Bharatpur is a town in the Mewat region of Rajasthan set at a height of 600 feet above sea level and located 182 km from Delhi and a 3 hour drive by car and Train offering a peaceful and serene weekend getaway. This small town was founded by King Surajmal, a Jaat Ruler and dominated by Jaats who rose to great heights under the strong leadership and rule of King Churaman, King Badan Singh and King Surajmal. It was named after the brother of Lord Rama, 'Bharata' whose brother Lakshman is ardently worshipped as a deity by the Bharatpur Royal Family.
It is believed that Bharatpur was first founded by Lord Aditya Consul in the 17th Century where he established this town in the Mewat region and founded 'Deeg' as his capital city. Later, the Jaat leaders mentioned above brought a number of Jaats to this region and moulded them into such a strong army to be reckoned with in the history of India and marked the identity of what the Jaat people are today.
Keoladeo National Park or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a 6 hour drive from Delhi and was established over 250 years ago and named after the Keoladeo Temple of Lord Shiva that lies within this Park. It homes over 230 species of resident and migratory birds that breed and feed in the Lake of this habitat. Initially one could even spot endangered species like the Siberian Crane who migrates from Siberia to this Park every winter. The Lake is a natural depression that was flooded with the Banganaga River and Gambhir River after the 'Ajan Bund' was constructed by King Surajmal sometime between 1726 and 1763 at the junction of both the rivers. It was also known to be the hunting ground for the Bharatpur Jaat Kings and Duck shootings were organised for the British Viceroys every year. In 1938, one Shoot by Lord Linlithgow, the Governor General of India then, killed over 4,273 birds of different species. Post Independence, hunting was allowed till 1972 and by 1982, it was completely banned. In 1971, this Park was declared as a protected World Heritage site and grazing was also prohibited that led to a great fight between the Gujjar community, the government and the Local farmers.
Lohagarh Fort which literally means 'Iron Fort' was built by King Surajmal, a Jaat Ruler of Bharatpur. He also constructed numerous Palaces like Kishori Mahal, Kothi Khaas and Mahal Khaas within the fort putting good use of the money and his power for the benefit and protection of his Kingdom. The Fort has two Gates with the north gate named as 'Ashtdhaatu' or the 'Eight-Metalled Gate' and the south is named 'Chowburja' which means 'Four-pillared Gate'. It is known to be one of the strongest and impregnable Forts ever built in history of India that withstood repeated attacks by the British Army led by Lord Lake. After 6 weeks, they gave up and retreated having lost over 3000 soldiers only to return later in order strike a deal and compromise with the Jaat Rulers. Even today, this Fort exudes the aura of magnificence and strength standing formidably against the test of time.
The Fatej Burj and the Jawahar Burj which means 'Victory Tower' and 'Jewel Tower' are two of the eight important Towers that were built by King Surajmal to commemorate his victories over the Mughal Rulers and British Army. These 8 magnificent Towers stand erect even today within the parapet of the Lohagarh Fort and all the coronation ceremonies of the Bharatpur Kings were organised at the Jawahar Burj.
The Bharatpur Palace lies in the heart of the Lohagarh Fort and depicts the architectural influence of both Rajput and Mughal style with extremely beautiful chambers and floor richly decorated in patterned tiles with intricate design and art work. In 1944, the Kachahari Kalan was converted into a museum which was earlier the administrative section of the Jaat Rulers. The 'Kamra Khaas' which means 'Personal Hall or Room' on the 1st Floor was added as a part of this museum. The museum homes an array of collections from the historical past of the city and its cultural growth through these years, invaluable collection of antiques and archaeological findings of the Old Bharatpur state dating back to the 2nd Century and belonging to the Kuslian era, Exquisite and fine sculptures that depicts excellence and inscriptions revealing the local lifestyle and Royal lineage of the Bharatpur Rulers. This Palace cum Museum attracts many tourists throughout the year who seek to enjoy the royal effulgence of this town.
Deeg Fort and Palace were constructed in 1772 by the Jaat Rulers and is situated about 32 km from Bharatpur. It has 'Mansions' or 'Bhavans' named Gopal Bhavan, Hardev Bhavan, Keshav Bhavan, Kishan Bhavan, Nand Bhavan and Suraj Bhavan depicting a well balanced outline, proportioned Halls and logically inclined arches with lush green lawns imitating the Persian style of 'Chaar Bagh' in Agra, canals, tanks or reservoir named Gopal Nagar and Roop Nagar and fountains with striking features. The architecture of this place is based on the system of employing beams exclusively with well carved arcades and Pillars, flat roofed terraces, Pavilions and Balconies.