CITY OF RAJPUTS
Alwar is a where the journey of the Fairy Queen ends! The oldest working engine in the world and one of India’s national treasure, Fairy Queen leads a train from Delhi encampment to Alwar in Rajasthan. The engine was built in 1855 and acquired by the Eastern Indian Railways from a British firm. The train that harnesses this engine is now used for tourism.
The journey of the city of Alwar and its origins can be traced back to 1500 BC. Nestled in the lap of the green hills of the Aravalli range, it is home to beautiful palaces and forts from an era long gone. The deep valleys and thick forest cover of the hills are a haven for many species of birds such as grey partridge and white-throated kingfisher and animals, most notably, the Bengal tiger and golden jackal. It is this splendor and exquisite architecture, along with the calm lakes, royal hunting chalets, dense jungles and a socio-cultural environment unlike any other that makes Alwar a traveller’s delight.
Alwar is one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan. Paradoxically, the city is also the most recent of the Rajput kingdoms. Its traditions can be traced back to the realms of Viratnagar that flourished here around 1500 BC. Also known as Matasya Desh, this is where the Pandavas, the mighty heroes of the Mahabharata, spent the last years of their 13-year exile.
ALWAR CITY PALACE
Built in 1793 AD by Raja Bakhtawar Singh, the City Palace is an amazing mélange of the Rajputana and Islamic styles of architecture. The highlight of this palace are graceful marble pavilions set on lotus flower bases in the central courtyard. The palace that once belonged to the Maharaja has been converted into the District Collectorate. Its grand halls and chambers now house government offices.
SARISKA TIGER RESERVE
Sariska Tiger Reserve, the first tiger reserve in the world to have successfully relocated tigers. It was declared a sanctuary in 1955 and became a National Park in 1979.
The Bala Qila (young fort) was built on the foundations of a 10th century mud fort and is a towering structure set atop a hill. Strong fortifications, graceful marble columns and delicate latticed balconies make up the fort. Bala Qila can be entered through six gates, namely Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol, Chand Pol, Krishan Pol and Andheri Gate.
MOOSI MAHARANI CHHATRI
This cenotaph, built in the memory of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh and his queen, Rani Moosi, reflects the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The upper portion comprising columned pavilions and domed arches is made of marble while the lower section consists of pillars in red sandstone. The memorial is rated as one of the finest of its type.
Fifty kilometres from Sariska Sanctuary is the splendid town of Bhangarh which was built in the 17th century by Raja Madho Singh. The most popular legend states that the town was cursed by an evil magician and was subsequently abandoned. The evil effect of the curse is believed to be working even to this day. In fact, Bhangarh holds the distinction of being one of the most haunted places in India.