Junagarh Fort

The Junagarh Fort is located in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The city of Bikaner has, in fact, grown around it. Originally called Chintamani, the fort was built under the rule of Raja Rai Singh( 1571-1611) under the supervising eye of his prime minister, Karan Chand. The Junagarh fort was given its present name after the royal family moved out of the fort and set up residence at Lalgarh Palace. Built outside the original fort of the city, Junagarh Fort is one of the most perfect examples of the diverse architectural styles that operated within India over the years. It exhibits examples of Gujrati architecture, Mughal influences, and even western architectural styles from the early years of the colonial rule. It is a must visit for those who love history, culture and heritage sites.

Bikaner's history is inextricably linked with that of its ruling family and their seat of power, the Junagarh fort. This original fort soon outlived its purpose; only fragments of its original walls survive. The red sandstone fort lies at the centre of Bikaner. It appears to be a low mass of buildings, which, though impressive, does not exactly have a majestic mien. Enter through its stone elephant flanked gates, past the handprints of ranis whose lives were forced to culminate in sati, impressive ceremonial courtyard, where you get the first glimpse of the artitechtural treasures of Jungarh.

The fort museum showcases clan memorabilia and has everything from a WWI fighter aircraft to personal artefacts and insignia of the Rathores.

The locals of Junagarh are Hindi and Gujrati.

Travel Tips

The Junagarh Fort complex is open from 10.00 a.m to 4.30 pm every day. On Sundays, it remains closed. 

The summers in Rajasthan are quite hot, and uncomfortable. Try to visit the Junagarh Fort during the winters.

Wear comfortable shoes because there will be a lot of walking.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Pleasant
  • 33° Max
  • 24° Min
  • 8.9 mm
  • Light clothes
Things to do

The main gate of the fort is the Karan Pol, but the current gate in use is the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gateway. This is because, the first rays of the rising sun fall on the gates, and this is considered auspicious. At this gate, there are two red statues of elephants standing with their mahouts as sentinels of the doorway, and the door itself is adorned with studs as well as spikes. This was done long ago, to prevent elephants from ramming into the gates during threats of a siege. The other gates in the fort include Chand Pol, Fateh Pol and Daulat Pol. There are a number of imprints of hands on the Karan Pol. This is a symbolic commemoration of all those women from the royal family who committed Sati.

There are quite a few temples within the grounds of the fort. The Har Mandir temple used to be the private temple for the royal family. All the royal festivals were celebrated here, and all the religious rites for the members of the royal family took place over here. This temple is a must visit, as is the Ratan Behari Temple, and the Joramal Temple.

The karan Mahal is one of the most spectacular parts of the Junagarh fort. This palace was built in order to receive public audiences. The palace was built by Karan Singh in order to commemorate his victory over Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. The palace is gorgeous, with stained glass windows and wooden fluted columns. The balconies are intricately carved, making them a beautiful sight from the inside and the outside. The kings who ascended the throne later, such as Suraj Singh and Anup Singh added other elements to the design of this palace.

The Anup Mahal served as the administrative building at the fort. It is multi-storied building, with beautifully ornate wooden ceilings, intricate work with inlaid mirrors, gold-leaf paintings adorning the walls, lattice work done on the windows and balconies and exotic Italian tiles. The Phool Mahal or the flower palace too, is quite a sight. It was built by Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner. Badal Mahal, which is an extension of Anup Mahal, is quite a treasury of art work. Historical paintings and religious frescoes adorn the walls of this palace.

One of the most decadent rooms of the Junagarh fort is within the Chand Mahal. The deities in this room have gold plating, and the paintings in this room contain precious stones embedded on to them. There were mirrors placed all over the room, at strategic points so that the king, from his bed, would be able to figure out any intruder entering his bedroom.

The Ganga Mahal houses the museum of the Junagarh Fort. It was built by Ganga Singh in the 20th century. He ruled from 1887-1943. The Ganga Singh Hall has been converted into a museum, and it contains weapons which were used by the various kings over generations. Amongst the relics of the past is an airplane from the First World War. The Junagarh Fort Museum, established in 1961 too, is worth a visit. It has various rare and important manuscripts written in Sanskrit and Persian. Clothes, costumes, uniforms, cutlery, pots, portraits, jewelry, religious idols and musical instruments form a small part of the collection over here.

Places to Stay

Junagarh Fort complex is a large one, and if you want to explore it, it is best to put up in one of the hotels in Bikaner.

High Range hotels are one of those places you splurge at. An old palace converted into a luxury hotel, this place has beautiful rooms which immediately sets the ambience for the Junagarh fort later onwards. There is an in-house restaurant, and all the other facilities you need to make your stay comfortable.

Mid-Range hotels are very comfortable, affordable option for lodging in Bikaner. This place too, retains its former glory as a palace. The rooms are comfortable, and the service is nice. There are a variety of different kinds of rooms available.

Low Range hotels are good hotel, if you require something that are cheap, and yet, comfortable. The service is very nice, as are the meals, and the place is quite safe and clean. The staff here are nice and homely, and the place are clean and comfortable.

How to Reach

  • The closest Airport to Bikaner is in Jodhpur, which is 251 kilometers away. The Jaipur Airport is 330 kilometers away. One can either take the train, or proceed by road, hereafter.
  • The Railway station at Bikaner receives trains from all over the country. It is a very convenient way to get to this city.
  • NH 11, 15 and 89 has helped link Bikaner to a number of places all over the country, by road. 251 kilometers from Jodhpur, 267 kilometers from Ajmer, 439 kilometers from Delhi, and accessible from a number of towns, villages and cities all over Rajasthan, buses, taxis and hired cabs can get you to Bikaner, and from here on, Junagarh can be approached with the help of local transport.

Surrounding Attractions

While in Bikaner, you should also visit the Bhandasar Jain Temple, the beautiful Shiv Bari Temple, the Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalibangan and Karni Mata Temple.

Emergency No.

Junagarh Fort Road, Bikaner, Rajasthan, 334001

Phone: 0151 220 2297