The 'Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan', Bharatpur was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733. Located in the Brij region, Bharatpur was once an impregnable, well-planned and well-fortified city, and the capital of Jat kingdom ruled by Sinsinwar Maharajas. The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur has played an important part in the history of Rajasthan. The place was named as Bharatpur after the name of Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, whose other brother Laxman was worshipped as the family deity of the Bharatpur. The legends say the rulers Laxman's name is engraved on the state arms and the seals. Bharatpur is also known as 'LOHAGARH'. There is a forest called 'GHANA' means dense forest within a distance of about 5 Km. from District Head Quarter which remains green during the rainy season. Bharatpur Ghana's plan was prepared in 1896 by the State Engineer for driving and confining the wild cattle in the dense forest with 250 species of migratory birds during the monsoon season and 'winter' season, which is famous all over India and world for being a great sanctuary of birds.
Places to see:
Bird Sanctuary- Keoladeo National Park
A paradise for the avian world, and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, it was known as the best duck shooting resort in the British empire. But was declared a reserve for birds in 1956 and later upgraded to National Park. UNESCO has listed it as a world heritage site.
The geographical location is ideal as it is on the main North - South avian route of India. Although small in size, 29 sq. km. only, it boasts to house more than 375 species of beautiful birds, and more than 132 of them breed inside the Keoladeo Ghana National Park and nearly every year new ones are added to the list. The sanctuary not only attracts birds from India but also from places like Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet.
Before mansoon hundreds of these exotic birds roost and nest building activities start on the babool and kadam trees of the park. Water coming through the Ajan Bandh starts filling the various ponds and lakes of the Park. When assured of enough food, hundreds of large, medium and little cormorant, darter, purple and Grey heron, various species of egret, painted, open-billed, white necked and black necked stork, white ibis, spoonbill, night heron and other birds get busy in courting and mating. The trees are over flowed with nests, one can observe a tree housing nests upto fifties and sixties in number belonging to different species of birds looking after their loving young ones. The nests on the trees look like pearl necklaces.
About 11 sq. km. area of the park is covered with water the remaining portion is rich with Kingfisher, Red Vented and white cheeked Bulbuls, Babblers, Quails, Partridges, Sunbirds, Sparrows and Parakeets which live in bushes and burrows. The year round activity of the winged beauties has made the park a pilgrimage for bird lovers and an omithologists delight.
The animal populace also show their presence although they are thoroughly dominated by feathers, wings and beaks. The animals include the Black Buck, Sambhar - the largest Indian Antelope, Spotted deer, and Nigais. Pythons can also be observed at some places lazing in the sun.
The Iron Fort, also called as The Lohagarh Fort, true to its name stood solidly in front of many British attacks, and frustrated them to ends. It faced the British onslaught four times and after a long siege they had to withdraw, but Lord Lake, however was successful in capturing it in 1805. It is very different from the other forts in state, there is no flamboyance associated to fort but it generates an aura of strength and magnificence. The fort is surrounded with moat which was previously filled with water to ward off the enemy attacks. The sandy ramparts were strengthened by sandy battlements, thus the enemy guns proved of no avail. Some interesting monuments in the fort are Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas. Moti Mahal and towers like Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj were erected to commemorate the victory over the Mughals and the British army. The Gateway has paintings of huge elephants.
The Government Museum, Bharatpur is located inside the historic Lohagarh Fort. The Kachahri Kalan and Kamara Khas buildings built during the reign of Maharaja Balwant Singh in first half of 19th century A.D. In 1939, sculptures and other objects were collected from various places of the region and initially displayed in Public Library under the patronage of H.H Maharaja Sawai Brijendra Singh. These were shifted to the present building of Kachahri Kalan in 1944 A.D. and it was formally opened to public on 11th Nov, 1944. Later on the Kamara Khas building was added to it. It has rare and distinguished collection of sculptures, inscriptions, coins, arms and weapons and decorative art objects. The museum has in its possession above 4000 antiquities. The buildings which house the museum in itself are marvellous examples of artistic beauty.
It is a fine blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture, built in various phases by different Maharajas. The magnificent apartments are richly decorated with patterned floor tiles with exquisite intricate designs. The museum occupies the main central wing depicting collections dating back to 2nd century, which reflect the art and skill of the region.
DeegDeeg, situated 30kms. north of Bharatpur, is a beautiful garden town, the gardens have been laid with great care and precision, the sparkling fountains and meticulous palaces add to the beauty of this idyllic retreat of the princes of Bharatpur. The tourists enjoy the charming settings of this agricultural town, along with the well preserved palace pavilions and gardens.
Some very interesting buildings can be observed here:
Completed in 1760, an imaginatively designed building complex with beautifully laid gardens at its entrance and the rear overlooks the Gopal Sagar which is flanked with smaller pavilions Sawan and Bhadon. The formal gardens face a raised terrace with an arch of lustrous marble installed on a pedestal in the form of swing. This exquisite swing is a war trophy brought in by the famous Jat king Raja Suraj Mal from the Mughal court in Delhi. The spacious and well proportioned Banquet Hall has a double row of graceful pillars. The rear of the chamber is further divided by a charming sunken pool with fountains. The Banquet hall houses a rich collection of curios, souvenirs and Victorian furniture. Staircases wind upstairs to the upper floors. One room contains a solid black marble bed from Delhi.
The fort stands majestically over a slightly elevated point, built by Raga Suraj Mal. The fort is surrounded by impressive moats, armpits and gateways, the interiors are mostly in ruins now, but the watch tower still stands in the ruins keeping an eye over the City and Palace; over it is placed a gun captured from Agra fort.
* Rajasthan is almost complete. There are many more places to visit in Rajasthan. I just wanted to hilight the best ones.
* Our next destination :- Odisa.