Bundi

The quaint little city of Bundi is the administrative capital of Bundi district in Rajasthan. Tourist attractions in Bundi are its ornate forts, splendid palaces, and step well tanks also known as baoris in the local dialect. Being a small city, Bundi has retained its traditional charm and the people of this city are old fashioned and follow the customs and rituals typical to the state of Rajasthan. Prominent among heritage sites are the Taragarh Fort and Garh Palace. The picturesque Nawal Sagar Lake is also a must visit. Some other places of interest are Sukh Mahal, Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal, Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri, Step Wells and Raniji-ki-Baori. Bundi can be reached by road from Jaipur and Kota and other cities. The nearest airport is in Jaipur while nearest railhead is Kota.
Best time to visit: October to March
Languages spoken: Rajasthani, Hindi
Climate: Extremely hot summers and pleasant winters
Places to visit: Taragarh Fort, Garh Palace, Nawal Sagar Lake, Sukh Mahal, Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal, Step Wells, Raniji-ki-Baori

The Spell of Bundi – Exploring Heritage

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It has a big entrance and you land up into a courtyard flanked on all sides by large, tall halls with stairs going up to the next level. You catch a breath to take a good view of overall topology and head towards the stairs. The initial bat-poo-smell is familiar but gradually the stench begins to get the better of you. The palace has seen good times and that is apparent from those murals (and more when we would visit Chitrashala), persian glass-ware and all things which are signature of forts. The jharokhas (Bay windows?) give an impressive view of the town and the Baoli. In December, the haze was thic but I would guess that in a better weather the view would take you few ages behind. The old, stunted-appearing, town almost feels like a scene from the film ‘Rudaali’. We walked around, with the help of a local guide/care-taker who patiently opened the locked doors so that we could appreciate the once-royal palace. The overgrowing stench, bad upkeep was now winning so I got into a conversation with the caretaker. He told me that the place is undergoing a litigation. There is a very thin layer of support staff to take care of the place but all they try to do is to keep the hooligans off and wait for well-meaning travellers. I didn’t want to make it more difficult for the caretaker and wished him luck and we proceed to 2nd floor/3rd level. Large rooms, supported with crafted pillars and brackets. The usual Torans (welcoming motif at the entrance) with elephants proudly protruding their long trunks.

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The Spell of Bundi, Rajasthan : Reaching Bundi

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Hence, our first stop was at at ‘Salim Paper’ at Sanganer. From what we had learnt, this would be a cottage industry like place where one could see paper making and block printing. So we reached after going circles in the village, and ultimately realising that the place was right at the beginning. If you tell them that you are from ‘Arya Niwas’, they take you through a guided tour of ‘Paper Making’. This was our first visit to a ‘Paper Making’ factory and it was an extremely educative experience. The place was large, expansive and had sections where different jobs took place. The lady took us through the entire process with a lot of patience. The first step is to make the pulp by mashing waste cloth-cuttings that they procure from all the factories around. So essentially the raw material was waste organics being recycled and that was heartening to know. The cloth is shredded to very tiny pieces that are kept submerged in water for a few days. After that the whole cloth-water solution is rolled over and over again to form a thick pulp. This pulp is then further rolled to form a smoother paste. Color and condiments like rose/marigold petals, leaves are added now. Then the paste is spread on metal sheets and left to dry in the sun. Each sheet individually! Hence the paper is born. The dried paper sheet is taken off the metal based and pressed through machines. And thereafter, different actions are taken to make use of this paper. So we saw techniques of cutting, printing, pasting and finishing.

To give the viewers an experience to take home, and of course as a model for this tour fee, they also have a small shop/display counter. The only way we could have reciprocated the gesture was to buy some stuff so we bought quite a lot. Most of that was exciting and relatable as we were purchasing exactly what we saw being made right then. All of it was for European and American markets and were indeed of supreme quality. So we made a good collection of fancy paper bags, craft kits, various kinds of papers etc. that my daughter is waiting to rob off her mother for her school projects.

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Chambal Ki Ghati — Kota Gorge through the Hadoti Belt

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So far i had traversed to places having familiarity with the social mass but this time i thought of cherishing and exploring the obscurity of the Chambal Gorge, created by the mighty and the pristine Chambal River ,who oblivious of my encroachment is busy streaming and gushing.

December was the month back then two years ago ,when i thought of going down to the South Eastern frontier of Rajasthan surrounding Kota and Jhalawar, from Delhi. The region is situated on a tableland being a part of the Malwa Plateau which encapsulates the whole Northern Madhya Pradesh along with the Vindhyan Ranges and enscrapments.

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Bundi – A Hidden Gem in the Aravallis

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I am going to narrate my experience of staying at Bundi for a night. The town of Bundi is situated in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan, this place is less explored by the Indian tourists but we had the opportunity to be there and learn about the place and of its rich history.

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Chand Baori Abhaneri

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 2

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This part of the city is flourishing (economically) because most travelers here are from Europe, I mean I met with more euro backpackers rather than travelers from India. So locals have turned their homes as B&B, guest house and those who have big mansions, they have turned them into haveli’s. After realizing this, I must say that I made a big mistake by booking hotel in Kota, rather than staying in a heritage Haveli’s in this part of Bundi.

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Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

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But leaving the roads apart, when I entered Chand Baori, a WOW just came out from my mouth. I mean Neemrana Stepwell was massive, but this one is like some aliens came to build it. This stepwell is enormous and mind-blowing & now I understand that why a scene of Batman 2008 was filmed here. There is no parallel of such structure in India.

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