Alwar - The tiger gate of Rajasthan
150 km from Jaipur and 170 km from Delhi, Alwar is nestled between a cluster of small hills of the Aravalli range. Perched on the most prominent of these hills is a massive ancient fort that whispers tales of the rich history of the city.
Once an ancient Rajput state, formerly known as Mewat, Alwar was nearest to the imperial Delhi. The people of the state did not accept any external interferences and daringly resisted against foreign invasions. In the 12th and 13th centuries, they formed a group and raided Delhi. But finally Sultan Balkan (1267A.D -1287 A.D.) suppressed them, bringing the area under the Muslim rule.
In 1771 A.D., Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the clan of Jaipur's rulers, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own.
Apart from its long history, the city has a rich natural heritage with some beautiful lakes and picturesque valleys thickly wooded in parts.
Some of the finest variety of birds and animals are spotted here. Alwar has one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan - Sariska, which is an excellent tiger country.
The Fort : This huge fort with its ramparts stretching 5 km from north to south and 1.6 km from east to west, stands 304 meters above the city and 595 meters above the sea level, constructed before the rise of the Mughal empire . Babar had spent a night at this fort and took away the hidden treasures to gift to his son, Humayun. Akbar's son, Jahangir had also stayed here for some time during his exile. The place where he stayed is called Salim Mahal, The fort was finally annexed by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1775 A.D.
It is a forbidding structure with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge towers encompassing it, The fort has several gates - Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol, Chand Pol, Kishan Pol and Andheri Gate, Also there are remains of Jai Mahal, Nikumbh Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and many temples.
City Palace or Vinay Vilas Mahal :-An 18th century palace harmoniously blending the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. While the ground floors have been converted into government offices and district courts, the upper apartment is presently a museum.
Government Museum : The museum has the finest collection of Mughal and Rajput paintings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some rare ancient manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Urdu an Sanskrit. 'Gulistan' (the garden of roses) 'Waqiat-i-Babri' (autobiography of the Mughal Emperor Babar) and 'Bostan' (the garden of spring)are some of the notable ones amongst the collection.
· It also has a copy of the great epic 'Mahabharatha' painted by the artists of the Alwar school.
· A rich collection of the Indian armory. are among other exhibits of the museum.
Timings 10.00 hrs. to 17.00 hrs. (Closed on Fridays and gazettes holidays, Free entry on Monday.)
Behind the City Palace is an artificial lake built in 1815 A.D. by Maharaja Vinay Singh with few temples along its banks.
A marvelous chhatri with unusual Bengali roof and arches, also known asthe Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri, is situated in this area.
Pur Jan Vihar (Company Garden) : A picturesque garden, laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 A.D. The garden has an enchanting setting called 'Shimla ' which was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh in 1885 A.D. The lush surroundings and the cool shades make it the idyllic visiting spot during summers.
Vijai Mandir Palace (10 km) : A splendid palace, built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1918 A.D. A picturesque lake overlooking the palace makes it a fascinating sight, A fabulous Sita Ram Temple in the palace attracts number of devotees, especially during Ram navami. One needs prior permission from the Secretary to visit the palace.
Siliserh Lake and Palace Hotel (13 km) : An idyllic picnic spot with enchanting landscape of wooded hills and beautiful chhatris on the embankment of the10.5 sq. km placid lake. A magnificent royal palace and the hunting lodge, built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1845 A.D. for his queen Shila stands overlooking the lake. Now converted as the Hotel Lake Palace, it offers boating and sailing facilities and is a delight for the trigger-happy photographers and film makers.
Jai Samand Lake (6 km) : A beautiful artificial lake constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1910 A.D. is a popular spot for outings and picnics. During monsoons, sprawling greenery all around makes it a visual treat. Easily accessible by road from Alwar.
Sariska (37 km): The 765.80 sq. km. thickly wooded reserve cradled in the pictures que valley of the Aravalis. Established in 1955, it is an excellent tiger sanctuary under the Project Tiger. The dry deciduous forests of the Reserve are noted for their population of tiger, nilgai, sambhar, cheetal, four horned antelope and wild boar.
Sariska Palace: A marvelous palace was built here by Maharaja Jai Singh in the honour of the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to the sanctuary. Presently, it has been converted into a hotel - Sariska Palace. RTDC Hotel Tiger Den also offers excellent accommodation at Sariska.
How to get there :
By Air : Delhi 163 km is the nearest airport.
By Road : Well connected with key destination in and not far off Rajasthan and Delhi.
By Rail : Good connection from prominent locations in and around the state. Some important train connections are : Shatabdi Express ( New Delhi- Alwar – Ajmer ); Super fast Express ( New Delhi- Alwar –Ajmer ); Intercity Express ( Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Alwar – Jaipur ); Marudhar Express ( Varanasi – Alwar –Jodhpur ); Mandore Express ( Delhi Sarai Rohilla – Alwar - Jodhpur ).