Deeg (Lat 27°25′ 77°15′ Long) located in Bharatpur district, Rajasthan is historically associated as the eighteenth century strong hold of the Jat rulers. Badan Singh ( 1722 – 56 AD) after assuming the throne consolidated the headship of the tribe and thereby became the virtual founder of the Jat house at Bharatpur. The credit of commencing the urbanization of Deeg also goes to him. It was he who selected this spot as the headquarters of his newly established Jat kingdom.
The strong citadel with towering walls and bastions was erected slightly later in 1730 AD by Surajmal, the worthy son of Badansingh. About the same period according to certain writers the large charming tank called Rup Sagar was built by Rup Singh, the brother of Badan Singh. The beautiful garden retreat adorning this city is the most outstanding of the artistic accomplishments of Surajmal and serves to this day a glorious memorial to the celebrated hero of the Jat tribe. After the death of Surajmal, his son Jawahar Singh (1764 – 68 AD) completed certain palaces including the Suraj Bhawan and gave finishing touch to the gardens and fountains.
The architecture of Deeg is mainly represented by the mansions called the Bhawans popularly known as Gopal Bhawan, Suraj Bhawan, Kishan Bhawan, Nand Bhawan, Keshav Bhawan, Hardev Bhawan. The striking features of these palaces are balanced outlines, fine proportions, commodious halls, attractive and logically disposed arcades, alluring greenery, charming tanks and canals with fountains. The layout of Deeg gardens is based on formality of the Mughal Char bagh or four fold garden patterns and flanked by two reservoirs called namely Rup Sagar and Gopal Sagar.
The architecture is primarily of trabeate order, but the use of arcuate system has also been made in certain instances. Mostly the arcades are of a decorative quality as each arch is formed by joining spandrel shaped slab cantivelers projecting from the pillars. The general features of this style are engrailed arches resting on ornate pillars, hypostylar halls flat roof terraces, balconies and pavilions with Bengal roofs, double eaves, moderate structural heights and spacious internal arrangements.
Deeg (Lat. 27º 28′ N; Long. 77º 20′ E), ancient Dirghapura in district Bharatpur became a stronghold of the Jat rulers during 18th -19th cent AD. It is located at a distance of 153 km from Delhi and 98 km from Agra. It falls within the territorial limits of the ancient holy Braj – Bhumi.
Historically, Deeg is associated with the raise of the Jat peasants under the leadership of Rajaram (AD 1686-88), Bhajja Singh (AD 1688-98) and Chudaman (AD 1695-1721). After the death of Chudaman, Badansingh (AD 1722-56) consolidated his authority over several districts and became the virtual founder of the Jat rule at Bharatpur. He is credited with transforming Deeg into a flourishing town with beautiful buildings, palaces and gardens. Surajmal (AD 1756-63), the son and successor of Badansingh was the greatest ruler and during his rule the power of clan reached its zenith.
The following are the important monuments inside the Deeg Palace.
This is the main entrance to the palace complex. It is an unfinished structure having a central projection on north. Architecturally, it appears to be a work of relatively later period. The gate is named after two lions sculptured in front of the archway.
This is the largest and most admirable of all the buildings. Its reflection into surrounding sheet of water imparts a unique charm to ambiance. The Bhawan has a central hall flanked by wings of two low storeyed annexes on either side. On its water front, two oblong basement storeys were constructed as summer resorts. The central projection is carved with majestic arches and imposing pillars. A room in the northern wing contains a black marble throne-platform believed to be spoils of war brought by Jawahar Singh from the imperial palaces of Delhi.
The Gopal Bhawan is flanked by two small pavilions known as Sawan and Bhadon Bhawans to its north and south respectively. Each pavilion is a two storeyed structure of which only the upper one is visible from front and has a fascinating palanquin-shaped roof crowned by a row of elegant spikes.
This is the most extensive and splendid building in marble inside the palace complex. It was built by Surajmal. This is a single storey flat roofed building. The Bhawan consists of a verandah all around with five arched openings and rooms flanking at the corners. The Bhawan was originally built of buff sandstone to which white marble was encased subsequently. The dados of the central apartment are bordered with excellent pietra dura work.
The Kishan Bhawan is situated towards the southern fringe of the complex. This building has well-decorated and extensive panelled façade broken by five large central archways and a huge fountain feeding tank on its terrace. The spandrels of middle and front arches are adorned with intricately carved arabesques. Interiorly, the back wall has an alcoved balcony with carved façade and false curved roof representing a foliaged hut.
The Hardev Bhawan is situated behind Suraj Bhawan, having a vast garden in front laid out in charbagh pattern. The mansion subsequently underwent certain additions and alterations during the time of Surajmal. The building on the south is double storeyed. The ground floor consists of a projecting central hall, faced with arches springing from a row of double pillars. Behind is an arcaded colonnade running along three sides. The rear part is crowned by a chhatri bearing a spiked curved roof. A narrow gallery screened with obliquely-cut jails runs at the back of the upper floor.
Commonly known as baradari, Keshav Bhawan is a square single storeyed open pavilion situated along Rup-Sagar. Centrally, the bhawan is diversified by an arched running on all sides and forming an inner square. The bhawan originally included an elaborate device to reproduce the effects of monsoon. There were stone balls in the ceiling which could be agitated by piped running water to create the noise of thunder and the water was released through spouts above the arches to fall as rain in sheets around the open hall. A broad canal is running round the edge of the pavilion.
The Nand Bhawan is situated towards the north of the central garden. It is a spacious oblong hall raised on a terrace and enclosed by grand arcade of seven openings. The ceiling of the central portion of the hall is made of wood. Like other buildings it is also having a tank in front and well finished exterior.
Built by Badan Singh, Purana Mahal is planned as a spacious rectangle with an interior consisting of two separate courts. It continues the tradition of a typical palace. It has impressive exterior. The arches are both of engrailed and pointed types.
The royal abodes are planned along the periphery of the central garden and flanked by two reservoirs i.e. the Rup Sagar on the east and the Gopal Sagar on the west.
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