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Located just about 200 kms from Delhi, Bharatpur is also known as the eastern gateway to Rajasthan. Bharatpur has one of the first bird sanctuaries in the whole of Asia – the Keoladeo Ghana National Park or more commonly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Situated just about 50kms. from the city of Agra, it is also the administrative headquarters of the Bharatpur district. Bharatpur, located in the Mewat region, was once a vulnerable but very well fortified city. The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur has played an very important part in the history of Rajasthan. Other attractions of Bharatpur apart from the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary include the Bharatpur Palace and Museum, a number of temples and the Lohargarh Fort. Apart from these, there are a number of other places also to see around Bharatpur as well.
Bharatpur has a very rich history. In the 50th century BC, Matsya kingdom blossomed at this place. Matsyas were the ones who helped the Pandavas during the epic war of Mahabharata. It is also believed that Bharatpur was named after Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, whose other brother Laxman’s name also appears in the state seals and coat of arms as well. Maharaja Suraj Mal founded Bharatpur, also called the city of birds, in 1733 A.D. Once an unassailable city, it was literally carved out of the Mewat region. Suraj Mal seized the fort of Bharatpur from Khemkaran, the rival chief. He was the state’s greatest ruler and he made Bharatpur a formidable force to reckon with. He built a number of other forts and palaces throughout the territory.
Climate of Bharatpur
Before thinking for spending vacations in Baharatpur you must know about its climate. From being very hot in summers to cold in winters, Bharatpur weather experiences quite a few of variations. In the summer season, the temperature can soar to an unbearable 47 degrees celsius while fog is a normal feature of the climate of Bharatpur during the winter season.
Summers – 37 degrees celsius to 46 degrees celsius.
Winters – 7 degrees celsius to 15 degrees celsius.
How to reach Bharatpur
Air: The nearest airport is situated at Agra, about 50kms from Bharatpur.
Rail: Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with all major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra.
Road: An excellent network of road service connects Bharatpur to all the major cities of Rajasthan and its neighboring states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Best time to visit Bharatpur
October to March is the ideal time to visit Bharatpur, since the temperature remains very pleasant; between 20-25 degrees celsius.
PLACES TO SEE
Bharatpur (Keoladeo Ghana) National Park
Perhaps the most famous and well-known tourist attraction of Bharatpur is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. This beautiful bird sanctuary came into existence when Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur transformed the depression formed by River Gambhir and River Bangana into a reservoir by storing the rain water in the monsoons. This flooding of rain water created a wetland, resulting in a perfect habitat for a variety of birds. The name ‘Keoladeo’ is derived from a Hindu temple situated at the centre of the park, dedicated to Lord Shiva, whereas the word ‘Ghana’ means dense, and refers to the thick forests that used to cover the park at some point of time.
The park is also home to an amazing 375 species of birds, both resident as well as migratory. The migratory birds arrive not only from different parts of India, but also from as far as Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet. Not only birds, Bharatpur also serves as a habitat to animals like the Sambhar, Cheetal, Nilgai, Boar, etc. Though the habitat of Keoladeo supports many species of birds, the most important ‘visitor’ to the park though, is the ‘Siberian Crane’. During the monsoon season, the bird sanctuary becomes home to some of the most exquisite species of birds, which include storks, moorhens, herons, flamingos, pelicans, geese, egrets and cormorants.
Bharatpur Government Museum
The Government Museum in Bharatpur has some rich collection of artifacts, some of which date back to the 2nd century. It is a beautiful mix of Mughal and Rajput architecture. The various apartments in the museum are decorated with patterned floors and some exquisite tiles. The huge building, “Kachahan Kalan”, once the administrative block of the Bharatpur rulers was converted into a museum in the year 1944, and later “Kamra – Khas”, the first floor of the building, was added to the Museum as well. There are specimen miniature paintings on leaves of peepal tree, along with paintings of Maharaja of Bharatpur, in the art gallery.
The Museum has been divided into five parts, namely Archaeology, Armory, Arts, Crafts and Industries, and Children gallery. On the upper storey of the museum, one finds many types of guns and miniature cannons, which were used during the 18th century A.D known as “Chaddra”.
Exploring Lohagarh Fort in vacations will prove to be great. Lohagarh Fort built in the early 18th century, it took its name from the supposedly invincible defences, which is said to be inspired by Ramayana. Maharaja Suraj Mal, apart from building this fort also built two other towers in the surrounding – the Jawahar Burj and the Fateh Burj to commemorate his victories over the British and the Mughals. It stood strong against many attacks by the British, frustrating them to no end. The fort faced the British onslaught four times and each time it stood strong. Some magnificient monuments present inside the fort are – Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas, Moti Mahal and the Kochi Khas. There is also an Ashtadhatu gateway, having paintings of some huge elephants.
It is very different from all the other forts found in the state of Rajasthan. There is no panache attached to this fort, but the strength and magnificence of the fort surely shows. It is surrounded by a barrier, which was filled with water to ward off the enemies. A part of the fort is now converted into a museum called the “Fort Museum”.
The Deeg Fort stands majestically over an elevated point. Built by Raja Suraj Mal, it is surrounded by some impressive barriers and gateways. Deeg, in the 18th century was the capital of the Jat rulers of Rajasthan. Although the interiors of the fort are in ruins now, the watchtower still stands tall. The 8km protective wall pierced by 10 gateways and studded with 72 bastions or support towers makes the Deeg Fort almost invincible.
The most impressive feature of the fort though are the huge towers piercing the skies. Moreover, the towers are fitted with cannons, to take a shot at any enemy approaching the fort. Inside it, one also finds the Suraj Mal Haveli with “Bangaldar” style, which is typical of the Bengali bamboo roof, which was imported to Rajasthan by a Bengali architect – Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. In fact, roofs like these can be seen all around the Deeg Palace.
Bharatpur offers a range of hotels for every type of visitor. It has both luxurious as well as budget hotels.
- The Bagh Resort.
- Chandra Mahal Haveli.
- Laxmi Vila.
- Hotel Udai Vila Palace.
Hotel Pratap Palace.
Hotel Eagle’s nest.
Hotel Park Palace.
Content Copyright © Ricardo Fernan 2007, All Rights Reserved
29-dic-07 1:33 PM