Nagaur Fort, locally known as Ahhichatragarh (fort of the hooded cobra) is one of the finest examples of Rajput-Mughal architecture. It was one of the first Muslim strongholds in northern India. The fort was originally constructed by Nagavanshis in 2nd century and later renovated by Mohammed Bahlim, a governor of the Ghaznivids. The fort was rebuilt in the early 12th century and altered repeatedly over the centuries. It witnessed many battles. The fort underwent major renovations in 2007. The fort was shortlisted in the contender list for the “Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013”. This award is bestowed in credit of architectural superiority in the area of historic safeguarding, reprocess, area maintenance and landscape design and enhancement of the surroundings.
The Nagaur fort has three entrance doors. First one was “Sireh Pole”, made of iron and wood spikes to guard against elephant charges and enemy attacks. The second gate is called “Beech ka Pole” and the last one is “Kacheri Pol”. The fort contains many palaces like Deepak Mahal, Hadi Rani Mahal, Akbari Mahal, Bakht Singh Palace, Rani Mahal and Amar Sing Mahal. The fort also contains many fountains, temples, reservoirs, open terraces and beautiful gardens that dates back to the ancient Mughal era. Several delicate portraits embellish numerous ceilings and walls of the places.
Hadi Rani Mahal is the most marvellously adorned palaces of the fort. It has brilliantly engraved designs throughout its ceilings and walls. The legendary character Hadi Rani was the the daughter of Hada Rajput Chundawat Chieftain of Salumbar Mewar who sacrificed herself to motivate her husband to go to the war. When Maharana Raj Singh I (1653-1680) of Mewar called his son to join the battle against Aurangzeb, the Sardar having married only a few days earlier hesitated about going into battle. He asked his wife Hadi Rani for some memento to take with him to the battlefield.
Thinking that she was an obstacle to his doing his duty for Mewar, she cut off her head and put it on a plate in her dying moments. A servant covered it with a cloth and presented it to her husband. The Sardar, devastated but nevertheless proud, tied the memento around his neck by its hair. He fought bravely, making the Aurangzeb forces flee, and after his victory, he got to his knees and cut his neck, having lost the desire to live.
Nagaur lies between Bikaner and Jodhpur. Jodhpur to Nagaur is 140 km and Bikaner to Nagaur is 114 km.
Yes, it sounds weird, but there is a temple of rats dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnok, 30 km from Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Approximately 20,000 black rats live in this temple, and is highly revered by the devotees. The temple draws devotees and visitors from across the country for blessings. You can also see tourists from around the world flocking to this small town out of curiosity.
According to legend, Karni Mata a 14th century incarnation of Durga, asked the god of death, Yama, to restore to life the son of a grieving storyteller. When Yama refused, Karni Mata reincarnated all dead storytellers as rats, depriving Yama of human souls. It is considered auspicious if the rats scamper over your feet. These holy rodents are locally called as ‘kabas’. There are few white rats in the temple which are considered to be especially holy. Please look for one of the rare white rats. It is good luck for you if you could spot one. Unfortunately I couldn’t spot one, my bad luck.
The temple was constructed in its current form in the early 20th century in the late Mughal style by Maharaj Ganga Singh of Bikaner. In front of the temple is a beautiful marble façade, which has solid silver doors built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The image of the Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.
Karni Mata Fair is held twice a year at Deshnok – the first and larger fair is held in March-April and the second one is held in September-October. During this time thousands of people travel to the temple by foot.
The temple appeared on the first season of the U.S. reality series ‘The Amazing Race’ in 2001. It featured a challenge were one person from each team had to search the temple for a clue. The Karni Mata temple is one of the wonders of Indians in the game Age of Empires III.