is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Located in the Brij region, Bharatpur was once considered to be an impregnable city and was the capital of the Jat kingdom. The city is situated 55 km west of the city of Agra and 35 km from Mathura. Bharatpur is popular for its bird sanctuary-the Keoladeo Ghana National Park - finest in Asia rich avian variety. Every year the rare Siberian cranes come to spend the winter in the warmer climate of Bharatpur. Of the remnants of the royal past remains the marvellous Bharatpur Palace housing a rich repository of a large number of ancient exhibit that date back to the early 15th century.
History of Bharatpur
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Bharatpur - is also known as Lohagarh and Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan,
was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733 AD, it was once an impregnable well fortified city, carved out of the region formerly known as Mewat. The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur has played an important part in the history of Rajasthan.
The legends say that 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 rulers, Laxman's name is engraved onthe state arms and the seals. The city and the fort have been believed to be founded by Rustam, a Jat of Sogariya clan. Maharaja Surajmal took over from Khemkaran, the son of Rustam and established the empire. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around the city.
The interesting aspect of the Bharatpur history is the domination of Jats in the region since 17th century, leader like Churaman and Badan Singh brought the Jats together to mould them into a force to reckon with. Suraj Mal has been the greatest ruler who made them a formidable force and played a very important role in the Indian history during 19th century.
Today Bharatpur is better known for the Keoladeo Natinal Park, a unique bird place, delight of ornithologists.
Places to visit in Bharatpur
Lohagarh Fort :
The massive iron structure built in the early 18th century. With its impregnable defences it sustained itself even after a number of British attacks. The fort was conceived and designed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the founder of Bharatpur. The fort has three palaces within its precincts - Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas.
Government Museum :
A rich collection of artefacts, exquisitely carved sculptures and ancient inscriptions can be admired in the Government Museum located in the Palaces. All these items speak volumes about the rich heritage, art and crafts of the region.
Keolandeo National Park:
Once the royal hunting preserve of the princes of Bharatpur, it is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world inundated with over 400 species of water birds. Exotic migratory birds from Afghanistan, central .Asia, Tibet as well as Siberian cranes from the arctic, greyleg geese from Siberia and bareheaded geese from China , come here in July/Aug to spend the winters in warmer climate and they breed till Oct/Nov.
Colonies of cormorants, spoonbills , storks, egrets, herons, pelicans, ebis and grey herons can be spotted all over the park. The raised paths camouflaged by babul trees make their viewing easier.
Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj :
A few of the eight imposing towers still stand erect within the glorious ramparts of the Fort. Especially two of them - Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj are of special interest.
These were built by Maharaja Suraj Mal to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and British respectively. The coronation ceremony of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur was also held at the Jawahar Burj.
The Palace :
This royal edifice is a fusion of the Mughal and Rajpat architectural styles with magnificent apartments and intricately designed floor tiles having interesting patterns. One can marvel at the ancient exhibits displayed in the museum in he centeral part of the palace.
Excursions in Bharatpur
Once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it served as the second capital of the region. This interesting town is strewn with massive fortifications , stunningly beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces and a colourful bazaar.