Bundi, a small town in the Hadoti region, is amongst the offbeat travel destinations in Rajasthan. It enjoys a picturesque location. Nestled in a narrow valley, it is surrounded by the Aravalli Hills on three sides. Bundi has many ancient gems waiting to be discovered. In fact, the entire town appears to be living in a time warp. The dwellers of the town seem to have kept themselves isolated from the influences of the modern world. This has kept intact the rustic ambience and the historical charm. If you want only one reason to visit Bundi, it must be its massive and eccentric Garh Palace. The architecture of this palace is so weird that Rudyard Kipling had described it thus: “Such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams – the work of goblins rather than of men”.
Attractions in Bundi
This massive edifice is a conglomeration of several palaces built over a period of time. All the buildings are strangely spread across a steep slope. Along with the architecture, this palace is also significant for its magnificent murals. The palace must have lain unattended for a long time which is apparent from the erosion of the paintings; albeit many paintings have still maintained their sharpness. Travellers are allowed to explore certain parts of the palace. If you are interested in murals, you should check out chambers on all the floors. After coming out of the palace, don’t miss to ascend on the ramp to reach ‘Chitrashala’. It is, in fact, a part of the same palace and has a courtyard surrounded by the mural-covered walls. Read More
If you are ready for a steep hike of 30 min, follow the trek that leads up from the Garh Palace. Passing through the scrub forest, the trail ends at the Taragarh Fort (14th-century). While climbing up, do stop at intervals to take in the splendid views of Bundi Town and Garh Palace. Worth exploring in the fort are its dilapidated palaces, old water reservoirs and a cannon mounting tower called ‘Bhim Burj’. Bhim Burj was used to mount a cannon called Garbh Gunjam (meaning: thunder from the womb). Walking along the ramparts on the eastern side will get you wonderful views of the pristine countryside. Read More
Travel Tip: This fort is mostly unattended, so it’s not advisable for women to venture alone. It is also easy to forget your way in this scrub-covered fort, hence a guide would be a great help.
Prehistoric rock paintings
This is a relatively new discovery. Several prehistoric paintings have been spotted in the Gardha area near Bundi. These paintings stretch up to 35 km. A person named Om Prakash Sharma (known as ‘Kukki’) has found all these paintings. He claims them to be dating back to Chalcolithic, Neolithic and early Historic periods. The paintings have images of human beings, animals such as tigers, panthers, antelopes and various antique tools. Mr Sharma conducts personal and group excursions of these sites. He can also offer his insights on the history of Bundi and its monuments. You can find his website here.
Raniji Ki Baori
This is a beautiful piece of architecture, albeit ill-maintained. Don’t miss to observe its beautifully sculpted entrance. There are many stepwells in Bundi, but Raniji ki Baori remains the most popular. Rani Nathavatji, the queen of Raja Anirudh Singh, had got this stepwell constructed in 1699.
Nawal Sagar Lake
Situated in the heart of the town, this lake has in its centre a half-submerged temple to Varuna, the God of water. The water of Nawal Sagar generally dries up during summer.
Jait Sagar Lake
This lake is set in a serene and picturesque location. It is surrounded by the verdant hills of the Aravalli Range. During monsoon and winter, numerous lotus flowers bloom on the placid waters of the lake. It takes a 30 minutes walk or a 2 km drive from the town to reach here. ‘Sukh Mahal’, the summer palace of the royalty is situated by the lake. A short distance further from here are Kshar Bagh and Shikar Burj, but they generally remain closed. Kshar Bagh has cenotaphs of the deceased royals and Shikar Burj was once a royal hunting lodge.
Situated by the Jait Sagar Lake, this palace was constructed by Raja Vishnu Singh in 1776 AD. It was built under the supervision of Diwan Sukhram, hence the name Sukh Mahal. It served as the summer house for the rulers. Rudyard Kipling had stayed here for two days.
Eighty-Four Pillared Cenotaph (Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri)
Situated a short distance away from the centre of the town, this cenotaph stands alone. It was constructed in 1683 by Raja Rao Anirudh Singh in memory of his wet nurse ‘Deva’. There is a ‘Shivling’ in the cenotaph on a raised platform covered with a roof. The roof is supported by eighty-four pillars, hence the name ‘Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri’.
Travel Tip: Bundi doesn’t see a huge number of travellers. Hence, it is not geared up to satisfy the demands of the modern travellers. Having said that, mid-budget travellers and backpackers will be able to find a stay suited for them. But luxury seekers would do well staying in Kota (39 Km); from there they can do a day tour of Bundi.