BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT
The Hanumangarh district was formed on 12.7.1994 from the than Ganganagar district as 31st district of Rajasthan state. Seven tehsils of Ganganagar districts of Bikaner division viz. Sangaria, Tibi, Hanumangarh, Pilibanga, Rawatsar, Nohar and Bhadra were included into the newly created district of Hanumangarh. The district headquarter Hanumangarh is situated on the bank of Ghaggar River which is the present form of the last mythological river Saraswati. Ghaggar River, which is called as ‘Nali’ in local dialect divides the district headquarter into two parts. In the north of Ghaggar River, Hanumangarh Town and in the south the habitation of Hanumangarh Junction is situated. Hanumangarh Town is the main centre of commercial activities and all the other main offices including office of the district collector are situated in Hanumangarh Town. Earlier, Hanumangarh was the kingdom of 'Bhati' Rajputs. It was built by Bhupat son of Bhati King of Jaisalmer in 1295 AD. Bhupat named it as ‘Bhatner’ in the memory of his father. Bhatner’s maximum importance was due to its location on Delhi-Multan highway. Traders from Central Asia, Sindh and Kabul used to travel to Delhi and Agra via Bhatner. In the year 1805, Suratsingh the King of Bikaner took control of Bhatner after defeating Bhatis. Since the day of victory was Tuesday, the day owed to Lord Hanuman so the name of Bhatner was kept as Hanumangarh. The district has its own place from historical and archaeological point of view. Excavations at Kalibanga and Pallu have revealed the ancient civilizations, which tell change in eras. The district has more than 100 ‘Mounts’ where the remains of ancient civilizations have been buried. The villages/towns are resting under mounts due to massive destructive acts of awes. The excavation in Kalibanga in 1951 shows the presence of the ancient civilization of Indus valley. In his recent research History, Dr. G.S.Devra has established that the historical famous field of Tarain between Mohd. Gori and Prithviraj Chauhan was none other than the area of Talwara lake of Hanumangarh district. The contemporary writers have described Talwara lake as Mauj-e-Aab and Bhatner fort as ‘Tavar Hind’ fort.
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.