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Alwar: Gateway to historic Rajasthan

March 19
04:01 2012

The city of Alwar is referred to as the gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan, which is located in the northwestern part of India. However, it is more than a mere gateway to the rich cultural treasure that lies beyond: Alwar has its own heritage, which goes back to the mythological legends of the Mahabharata. Alwar has had a chequered history and has been a witness to many rules and rulers. It offers the traveler many sites of historical importance. The ride on the special train, the Fairy Queen is an added attraction of Alwar.

Alwar city is located in the northeastern part of the state of Rajasthan. It lies 170 km south of Delhi and is 150 km from Jaipur. It is flanked by the barren hills of the Aravali range. The climate of Alwar is temperate, but compared to other cities and towns of Rajasthan it is not too hot. Summers can be hot (April-June) but winters are cool and pleasant (November-February). The cragged hills that surround Alwar protect it from being too hot in summers.

Best time to visit: Though the weather of Alwar is moderate, it is advisable to visit it in the winter season (September-February).

History:
The origin of Alwar city goes back to the time of the Mahabharata. It was a part of the ancient kingdom of Matsya and it is said that legendary Pandava brothers had spent some time of their exile there. The ancient state of Alwar was probably the oldest kingdom in the state of Rajasthan. It is said that the city was founded by a member of the Kachh family hailing from the town of Amber. The local Rajput rulers of Alwar had a sweet-bitter relation with the rulers of Delhi in the early medieval period and there was a constant struggle to take control of Alwar. As Alwar was located at a strategic place, the Mughals annexed it and used it to mount military campaigns against the erstwhile Rajput principalities and states. The decline of the Mughal rule saw a brief struggle between Jat and Rajput rulers. Later Pratap Singh, a noble, restored parity in 1775. The descendents of Pratap Singh were great patrons of art and under their rule Alwar became an important cultural center. The later rulers forged an alliance with the British that soon broke off, with the latter taking over Alwar.

Tourist attractions:
The Bala Quila (Fort) and the sprawling city palace complex or Viney Vilas Mahal are main tourist attractions of Alwar. The lake beside the city palace is a good tourist spot. The government museum is located within the city palace complex. The tomb of Tarang Sultan is another place to visit.

Places around:
The town of Silisher, famous for its lake palace, lies 20 km southwest of Alwar. Twelve kilometers from Alwar is the small hill fort of Kesroli. Seventy-five kilometers north of Alwar is the popular restored fort palace of Neemrana. The thickly wooded Sariska Tiger Reserve is 37 km from Alwar. The picturesque Jai Samand Lake lies 6 km from Alwar.

How to reach

Road – Alwar is well connected to different cities around it by road. It is linked with Sariska, Bharatpur, Deeg and Jaipur by road.

Rail – An exciting and exotic train runs from Delhi to Alwar. It is the famous Fairy Queen, which is the oldest running steam locomotive in the world. The hospitality and the luxury of this toy train are exceptional. It takes about 3-4 hours to reach Alwar. One can enjoy the scenery of the surroundings en route.

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