthan, then it is absolutely essential to experience the thrill of camel safari in the sand dunes of the desert. It’s a truly unmissable experience to explore the infinite ocean of sand and admire the tangerine sun setting over the vast desert riding on top of a hunchback camel. Additionally, you can also experience the thrill of the bonfire at night, followed by a delicious barbecue dinner and sleeping under the glittering stars in the sky. You can also hire a guide who will help you get acquainted with the culture and history of Rajasthan’s royalty.
4. Shop at Local Markets
There are numerous shopping destinations located inside the Junagarh Fort where you can go on to explore during your trip. Purchase the authentically created Zardari work clothes made by the locals or buy locally crafted sculptures and paintings. Additionally, you can also buy artifacts and souvenir items to take back home.
Things you must carry along when visiting Junagarh Fort
If you are planning to visit Bikaner to enjoy the splendid creativity and awe-inspiring architecture of Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, make sure you are well prepared to handle the brutal heat and scorching sun of Rajasthan. Read on to find out what are the must-have things you have to carry along on your trip:
- Water bottles are one of the essentials you should have along during your journey without fail. A long journey on foot under the scorching heat of the sun can make you feel thirsty quite frequently.
- Umbrella is yet another essential, along with goggles to protect your eyes from the sun. Since the fort is located in the desert, it is a must-have item to safeguard yourself from the excessive heat.
- If you are carrying a camera along, do purchase a nominal ticket costing INR 20 for Indians and INR 150 for NRIs from the entrance.
- Wear comfortable footwear as the trip involves a lot of walking. Avoid wearing heels or footwear which can turn discomfort midway. Additionally, it is suggested to wear comfortable clothing which can safeguard you from the high temperature.
When to visit Junagarh Fort
Summers in Rajasthan happens to be extremely hot with temperatures going up to 34 degrees. The best time to visit the destination is from November to February owing to the cold weather in these months.
If you are planning to visit the royal state of Rajasthan, do not forget to include Junagarh Fort in Bikaner to your itinerary. This splendid marvel of architectural excellence remains open from morning 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. The nominal fee for entry is INR 50 for Indians and INR 300 for Foreigners. Discover this mesmerizing place and let the opulence and luxury of this royal destination of Rajasthan inspire you with its charm.