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{ Weekend Getaway } : Alwar, Rajasthan

By 06:19 Tuesday, 17 March 2015 ,

Alwar is one of the oldest, princely cities of Rajasthan ( which explains the number of forts in the city) enveloped by the Aravalli range. It is a historically important city as it is said that Pandavas spent the last year of their exile. It was founded by Pratap Singh, a member of the Kachhwaha clan in the second half of the eighteenth century.

A mere 160 km from Delhi, it is a part of the National Capital Region and is very well connected by road with no dearth of pretty views of the mountains and mustard fields along the way. It is well-known for its Tiger Reserve, Sariska (37 km from Alwar) and the nearby Sariska Palace which now serves as a hotel. The Sariska palace is nothing extra-ordinary but does have an old-world charm. Since I had been for a safari in Sariska a couple of times before ( no tigers were spotted, though) and had stayed in the hotel for a cousin's wedding last year, I decided to give it a miss this time. Instead, I went to explore two of the most popular Forts in Alwar- The Dhadikar Fort and Bala Qila.

Dadhikar Fort

We were all out of breath, panting as we catch a glimpse of the sunset. We reached the Dadhikar Fort just seconds before the sun went out of sight. The fort is situated in the outskirts of Alwar at a height which is enough to give a beautiful view of the green, mountainous expanse around it. Restored into a hotel, Dadhikar is a great place for parties, family getaways and rejuvenation. The 34 rooms are well furnished and have traditional Rajput wooden decor. The spacious AC tents are minimally decorated yet have all the basic amenities one will need. The fort reflects typical Rajput architecture characterized by Jharokas, heavy wooden doors, and open courtyards surrounded by walls. It gets even more beautiful at night with the yellow lighting. We enjoyed tea and snacks over bonfire which was further fuelled with peppy folk songs and dances performed live for the us in the evening. It is a quiet place, away from the city's hustle bustle and is perfect for relaxing with a loved one or family.
Know more here.








Bala Qila

We reached Bala Qila around 6 in the morning for a morning trek along the walls of the huge fort. As we waited for the sunrise at the viewing point, we couldn't help but take in a bird's eye view of the green city that looked even more beautiful because of the fog. The Fort runs 5km from north to south and stands 304 meters above the city. It has several gates called Pols – Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol etc. It has 15 large and 51 small towers with a number of openings for musketry.

We began a morning tea-party in the stairs of the fort while the sun gleamed at us in all its glory. The trek becomes even more exciting because of the birds and wild animals that one can spot roaming around casually. It is mainly a forest area with dense trees and bushes, some of which are medicinal while others, extremely poisonous. We were lucky enough to find a blossoming red cluster of Ratti, a traditional Indian unit for measuring gold in the old times. So, these are basically uniformly weighing seeds of a striking red and black combination, which are said to be extremely poisonous as well. 1 gram is equal to 8 ratti seeds.







Apart from architecture, the city also has to offer the best milkcake and Kalakand you just can't have enough of. The street food is simpler than Delhi's but enjoyable nonetheless. The markets are full of jewellery, fabrics, crafts and a very popular 'Lac' bazaar where you can see how these bangles are made. Alwar is a small, vibrant city just on the verge of urbanization. Experience its innocence before it is lost to sky high buildings and commercialization.

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Even though I completely suck at video making/editing and haven't tried it before today, here's a (very) short compilation of some scenes from my morning trek around Bala Qila.











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