• Ajaz Shaikh

Offbeat Rajasthan - Bundi, Kota & Chittorgarh

A traveller like me are always on a lookout for a destination that they can explore without many eyeballs following them. There are plenty of offbeat location in India yet this time its Rajasthan - Bundi, Kota & Chittorgarh. Now, these destinations can be covered on an

extended weekend or combination of any two destinations can be done over the weekend from Mumbai, that adds another reason to choose the lesser-explored destination in Rajasthan.

Travel: Mumbai - Kota - Chittorgarh - Mumbai

The cheapest and convenient way to reach Kota is by train. By train, it will take 13 to 15 hours to Kota from Mumbai.

Mumbai: 12903 Golden Temple Express on Friday leaves from Mumbai Central at 09:25 PM and will reach Kota the next day around 10:55 AM.

Chittorgarh: 22902 Udaipur Mumbai Superfast on Sunday leaves from Chittorgarh at 11:40 PM and will reach Bandra Terminus next day 01:30 PM.

There is no direct flight between Mumbai to Kota. The other way to reach Kota is to take flight from Mumbai to Jaipur. Jaipur is well connected with the metro cities of India. A direct flight from Mumbai to Jaipur oneway will cost you more than ₹4000 and it's a 4 hours ride from Jaipur Airport to Kota City. The frequency of buses is quite high between the two cities and you can get a bus at a regular interval throughout the day. But this will raise your travel expense by a great deal.

Where to Stay?

I suggest taking an overnight stay in Bundi because, with a decent international tourists footfall, a significant number of hotels and resorts have come up in Bundi. There are some great budget accommodations that can offer you the amenities of a star hotel. The hospitality here is also top-notch, so you see you don’t have to worry as to where to stay in Bundi. Here are some of my suggestion -

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Day One: Bundi - City Of Stepwells and Ancient Buildings

By the time your train reaches Kota Railway Station, it will be late morning. So, I suggest completing the daily course on the train so that we can start exploring the moment we get out of the station. From Kota Railway Station it is a one hour smooth drive to Bundi. Bundi is also known as a timeless destination where ancient buildings narrate their stories.

Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri (84 Pillered Cenotaph)

It is a royal cenotaph built in the 17th century. The structure has a large shivling covered by a decorated rooftop that is supported by 84 pillars. The umbrella is a double-storied structure that is beautifully decorated with artistic figures depicting the art that was prevalent back then.

Timing: 09:45 am to 05:00 pm

Entry Fees (Composite): For Indian ₹75 per person and for foreigner ₹350 per person

Sukh Mahal (Sukh Mahal, Government Museum & Jait Lake)

Sukhmahal is a cream-coloured small wind palace that sits on the water bank of Jait Sagar. Rudyard Kipling stayed in Sukhmahal once. As the name suggests, the motive behind the creation of the Sukh Mahal was to add to the pleasure of the princes who used it to carry out their evil deeds.

Also popular as Sukh Sagar and Palace of Bliss, it was host to Rudyard Kipling who wrote “Kim” during his stay here in the 19th century. With the hill at the backstage, and is surrounded by a luxuriant and thriving garden, Sukh Mahal is a treat to the tourists.

One can find a touch of Mughal art in the paintings that adorn the walls of the palace. Another interesting fact about this Mahal is that it is said to be connected with the old palace through a hidden underground tunnel made to ensure safe escape for the king and others in his kingdom in case of any attack.

Timing: 09:45 am to 05:00 pm

Entry Fees (Composite): For Indian ₹75 per person and for foreigner ₹350 per person

Rani Ji Baori (Stepwell Of Raniji)

Raniji Ki Baori is one of the popular step wells in Bundi Town. It is the largest Baori in Bundi with about 50 stairs. During the medieval era, this baori was a very popular meeting place for

the local people for social and religious reasons. It has a narrow entrance with stone structures of elephants facing each other and is a multistoried structure. At the entrance, there are four pillars, which showcases beautiful figurine and there is a tall standing arch-shaped gate.

There is a worshipping place at each of the floors of the stepped well. Raniji Ki Baori is well carved with ogee bracket work.

Timing: 09:45 am to 05:00 pm

Entry Fees (Composite): For Indian ₹75 per person and for foreigner ₹350 per person

Taragarh Fort

Taragarh Fort also know as Star Fort is one of the most impressive structures in Bundi. While it may be a bit ramshackle and strewn with overgrown vegetation, the palace grounds are a great place for a leisurely stroll.

Garh Palace (Chitra Mahal, Phool Mahal, Badal Mahal & Chitrashala)

The steep climb to the Garh Palace in Bundi ends at two main gates that are used for entrance. Of these two gates, the most popular is the Hathi Pole. This gate is a huge architectural feat that evokes a sense of grandeur. The gate has two elephants depicting blowing bugles and was commissioned by Rao Ratan Singh. Marking the entrance of the Garh Palace, the Hathi Pole forms a major point of attraction in Bundi.

The Chitra Mahal was once a spectacular garden palace that teemed with numerous fountains as well as pools that housed exotic fish. Chitra means painting, and this palace’s name stems from the beautiful murals that adorn its walls. There’s also a Chitrashala in the

Chitra Mahal that was made under orders from Umed Singh. Being the innermost chamber of the Mahal, sunlight and moisture hasn’t affected the paintings here, making the art glow with the originality of their painters. In its totality, the walls and ceilings of the Chitra Mahal form a dramatic panorama that is always worth a visit.

Timing: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm

Entry Fees: For Indian ₹25 per person and for foreigner ₹100 per person

Lake Nawal Sagar

Nawal Sagar Lake is an artificial lake that is a major tourist attraction and can even be seen from the Taragarh Fort. There is a half-submerged temple dedicated to Lord Varun Dev in its centre. What makes the lake unique is that one can see the reflection of nearby palaces and forts in its waters.

Krishna's Chai (Dil Chai Chahta Hai)

A real treasure in Bundi. When Krishna is preparing your chai it is a ceremony. Then he serves it with the biggest smile and then comes the taste - oh, what a treat! Must go place in Bundi for all chai lover like me!

Timing: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

You won't miss out on anything, click here to download the one-page itinerary