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Bharatpur is a city in the eastern part of Rajasthan, India. It is located about 200 km from Jaipur and 60 km from Agra. Keoladeo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has made Bharatpur famous for its bird sanctuary. The city is also home to a number of other historical and cultural attractions, including the Lohagarh Fort, the Bharatpur Palace, and the Government Museum Bharatpur.
This comprehensive guide will take you on a journey to explore this enchanting city, covering its history, places to visit, culinary delights, accommodation options, festivals, and transportation.
History of Bharatpur
The history of Bharatpur dates back to the 10th century. The city was founded by the Bharatpur Jat ruler Suraj Mal in 1733. Suraj Mal was a powerful ruler who expanded the territory of Bharatpur and built the Lohagarh Fort, which is one of the strongest forts in Rajasthan.
The city’s history is closely linked to the Jat dynasty that ruled the region. Over the centuries, it became an important princely state and played a significant role in the historical landscape of Rajasthan. Its most notable historical achievement was its resistance against the British forces during the 1857 revolt, earning it the moniker “The City of Courage.” Understanding this rich history is essential to appreciate the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.
The Jat rulers of Bharatpur were known for their valor and administrative skills. They were instrumental in creating a powerful state and left behind a legacy of art, culture, and architecture that continues to mesmerize visitors.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Bharatpur was a major center of trade and commerce. The city was a hub of knowledge and creativity. A number of poets, writers, and artists flourished in Bharatpur during this time.
In the 20th century, Bharatpur became a part of the Indian Republic. The city has continued to grow and develop since then. Today, Bharatpur is a popular tourist destination, known for its bird sanctuary, historical monuments, and cultural attractions.
Places to visit in Bharatpur
Keoladeo National Park
Keoladeo National Park, also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to over 360 species of birds, including migratory birds from all over the world. The park is a great place to spot birds such as the Siberian crane, the demoiselle crane, the painted stork, and the spoonbill.
The park’s importance as a bird sanctuary dates back to the 18th century when it was developed as a waterfowl hunting ground for the Maharajas of Bharatpur. It’s a paradise for photographers and offers excellent opportunities for wildlife and bird watching.
Lohagarh Fort stands tall as one of the strongest forts in Rajasthan. It was built by the Jat ruler Suraj Mal in the 18th century. The fort is surrounded by a moat and has a number of bastions and towers. The fort also has a number of palaces and temples within its walls. Explore the majestic Lohagarh Fort, a masterpiece of Jat architecture known for its impregnability. The fort houses museums and ancient artifacts that provide insights into the city’s history. The robust fortifications of Lohagarh Fort were a testament to the Jat dynasty’s strength and their ability to withstand prolonged sieges.
The fort is adorned with magnificent gates like Ashtadhatu Gate and the Suraj Pol. The museum within the fort complex showcases a rich collection of weapons, paintings, and sculptures, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of the Jat rulers.
Government Museum Bharatpur
Government Museum Bharatpur is a museum that houses a collection of artifacts from the history of Bharatpur. The museum showcases a world of natural history specimens. Some of the popular exhibits in the museum include a collection of sculptures, coins, and inscriptions.
Learn more about the city’s history by visiting the Government Museum. It houses an extensive collection of sculptures, manuscripts, and historical artifacts. The museum provides a comprehensive view of the historical and cultural heritage of Bharatpur.
Visitors can explore ancient sculptures, inscriptions, and paintings, offering valuable insights into the region’s past. It’s a great place for history enthusiasts and those interested in understanding the evolution of art and culture in Bharatpur.
Deeg Palace is a beautiful palace located about 30 km from Bharatpur. The palace was built in the 18th century by the Jat ruler Badan Singh. Some of the popular attractions in the palace include the Diwan-e-Khaas, the Diwan-e-Aam, and the Chini Bagh.
A short drive from Bharatpur, the Deeg Palace is a stunning example of Rajput architecture. The palace boasts beautiful gardens, ornate fountains, and intricate frescoes. Deeg was a summer retreat for the Jat rulers, and the palace’s design reflects the architectural finesse of the era. The cascading fountains, lush gardens, and ornate palaces make Deeg Palace a delightful place to visit.
The monsoon palace within Deeg Palace is particularly captivating, with its tiered gardens and enchanting waterworks that come alive during the rainy season.
Bayana Fort, also known as Vijayamandirgarh, is an 11th-century fort located in Bayana, Bharatpur. It is one of the best-preserved examples of Rajput architecture in Rajasthan. The fort is located on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It is surrounded by a double moat and has a number of impressive gates and bastions. The fort also contains a number of palaces, temples, and other buildings.
The Main Gate is flanked by two massive towers. Carvings and sculptures adorn it with intricate designs. The Palace of Vijayapala was built by the Raja of Mewar, Vijayapala, in the 11th century AD. It is one of the most impressive buildings in the fort. Devotees dedicated this temple to the Hindu god Vishnu. It was built in the 11th century AD and is known for its exquisite architecture.
It also houses The Usha Mandir which is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Usha, the daughter of the demon king Banasur. The temple is located adjacent to a mosque, and the two share a common wall. This unique feature is said to be a symbol of religious harmony.
Kishori Mahal, a resplendent palace, resides within the Lohagarh Fort complex in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. It was built in the 18th century by Maharaja Surajmal, the founder of the Jat kingdom of Bharatpur. The exquisitely designed Kishori Mahal palace in Bharatpur is renowned for its intricate architecture. It was originally built as a palace for the women of the state, and it contains several halls and chambers that are decorated with beautiful paintings, murals, and sculptures.
One of the most impressive features of Kishori Mahal is the Sheesh Mahal, or Mirror Palace, which is decorated with mirrors and glasswork. The palace courtyard features a beautiful fountain and a garden. Today, Kishori Mahal is a popular tourist attraction in Bharatpur, and visitors can explore the palace and learn about the history and culture of the Jat kingdom.
Other places of interest in Bharatpur
In addition to the above-mentioned places, there are a number of other places of interest in Bharatpur, including:
Bankey Bihari Temple: Bankey Bihari Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and its lively atmosphere. Visitors can witness the temple’s stunning architecture and participate in the rituals and prayers that are an integral part of the temple’s daily routine.
Ganga Mandir: Ganga Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to the river Ganges. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and its sacred water tank.
Laxman Mandir: Laxman Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and its serene atmosphere.
Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj: Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj are two watchtowers located in Bharatpur. The towers were built by the Jat ruler Suraj Mal in the 18th century. The towers offer panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
Exploring the Surrounding Areas
While Bharatpur itself offers a plethora of attractions, the surrounding areas also hold unique gems for travelers to explore. Some notable places within a short drive of Bharatpur include:
Fatehpur Sikri: Just 23 kilometers from Bharatpur, Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once the Mughal capital. Explore its stunning architecture, including the Buland Darwaza and the magnificent Jama Masjid.
Mathura and Vrindavan: Located around 40 kilometers away, these two cities are considered sacred by Hindus due to their association with Lord Krishna. Visit the various temples, ghats, and vibrant markets.
Agra: Approximately 56 kilometers from Bharatpur, Agra is home to the iconic Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and other historical sites. A day trip to Agra is a must for those visiting Bharatpur.
Food in Bharatpur
Bharatpur has a rich cuisine that is influenced by the Mughals, Rajputs, and Jats. Some of the popular dishes in Bharatpur include:
Dal Baati Churma: Dal Baati Churma is a popular Rajasthani dish that is made with lentils, wheat dumplings, and a sweet dessert made with wheat flour, ghee, and jaggery.
Gatte ki Sabzi: Gatte ki Sabzi is a curry made with gram flour dumplings and a spicy yogurt-based gravy.
Ker Sangri: A traditional Rajasthani culinary dish, that showcases the unique flavors of dried berries and beans.
Bajre ki Roti: Bajre ki Roti is a flatbread made with pearl millet flour that is a staple in Rajasthani cuisine.
Laal Maas: Laal Maas is a spicy meat curry made with red chili paste and a blend of aromatic spices.
Street food in Bharatpur
Bharatpur has a thriving street food scene. Some of the popular street food items in Bharatpur include:
Kachori: Kachori is a deep-fried pastry stuffed with a variety of fillings, such as potatoes, lentils, and peas.
Samosa: Samosa is a deep-fried pastry stuffed with a savory filling, such as potatoes, peas, and spices.
Chaat: A savory snack made with potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, and chutneys, all combined to create a symphony of flavors.
Bhel Puri: Bhel Puri is a popular chaat item made with puffed rice, sev, vegetables, and chutneys.
Chole Bhature: Chole Bhature is a popular dish made with chickpeas and fried flatbread.
Where to eat in Bharatpur
There are a number of good restaurants in Bharatpur that serve a variety of cuisines, including Rajasthani, Indian, and international cuisine. Some of the popular restaurants in Bharatpur include:
City Spice: City Spice is a popular restaurant that serves a variety of Rajasthani and Indian dishes.
Gulmohar Restaurant at The Bagh Resort: Gulmohar Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant that serves a variety of Indian and international dishes.
Maharo Thikano: Maharo Thikano is a restaurant that serves authentic Rajasthani cuisine.
Shahi Rasoi Restaurant & Cafe: Shahi Rasoi Restaurant & Cafe is a restaurant that serves a variety of Indian and Chinese dishes.
Ravia Poolside and Rooftop Restaurant: Ravia Poolside and Rooftop Restaurant is a restaurant that serves a variety of Indian and international dishes.
Accommodation options in Bharatpur
There are a number of accommodation options available in Bharatpur, ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. Some of the popular hotels and resorts in Bharatpur include:
The Bagh Resort: The Bagh Resort is a luxury resort located about 10 km from Bharatpur. The resort offers a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, a spa, and a golf course.
Hotel Udail Vilas Palace: Hotel Udail Vilas Palace is a heritage hotel located in Bharatpur. The hotel provides guests with a variety of amenities, such as a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar.
Hotel Sunbird: Hotel Sunbird is a budget-friendly hotel located in Bharatpur. The hotel offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.
Celebration’s Restaurant: Celebration’s Restaurant is a budget-friendly hotel located in Bharatpur. The hotel offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.
Dawat Family Restaurant: Dawat Family Restaurant is a budget-friendly hotel located in Bharatpur. The hotel offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.
Laxmi Vilas Palace: This heritage hotel is a beautiful example of Rajput and Jat architecture. It exudes old-world charm and offers a royal experience with its regal rooms, traditional decor, and impeccable service.
Bharatpur Forest Lodge: Located within the national park, this lodge is ideal for nature enthusiasts. It offers cozy cottages surrounded by lush greenery and is the perfect place to unwind after a day of birdwatching.
Kadamb Kunj Resort: Another option for nature lovers, this resort is set amid serene surroundings and offers comfortable accommodations, making it an excellent base for exploring Keoladeo National Park.
Whether you prefer a luxurious stay or budget-friendly accommodation, Bharatpur has options to suit all preferences. Choose from heritage hotels, modern resorts, or guesthouses that offer a glimpse into the city’s royal past.
Festivals of Bharatpur
Braj Holi Festival
The Braj Holi Festival is one of the most popular and vibrant festivals in Bharatpur. It is celebrated a few days before the main Holi festival in the Shukla Paksha of the Phalgun month (February-March). The festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is believed to have spent time in the Braj region of Rajasthan.
The Braj Holi Festival is known for its playful and joyous atmosphere. People from all over the region come together to sing, dance, and throw colors at each other. The festival is also marked by cultural performances, music, and food.
One of the highlights of the Braj Holi Festival is the Raslila dance, which is performed by groups of men and women dressed in colorful costumes. The Raslila dance depicts the love story of Radha and Krishna.
The Braj Holi Festival is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. It is a time to celebrate the spring season, the eternal love of Radha and Krishna, and the vibrant culture of Rajasthan.
Jaswant Exhibition and Fair
The Jaswant Exhibition and Fair is a popular annual event held in Bharatpur. It is held in the month of October-November to mark the birth anniversary of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, a former ruler of Bharatpur.
The Jaswant Exhibition and Fair is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the best of Rajasthan’s art, craft, and cuisine. Visitors can find a wide range of products on display, including handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, and food items. The fair also features a variety of cultural performances, such as folk dances, music, and plays.
The Jaswant Exhibition and Fair is a great opportunity to experience the rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan. Shoppers can find a wide selection of souvenirs and gifts to take home.
Numaish Exhibition and Fair
The Numaish Exhibition and Fair is another popular annual event held in Bharatpur. It is held in the month of October-November to coincide with the Dussehra festival.
The Numaish Exhibition and Fair is a commercial event that features a wide range of products and services on display. Visitors can find everything from electronics and appliances to clothing and home décor. The fair also features a variety of food stalls and entertainment options.
The Numaish Exhibition and Fair is a great place to shop for deals and discounts. It is also a great place to spend a day out with family and friends.
These festivals are all celebrated with great pomp and show and offer visitors a chance to experience the rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan.
In addition to these three major festivals, Bharatpur also celebrates a number of other festivals throughout the year, including:
Gangaur Festival: Celebrated with great pomp and grandeur, this festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of Bharatpur. Women in traditional attire participate in colorful processions, carrying idols of the goddess Gauri. The festivities include traditional songs, dance, and cultural events that provide a captivating glimpse into the local customs and traditions. The entire city comes alive with the vibrant colors of the Gangaur Festival.
Teej Festival: A monsoon festival celebrated with enthusiasm, Teej features traditional songs, dance, and cultural events. Witness the city come alive during this vibrant celebration as women dressed in colorful attire celebrate the arrival of the monsoon. The Teej procession is a sight to behold, with beautifully decorated idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati carried through the streets.
Janmashtami: The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with special prayers, ceremonies, and cultural performances in temples throughout the city. Devotees fast, sing devotional songs, and engage in traditional rituals to honor the beloved deity. Temples like the Banke Bihari Temple are adorned with exquisite decorations, and the atmosphere is charged with a sense of devotion and celebration.
Diwali: Diwali is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in the autumn to celebrate the victory of good over evil and the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. The city, which is known for its rich cultural heritage, comes alive during this festival of lights. The streets are decorated with diyas, lanterns, and rangolis, and the air is filled with the sweet aroma of sweets and delicacies.
Bharatpur has a semi-arid climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Bharatpur for tourists is during the winter months, from October to March when the weather is pleasant and sunny. The average temperature during this time ranges from 5°C to 25°C.
Summer (April to June) is very hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C. It is not recommended to visit Bharatpur during this time, as the heat and humidity can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Monsoon (July to September) brings heavy rains to Bharatpur, which can make sightseeing and other outdoor activities difficult. However, the monsoon season is also a beautiful time to visit Bharatpur, as the landscape becomes lush and green.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the weather in Bharatpur during each season:
Winter (October to March): Sunny and pleasant weather, with average temperatures ranging from 5°C to 25°C. This is the best time to visit Bharatpur for tourists.
Summer (April to June): Hot and humid weather, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C. It is not recommended to visit Bharatpur during this time.
Monsoon (July to September): Heavy rains, which can make sightseeing and other outdoor activities difficult. However, the monsoon season is also a beautiful time to visit Bharatpur, as the landscape becomes lush and green.
How to reach Bharatpur
Bharatpur is well-connected to major cities in Rajasthan and neighboring states. Travelers have multiple transportation options, including:
The closest airport to Bharatpur is the Jaipur International Airport, approximately 180 kilometers away from the city. Jaipur is well connected with major cities of India, and from there, you can hire a taxi to reach Bharatpur. The road trip offers a scenic view of Rajasthan’s landscape and can be arranged through various taxi service providers.
Bharatpur boasts its own railway station, known as Bharatpur Junction, and is well-connected to major Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, and Jaipur. There are regular trains from Jaipur to Bharatpur.
Bharatpur enjoys excellent connectivity through national and state highways, making road travel a viable option. You can embark on a road trip from nearby cities such as Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi. Our best taxi service in Udaipur can assist in arranging a comfortable journey from Udaipur to Bharatpur by road. You may also explore a local tour operator in Udaipur for a hassle-free road trip experience.
Upon arriving in Bharatpur, you can access local transportation services such as auto-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and taxis to explore the city’s attractions. The renowned Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur Palace, and Lohagarh Fort await your visit.
Bharatpur offers a splendid blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, a history aficionado, or simply seeking to experience the allure of Rajasthan, reaching Bharatpur is straightforward, especially with the assistance of the best taxi services in Udaipur, ensuring a comfortable and convenient journey.
Safety and Travel Tips
Bharatpur is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s advisable to take standard precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and staying hydrated.
The weather in Bharatpur can be extreme, with scorching summers and chilly winters. Experience the best of Bharatpur when you visit during the cooler months.
If you’re planning to visit Keoladeo National Park, start your birdwatching early in the morning when the birds are most active.
While Bharatpur has a variety of dining options, consider trying some of the local street food for a truly authentic experience. Be mindful of hygiene practices when selecting street food vendors.
Frequently asked questions about Bharatpur
What is the best time to visit Bharatpur?
The best time to visit Bharatpur is during the winter months (October to March), when the weather is pleasant. The summer months (April to June) can be very hot and humid. If you wish to witness the monsoon festivals, plan your visit during July and August.
What are the must-see attractions in Bharatpur?
The must-see attractions in Bharatpur include Keoladeo National Park, Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur Palace, and Government Museum Bharatpur.
Where can I stay in Bharatpur?
There are a number of accommodation options available in Bharatpur, ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. Some of the popular hotels and resorts in Bharatpur include The Bagh Resort, Hotel Udail Vilas Palace, Hotel Sunbird, Celebration’s Restaurant, and Dawat Family Restaurant.
What can I eat in Bharatpur?
Bharatpur has a rich cuisine that is influenced by the Mughals, Rajputs, and Jats. Some of the popular dishes in Bharatpur include Dal Baati Churma, Gatte ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri, Bajre ki Roti, and Laal Maas.
What are the festivals celebrated in Bharatpur?
Bharatpur has a number of festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Some of the popular festivals in Bharatpur include Gangaur, Holi, Teej, and Diwali.
How can I book a guided tour of Keoladeo National Park?
You can book guided tours of Keoladeo National Park at the park’s entrance or through various tour operators in Bharatpur. Knowledgeable guides can enhance your birdwatching experience and provide valuable insights into the park’s flora and fauna.
What are the entry fees for the city’s major attractions?
Entry fees may vary for different attractions. As of my last knowledge update in 2022, the approximate entry fees were as follows:
– Keoladeo National Park: Indian Nationals – INR 50, Foreign Nationals – INR 400 (additional charges for cameras).
– Lohagarh Fort: Indian Nationals – INR 50, Foreign Nationals – INR 400.
– Deeg Palace: Indian Nationals – INR 30, Foreign Nationals – INR 200.
– Government Museum: Indian Nationals – INR 5, Foreign Nationals – INR 100.
– Banke Bihari Temple: No entry fee.
Please note that these fees may have changed, so it’s advisable to check the latest rates before your visit.
Are there any wildlife safaris available in Keoladeo National Park?
Keoladeo National Park offers cycle rickshaws, boat rides, and guided walking tours for wildlife viewing. These options allow you to explore the park while minimizing disturbance to the birds and wildlife.
What are the recommended shopping areas in Bharatpur?
Bharatpur is known for its handicrafts, especially items made from camel bone, brassware, and textiles. You can explore the local markets near Lohagarh Fort and the city center for unique souvenirs. The Government Handicraft Emporium is a reliable place to shop for authentic Rajasthani handicrafts.
Bharatpur is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. It is a great place to visit for those who are interested in bird watching, forts, palaces, and museums. Bharatpur is also a great place to try delicious Rajasthani cuisine.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, this city has something to offer everyone. Plan your visit to Bharatpur and immerse yourself in its captivating charm, unique wildlife, and warm Rajasthani hospitality.
Make the most of your trip by exploring the city’s rich history, indulging in local cuisine, and participating in its vibrant festivals. Bharatpur is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.