Alwar is a quaint town with a population of just over 200,000. Located 145 km from Jaipur and 170 km from Delhi, it lies in the hills of the Aravalli range and is surrounded by lakes, forests and palaces.
An important Rajput state, Alwar played a vital part in the history of Rajasthan. It came under Muslim rule in the 13th century and in the 18th Century, the Rajput ruler, Maharaja Pratap Singh, wrested it back from the invaders and founded the then state of Alwar.
The locale is famous for its picturesque surroundings and a wide variety of birds and animals. The famous Sariska Tiger Reserve is only 35 km away.
What to see
Bala Quila - the Fort:
This huge fort is famous for its history, which predates the Moghul rulers. It runs 5 km from north to south, and nearly 2 km from east to west, standing 304 meters above the city.
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People & Culture
Some of the Moghul rulers (like Babar) are reported to have stayed there before it reverted back to the Rajput rulers in the 18th century. The fort is circumscribed with several gates (called Pols) a few of which are named after various personalities. e.g. Jai Pol, Laxman Pol, Suraj Pol
Vinay Vilas Mahal (the palace complex)
The palace complex is situated just below the Fort but some of it has been converted into Govt. offices. The palace dates back to the 18th century and is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture.
Part of the complex houses the museum where a rich part of it's history has been preserved.
The museum has a wonderful collection of Mughal and Rajput paintings, rare art objects and miniature writings. The weaponry in use at the time can also be seen and is a reminder of the bloody battles that have been fought in these beautiful surroundings. The museum remains closed to the public on Fridays and public holidays.
The surroundings can make for many day trips such as to Vijai Mandir Palace, 10 km away. For information regarding permissions needed for visiting the palace the local tourist office can be contacted.
The Siliserh Lake, 13 km away is an enchanting spot. As elsewhere in Rajasthan, an ancient palace located at the lake has been converted to an hotel. In this way the history is preserved, by simultaneously providing the necessary finances to the erstwhile ruling families.
Sariska Tiger Reserve and National Park
Spread over nearly 800 km of forests, the Sariska Reserve is one of the reserves, which come under Project Tiger. Along with the Ranthambhore National Park, it provides an opportunity for seeing wildlife in Rajasthan.The wooded forests are home to the tiger, nilgai (blue bull), sambhar, cheetal, four horned antelope and wild boar. Within the park can be seen ruins of ancient temples. A palace built by the rulers of Alwar State has now been turned into the hotel - Sariska Palace. The park is notable for seeing wildlife at night and the best season to visit the park is November to June.
How to get there
Road: buses and taxis are available both from Delhi (170 km) and Jaipur (145 km away).
Air: Delhi and Jaipur are the nearest airports to Alwar.
Rail: Comfortable rail connections are available to Alwar from Delhi and Jaipur.
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.