Bharatpur, also known as Eastern Gate of Rajasthan was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733. Bharatpur was once the capital of a kingdom ruled by Jat maharajas and was impregnable, fortified city in Mewat region. Amongst the trio Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur this city has played important role in Jat history. It is located 50 km west of the city of Agra (the city of the Taj Mahal).
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. The legends say the rulers Laxman’s name is engraved on the state arms and the seals. The city and the fort have been believed to be founded by Rustam, a Jat of Sogariya clan. Maharaja Suraj Mal took over from Khemkaran, the son of Rustam, and established the empire. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around the city.
The interesting aspect of the Bharatpur history is the domination of Jats in the region since 17th century. Leaders like Churaman and Badan Singh brought the jats together to mould them into a force to reckon with. Suraj Mal has been the greatest ruler who made them a formidable force and played a very important role in the Indian history during 19th century.
The city of Bharatpur is 184 km from Delhi and borders with Dausa District in south-west and Alwar District in the North-West. The city is famous for its wildlife sanctuary. Known as the Keoladeo National Park, which is a delight for the bird lovers. During the period of British rule in India, it was known as the Best Duck shooting resort, but in the year 1956, it was declared a bird reserve and later in 1972, it was declared a National Park. The park is named “Keoladeo” after the name of the temple of Lord Shiva in the park. This park has its place among the UNESCO World heritage list since 1985. The park is spread over an area of 29 square km and lies 370 m above the sea level. Much of the area inside the park is bushy, but it also contains semi arid woodland and scrub. Over 50 species of fishes, 5 species of Amphibians, 8 species of lizards, 13 species of snakes,7 species of turtles, 375 species of birds and 27 species of mammals have been found in the park. Important birds that adorn the sanctuary include cranes, storks, spoon bills, white ibis, Cormorant, Darters, Herons,Egrets, geese, ducks, pelicans, flamingos, eagles, vultures, owls, and kingfishers. The crane population in this sanctuary has been continuously decreasing.
History of Bharatpur
In 1733 AD, Raja Badan Singh 's adopted son, Suraj Mal had shown signs of promise, when he captured the fort of Bharatpur from Khemkaran, the rival chief, whom he killed and thus laid the foundation of Bharatpur City.
Maharaja Suraj Mal displayed immense courage and carved a niche for himself in the midst of political disorder. Gathering around him fiercely martial Jat peasants, he went from one success to another. He accompanied Emperor Muhammed Shah against Ali Muhammed Ruhela and in 1748 AD; at the battle of Bagru he led the Jaipur vanguard against the Marathas. He also defeated the commander-in-chief of the Mughal emperor. Despite being a very religious man he was secular.
The history of Bharatpur dates back to the epic age, when the Matsya Kingdom flourished here in the 5th century BC the matsya were allies of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war. According to tradition the name of Bharatpur is traced to Bharat, the brother of lord Rama of Ayodhya whose other brother Laxman was given the high place of family deity of the ruling family of Bharatpur. His name also appears in the state seals and coat-of-arms.
Bharatpur, which is also called the Eastern gateway of Rajasthan, was found by Maharaja Suraj mal in 1733 AD. Raja Badan Singh’s adopted son, Suraj Mal had shown signs of promise, when he captured the fort of Bharatpur from Khemkaran, the rival chief, whom he killed and thus laid the foundation of Bharatpur City. Maharaja Suraj Mal displayed immense courage and carved a niche for himself in the midst of political disorder.
Gathering around him fiercely martial Jat peasants, he went from one success to another. He accompanied Emperor Mohammed Shah against Ali Mohammed Ruhela and in 1748 AD; at the battle of Bagru he led the Jaipur vanguard against the Marathas. He also defeated the commander- in - Chief of the Mughal emperor. Maharaja Suraj Mal was the state's greatest ruler; he made the state a formidable force in the region. Suraj Mal took over the site of Bharatpur from Khemkaran, a son of Rustam, and established it as the capital of his state. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around it. He built numerous forts and palaces across the kingdom including the Pleasure Palace complex at Deeg. Bharatpur, is today known the world – over for its Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
The young Maharaja of Bharatpur Jaswunt Singh aged about eleven, in his durbar or court in 1862. The young prince sits in the centre of his guddee or royal seat, which is of velvet richly embroidered with gold. Behind him are four servants, two of whom hold merchauls of peacocks' feathers, and the chouree of yak's tail hair. In two rows on either side of the Rajah, the nobles and sirdars of the state are seated, who may be relatives, or officers in various parts of the state services
During the British Raj, the state covered an area of 5,123 km². Its rulers enjoyed a salute of 17 guns. The state acceded unto the dominion of India in 1947. It was merged with three nearby princely states to form the 'Matsya Union', which in turn was merged with other adjoining territories to create the present-day state of Rajasthan.
How to reach Bharatpur
Air: The nearest airport is Agra (56 kms).
Train: Bharatpur is on the Delhi to Mumbai broad gauge line. It is 1,207 km. (750 miles) from Mumbai on the broad-gauge line of the Western Railway. It is connected to Sawai Madhopur, Kota and Agra.
Bharatpur is accessible by road from Agra (55 km. or 34 miles) and Jaipur (185 km. or 115miles). All important places of Bharatpur are connected by roads. In the district, total length of roads is 1994.4 km. In the district 317 village panchayat and 911 villages are connected by roads and 60 village panchayat, 828 villages are to be connected.
Local Transport in Bharatpur
Auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaw and Tonga are available at Old Bus Stand and Railway Station. Rates are negotiable.