Bharatpur

One thing that comes to mind immediately at the mention of Bharatpur is its bird sanctuary. The marshlands in this region are just the place for numerous birds to come flapping in and present the most spectacular sight in the world. But Bharatpur has more to it than just birds.

¤ Bharatpur City

Bharatpur is an ancient city of eastern Rajasthan. Its history dates from the era of the great Indian epic Mahabharata (approximately 1500 BC). But more interestingly, Bharatpur was the only kingdom in Rajasthan that was ruled by the Jats, the peasant stock of Haryana. The Jats rose into prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries and proved to be quite a fighting force. So for the first time in Rajput-ruled Rajasthan, we get a taste of Jat architecture. The Lohargarh Fort in Bharatpur is a superb example. So are the forts at Kumher and Wiir.

Quick bytes

Distance :
176km from Jaipur, 184km from Delhi, 55km from Agra,
Area :
22 sq km
Population :
1,646,501
Altitude :
250 m
Temperature :
Max 45 ºC, Min 37 ºC (summer); Max 31 ºC, Min 7 ºC (winter)
Rainfall :
69 cm

¤ Bharatpur Attractions

The capital city of Deeg (36km from Bharatpur) is another name synonymous with Jat elegance. But Bharatpur itself is a pretty small town; if you stretch your legs a bit, you could go to many other beautiful places around like Dholpur, Karauli, Govardhan and Bayana. Noh and Mallah are two villages around Bharatpur where some rare archaeological finds dating back to the 1st century AD were found.

Since the Jats were Jats, they were never really accepted by the Rajputs. The Bharatpur coat of arms is understandably a deviation from the usual Rajput ensigns which feature either the sun or the moon. Bharatpur’s emblem has neither of these, for the Jats descended neither from the sun nor the moon. Their coat of arms features a shield flanked by a lion and an elephant. A bull is engraves within the shield signifying Piety, with two crossed daggers on either side. Crowning the shield is the monkey god Hanuman’s flag.

¤ Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Today Bharatpur is best known for its bird sanctuary, the Keoladeo Ghana National Park which spreads at the confluence of the Banganga and Ruparel rivers. In the bygone days, the rajas hosted famous (read shocking) duck shoots in the marshes here which were frequented by British dignitaries and fellow maharajas (see Keoladeo Ghana National Park). Today this marshy area has become the favourite haunt of hundreds of species of birds, including the famous Siberian crane, which comes to winter here. But sadly, the number of cranes is reducing at an alarming rate, and very soon Bharatpur might lose its most distinguished visitor.

¤ Festivities

Apart from the vibrant Jat element, Bharatpur also has an influence of Uttar Pradesh’s cultural traditions. The Brij Festival, which is celebrated on a massive scale in UP, is an important socio-religious occasion for Bharatpur. The festival celebrates the loves and joys of Lord Krishna, and the Raslila (dances of Krishna and the milkmaids of Braj) is performed here with great enthusiasm. This is held sometime between February and March. Gangaur and Teej are the other major festivals of Bharatpur. See Religion of Rajasthan for more on these

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