Alwar, also known as the Gateway to Rajasthan is place of rare serenity. This city located about 160 kms from Delhi was once the seat of the Rajputs and one can still witness the remnants of their splendor here. The small size of this city is no measure to the stature of its rich heritage. The city is not only famous for the Indian sweet dish – “Kalakand” but is also a traveller’s paradise. The sights this city offers include:
The Sariska Tiger Reserve is a breathtaking National Park, which forms a part of the Aravalli Range and is ecologically rich. This National Park is a seat for ‘Project Tiger’ and boasts of the success story of its fast growing tiger population. Besides Bengal tigers, this park is home to peacocks, leopards, white-throated kingfisher, boars, antelopes and a wide range of other wildlife. Travelling to Sariska is a short 36 km journey from Alwar. The park offers jeep rides and Safaris where one can witness the bountiful wildlife right from dancing peacocks (in the monsoon) to the grandeur of the Bengal Tigers. The thrill of tracking pugmarks to spot a tiger is an experience one cannot miss.
2. Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri
This oddly named attraction is a cenotaph for Maharani Musi built by Vinay Singh to commemorate Rani Musi who had committed sati on her husband, the Ruler Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh’s funeral pyre. Sunsets by the cenotaph are the most beautiful part of the day, the sight of the orange and pink hue of the setting sun hitting the marble walls of the upper story takes one’s breath away. The frescoes on the ceiling tell one stories of another time; the architecture of the cenotaph with the intricate detailing lends a new facet to its beauty. One cannot miss this sight while travelling to Alwar.
3. Bala Quila
Bala Quila is a scenic fort situated atop a hill in the Aravalli Range; besides its rich historical significance, it also promises an amazing view of the city of Alwar. This fort, which was built by Hasan Khan Mewati, has been a home to various Mughal Rulers before it was taken over by Pratap Singh. The fort has 5 large and 51 small towers perched on the ridgetop and an armada of 446 openings for muskets, and 8 large bastions encompassing it. The imposing grandeur of this fort only matches up to the grandeur of the view it offers.
4. Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath Temple of Alwar is most famous for the Rath Yatra that takes place here. This temple, which is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, has awe inspiring medieval architecture and rare floral motifs adorn its gigantic pillars. One of the main features of this temple is the Carriage called Indra Vimana that carries the idols of Lord Jagannath, Sitaramji and Jankiji during the Rath Yatra festival. This previously elephant drawn carriage was used by the erstwhile ruler of Alwar and was later donated to the temple. The Rath Yatra of Alwar is an exciting experience for the Religious Traveler.
5. Bhangarh Fort
Bhangarh Fort is situated within the Alwar District and is in close proximity to the city of Alwar. This quaint old fort and its earthy Rajput charm come hand in hand with a strange law, which is peculiar to this area. This law stipulates that entry into the Fort of Bhangarh between sunset and sunrise is strictly prohibited. The fort of Bhangarh was home to Madho Singh the brother of Raja Man Singh who was the right hand of Emperor Akbar. This Fort of Bhangarh has interesting architectural detailing and overlooks the ruins of the palace. A quiet afternoon in the Fort of Bhangarh overlooking the lush green lower hills of the Aravalli’s is a travelling must.
6. Fairy Queen
The Fairy Queen is the oldest locomotive engine in the world and plies between Delhi and Alwar. This train is a must see for all historical and automotive enthusiasts. This engine has recently been restored and declared as a national treasure. The Fairy Queen train is like a palace on wheels, its rich interiors have a Rajput charm that make your journey befitting a Royal. This engine was built in 1885 in England and was used to haul passengers during the Rebellion of 1857; later in 1997, it was restored to full working order for the first time in 88 years and continues to work today for ferrying Tourists.
7. Karni Mata Temple
The temple of Karni Mata is one of the most peculiar temples of the world. This temple is home to approximately 20,000 black rats called “Kabbas” that live here and are worshipped. These rats are believed to be the reincarnated male descendants of Karni Mata. Food nibbled on by these rats is eaten as an honor and each time a Kabba dies it is replaced with one made of solid gold. Thus, along with the enriching folklore, that surrounds this temple its architectural intricacies like the marble façade and the silver gates do not fail to fascinate any Traveler.
Thus, Alwar offers a spectrum of attractions ranging from nature to historical architecture and caters to every type of traveler. One must experience the earthy mystique of Alwar at least once in their lives.