Shortly after the death of Churaman, his son and successor Mohkam Singh was turned out by the leading elders of the clan, who repudiated his authority. The nascent political society of the Jats seemed about to dissolve when Badan Singh stepped in and took the thorny seat vacated by his cousin. He was a quiet and polite man. Averse to the predatory ways of life Badan Singh sowed seeds of happiness among his clansmen. He acted in a way contrary to the habits and practices of his predecessors. Sincerely desirous of promoting peace, he believed more in the steady expansion and consolidation of his dominions than in erratic slippery conquest. The task, which he took upon himself, was not a light one; it meant transforming a robber-chief's sphere of influence into an orderly principality with a regular government. Nowhere in contemporary Hindustan was wealth and honour of the people as safe as it was in the reign of Badan Singh and Suraj Mai.
To establish the authority of his clan Badan Singh entered into clever matrimonial alliances with some powerful Jat families of Braj region. He had also spent immensely on forts, cities, palaces and parks. However, inspite of his immense wealth and enviable military strength, Badan Singh always declined the Mughla Emperor's invitation to visit the Delhi court. Besides being an able ruler Badan Singh was a patron of art and architecture. The construction of Deeg, including its beautiful water palaces gardens and Purana Mahal complex were begun by him. In his old age he happily retired to Sahar, leaving the management of his state to his most capable son Suraj Mai. He died on 7th June, 1756. The credit for giving proper and legitimate shape to the Jat Kingdom has to be given to Badan Singh. It was he who outlined the Jat Kingdom and became its first Raja, while Suraj Mai was its first nationally recognised Maharaja.
Besides the might of the Jat rulers, the origin of the Bharatpur kingdom is steeped in myths as well. Resisting the Mughals helped them to build an empire of themselves. Though the foreign power was banished but wars between the various Jat clans like the Sinsinwars, the Sogharias continued to exist. Eventually the first stone of the foundation of Bharatpur kingdom was laid by Suraj Mai, the most proficient of all Jat rulers.
The important Jat families of the Sinsinwars and the Sogharias dwelled in the neighborhood of Bharatpur. In the early 18th century Rustum's son Khem Karan Sogharia became the head of the Sogharia clan. He built a fort at a highest point and called it Fatehgarh which was surrounded by the Sogharia villages like Jaghina, Tuhiya, Soghar, Unwar, Sewar, Tamarauli, Tyonga, Nagla Khangar, Nagla Harchand, Madauli, Mudwaro, Adda and Sukhawali. Unable to bear the rising rival power in the neighborhood, Badan Singh ordered his 25 year old son Suraj Mai to capture the stronghold of the Sogharia, which the latter did in a lightning attack and demolished the fortress.
According to legends after taking possession of the Fatehpur one evening Suraj Mai was riding on a horseback through a nearby jungle where he witnessed an unusual sight of a lion and a cow drinking water standing close to each other. This extraordinary spectacle laid a deep impact on him. In close proximity was the hut of a Naga saint (the modern temple of Sri Bihariji) to whom Suraj Mai approached and paid homage. The hermit blessed him and advised him to build his capital at the site. After being blessed by the Naga hermit, Suraj Mai decided to construct the capital city at the site. A detailed plan was prepared for the city's settlements and another plan readied for a new and large fort. The name of Bharatpur was traced to Bharat, brother of Hindu God Lord Rama of Ayodhya An auspicious day and hour was chosen by the court astrologers and the work on the fort was started in 1732.
The ritual was a huge one where hundreds of Brahmins were served a feast and the blessing of Sri Giriraj Maharaj of Govardhan was sought. The puja rituals extended for almost a week. The principal fortifications were finished in eight years including the two moats, one ringing the outer boundary of the city and the other, a narrow and deep moat, encircling the fort. Once completed, the Bharatpur fort became one of the most invincible forts. Its structure was in many ways unique. Suraj Mai fortified the kingdom by building a 25 feet high and 30 feet broad wall, which completely encircled the city. The entry and exit to and from the city was regulated by ten huge gates which were named Mathura gate, Veernarayan gate, Atal Bund gate, Neemda gate, Anah gate, Kumher gate, Chand Pol, Govardhan gate, Jaghina gate and Suraj Pol. These gates are used even to this day, though the mud wall has been breached at several places and several unauthorised structures have sprung up over the years disfiguring it.
Each gate led to 'pucca' roads beyond which were the inner moats known as Sujan Ganga. This moat was paved with stone and mortar. Two bridges on either side led to the gates of the main fort. The doors of the eastern gate were made of an amalgam of eight metals and hence called Ashtadhatu gate. This magnificent gate was earlier said to have adorned the Chittor fort, from where Alauddin Khilji had taken it away to Delhi as a victory trophy. The walls of the main fort were huge with the front facade made of stone, bricks and mortar and the rest with mud. It remained unaltered in spite of artillery bombardment. The buildings inside the fort were both ceremonial and functional. Eight bastions were erected all around the fort. The tallest was the Jawahar Burj from which the Buland Darwaza of Fatehpur Sikri could be seen on a clear day. Powerful cannons were placed on all bastions. It was Suraj Mai's chief objective to fortify Bharatpur so well as to make it absolutely unassailable and a worthy capital of his kingdom.
(Last Updated on : 19-02-2014)
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