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Parols:

To visit the fort one has to start from Karan Parol which is the main entrance today - when one enter into Karan Parol he can see some symbolic hands sculpted on a vertically fixed stone slab on the left side. These are SATI hands, reminders of the royal Royal ladies who committed sati. There are some more Sati symbols on the left side of the next Parol which is called Duulat Parol Later, the practice of Sati was stopped during the reign of Maharaja Sardar Singhji. All the Parols are named after some prominent Rulers/Princes of Bikaner Royal Family. The many Parols also provided strong defence to the fort. In the past, no war was decided until the fort was conquered. The enemy had to break many barriers/obstacles in order to conquer for fort under strong resistance from inside. First the enemy had to cross the deep moat, then the curtain wall and after that the Parols had to be taken in order to enter inside the fort. The Parols were provided with very large strong and heavy wooden doors with iron plating. These doors had solid iron spikes to check the elephant charge, in case the elephants tried to break the doors open during the wars. Walking through DAULAT PAROL and FATEH PAROL one reachs SURAJ PAROL. When one stands facing Suraj Parol, on the left side there is another Parol called RATAN PAROL, through which there is a passage leading to the open ground on the southern side of the Palaces and an old stable is situated there, with some old building which in the past housed a jail, a printing press and quarters for state artillery. There is a deep well also lacated there called GAJ Sagar and a garden is being redeveloped there. In fact, SURAJ PAROL used to be the main gate of the fort in the beginning. The other outer parols were constructed probably during the regin of Maharaja Gaj Singhji as an extension. For the construction of Suraj PArol the stones were brought form Jaisalmer (Suraj Parol of the Sun Gate is a common phenomenon in Hindu fort architecture). The main gate is mostly kept facing east, because the sun rises in the east, it is called Suraj Parol (Sun Gate). The idea is to let the first rays od Sun come inside the house. Light in Hindu throught is symbol of knowledge and it is associated with wisdom and prosperity. The facade is flanked by two lift size statues of elephants with riders. These riders were in fact two great generals of Maharana Udai Singh Ji of Mewar, who fought very bravely during the seize of Chittor Fort. Emperor Akbar was more than impressed and declared that these brave generals Jaimal Rathore from Merta and Rawat Patta Sisodia of Aamet be honoured by installing their statues on elephant, in front of the main gates of those forts which were never conquered,. This tradition of decorating the gates with elephants was adopted form Jain temples of Rajputana. Suraj Parol is an impressive vaulted hall opening on two sides through high double arches. This parol is also called GANESH PAROL because a small Shine of lord Ganesh (the Hindu divinity with an elephant's trunk) is lacated on the vaulted hall. Lord Ganesh has precedence in all Hindu rites and rituals. All Hindu forts and buildings have Shrine or idol of lord Ganesh placed at the main entrance. On the right side there is a Shrine dedicated to Godess HOTASHRI - the protectoress of the fort. On a vertical stone slab fixed at the north-western corner, is carved the "Rajprasasthi" (euology) of Raja Rai Singhji.

Passing through Suraj Parol one reachs the great exterior court to the northern side of the old palaces, at the end of which is situated the DEVI DWARA also called NAVDURGA TEMPLES. Behind the Devidwara is the ZENANI DEODHI and PAPALION-KA-CHOWK. The main east west axis on which the old palaces are built starts form south west end of Suraj Parol and terminates at the Wastern quarters of the Zenana behind Devi Dwara. The stairs at the south-east corner of Devi Dwara, lead into the old palaces. In the past, this used to be the Mardani Deodhi and it was called HUZUR-KI-PEDI. On the right side as one enters Suraj Parol and walks into the exterior court, is situated a three storied building made from beautifully carved red sand stone from Bikaner. It is called DALEL NIWAS added by Maharaja Ganga Singhji. Maharaj Dalel Singhji was the grand father of Maharaja Ganga Singhji. Maharaja Dungar Singhji's queen Maharani Pugaliyaniji lived all her life in Dalel Niwas. In front of Dalel Niwas there is a deep well called RAMSAR. The water of this well is believed to have medicinal value and it is at a depth of 360 to 400 feet in the ground. In this exterior court there are some old buildings and in the past there used to be a ZENANA BAG (garden for Royal LAdies), it was called GAJPAT BILAS, when one stands in the exterior count facing the five storied structure of the old palaces, the beautiful facade of the old palaces can be seen. One the groung level behind the plinth platform there are cellars that housed SILEHKHANA (armoury), BHOJANSALA (Kitchen and Food Storage Rooms) and other stores. In the centre on this Platform is the TORAN DWAR (a Welcome arch) very decoratively carved to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Maharaja Ganga Singhji's reign, It was from here MAharaja Ganga Singhji's Royal Procession on elephant began during the Golden Jubilee Celebration in 1937 A.D. This Royal Procession passed through streets of Bikaner and went upto LAxminath Ji Temple where Maharaja Ganga Singhji performed a pooja.