Hadoti in Rajasthan

The Hadoti region comprise Kota, Bundi and Jhalwar. The old state of Bundi was founded on territory usurped from the Bhil tribals, a kingdom which became the battleground for the invading Huns and Scythians and also served as a gateway to the richer kingdoms of Gujarat and Malwa. This has been one of the least explored areas of Rajasthan and what lies unexplored and unexposed is a treasure trove of history dating back to several centuries. Pre-historic cave paintings and other traces of early civilization found along the banks of Chambal and dozens of beautiful temples with the most intricate carvings lend Hadoti a totally different character.

Kota in Rajasthan

The fort, overlooking the migty Chambal river, is the foremost tourist attraction here. It also houses the museum and has some elaborately painted chambers. Built in mid-13th century by Jai Singh, Kota was originally a part of Bundi state but it soon grew to become a bigger, richer and more powerful state. Legend has it that its original inhabitant was a Bhil chieftain by the name of Koteya. He was slain in battle and the foundation laid on his dead body. This Spot is today known as the Sailar Ghazi Gate. Three are some outstanding mirror work, ebony and ivory inlaid doors and a rich collection of miniatures of the Kota school.

There are other impressive buildings, some form the early days and some built in the beginning of the 20th century. Prominent amog them are Jag Mandir, Brij Vilas Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Brij Raj Bhawan. Thanks to the presence of the Chambal river, Kota jabounds in lakes and gardens.

Also of interest are the royal cenotaphs where the last rites of the deceased rulers were performed.

Bundi in Rajasthan

Bundi is Rudyard kipling land and the first destination in Hadoti, that is reached form Jaipur by road. Set in a narrow encircling gorge, the palaces and fortress of Bundi have a fairly tale like quality about them. Few other palaces in India have such a picturesque location. Isolated and independent, the entire township appears like a miniature painting, frozen in time for the traveler. Sometimes the only movement seems to be provided by the traveler himself.

The Bundi palace, built of locally quarried stone, presents one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Intricately carved brackets, pillars and balconies and sculpted elephants are used liberally. Of special interest here are the Diwan-i-Am, Hathi Pal and the Naubat Khana. Also located in the palace is the famous Chitra Shala which provides a colourful glimpse of history – the walls and cellings of this palace are completely covered with paintings of the Bundi School. Hunting and court scenes, festivals, processions, animal and bird life and scenes from Lord Krishna’s life are still in very good condition.

Bundi has other palaces and hunting lodges like the Phool Sagar Palace, Sukh Mahal and Shikar Burj. Each palace has its own historical importance: Phool Sagar houses a collection of murals done by the Italian prisoners of war who were held here; Sukh Niwas Palace evokes memories of Rudyard Kipling who not only stayed here but is believed to have found inspiration for his famous work Kim from the scenes that he saw here. Sar Bagh, though not a palace, is interesting for its location as well as the carvings on the 66 royal cenotaphs.

Bundi is also known for its baolis or step-walls. Unique to Rajasthan and Gujrat, the step-wells served as water reservoirs for the months of summer when there was a scarcity of drinking water. At one time, there were over fifty such wells in Bundi but most of them have suffered the ravages of time. One very good example still to be found in the heart of the town is called Raniji-ki-Baodi. It has exquisitely carved pillars and ornate archways – even  the simple function or drawing water from the well became a special occasion for the womenfolk, they dressed up in their finery to visit these elaborate structures. On the road to Kota is a splendid 17th century monument – 64 pillared chhatri still in extremely good condition and worth a visit.

Jhalawar in Rajasthan

The ‘land of the Jhalas’ was created in 1838 has a charm of its own. It is best explored on foot. Areas of interest are the fort which is located I the centre of the town. A sprawling fort, it now houses district offices. Tha Zanana khas porton of the fort houses some exquisite paintings on walls and mirrors. Permission to see these paintings may be sought from the offices located there. Government museum with its collection of rare manuscripts and sculptures and Bhawani Natysashala, one of the rare theatres in this area, are two other areas of interest.

Other places that can be visited from Jhalawar are Rain Basera, Chandrabhaga temples, Jhalarapatan and the magnificent Gagron fort.