Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are visiting the Junagarh Fort situated in Bikaner in Rajasthan, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Junagarh Fort in Bikaner

Junagarh Fort is located in the arid region of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan bordered on the northwest by the Aravalli Range, a range of mountains in western India. Part of the desert area is in Bikaner city, which is one of the three desert triangle cities, the other two cities are Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. The name of the place where Bikaner city with its forts was established was then known as 'Jungladesh'.

Which is the most beautiful Mahal inside the Junagarh Fort?

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.

A magnificent fort
The city of Bikaner in Rajasthan is home to one of the most magnificent forts in India – Junagarh Fort. This fort is situated amidst the sandy expanse of the Thar Desert and is a true marvel of Rajputana architecture. It is a must-visit for travelers who want to experience the rich culture and history of Rajasthan. Junagarh Fort was built in the late 16th century by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the Mughal army of Emperor Akbar. Its construction took almost 150 years to complete, with contributions from various rulers of Bikaner. The fort has seen many battles and sieges, but it was never conquered. This is a testament to the strength and strategic planning of the Rajput warriors.

The fort is a perfect blend of Rajput, Mughal and Gujarati style of architecture. The majestic entrance gate of the fort, called the 'Suraj Pol', is a perfect example of this blend. The intricate carvings and beautiful paintings on the walls of the fort are a sight to behold. The palaces inside the fort are intricately decorated with mirror work, marble inlays and gold leaf paintings. The 'Anup Mahal', 'Chandra Mahal', 'Phool Mahal' and 'Karan Mahal' are some of the significant structures inside the fort.

Junagarh Fort also houses a museum that showcases the rich history of Bikaner. It has an impressive collection of ancient weapons, royal costumes and artifacts that give an insight into the lives of the past rulers of Bikaner. The armory section of the museum displays an impressive collection of swords, daggers, guns and cannons. The museum also has a section dedicated to the famous Bikaneri miniatures which are known for their intricate designs and vibrant colors.

"The fort is a beautiful blend of different styles of architecture, from Mughal to Rajput. Inside the fort, there are many buildings that are worth exploring such as the 'Chandra Mahal', 'Phool Mahal' and 'Ganga Niwas'. The 'Chandra Mahal' is the main palace in the fort and is constructed in a Mughal style. This palace is home to many royal artifacts, paintings and sculptures. The 'Phool Mahal' is another grand palace and is known for its intricate 'Jali' work and stunning frescoes and the 'Ganga Niwas' is a 2-storey building that is made of wood and is decorated with intricate carvings"

A great place to explore
The fort also has many temples such as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, 'Anop Mahal' and the Karni Mata Temple. The Lakshmi Narayan Temple is one of the oldest temples in the fort and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the Anop Mahal is an impressive palace that has beautiful murals and marble carvings. The Karni Mata Temple is dedicated to the goddess Karni Mata and is known for its intricately carved stone idols.

The Junagarh Fort is a great place to explore and experience the grandeur of the Rajputana style of architecture and it is also home to many artifacts and sculptures that are worth seeing. The fort is a popular tourist destination and is visited by thousands of people every year the Junagarh Fort is a great place to visit and explore the rich culture and history of the Rajputs. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby attractions such as the Karni Mata Temple, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary and the Bhandasar Jain Temple.

Insight into the Maharanas of Rajasthan
The structures built within the Junagarh fort are the palaces and temples, which are made of red sandstone and marble. The palaces are described as picturesque with their assortment of courtyards and balconies. The fort, the temples and the palaces are preserved as museums and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan. With its 7 gates the fort contains several palaces, pavilions and many temples of Hindu and Jain religions, the earliest dated to the 16th century and the Junagarh Fort and its temples and palaces are preserved as museums and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan.

Formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan.

"The Junagarh Fort is a well preserved piece of history and it contains many artifacts and items which would have been used in various ways over history. There is a tremendous sense of history there and you really get a feel for a once powerful empire. Junagarh Fort is the most magnificent example of architecture and great center of art"

Bikaner fort in India
Some remnants of the old fort are preserved near the Lakshmi Narayan temple. Historical records reveal that despite the repeated attacks by enemies to capture the fort, it was not taken, except for a lone one-day occupation by Kamran Mirza. Kamran was the second son of the Mughal Emperor Babur who attacked Bikaner in 1534, which was then ruled by Rao Jait Singh and the large fort precinct is studded with palaces, temples and pavilions. A major feature of the fort is the stone carving done in red and gold colored sandstones. The interiors of the palaces are decorated and painted in traditional Rajasthani style.

A true depiction of composite culture
Several types of architectural style are discerned in the fort complex and hence it is called 'A true depiction of composite culture'. The earliest style is of Rajput architecture, defined by Gujarati and Mughal architectural influence reflecting the association with Mughal rulers, the second type is of semi-western architecture reflecting British influence and finally the revivalists Rajput architecture that evolved particularly during the rule of Maharaja Ganga Singh.

Only the most representative of all these architectural styles are on display for visitors. Thus, the unique monuments on display in the Junagarh Fort represents 16 successive generations of the rulers of Bikaner, starting from the end of the 16th century. Maharaja Rai Singhji Trust has been set up by the 'Royal family of Bikaner' with the basic objective to showcase the fort with professional inputs in various areas and to improve the experience for visitors. Another objective is to promote education and research scholarships, cultural activities, setting up of libraries and integration with other such trusts.

Camel festival in Bikaner
The grandeur of Junagarh Fort comes alive during the annual 'Camel festival', which is celebrated in Bikaner in the month of January and it is a vibrant and colorful festival that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. The highlight of the fair is the camel trading, where camels are beautifully decorated and paraded for buyers. This festival showcases the rich culture and traditions of Rajasthan and attracts tourists from all over the world. The fort is beautifully decorated and various cultural events are organized on its premises, making it a must-visit during this time. During the festival, the fort's courtyard comes alive with traditional music, dance performances and camel races, making it a truly unforgettable experience.

Apart from the fort, there are other attractions within the fort complex that should not be missed. The beautifully landscaped gardens, known as the 'Zenana Mahal' and the 'Ganga Mahal', which houses a beautifully carved marble throne, are some of the must-visit places within the fort. The fort also has a temple dedicated to Karni Mata, the patron goddess of Bikaner, which is visited by devotees from far and wide.

A popular location for film shootings
In recent years, the fort has become a popular location for film shootings. Many Bollywood movies and television shows have been shot here, adding to its popularity. In conclusion, Junagarh Fort is a treasure trove of history, culture and art. Its grand architecture, intricate designs, and rich heritage make it a must-visit for anyone traveling to Rajasthan. It is a testimony to the glorious past of the Rajput rulers and continues to be a symbol of their valor and pride. A visit to this magnificent fort is an experience that one will cherish for a lifetime. Junagarh Fort, located in the city of Bikaner, is one of the most magnificent historical monuments in the state of Rajasthan. It stands as a symbol of the rich culture, grandeur and architectural brilliance of the Rajputs. Built in the 16th century, the fort has seen the rise and fall of many dynasties and has stood strong throughout the test of time, making it a must-visit for any history or architecture enthusiast.

"The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh, the 6th ruler of Bikaner, who was also a trusted general in the army of Mughal emperor Akbar. The construction of the fort took almost 4 centuries and it has been renovated and expanded by the succeeding rulers to include several palaces, temples and gardens inside its walls. The unique feature of this fort is that it has never been conquered, despite numerous attempts by enemy forces"

A masterpiece in Rajput-Mughal architecture
As you enter the fort, the grandeur of the architecture leaves you in awe. The fort is a masterpiece in Rajput-Mughal architecture and boasts of intricate stone carvings, impressive courtyards and beautiful balconies. The walls, made of red sandstone and decorated with marble panels, are adorned with beautiful paintings and carvings that tell the stories of the brave Rajput warriors. The fort also houses several impressive palaces, including the 'Chandra Mahal', 'Phool Mahal' and 'Anup Mahal', which were the living quarters of the royal family. These palaces are a perfect blend of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles and are adorned with stunning mirror work, frescoes and elaborate balconies. The fort also has a beautiful courtyard called the 'Karan Mahal', which was used for various court proceedings and royal events.

One of the most interesting attractions of the fort is the Junagarh Fort Museum, which houses a vast collection of artifacts, weapons, and paintings that provide a glimpse into the lives and times of the royal rulers of Bikaner. The museum also has on display a royal train carriage, which was used to transport the royal family during their travels. Apart from the palaces and museums, the fort also houses several temples dedicated to Hindu deities, including the Karni Mata Temple, which is famous for its large population of rats that are considered sacred by the locals.

The fort also boasts of remarkable defensive structures, such as the 'Suraj Pol' also known as the 'Sun Gate', which was used as a lookout point and the Ganga Niwas, which was built to defend the fort from enemy attacks.

Bikaner is also home to some stunning temples, the most famous of which is the Karni Mata Temple, also known as the 'Rat Temple'. Dedicated to Goddess Karni Mata, it is believed that the rats living in the temple are her reincarnated devotees. Devotees offer food to the rats and it is considered auspicious to spot a white rat among them. For those interested in wildlife, a visit to the famous National Research Centre on Camel is a must. It is the only research center in India dedicated to the study of camels. Visitors can learn about the various breeds of camels, their importance in the desert ecosystem and even enjoy a camel ride. The cuisine of Bikaner is another highlight for visitors. Known for its richness and spiciness, the food here is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughlai flavors. Some must-try dishes include the famous 'Bikaneri Bhujia', a spicy mixture of lentils and spices and 'Gatte ki Sabji', a dish made of gram flour dumplings in a tangy gravy.

See this video about the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner made by Aagam Explorer.

Bikaner is also an important center for small-scale industries
In addition to its rich cultural heritage, Bikaner is also an important center for small-scale industries such as handicrafts, leather goods, and carpets. The city is renowned for its exquisite handicrafts made by skilled artisans and visitors can shop for souvenirs such as lacquer bangles, camel hide products and colorful pottery. In conclusion, Bikaner is a city that has something for everyone. Its magnificent forts, stunning temples and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination for any traveler. With its warm hospitality, mouth-watering cuisine and rich history, Bikaner is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit. So, if you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, do not miss the chance to explore this gem of a city.

"- In conclusion, Junagarh Fort is not just a historical monument but a living testimony to the rich legacy of the Rajput rulers. Its grandeur, architecture and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Bikaner. So, if you want to take a trip back in time and immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Rajput era, then a visit to Junagarh Fort is a must. As a photographer and traveler in India a visit to this fort in Rajasthan is amazing. These buildings depict a composite culture, manifest in the mix of architectural styles. It was built outside the original fort of the city, about 1.5 kilometers from the city centre. The present fort is a composite structure, the result of intense building activities of many rulers through 4 centuries and one of the precious gems of Indian architecture in the midst of the Thar Desert", the Photographer says.

Read also:  The Golden City of Jaisalmer

The Golden City of Jaisalmer

Read also:  The Golden City of Jaisalmer

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian woman at the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.