Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Northwest to Alwar

Five major roads lead out of Jaipur. NH8 leads north to Delhi. One can branch off right, about 35 miles (60 km) from Jaipur, turning north-west to Alwar, picturesque and dotted with historical sites. At Bairath or Viratnagar are ancient Buddhist rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka, a Buddhist chaitya (temple) dating back to the 3rd century BC and a painted garden pavilion built around 1600 AD.

Founded in 1771, Alwar is one of the most recent of the princely states of Rajasthan. Beginning as distant cousins of Jaipur, they maneuvered their way through the chaos of the 18th century, changing sides for quick gains, till the British family acknowledged and rewarded them for their help against the Marathas. But the affairs of Alwar remained troubled, with only a few scattered years of peace, which, however, must have been very prolific, for Alwar has some very fine palaces, built by milking the people dry and using one half of the state exchequer - an extremely high proportion even by feudal standards - for the purpose.

Twenty three miles (37 kms) from Alwar is the Sariska Palace, once a hunting lodge, now a private hotel set on the outskirts of a wildlife sanctuary where tiger, panther, blue bull, wild boar and deer roam the scrubby thicket and bush. Closer by, five miles (8 kms) from Alwar, the charming Siliserh Palace commands a wonderful view of a lake full of water fowl. This is a Rajasthan state hotel of moderate comfort.

The Alwar Museum, housed in the City Palace, has a fine collection of miniature paintings, manuscripts, arms and the famous solid-silver dining table that aroused the curiosity of royal visitors. Adjacent to the museum is a remarkable reservoir with delicate temples, kiosks and symmetrical stairs considered masterpieces of Indo-Islamic architecture.

1 comment:

  1. Rajasthan has always been the prime tourist destination in India.
    Rajasthan Holiday Packages