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The city is named after Bharat, the brother of Lord Ram. Although a separate Jat state under the rulership of Badan Singh came into existence for the first time in 1722 AD, the foundation of Bharatpur city was laid in 1733 AD, when Suraj Mal, an adopted son of Badan Singh captured it from Khemkaran, a rival Jat chief. Suraj Mal constructed the big fort and the earthen wall around the city. The Bharatpur Fort, with walls of solid packed mud is surrounded by a deep uncrossable moat. The fort is popularly known as "Loha Garh" or Iron Fort. The strength and invincibility of this humble looking fort of mud wall were tested by the British in the memorable siege of Bharatpur in 1805. Lord Lake's forces, which included field artillery, a siege-train of six 18-pounders and 8 mortars together with three companies of pioneers and engineers, sieged the Bharatpur Fort. The Fort did not look formidable to the attacking forces. Batteries were opened in January.

Four assaults were made, the first on January 9, the second on January 21, the third on February 20, and fourth on February 21, and all failed miserable. The British lost 3203 men in action with the besieging guns, and incressant firing. The British had to lift the siege and were eventually obliged to make peace with the ruler of Bharatpur. It was later captured by the British troops in 1826 AD.

The Historical masonry stone fort, having high walls and surrounded by very wide and deep moat; stands in the north western part of the city. The Bharatpur fort has two gates; the gate towards the south is called Chowbhurja and the other facing the north is called Ashtdhatu gate (eight mettalled gate). A number of buildings and palaces are located inside the Bharatpur fort. One of the palaces known as Kamrakhas with a big durbar hall is a place for tourist interest. Jawahar Burj is a Victory Tower and was erected in the year 1765 AD, to celebrate the victory over the imperial city of Delhi. Remnants of the old mud wall, the moats surrounding the fort and the eight bastions that once provided the strength to the fort, are still there. Other buildings of tourist interest in the city include Laxman temple, Gana temple and Moti Mahal.

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