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, PrtihviRaj Chauhan, Akbar, Qutub-ud-din-Aybak 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 Kachchawa erected another grand gate of this fort.
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.
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.
There is also a tomb inside this fort, where Sher Khan is kept. Sher Khan was the nephew of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Balban (1266 – 1290) as well as the Governor of the Fort.