Friday, March 11, 2011

Other places in Rajasthan

Alwar is around 150 kilometres south-west of Delhi and know as the gateway to Rajasthan.
The town sits at the base of a hill topped by a fine Rajput fort.

There is a great view from the fort but no access as the Police Superintendent’s permission is required and he was away. The Fort is covered in aerials as it is a ‘listening post”. The fort and large sprawling town is surrounded by walls that are very impressive.

In the town the Nikumbh Mahal Palace is in a poor state of repair and the museum is very disappointing with many exhibits dusty and in poor condition although there is a large collection of well illustrated manuscripts..
The Harem building is probably the best preserved and impressive externally overlooking a large courtyard where when I visited there was an informal cricket match in progress!

The Raja’s mausoleum though is quite impressive both as a structure and for the decoration.

The stone and plasterwork inside the mausoleum has carvings with stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata carved into them, with an elaborately painted ceiling with more scenes from these stories and the Raja’s life.

The countryside here is generally very flat farmland, but is dotted with Hill Forts many of which have been converted to small hotels such as at Keroli.

Alwar photo collection:

More on Alwar:

Deeg was the capital of the small Jat kingdom and was founded in 1722, with the impressively large (but ruined) adjacent fort commenced in 1730. Although the Jat capital soon moved to Bharatpur the very impressive palace complex at Deeg was not only retained but extended.

The Palace complex sits between two great tanks and in 2001 there were still turtles to be seen although there were none in evidence in 2004.
The Ghopal Bhawan on the west side of the complex has a lower level that extends down into the water, bringing much needed cooling in the hot summers.

The most surprising and notable feature of the complex is the 900 fountains, supplied by a giant water tank from the large flat roof of the Khishan Bhawan and the adjoining stables.

There is a large central fountain with a large system of water channels and fountain running throughout the palace courtyard.

Also within the grounds can be seen some of the “loot” obtained from 18th Century wars with Delhi in the form of garden features dismantled and rebuilt here, and two large marble thrones in the palace buildings.

There was even a whole palace building looted and rebuilt here!

The fort is impressive in scale although the inner buildings are in very poor condition apart from one which is occupied by the local police.

The walls when climbed though offer an impressive view of the palace and the town (as above) and some big cannons remain although their carriages have long since disintegrated.

Deeg photo collection:

More on Deeg:

The Sariska Tiger Reserve is 200 kilometres south of Delhi and unfortunately when I visited in 2004 the only tiger sighting was of some tracks by one of the water holes. There are lots of deer and birds though and some baby crocodiles at the lake

My visit was in mid February and the park was already very dry and it got very dusty in the back of the jeep (not to say rather unsafe bouncing around the park!).

The village of Pandupol in the midde of the park has a favourite pilgrimage site in the form of a small Hanuman temple which is the source of problems to wildlife especially due to heavy traffic.
Sariska photo collection:

More on Sariska:

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