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Rajasthan: Places to Visit - II

Amber Fort, Rajasthan

Bundi

Bundi Palace, Bundi

This picturesque little town in Rajastan fills a narrow valley in the Aravallis. Bundi is surrounded by the Aravalli hills on the three sides and is circumscribed by a massive wall with four gateways. . According to legend, in the 12th century, restless young nobles of the warrior Chauhan clan conquered the Bhil and Meena tribes establishing their own kingdom of Hadoti. Later, one group settles around Kota while the other settled in Bundi. Kota was a part of Bundi until it was separated in 1624 at the instistance of Emperor Jehangir.

Jaipur is the nearest airport. The nearest railhead is at Kota. Bundi can be reached by road from different parts of Rajasthan.

Star Fort

The massive Taragarh fort (Star Fort) built in 1354AD, broods over the town in the narrow valley below and the huge palace, which stands beneath it. A steep road leads up to the fort's enormous gateway, topped by rampant elephants. Inside, there are huge reservoirs carved out of solid rock and a famous cannon. Views over the town and surrounding countryside are excellent.

The Palace

Mural Painting, Bundi Palace

The Palace is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture.Then palace houses some of the superb Bundi murals in the Chitra Mahal , a fascinating pavilion and a gallery of miniature murals built around a sunken court open to the sky. Elaborate colourful paintings on the walls depict scenes from the 'Ragmala' and 'Raaslila' - the Radha-Krishna story. Above the palace, accessed through the impressive Elephant Gate are the royal apartments, murals, balconies, corbels, pavilions, fretted windows and domes.

Raniji-ki-Baori

Bundi has a couple of beautiful baoris (step wells) right in the centre of town. The Rani ki Baori is 46 metres deep and has some superb carving. It is one of the largest of its kind. Rani Nathavatji built it in 1699. This beautiful step well is constructed with torana arches set between soaring pillars to frame the steps leading down to the water.

Other Attractions

Bundi's other attractions are all out of town. The modern palace, known as the Phool Sagar Palace, built in the 20th century in contemporary style, Sukh Mahal, a smaller palace built on Sukh Sagar Lake and Shikar Burj, a small hunting lodge are of interest to have a peek at.

Chittaurgarh

Section of Fort Wall, Chittaurgarh

Chittaur is the most romantic name in Rajasthan. It is a symbol of all that was brave, true and noble in the glorious Rajput tradition. Chittaur was attacked and defeated three times, and on each occasion, the ritual of 'Jauhar' was performed. Jauhar is embracing death by throwing oneself into raging fire or a well rather than submit oneself to the enemy. In 1303, when Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, coveted the famous Rajput beauty, Rani Padmini, she led the Jauhar, rather than submit to dishonour. The second instance was in 1533, when the Sultan of Gujarat attacked Bikramjeet of Chittaur. Rani Karnavati led the Jauhar, in which many women and children chose death to defeat. In 1567 A.D. when the Mughal Emperor invaded Chittaur, the ruler of Chittaurgarh fled leaving behind Chittaur to be defended by two 16-years old heroes, Jaimal of Bednore and Patta of Kelwa. These young men displayed true Rajput chivalry and died after performing Jauhar. Immediately after the attack Akbar razed the fort to rubbles. Chittaur was never inhabited again but it was regarded as symbol of the heroic spirit of Rajput warriors.

Udaipur (112 km) is the nearest airport. Chittaurgarh is connected with Ajmer, Jaipur, Alwar, Delhi, Udaipur and Ahmedabad by rails. Good roads connect Chittaurgarh with other parts of Rajasthan.

The Fort

Located on an 180 m high hill, with a distinct Rajput character, the fort is a massive structure with many gateways that were built by the Mauryas in 7th century A.D. The fort, which sprawls over 700 acres, has many architectural attractions. The main gates are Padal Pol, Bhairon Pol Hanuman pol and Ram Pol.

Vijay Sthamb (Victory Tower)

Vijay Stumb, Chittaurgarh

In 1440 A.D, Maharana Kumbha built the tower in commemoration of victory over the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat. This imposing 37 metres tall, nine-storey structure is covered with exquisite sculputres of Hindu deities depicting episodes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Kirti Sthamb (Tower of Fame)

This 22 m high tower was built by a wealthy Jain merchant, in the 12th century A.D., and is dedicated to Adinathji, the first of the Jain Tirthankaras. The tower is decorated with figures from the Jain pantheon.

Rana Kumbha's Palace

Although in ruins, this palace is of historical and architectural interest. The palace is believed to have underground cellars where Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar. This palace is the largest structure in the Fort of Chittaur.

Government Museum

The magnificent Fateh Prakash Mahal, has been converted into a museum. The museum has exhibits of example of sculptures from temples and buildings in the fort.

Kalika Mata Temple

This temple of Goddess Kali is a symbol of power and valour. Originally built as a Sun temple in the 8th century, it was converted into the Kalika Mata temple, in the 14th century A.D.

Jaipur

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. It is the third corner of India's Golden Triangle, the others being Delhi at 300km northeast and Agra 200km east. It is a city with a timeless quality to it, a city where the ancient and the modern co-exist in complete harmony. The label of 'pink city' applies specifically to the old walled quarter of Jaipur while the glorious palaces and temples are in the urban area. More......



Jaisalmer

In 1156 A.D Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput and a descendent of the Yadavas, left his fort at Lodurva and founded Jaisalmer, on the Trikuta Hill. Jaisalmer is located deep in the heart of the Thar Desert. This golden city of Rajasthan abounds in ancient palaces, temples and quaint settlements. As the sun sets, the sandstone buildings emit a radiant glow, which refers Jaisalmer as the "Golden City". The main income of the Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer was taxes levied on the caravans those crossed the territory on the way to Delhi and Sind. The caravans made them very rich. Many years Jaisalmer thrived without the outside influences. The emergence of shipping as the major means of transportation contributed to the decline of Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer is famous for its intricately latticed havelis, each with a different fa├žade.

Jodhpur (285 km) is the nearest airport. Regular bus services link Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Ramdeora and Bikaner. Jailsalmer can be reached by rail from Jodhpur. The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival, held in Jan/Feb. every year.

The Fort

This 12th century fort that withstood the ravages of time rises out of the sea of sand. Its rounded battlements of golden sandstone, echoes the colour of the desert. The fort has four approach gateways. Several entrances guard the Megh Durbar and the Jawahar Mahal, which bear the imperial symbols of the Bhatti clan's lunar lineage. Outside the fort, is the main market place called Manek Chowk. From Manek Chowk, one can walk into the lanes, where the famous carved havelis, beautifully sculptured Jain Temples of the 12th -15th century and five interconnected palaces can be found.

Tazia Tower

The pagoda - like five storeyTazia Tower rises from the Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds). Each storey of the tower has a beautifully carved balcony. Muslim craftsmen built the tower, in the shape of a Tazia and gifted it to their royal patron.

Gadsisar Lake

It is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded with numerous beautiful shrines. The lake is a tranquil spot for outings.

Nathmalji ki Haveli

painted Havelis,Jaisalmer

This late 19th century haveli displays intricate architecture and sheer craftsmanship. One very interesting fact about this haveli is that two brothers carved its two sides. Though not identical they are very similar and in perfect harmony. The interior walls are ornate with splendid miniature paintings. Yellow sandstone elephants guard the building.



Patwon ki Haveli

This is one of the largest and most elaborate havelis in Jaisalmer. Located in a narrow alley, it is five storeys high. It has exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers. One of the rooms is painted with beautiful murals.

Salim Singh ki Haveli

300 years old, this haveli was the residence of the powerful Mohta clan - ministers of the Jaisalmer rulers. The blue cupola roof with superbly carved brackets in the form of peacocks is distinctive, and an exquisite projecting balcony adorns the top storey.

Lodurva (15km)

Lodurva is the ancient capital of Jaisalmer and an important pilgrim centre of the Jains Some of the magnificent Jain temples are located here. The temples have intricate carvings on the arches at the main entrance. A 'Kalptaru' or a divine tree is the main attraction of the temple.

Wood Fossil Park, Aakal (17kms)

This park, located on the Barmer Road, takes you back to the Jurassic period with 180 million year old fossils - It is the geological landmark for the study of the Thar Desert.

Sam Sand Dunes (42 km)

No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip to the sand dunes of Sam. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes create an enchanting mirage. Camel rides on the sand dunes are a thrilling experience, as is the brilliant sunset.

Desert National Park

An extensive variety of desert bird life is to be found in the National Park. The most remarkable bird of the desert, the Great Indian Bustard can also be sighted here. The wildlife includes desert fox, wolf, blackbuck, chinkara, nilgai, and the crusted porcupine.

Jhalawar

Situated 85km from Kota, Jhalawar was bifurcated from Kota by the British in 1838. Located in the southeast region of Rajasthan, at the edge of the Malwa plateau, Jhalawar has rocky but water-laden lush landscape. With pre-historic painted caves, massive forts, thickly wooded forests and exotic wildlife Jhalawar boasts of rich historic and natural wealth.

Jhalawar is connected to other parts of the state with rails and roads.

Jhalawar Fort (Garh Palace)

The fort is situated in the centre of the town. It houses the district offices. There are some exquisite paintings and mirrors on the walls of ' zanana khas', which can be seen by obtaining permission from the offices located here.

Government Museum

Established in 1915 A.D, this is one of the oldest museums of Rajasthan. The exhibits include a fine collection of paintings, rare manuscripts and idols of deities.

Jhalarapatan (6KM)

This small town within the confines of a wall was built to protect the trade caravans as patan was the junction of caravan routes. A magnificent 10th century Surya Temple (Padam Nath Temple ) is the major attraction of the city. The temple has some splendid sculptures as well as, well preserved idols of Surya.