Bharatpur - The 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.
Bharatpur is also world famous for its Keoladeo Bird's Sanctuary,a unique bird place, delight of ornithologists, where rare Siberian cranes immigrate during winter period from as far as Russian territorries.A paradise for the avian world, and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, it was known as the best duck shooting resort in the British empire. But was declared a reserve for birds in 1956 and later upgraded to National Park. UNESCO has listed it as a world heritage site.Bharatpur is also known as 'LOHAGARH'.
PLACES TO VISIT
Lohagarh, built by Maharaja Suraj Mahal, is located in the heart of the old city. Its entrance is from a crowded street that leads through the massive entrance gate called the Astdhatu Gate. Asthdhatu means 'eight metals', a reference to the spikes on the gate which are reputedly made of eight different metals.Lohagarh is a living fort with several modern additions. However, a part of the fort has been preserved consists of a sprawling palace complex since it combines Rajput and Mughal architecture with Jat Influences in building style, a few of the eight original towers of which Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj are of particular interest, and floors laid with tiles.
The government Museum is housed in the former durbar hall, the maharaja's meeting hall, in the fort. The most interesting thing to see here is the hamam(bathhouse), which retains some fine carvings and frescoes. It exhibits sculptures found during the excavation of old villages e.g. Noh, Mallah, Bareh, Bayana etc. ranging from the Kushan period (Ist century A.D.) to 19th century A.D. Weapons used in battles in the medieval period the Jat rulers, paintings, manuscripts, zoological specimens, local art and craft that was once Bharatpur. The Art Gallery of the museum has specimens of miniature paintings on leaves of the Peepal tree, mica and old litho papers along with the paintings of the Maharajas of Bharatpur. On the upper story one section consists of various types of guns & miniature canons used during 18th century A.D. Called ‘Chandra’. These miniature canons - two sets of eleven each, were used by Maharaja Sawai Jawahar Singh in the battle while passing through the Jaipur territory on his return from a pilgrimage to Pushkar.
The splendid Bharatpur Palace has a rich repository of a large number of ancient exhibit that date back to the early 15th century. There is also a museum in the central wing with a few exhibits dating to the 2nd century A.D.
Keoladeo Ghana National ParkBird Sanctuary:
Amongst India’s premier wildlife sanctuaries is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, situated at the border between the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It’s a marshy area, stretching over 29 sq km of kadam forests, grasslands and shallow lakes. Created by the Maharaja of Bharatpur in the 19th century by diverting water from an irrigation canal, Keoladeo was founded as a shooting preserve, but given the status of a bird sanctuary in 1956. Upgraded to a national park in 1982, the area today ranks as one of the best waterbirds preserves in the world- and it’s a World Heritage Site. Keoladeo Ghana, Bharatpur harbours some of India’s richest Birdlife, including the gorgeous shocking-pink tinted painted stork, several species of cormorants, egrets, pelicans, ibises, cranes, ducks and geese.
HOW TO GET HERE
By Air :
Agra 56 km is the nearest airport. Daily flight form Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Lucknow are available to Agra.
By Bus :
A network of bus services links Bharatpur with several cities within and outside the State.
By Train :
Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with several cities on Delhi-Mumbai trunk route, Jaipur and Agra. Some important train connections are : Golden Temple Mail (Mumbai-Bharatpur-Jammu-Tawi); Intercity express (Hazrat Nizamuddin-Bharatpur); Paschim Express (New Delhi-Bharatpur-Mumbai).