Alwar, amongst the Rajput principalities was closest to imperial Delhi, influencing the people and history of the region, formerly known as Mewat, The people of Alwar developed a hardy, but carefree attitude to life. They did not submit to alien rule, and often rebelled. They were daring adventurers and marauders in the 12th and 13th centuries they banded together and raided Delhi at night, The western gates of the capital had to be barred every evening against their coming. Sultan Balban (1267-1287) finally crushed their disorganised resistance and as a result they came under Muslim rule. In 1771, Maharaja Pratap Singh, A Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the same clan as the one that ruled Jaipur, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own.
Alwar lies equidistant from Delhi and Jaipur. The Aravallis break up in a beautiful little valley with small hills and rocky crags before trailing off in the final spine that runs right up to and through Delhi, known there as the Ridge. The city nestles between several small hills, on the most prominent of which stands a dramatically forbidding fort. Lakes and valleys thickly wooded in parts, have made this area the haunt of animals and birds. Rich in wildlife, Alwar has one of the finest sanctuaries in Rajasthan.
This fort is a witness to many historical events. Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, spent a few days here and when he left, he took away the hidden treasurers for his son, Humayun. Akbar's son, Salim, later emperor Jahangir, shen in exile lived here for some time. The place where he stayed is called Salim Mahal now in ruins. It was finally conquered by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1775 AD.
The fort is 595 metres above sea level and 304 metres above from north to south and 1.6 km from east to west. It has 15 to openings for musketry. And eight large towers all around defend it.
There are several gates, namely, Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman pol, chand pol, krishan pol, andheri Gate. Though most of the structures are now in a sad state,their historical significance is still important. There are the remains of jai mahal, nikumbh mahal, Salim Sagar, Surajkund and Many temples. The view of the city below, from the watch towers of the battlements breathtaking.
Today it is more populerly known as the Vinay Vilas Mahal. The architecture of the palace is very traditional, Constructed late 18th centuryit has traces of both Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture.
The ground floor areas have now been converted into Govt offices and district courts. The palace museum is in one upper apartment of the palace.
The museum probably has the richest collection mughal & Rajput paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. There are some rare and precious ancient manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Sanskrit. Notable amongst these are, 'gulista' (the garden of roses), 'Waqiat-i-Baburi' (autobiography of themughal emperor babur) & 'Bostan' (the garden of spring).
It also has a copy of the 'Mahabharata' painted by the artists of the Alwar school. Another special collection here is the collection of Indian armoury- rare diverse and amazing.
Behind the City Palace, are located other monuments worth a visit.There are a few temples on the bank of 'Sagar', the artificial Lake built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1815AD. A beautiful chhatri, unique in its style of the unusual Bengali roof and arches. A also known as the Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri is situated in this area.
Originally known as Company Bagh later it was changed to Purjan Vihar by Maharaja Jai Singh.
The garden was laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 AD. It nas an enchanting setting known as 'Simla' which was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh in 1885 AD. The cool shades and lush greenery of this well laid garden, never let the heat of summer step in.
The royal residence, built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1918 overlooks a scenic, rippling lake.
A splendid temple of sita ram, is visited by of devotees especially on the occasion of ram navami,prior permission from the secretary is required to visit the palace.
It offers a bewitching scenery. The twinkling ripples, covering 10.5 sq km is surrounded by thick wooded hills with beautiful chhatris on the embankment.
Cradled in the hills and overlooking the lake is a magnificent royal Hunting Lodge/Palace. It was built by Maharaja Vinay Singh for his queen Shila in 1845. Now it has been converted as Hotel Lake Palace, a delightful spot for filmmakers and water sports enthusiasts (bogting and sailing).
Accessible by road 6 kilometer from Alwar. It is a large artificial lake constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1910. It makes an excellent picnic spot during the rainy season with beautiful lush greenery all around.
37 km. Nestling in a picturesque valley of the Aravallis a forest comes to life, it pulses a beat of its own. The nature's rhythm reveals wildlife in its own natural habitat.
This sanctuary established in 1955, offers an exceptional opportunity to see a variety of animals at a close range. There are tiger, nilgai (blue bull), sambhar, cheetal, four:horned antelope and wild bear. The thick forests here are the dry deciduous type and cover an area of 480 sq km.
There is a spectacular palace here built by Maharaja Jai Singh in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited the sanctuary, converted into a hotel.
RTDC Hotel Tiger Den and Sariska Palace offer comfortable accommodation.
Drive in Sanctuary
The best time for a drive in the sancctuary is between 0630 hrs. and 1600 hrs.
Air: Delhi 163 km is the nearest airport.
Rail: Good connection from prominent locations in and around the state. Super fast Shatabdi Express and Intercity Express links with Jaipur and Delhi.
Road: Regular services link Alwar with key destinations in and not far off Rajasthan and Delhi.