Hanumangarh District at a Glance
· District: Hanumangarh
· Headquarters: Hanumangarh
· State: Rajasthan
Area in Sq Km (Census 2011)
· Total: 9656
· Rural: 958
· Urban: 74
Population (Census 2011)
· Population: 1774692
· Rural: 1424228
· Urban: 350464
· Male: 931184
· Female: 843508
· Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 males): 906
· Density (Total, Persons per sq km): 184
· Assembly: 5
· Lok Sabha: 0
The city of Hanumangarh is the district headquarters and its largest city.
The district is located in the extreme north of Rajasthan. It is bounded on the north by Punjab state, on the east by Haryana state, on the south by Churu District of Rajasthan, and on the west by Ganganagar District of Rajasthan. The major work in the district is farming; major crops include rice, millet, cotton, sonamukhi (senna), wheat, and vegetables. It has been the food basket of Rajasthan along with Shri Ganga Nagar, and with best agricultural land. This is the 31st district of Rajasthan. It was made a district on 12 July 1994 by carving out from Sri Ganganagar district. Earlier it was one of the Tehsils of Sri Ganganagar district.
The district contains the archaeological site of Kalibangan (Indus Valley Civilization), and Pallu. It is also known as Punjab of Rajasthan because of majority of Punjabi people in the district.
Hanumangarh also has Bhatner Fort which is considered to be one of the oldest forts of India.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The Bhatner Fort, otherwise known as the Hanumangarh Fort, is located on the banks of the River Gaggar in the centre of Hanumangarh. It is five kilometres from Hanumangarh Junction Railway Station and 230 km north-east of Bikaner, in the extreme northern part of Rajasthan.
Believed to be over 1700 years old, it is considered to be one of the oldest Indian forts. The earlier name of Hanumangarh was Bhatner that was once ruled by the Bhatti Rajputs. In 295 AD, Bhupat, son of Jailsamer’s King Bhatti built this strong fort. Since then, rulers like Timur, Ghaznavis, Prithihvi Raj Chauhan, Akbar, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak and Rathores had captured this fort.
The strength of this fort has been mentioned in the autobiography written by Timur called “Tuzuk- e- Timuri.” Even Mughal Emperor Akbar described this fortification in his book “Ain- I- Akbari”.
This fort stands in the path of invasion of India from Central Asia and had acted as a strong barricade against attacks of the enemies. Finally, in 1805, the Bhattis were defeated at Bhatner by Bikaner’s Raja Surat Singh. Since this conquest occurred on Tuesday, which is considered as the day of Lord Hanuman, the king changed the name of Bhatner to Hanumangarh.
The Bhatner Fort rests on somewhat elevated land with gigantic barricades. It has many towering gates surrounding the fort and many big rounded bastions that stand at intervals. While following the orders of the Mughal ruler, Rao Manohar Kachchhawa erected another grand gate of this fort.
|Bhatner Fort Entrance|
The entire foundation includes 52 kunds that were used to store rainwater that would suffice a huge battalion for a year. Throughout the fort gracefully designed minarets were located that were replaced when the fort was renovated.
Inside the fort there are many temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman. There are three statues, which bear inscriptions, and an ancient building called “Jain Pasara” is situated inside the fort.
|Side view of Bhatner Fort|
This fort has been mostly popular for its invincibility as after repeated attempts by various clans only few could gain control over this fort. Maharaj Jait Singh of Bikaner captured this fort in 1527, which was finally captured by Surat Singh in 1805, after going through many annexations between the Kingdom of Bikaner and the Mughals.
Temple of Shri Gogaji
At a distance of about 120 km from the city of Hanumangarh and two kilometres from the railway station of Gogamedi, the temple of Shri Gogaji is located. This temple is presided over by Gugga Jahar Peer who is more popularly known as Shri Gogaji.
This spiritual guru was born in the Rajput dynasty of Chauhans in Dadrewa village of the Churu Distict, approximately 900 years ago. Shri Gogaji was once a warrior who possessed spiritual powers. It is said that this temple was constructed around 950 years ago and it was Bikaner’s Maharaj Shri Ganga Singh, who reconstructed this temple again in 1911.
The structure of the temple stands upon an elevated mound and is made of stone, lime, black and white marble and mortar. The architecture of this temple reflects a perfect blend of Muslim and Hindu styles.
|Shri Gogaji Temple|
Inside, a statue of Shri Gogaji is set up that has a lot of engravings on it. This statue depicts Shri Gogaji as a warrior mounted upon a horse, having a lance in his hand and a snake encircling his neck. People from all communities visit this temple, which is open every day.
The major festival in this temple is Gogameri, when pilgrims from all parts of the country worship Gogaji or ‘the God of Snakes’. The unique feature of this temple is that it has priests for both Hindus and Muslims.
Temple of Dhuna Shri Gorakh Nathji
The Temple of Dhuna Shri Gorakh Nathji is situated about three kilometres from the railway station of Gogamedi. This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva along with his family, Goddess Kali, Shri Bhairuji and Shri Gorakh Nathji’s Dhuna.
A disciple of Matsyendra Nath, Shri Gorakh Nathji was a gifted yogi and was one of the primary Siddhas of the nine Siddhas belonging to the Cult of the Naths. In this religious site, the Dhuna or the fireplace of Shri Gorkah Nath can be seen.
This temple, which is constructed of bricks, lime, cement and mortar, houses a standing image of Goddess Kali that is about three feet high and made of stone. At about the same height, there is an idol of Shri Bhairuji that is built of black stone. Close to this idol are all the statues of the entire family of Shiva.
|Shri Gorakhnath ji Temple|
Around the same place, many samadhis of different yogis are also situated. Guru Gorakh Nathji’s popular Dhuna is placed atop a mound. This temple is open to throughout the year.
Brahmani Mata Temple
The Brahmani Mata temple is situated on the Hanumangarh - Kishangarh Mega Highway, at a distance of about 100 km from the city of Hanumangarh. It is located in the Pallu village of Rawatsar Tehsil. This temple stands on the remnants of the old Kalloor Fort. During Navratras, a fair called Mata Brahmani Mela is organized here
|Brahmani Mata Temple|
Kalibangan Archaeological Museum
Tourists interested in archeology can visit the town of Kalibangan located in Tehsil Pilibanga, between the districts of Hanumangarh and Suratgarh. This town and its renowned Archaeological Museum is located on the southern shores of the River Ghaggar that is about five kilometres from the Pilibanga railway station.
The museum was established in 1983 to store and exhibit the materials that were excavated from the archeological site of Kalibangan between 1961 and 1969. Inside this museum, there are three galleries, one exhibits Pre-Harappan finds and the other two display Harappan artifacts.
The material displayed in the galleries are Harappan bangles, seals, terracotta objects and figurines, bricks, stone balls, grinders and collection of six fabric pottery that ranges from A – E from the Pre- Harappan era. Various pictures of the different bare structures are also exhibited here.
Kalibangan Archaeological Site
Another interesting site is the Kalibangan Archaeological Site This site is a part of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation that is some 5000 years old. It has not only the relics of the Harappan settlements from the 2500 BC – 1750 BC, but also the Pre-Harappan settlements from the 3500 BC – 2500 BC.
The excavation of this site proves that a well - established life style existed before the Harappan civilization in India. It was also discovered that for the ceramic industry, Rajasthan was a significant centre. The pottery of this place has similar designs with those of the Harappan civilization.
|Kalibangan Archeological Site|
The excavations at Kalibangan revealed Harappan seals, human skeletons, unknown scripts, stamps, copper bangles, beads, coins, toys, terracotta and shells, wheels, jewellery, utensils, toy carts, markets, remnants of wells, bathrooms, graves, a fort and streets.
This was also the site of discovering the most primitive ploughed field that dated back to 2800 BC. In 2600 BC, the first archaeologically recorded earthquake took place at this site, which marked the end of the Pre-.Harappan Civilization.
Sila Mata - Sila Peer Temple
The old Sila Mata – Sila Peer Temple is a mark of communal harmony. Located close to the bus stand of Hanumangarh City, the idol of this temple is worshipped by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.
|Sila mata Sila peer Temple|
The Muslims revere the stone as Sila Peer and the Hindus worship it as Sila Mata. It is popularly believed that the water and milk offered to the deity is capable of curing all skin diseases, if it can be applied. Every Thursday. A fair is held here.
Temple of Mata Bhadrakali
Located at a distance of seven kilometres from the city of Hanumangarh, the temple of Mata Bhadrakaliji stands on the banks of River Ghaggar that is close to Amarpura Thedi Village. The presiding deity of this temple is Mata Bhadrakali, which is one of the many avatars of Goddess Durga. The temple belongs to the Shakti Sect of Hinduism.
History states that the 6th ruler of Bikaner, Maharaja Ram Singh, constructed this temple to fulfill the desire of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. Later on, Maharaja Dhri Ganga Singhji, the King of Bikaner, reconstructed this temple.
|Maa Bhadrakali Temple|
The temple is constructed of bricks, mortar and lime. It has a loft round shaped dome along with a verandah, a kitchen, a Sanctum Sanctorum and a hall for prayers. The main idol of this temple is built with red stone that is 2.6 feet high and covered in ornaments.
The temple is open every day. However, it gets crowded on the 8th and 9th day in the month of Chaitra due to the mela that is celebrated here during that time.
Shri Kabootar Sahib Gurdwara
Shri Kabootar Sahib Gurdwara is located at a distance of about 80 km in the town of Nohar. This temple was constructed to celebrate the historic visit of Guru Gobind Singh in the month of November,, 1706, who was the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs and the founder of Khalsa Panth. On the way from Sirsa, Guru Gobind Singh stopped at this spot and set up camps close to a Chhip Talai that was situated southeastwards of the town.
When Guruji visited this place various pigeons or ‘kabootar’ as called in Punjabi used to flock the place. This happened as lots of people in this area used to feed these pigeons. During Guruji’s stay in this place, one of his Sikh followers accidentally stepped on a pigeon injuring it. Since the people of this area practiced non-violence, they protested this act with anger.
|Kabutar Sahib Gurudwara|
To pacify the local residents, Guruji appointed a barber-cum-surgeon who treated the pigeon. After this, news spread that Guruji had brought a dead pigeon back to life with the help of his spiritual powers. Then the family of the barber founded a platform at the campsite on which this Gurudwara was built later on, around 1730.
Gurdwara of Shri Sukha Singh Mehtab Singh
The historically important Gurdwara of Shaheedan Da is located in the city of Hanumangarh. In the 18th century AD, when this gurdwara was constructed, it was named after two martyrs.
According to history, when the Emperor of Afghanistan, Nadir Shah was moving back to Persia after looting and plundering numerous Indian cities in 1739, his forces were attacked by the Sikhs who rescued many young women and goods that were stolen by the forces.
After his return to Persia, Nadir Shah made Zakhrya Khan to act as the Governor of Lahore who vowed to destroy the Sikhs, for which he declared a reward to anybody who could bring the head of a Sikh.
Once a Massa Ranghar brought a cart full of heads of Sikhs to Zakhrya Khan, as a reward of which he was appointed the Chief of Amritsar. Taking charge of the Golden Temple of Amritsar, Massa Ranghar prohibited the Sikhs from entering this temple and started drinking and brought dancers at the pious temple. When this news reached the Bikaner’s Sikhs, they became enraged.
Then two Sikhs, namely, Bhai Mehtab Singh and Bhai Sukha Singh went to Amritsar to teach Massa Ranghar a lesson. As they carried bags full of coins, the watchmen didn’t prevent them from entering the Golden Temple.
|Gurudwara Shri Sukha Singh Mehtab Singh|
They went to a drunken Massa Ranghar who was watching the dancing girls and placed the bags full of coins in front of him. As he bent to take a look at the bag, these two Sikhs severed his head, took it and vanished from there in no time.
These two Sikhs came to Hanumangarh with Massa Ranghar’s head and rested under a tree. Later on they were captured and tortured to death by the Mughals who wanted them to convert to Islam. They refused this offer and attained martyrdom. Every year, in this gurdwara on Amavasya, thousands of devotees attend the Yadgari Jod Mela.