Thursday, March 24, 2011

Delhi – To the South, Ballabhgarh, Narnaul, Neemrana and Sohna

Ballabhgarh is in the Faridabad area just 30 kilometres south of Delhi on the Agra highway and has a fine small fortified palace.
Construction was started in the 18th Century by Rao Balram and completed by Nahar Singh in the 19th century.

The gatehouse is well presented having been entirely restored and there is some excellent decoration particularly to the upper floor.

There is a small neat courtyard with at one end the Diwan I am and a complex of rooms at the opposite side that have now been converted to a modest hotel.
There is a terrace area that serves as bar, restaurant and hotel reception opening onto the courtyard.

Raja Nahar Singh was a minister at Bahadur Shah II’s court (the last Mughal ruler) and was hanged for his role in the 1857 Mutiny.

Ballabhgarh photo collection:

More on the Raja Nahar Singh Palace:

Narnaul is an old town situated 150 kilometres south of Delhi that has a number of interesting historical sites dotted around it.
Most spectacular on the outskirts of the town is the Jal Mahal which was built by the local Governor Shah Quli Khan in the 1590’s. It was not easy to find though and we spent the best part of an hour driving around and having spotted the domes finding a route to it.
The Mahal sits in a large square tank that looked like it had seen very little water for some years when I visited. Access is via a gatehouse and a long arched causeway.

There is a square central chamber and four outer ones (one at each corner) connected by corridors.

The interior is lime plastered and decorated with floral and geometric patterns; one of the outer chambers has some well preserved decoration.

Nearby is the tomb of Shah Quli Khan although nowadays access is by walking across several fields. The tomb is unusual and quite striking with its octagonal design in blue-grey stone inset with red sandstone raised on a blue-grey stone platform.

The interior is quite plain but lined in white marble with white marble graves at the centre.

The tomb was place at one end of a large garden complex and although now the land here is all farmed the walls are still largely in place as is the Tripolia Darwaza (gateway). This was built in 1589 and on my visit was home to the farmer now working the former gardens.

The main attraction in the town is the palace of Rai Bal Mukund Das who was governor of the town during Shah Jahan;s reign. The town is not easy to navigate with the older areas a mass of narrow alleyways that meant the car had to be “abandoned”. Unfortunately it was not much better on foot and the search for the palace was given up after finally getting into the right area I was told that it was not able to visit as the whole complex was occupied by local families.
It was interesting to get a look at some traditional Haveli’s in the streets but having got back to the car we then got stuck with one wheel down a drainage channel when turning around. Still it meant all the evening sessions in the gym came in handy and the locals enjoyed the entertainment of watching me trying to lift the car out of its difficulties!

At the north end of the town on a small hill is the Chor Gumbad, This is the tomb of Jamal Khan and dates from the time of Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Although impressive in its size it was in very poor repair in 2004 and certainly wasn’t safe to enter.

Narnaul photo collection

More on Narnaul:

Sohna is 50 kilometres south west of Delhi in the Arravali hills and is a spa town due to its sulphur spring.

There was a small fort on the hills above the town but nowadays it is little more than assorted piles of rubble. It does give a good view out into the plain back towards Delhi though.

A little further into Rajasthan at 120 kilometres south west of Delhi is the Neemrana Fort Palace. Built in 1464 it sits high on a hill just off the Delhi-Jaipur Highway and is now a hotel.

The town below the fort became the Chauhan capital in 1467 under Raja Dup Raj. The entrance to the fort is through a large gate that turns into a large tunnel with a steep ramp to the main gate. The tunnel is lit by a large chandelier and is wide enough to permit carriages.

The Inner Gate is flanked by statues of Rajput warriors and the surround is decorated with paintwork. The facing wall has a large frieze of a Rajput mounted warrior with carbine.

The Palace is something of a hotch-potch of small rooms and courtyards as it is built up the side of the hill. Rooms tned to be arranged around small courtyards.

Aside from the usual bar, restaurant and hotel pool one unusual facility is an outdoor theatre.

Neemrana photo collection:

More on Neemrana Fort Palace Hotel:
Sohna photo collection:

More on Sohna:

1 comment:

  1. Wow .. Dear you article is really having good information .. i also want to share some information with you.
    Damdama Lake near Delhi and gurgaon is a nice place for having fun trip,
    day trip ,day picnic, day tour, family tour ,Corporate group tour and adventure tour .