Alwar – historic city of Rajasthan

Alwar – nestled among the Aravalli ranges, dotted with architectural splendor gives the appearance of being carved marvelously out of rocks. Considered as the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan, Alwar is an important tourist destination of India. A tour of Alwar is a journey to the rich cultural heritage of India, a unique experience not to be missed. The grandeur, beauty and delicacy of the design of innumerable palaces and forts in the region, tranquil lakes, majestic hunting lodges, sites of archaeological importance, thick forests, many birds and animals mixed with an equally diverse socio – cultural configuration have made Alwar a traveler’s delight. This historic city is often called “The Tiger Gate” of Rajasthan because of the effective tiger reserve at Sariska National Park.

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View of Alwar city from Alwar fort

Where is Alwar?

Alwar is the district headquarter of the district of Alwar in the state of Rajasthan in India. Alwar is almost equidistant from Delhi (165 Km) and Jaipur (143 Km).

About Alwar

Situated at an average altitude of 237 m above sea level, the historic city of Alwar boasts of a rich cultural heritage. The city has a unique mystic charm which can be visualized in its historical monuments, forts, temples, palaces and leisurely pace of its citizen. The historic city of Alwar has effectively preserved its old world charm and combined it with more contemporary taste of the tourists.
Formerly known as Mewar, Alwar was predominantly a Rajput Kingdom that came under Muslim domination during 13th -18th century. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput, in 1771 A.D. belonging to the clan of Jaipur’s rulers, won back Alwar.
Apart from being known for “Tiger Reserve” at Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, some of the finest variety of birds and animals are spotted here making it a sought after tourist destination for nature lovers as well.

Sightseeing in and around Alwar

Alwar Fort – Situated at the top of a hill among Aravalli ranges, the huge Alwar fort is popularly called Bala Quila and is approximately 595 m above sea level. This fort, one of the oldest in the country dating back to pre-Mughal era is the most popular tourist attraction of Alwar. The fort has six exquisitely built gates, namely Jai Pol (gate), Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol, Chand Pol, Krishan Pol and Andheri Gate. Permission from Superintendent of Police, Alwar is a pre-requisite to visit the fort from inside. This massive medieval fort with 15 large and 51 small towers, 446 openings for musketry and 8 huge towers reflects excellent artistry and unmatched caliber. Nikumbha Mahal Palace located inside the fort complex is a major attraction to the tourists.
Jai Samand Lake – About 6 Km from Alwar is the second biggest artificial lake of Asia built by Maharana Jai Singh In 1685 by making a dam on the Gomti River. This huge lake is a major tourist attraction of Alwar. Boating in the placid water of the lake with greenery all around has made Jai Samand Lake extremely popular among tourists. Apart from being a perfect spot for angling and other water spots the forests around the lake, which has been converted to sanctuary in 1957 is another major attraction for the tourists. The lake and the sanctuary attract a wide variety of resident and migratory birds and are also home to the cunning crocodiles, leopard, cheetal (spotted deer), chinkara (Indian Gazelle) and wild boar.

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View of Siliserh Lake


Siliserh Lake – Built in 1845 AD by Maharaja Vinay Singh, the beautiful Siliserh Lake is picturesquely set amidst the forested slopes of Aravalli Hills. Situated about 13 km south west of Alwar, the lake was built by constructing an earthen dam between two hills to store the water of a small tributary of river Ruparel. The lake attracts a lot of exotic varieties migratory birds adding colour and music to the place. Overlooking the lake is the magnificent royal hunting lodge or Siliserh lake Palace which has now been converted into a heritage hotel. With a splendid regal palace, the lake has an inspiring mix of breathtaking beauty and architectural charisma that attract a large number of tourists every year.

Sariska National Park – Nestled in the Aravalli hills, this 800 Sq. Km large National Park was a hunting reserve of the erstwhile Maharajas of Alwar. Sariska earned the status of a sanctuary in 1958 and in 1979 it came under the “Project Tiger”. Undoubtedly Sariska is one of the prime attractions of Alwar and tourists from all over India and even abroad visit the park throughout the year. The Park is home to numerous carnivores including Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, and Tiger. Species such as Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur are also predominant in the park.
Several sites of historical importance within the sanctuary have added to the importance and popularity of the place. 17th-century Kankwadi fort, originally built by Jai Singh II, is located near the centre of the park. Pandupol in the hills in the centre of the reserve is believed to be one of the retreats of Pandava, while Tal Briksh in the north is known for its warm water spring. The Sariska Palace, which was used as a royal hunting lodge of Maharaja Jai Singh, is another attraction of the park.

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City Palace Complex of Alwar


City Palace – Below the Alwar fort lies the City Palace which is an architectural marvel of the 18th century. Also known as Vinay Vilas Mahal, the palace is a rare fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. This must see spectacle of Alwar has a central courtyard festooned with marble pavilions set on lotus base. Most alluring attraction of this palace complex is the exquisitely carved Durbar hall, which welcomes the visitors to this former citadel of Alwar kings. This pretty hall encompasses a small room exhibiting marvelous frescos that are examples of architecture at its zenith. The ground floor of this exquisite monument which was royal residence of the Alwar rulers now houses numerous government offices while the upper floor functions as the state museum.
The museum at the upper floor of the City Palace which is also known as Government Museum displays royal treasures of the erstwhile Alwar rulers that are true testimonials of the prosperity of Alwar kings. The museum has the finest collection of Mughal and Rajput painting dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some rare ancient manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Sanskrit. Kingly elegance is preserved in its entirety in the museum showcasing collection of royal dresses in beautiful embroidery, traditional instruments. Superb assortment of Rajput weapons alongwith sword of Akbar, Sultan Mohammad Ghori and Aurangzeb is other attraction of the Museum.
Tourists should keep in mind that though no prior permission is required for visiting the museum but prior permission is a perquisite for witnessing the grandeur of the palace from interior.
Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri – Outside the City Palace and beside a huge water tank lies the double-storeyed cenotaph or chhatri (elevated, dome-shaped pavilions used as an element in Indian architecture) known as Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri. It was built by Vinay Singh to commemorate the memory of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh and his queen, Rani Moosi, who committed sati (self immolation of a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre). Against the backdrop of the picturesque Aravalli range, this ornamental monument has an upper storey built with marble and has some splendid arches and unusually rounded roofs. The interiors have some great carvings, though most of the frescoes on the ceilings are not visible any more due to lack of proper care and conservation. The place is extremely popular among tourists visiting Alwar.
Other places of tourist interest includes, Sagar (located behind the City Palace), Moti Doongri (swanky palace built in Scottish style), Purjan Vihar also known as Company Garden (scenic garden).

How to reach Alwar?

By Air – Airports at Delhi and Jaipur are almost equidistant from Alwar.
By Rail – Alwar is well connected by rail with most of the major cities. Mention must be made about “Fairy Queen”, the train by which one can reach Alwar from Delhi. Journey by this oldest running steam locomotive in the world is an awesome experience. Apart from enjoying the scenery of the surroundings en route the hospitality and the luxury of this train is exceptional.
By Road – Alwar is well connected to different cities around it by good road like Agra (150 km), Deeg (61 km), Bharatpur (94 km), Jaipur (143 km), Udaipur (566 km), Delhi (164 km).
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Where to stay at Alwar?

Hotel Sariska Palace (0144-2481322)
Hotel Meenal (09414261237)
Hotel Tiger Den (0144-2841342)
Hotel Alwar (0144-2700012)
Hotel Emporium (0144-2701730)
Hotel Atlantic (0144-2343181)
Hotel Ankur (0144-2700444)
Hotel Ashoka (0144-2346780)

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About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.

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