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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the top activities that one can do in Alwar?

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In the history department Alwar hits a homerun, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that a visit will be nothing more than a lesson in history. Throughout the city, you can find ways to experience Alwar’s culture and natural landscapes and, at the same time, enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Some of the activities that you can indulge in in Alwar are:

Trekking and jungle safari

Rajasthan inevitably evokes the image of deserts and with it the images of barren, lifeless land torn by searing wind and sand dunes are conjured. Alwar comes as a pleasant surprise, with lush greenery spread throughout the city at various points, with lakes dotting its borders. With such a geography, trekking around Alwar and its neighbours is one active option you have before you. The Sariska-Alwar-Amber trail during winters is one of the more popular trek trails to take. On the Sariska-Alwar trail, at Kushalgarh, 10 km away lie cold and hot water springs and a temple.

The other option, especially if you want a less intense trek is to hike till Naldeshwar, 25 km away. Natni ki baran, a small village with Lord Shiva temple, will fall your way first where you can experience the true charm of Alwar hospitality and culture. 6 km ahead lies Naldeshwar, which has the famous Mahadeva temple, that as a naturally formed shivling and 2 water bunds (pond), that receive water from the stream that flows from the surrounding hills. The variety of scenery, climate, and terrain you encounter will leave an indelible impression on you to savour forever.You will be making your way past ageless scenic beauty and blanket of tranquillity, coupled with their close proximity to the rest of the rustic city, making the trek one of the most popular and rewarding experiences you will have in Alwar.
At Sariska, you could indulge in a jungle safari at the
Tiger reserve that is home to tigers, leopards, wild dogs, jungle cats, hyena and jackals, and prey animals like sambars, cheetals, nilgais, chausinghas, wild boars and langurs.


It is the gluttony of choice in Alwar markets, not just quality, that makes them a must shopping destination for tourists and visitors.
Hope Circus market, Bazaza bazaar (market), Saraf bazaar, Malakhers bazar, Kedalgang bazar are the main shopping points that you need to have on your Alwar itinerary. Traditional wear, ghagara (long skirt) and kanchli (top), exquisitely designed jewellery, marble statues and figurines, carpets, bangles are few of the things you will find the markets spilling with. Known for its high density of jewellery and handicrafts shops, you will be spoilt for choice. Watch the purchase process of a city native and the shopkeeper-it will give you a whole new perspective on shopping. It begins with a detailed study of the item of interest by the buyer picking out its minute flaws, followed by bargaining and haggling with each side sticking steadfastly to their own and then suddenly, before you know it, both agreeing to a price much reduced from the actual. And here you thought shopping was all about liking something and buying it.

Silver anklets, silver necklaces, ethnic brass jewellery, imitation jewellery, colourful glass bangle, coconut shell bangles and ornaments made of semi precious stones are some of the high quality jewellery that will have you torn with choice. Antiques to woodcrafts to paper mache items, it is all available and ready to be haggled over. Take a breather from all the shopping and fuel up on Mawa or Kalakand (Milk cake), for which Alwar is very popular, available in the local sweet and eatery shops, especially in the Kalakand market, which as you must have guessed is named after this sweet. An incredibly delicious mithai (sweet), it is two bites of divine heaven and will have you stuffing yourself with it. Do not forget to check out the pottery items in the local handicraft and curio shops and do ask them for kagzi pottery (paper thin pottery). Now a rare form of art, it is unique to Alwar and today only a handful of area artists and potters can make this. Now there are 3 varieties within it-one being simple colored pottery. The other 2 are more elaborate, with intricate patterns and strong, deeply incised, stylized patterns of arabesques. The beautiful patterns are not just there for art, but serve a much important function-they enable circulation of air and will keep the water cool for a long time-very significant in the times before refrigerators made their way in this dry city. Ask the shopkeeper for all three and you can choose the one you want. With so much to shop for and choose, you are likely to come back with hands full of shopping bags and a big, satisfied grin on your face.

Heritage dive

Now come on, Alwar is after all known for its rich royal legacy, both figuratively and literally. Culturally diverse and exciting,
Alwar offers you the chance to explore about 700 years of history and retrace your steps through places where some of the most pivotal moments of Indian history have unfolded. Possibly one of the oldest kingdoms of the land of kingdoms, Rajasthan, Alwar’s paths have been tread on by many different feet. From being a part of the Matsya territories to the 21st century, Alwar’s hills and plains have hosted settlers, invaders and conquerors. Today, you can trace it visibly in its forts, monuments, palaces and folklores. Forts like Bala Quila and Vinay Vilas Mahal  are as vast and imposing as they were when they were built more than 4 centuries ago, and their impact has not been dimmed by the crowds of tourists and century old coating of dust.

Whether you want adventure to be the focus of your trip or that extra to a more relaxed, conventional holiday, Alwar offers you a range of activities with its open landscape, rolling hills and wide plains, ensuring that not a moment of yours in Alwar goes uneventful.

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