Junagad fort, Bikaner

Monday, December 15, 2008

We had begun the day with a rat temple (no kidding) and walked the almost theatrically empty lanes of Bikaners Haveli's, and then sat down to a 3 course meal in Chappan Bhog. Nothing could possibly measure upto the 1st half of the day. So we walked into Bikaner's Junagad fort without much expectation, but in tow was a 'young dude' guide (the youngest and the dudest of this trip) and life looked more promising for this one reason. But Junagad turned out to be one of the most beautiful palace-forts of Rajasthan and the explanations of the symbolism of Rajputana relics peppered with the very current dilemas of our young guides life made for a rather interesting afternoon.
Coming up is a virtual tour of sorts

Raja Bika is said have walked away from Jodhpur to create his own kingdom & hence Bikaner is named after him. The curious can read up on Bikaner's history here.

This narrow passage is the only entrance to the fort & the designs are placed as support for elephant feet when they walk up this path.

A marble water tank where the Royals played Holi (the festival of colour)
This window (jharokha) is rare and made with ceramic tiles from Poland and china
Details of a pillar.
This is the spectacular Rang Mahal
Gold on red spells opulence

This was the cloud room, all the walls were painted with blue clouds. This idol is said to have been brought from South India and is therefore dark, unlike the marble statues normally found in Rajasthan.

This alcove was where musicians sat.

The Queens Bedroom is done in muted colours.
The huge & imposing Diwan-E-Khaas, where the king met with his ministers to discuss matters of the state.
All the walls were covered with intricate panels of carving. This one features the tree of Life with animals below it.
And when I looked up I saw these arched windows that looked into the Diwan-e-khaas. The ceilings are intricately carved wood.
Shakti Singh our guide explained every detail with an understated pride and nonchalnce of youth, he also told us this is what he'd rather do, though his girlfriend and dad would rather he joined the army.

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