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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What can be a suitable itinerary for Alwar?

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While your less imaginative friends are planning a quiet getaway to the usual hill station, Alwar is the place that is going to knock your socks off, provided you bring your sense of adventure and atmosphere, that is. With so much to experience and discover, you might have already started wondering how you will go about planning. Well, given below is a suggested itinerary that you can use as a rough guide in planning your trip to Alwar:

Day 1

As you touchdown at Alwari early morning hail an auto or cab to the hotel of your choice. Alternatively, if you have booked your hotel in advance do ask the hotel for a pickup service. Its often complementary. Check-in, refresh and have a filling breakfast at the hotel. You might want to start your exploration with Vinay Vilas Mahal. Wander through the slightly convoluted complex. Keep in mind that the government offices are on the ground floor, which are off limits. Head to the first floor for a visit to the Museum, consisting of some of the best collection of manuscripts, armoury and sculptures of the Mughal and Rajput era. Ask around for where the Police Superintendent’s office is. You will need to take permission here to visit Bala Quila. With permission granted, go over to Moosi Maharani ki chhatri or the cenotaph of Maharaja Bhaktawar Singh in the Mahal’s complex-a striking elevated, dome-shaped pavilion made of beautiful red sandstone it stands against the backdrop of the emerald green palace pond that has steps leading to it.

  • Take a break from the sightseeing and refuel on some spicy Alwar cuisine at Prem Pavitra Bhojanalya. Next head over to Bharatpur road to stare wide eyed at the Fateh Jung ka Gumbaj, a spectacular five storey tomb that combines elements of Islamic and Hindu architecture. It must be evening by now and you can indulge in some souvenir shopping at Hope Circus market and Bazaza bazaar. With night fast falling you can head back to the hotel for a relaxed filling, plate load of Rajasthani cuisine at your hotel’s in house restaurant. To top off your perfect day, do watch the cultural performance the hotel has organized especially for guests. If not, request them for one next evening or night.

Day 2

  • After your morning tea and before your breakfast, you could head over to Jagannath temple. Temple’s are a different sight in the early morning mist crowded with devotees paying their tribute and offerings. Head back to the hotel for a filling breakfast and request them for some food that you will need on your day ahead. Also ask the hotel if they arrange for visits to Sariska. If not, ask them for RTDC approved tour operators in Alwar who arrange for a safari at government approved rates. Also, do not forget to book cab with the hotel that you will need the next day with you throughout to explore the places around Alwar. Do fix the amount that it will cost you beforehand. Next you could visit Karni Mata Temple and watch the rare sight of rats being revered and given an elevated status equal to that of God.

Post this you could trek over to Naldeshwar, at a distance of 24 km from Alwar, . You could also take a cab there but this place and the journey to it is best experienced on foot. 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.It’s the perfect place to open and tuck in that food hamper you have brought along. You will be making your way past ageless scenic beauty, dusty villages, with a sense of tranquillity as your companion all the way.

  • Trek back to Alwar, hail an auto and head over to Kalakand market-the perfect place to reward yourself for the hike you took with a jewellery, clothing, etc shopping. Do not forget to go to Bharat Thakur Dass and Sons sweet shop for Mawa or Kalakand (milk cake), for which Alwar is known all over the country. It’s a mouthful of utter sweet divineness. Do not forget to buy enough boxes of it for yourself and friends back home. With such a full day of trekking and shopping and eating, whew, you can head over to Company Bagh for an evening stroll before you head back to the hotel. Remember you have the cultural performance scheduled and you don’t want to be late for it.

Day 3

  • Pack all your trekking gear, camera and binoculars before heading for breakfast. You have a full day ahead of jungle safaris, haunted havelis and palaces made by eccentric kings to explore, so have a nice, filling breakfast. First head over to Sariska National Park and explore its abundance of natural beauty in an open jeep safari. Who knows, you might just catch a sight of the elusive cats. If not, you can console yourself with the sightings of sambars, cheetals, nilgais, chausinghas, wild boars and langurs. Lunch in at the RTDC hotel’s restaurant and head back on the road to Alwar for a trip to Bhangarh. With its proverbial haunted haveli, Bhangarh is an uninhabited town known only for its curse, wished on it by a vengeful tantrik. When you enter the town, you will cross three successive fortifications, with the outside one having 5 gateways called Ajmeri, Lahori, Hanuman, Phool bari and Delhi gate. Your steps inside will lead you to the Bhangarh fort, with its shadowy passages and shady steps leading to underground rooms. You can give it a quick tour as much of it is, especially the interiors, in a steady process of deterioration. Originally the fort had 7 stories and now only 4 remain. Housed in the complex there is also the Gopinath temple with beautiful stone carvings and sculptures. Additionally, you will come across Shiva, Someshwar, Mangla Devi, Lavina Devi and Keshava Rai temples that are some of the more remarkable structures of the town. You cannot remain in Bhangarh after sunset and before sunrise-it is legally prohibited by Archaeological Survey of India.

  • With the eerie feeling set in your stomach head back to Alwar and on its outskirts is the Vijay Mandir Palace. Beautiful and majestic, the massive castle reveals itself angle by angle. Skirted by a lush garden that does its best to surround this mammoth architectural splendour, if your visit coincides with monsoons or right after a spell of rain, do catch the reflection of royal, rajput splendour in the cool, placid waters of the Vijay Sagar lake, built by Maharaja Vijay Singh who built the palace as well.

Come to Alwar and experience and see the world through the eyes of the Rajput and Mughal empires. A different century and world awaits you in Alwar as does the kalakand for you to sink your teeth in.

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