One of the
most formidable forts of India, Junagarh Fort has never been
conquered by its enemies. Built in 1593 AD by Raja Rai Singh, the
most able and trusted generals of Akbar, Junagarh Fort is
constructed on the plains, contrary to other forts of Rajasthan,
normally built on hilltops. A massive structure encircled by a
moat, it houses many beautiful palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga
Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure.
Built between 1902-1926 by Maharaja
Ganga Singh, Lalgadh Palace is a beautiful red palace, displaying
a perfect blend of Rajput and European architectural style.
Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, a British architect, the palace
has several grand halls, lounges, cupolas and pavilions with
overhanging balconies and latticework. Now a luxury 5-star
heritage hotel, it also houses the Shri Sadul Museum, displaying
well-preserved photographs of the erstwhile maharajas, their
personal belongings, wildlife trophies, and a carriage from the
maharaja's royal train.
Karni Mata Temple-Bikaner
This 600 year old temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a famous
mystic of her times, believed to be an incarnation of goddess
Durga. Devotees feed the rats, owing to the belief that these
rodents will be reincarnated as holy men. The entrance archway is
intricately carved in marble.
The temple has huge silver gates and a marble door both donated
by the Maharaja Ganga Singh. The temple has a beautiful silver
door and a wire mesh over the courtyard to protect the rats from
birds. An image of Karni Mata holding a trishul (trident),
surrounded by rats can be seen in the temple. The rats are called
kabas and if you injure a rat in the temple, you are expected to
present a gold or silver replica to the temple or suffer
misfortune. The rats eat from huge metal bowls filled with milk,
sweets, and grains donated by devotees. It is considered
auspicious to see a white kaba near the image of Karni Mata.
Inside the shrine, a 75 cms. image of Karni Mata adorned with a
mukut (tiara) and a garland is installed. Her image is
accompanied by the images of her sisters and the sisters of Avad