Junagarh Fort, located in Bikaner
, was built in 1587 by Raja Rai Singhji
(1571-1612). Legend has it that the site for the fort was selected because of a sheep that was able to protect her young from a wolf at that location. The fort was completed in 1594, however later rulers continued to add onto it. All told, the fort contains 37 palaces, temples and pavilions. The fort, which was built in the style of many Turkish
forts, has a perimeter of 1078 yards. It is fortified with 37 bastion
s that are, on average, 40 feet high. A 30 foot wide, 20 foot deep moat encircles the fort, which has two entrances. The fort has never been conquered by any invader.
The Karan Mahal (Public Audience Hall) was constructed in 1690 by Maharaja Anup Singhji. It is decorated in the Mughal style utilizing white marble, stucco and a wooden ceiling. The hall also features colorful floral moldings and a silver throne.
There are several other halls in the fort. Phool Mahal ki Sal is noted for its decoration in the style of the Jehangirian period. The Chander Mahal is noted for its dadoed paintings that resemble Agra stone inlay. The Anup Mahal (Privy Council Room) is noted for the gold adornments and antique carpets within. The Sardar Mahal is noted for the Matheran art that can be found on its walls. The walls of the Gaj Mandir are covered with carved marble slabs on top of mirrors.
Today the fort is a museum frequented by tourists from around the world for the architectural beauty and the collection of miniature paintings inside.