Junagarh Fort was constructed in the year 1593 by Raja Rai Singh. It is believed that crocodiles were bred in the water moat surrounding the formidable fort. The construction is a fine blend of Mughal, Gujarati and Rajput style of architecture. The picturesque courtyards beautify the fort. The amazing architecture inside the fort inspires you. Some of the attractions inside the fort are Anup Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Dungar Mahal, Diwan-e-khas and Ganga Mahal.
The erstwhile Princely state of Bikaner and its capital city Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika (1465-1504 AD.) by the blessings of Goddess Karni Mata in the year 1488 AD. In those days this vast tract of desert country was called “Jangaldesh”. Prince Bika of the Rathore clan of Rajputs was the valiant son of Rao Jodha- the founder of Jodhpur. Encouraged and provoked by his father, Prince Bika moved out of Marwar (Jodhpur) on an ambitious military adventure, with a small contingent of Rathore warriors (500 soldier and 100 cavalry men). He was supported by his brave uncle, Rawat Kandhal, who always stood by him as his guardian and politico-strategic advisor. Those were the days when this land was inhabited by different clans of Jats and Rajputs and their Chiefs enjoyed fairly good amount of autonomy, of course some of them owing their allegiance to the Sultanate of Delhi. Rao Bika subdued all the contemporary Chiefs and was recognized as the ruler of the land. He laid the foundations of a State that existed till it acceded and merged into the Indian Union in 1947 and 1949.
Rao Bika laid the foundation of the city of Bikaner in 1488 AD, having first constructed a small fortress in the Rati Ghati area. Today this site is situated at the south west end of the old walled city near Laxminath Ji temple. The royal family of Bikaner lived there, till Raja Rai Singh Ji built a new fort called Chintamani (now Junagarh) during 1589 to 1593 AD. The rulers of Bikaner had played a prominent and glorious role in the history of India. They held high ranks as Mansabdars of special order or Governors in the court of the Imperial Mughals.
Construction of Junagarh Fort
The first dig ceremony for construction of the fort was held on Thursday, Phagun Vadi 19, V.S. 1645 i.e. 30th January, 1589 AD. The foundation was laid on Monday, Phugan Sudi 12 V.S. 1645 i.e. 17th February, 1589 A.D. and it was completed on Thursday Magh Sudi 6 V.S. 1650 i.e. 17th January 1594 AD. Later on this fort became the most magnificent example of architecture and great centre of art. The present fort is a composite structure, the result of intense building activities of many rulers through four centuries and one of the precious gems of Indian architecture in the midst of Thar Desert.