Alwar – Siliserh - Sariska information

ALWAR in Rajasthan

city-palace-alwarForm Delhi, Alwar is, in a sence, the gateway to Rajasthan. A visit to this town also means going back into time… almost like turning the pages of a history book, Alwar has been among the oldest cities in Rajasthan and its prehistoric as well as historic sites are an archaeologist’s delight.

Located 170 km south of Delhi, Alwar is protected from the desert sands by the Aravalli range.

Most parts of Alwar are covered by tropical dry, deciduous forests, common in these parts of the state. The trees look quite bare and lifeless or most part of the year but come mansoon and they suddenly spring back to life and give the area much needed greenery. The presence of the Aravallis also provides Alwar with a lot of picturesque locations – deep valleys and a protected forest cover which is a haven to several species of birds and animals.

Alwar was once a part of Matsy Desh, and is believed to be one of the oldest kingdoms of this state. It was here, in the city of Viratnagar, in the court of King Vitara, that the mighty Pandavas, heroes of the great Indian epic Mahabharata, spent the last year of their 13-year exile. The Mastyas, as the inhabitants of this area were – the Kauravas. There still exist several monuments around Alwar named after the Pandavas. The Matsya Kingdom, like many others in the region, was overshadowed by the more influential Maurayan Empire and with the passing years there were many more uphevels. Alwar being strategically important, the Mughals, the Kchahhawahas of Amer, the jats from neighbouring Bharatpur, the British as well as the Marathas all tried to gain control if it. It wasn’t until the 18th Century that the rulers were able to manoeuvre their way out of the troubled times and establish an independent kingdom. In 1771, Alwar became the youngest princely state of Rajasthan.

Alwar today is a busy, and growing industrial district and also one of Delhi’s satellite towns. For the non- business traveller, there is much to see and enjoy – ancient temples, medieval forts and palaces, garden and a wildlife sanctuary.

Bala Quila : The fort is located on a 300-mette steep cliff and provides a breathtaking view of the city below. A rather forsaken monument, its main claim to fame comes from the fact that Emperor Babar spent a night here. Below the fort lies the remarkable CITY PALACE.

Today, the courtyards and halls of the City Palace have come a long way from those interesting times. Most of them have been taken over by several government offices. Yet, the visitor should not let the crowds put him off. The City Palace is wroth a visti. Quite a few of Alwar’s legendary treasures are to be found in the museum which is located here – rare manuscripts, paintings, objects made from jade, ivory and silver and a large collection of wapons.

Located just outside the palace but very much a part of the sprawling palace complex is a huge tank lined by several temples on one side and an impressive cenotaph on the other. Known as the MOOSI MAHARANI CHHATRI, it was built in memory of a royal mistress who committed sati here. Other areas of interest are VINAY VILAS PALACE and COMPANY GARDEN – with the emphasis being on the garden more than buildings. A little outside Alwar are the VIJAY MANDIR PALACE and the MOTI DOONGRI fortress and the old capital of Alwar – RAJGARH. The fort here is of considerable importance, both historically as well as architecturally.

SILISERH in Rajasthan

A little further away, 13 km on the road to Jaipur is Alwar’s most popular picnic spot – SILISERH. Built as a summer retreat, it is a delightful little palace set in a picture-postcard location. Overlooking a tranquil lake and surrounded by hills, Siliserh is a perfect point for a quite and peaceful holiday. 

SARISKA Sanctuary in Alwar

sariska-alwarFurther along this road is Alwar’s wildlife sanctuary – Sariska 42 kms away – provides many fascinating spots for lovers of wildlife as well as those interested in art and archaeology. The Sariska Tiger Reserve and National Park is one of the few forested areas in the Aravalli hills and has a good population of sambhar, nilgai, chinkara, chital, leopard, wild boar, jackal and tiger. Birds include parakeet, grey partridge, crested serpent eagle, babbles and bulbuls. Best time to visit is from July to march. Just outside the sanctuary is the Sariska Palace, once a royal hunting lodge it is today a well run heritage hotel with an old world charm. Within the sanctuary are several interesting spots like Pandu Pol, temple of Buddha Hanuman and the old temple of Nilkanth Mahadev. The ruins of BHANGARH are set in lush green valley, with the hills as the backdrop. The view is specially breathtaking just after the rains. Located on the outskirts of the sanctuary the ruins are worth a only for their superb seeting.

VIRATNAGAR lies 66 km from Alwar and is today better known as Bairat. One of the oldest historical sites in Rajasthan, and an edict of King Ashoka the Great dating back to the 3rd century BC was found here. In another part of the site on the slope of a hill are the ruins of a circular Buddhist temple, the only one in the country. Under the Mughals, a mint was founded here and a fascinating structure was built. It contains the remnants of 17th century wall paintings.