• 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 -


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


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


Day Two: Kota - Where the river Chambal Flows

On day two we need to travel alot so it's better to start the day as early as possible I would recommend starting by 7:00 am.

Dhabhai Ka Kund (Jail Kund)

Shaped like an inverted pyramid, the Dabhai Kund, also known as Jail Kund, is the largest of its kind in Bundi. The fantastic carvings on the steps that lead to the water alone are reason enough to warrant a visit.

If you hired a private vehicle from Kota to Chittorgarh than you can easily cover the remaining destination. But a private vehicle will cost you around ₹3500 for one day. Which I find is a better option if you are looking to save time or you are in a group. If you are travelling by public transport than you will also need an additional day to explore Chittor Fort.

Garadia Mahadev (Grand Canyon)

This place offers a vantage point of the river Chambal. This particular river has many dark myths associated with it. These stories had kept human settlements away from its banks. While I looked at the river from an altitude of 500 feet, it evoked a sense of mystery and adventure along with beauty. The river snakes through the gorge and then bends to make it look like a horseshoe. Gigantic cliffs that are curling around the gorge are meticulously carved by the erosion of the river.

This place is unique but I couldn’t help to compare it with The Grand Canyon, Nevada (US). The scale of Garadia Mahadev might be much smaller than the Grand Canyons but it makes upon beauty for what it lacks in size, but one doesn't have to spend a fortune to visit this place.

How to reach Garadia Mahadev from Kota using public transport?

  1. Take a bus to Naya Pura (Agarson Chowk) from Kota Railway Station - ₹5

  2. From Naya, Pura take any bus going towards Bijuliya / Chittorgarh / Bhilwada and get down at Khadipur - ₹40 (You can simply inform the driver to drop you near Garadia Mahadev temple on the highway while boarding).

  3. Walk for 20 minutes, just flow the signboard along the road which will take to the forest office or entry gate. Garadia Temple is another 20 minutes walk from the entry gate and you will reach your destination.

Timing: Sunrise to Sunset

Entry Fees: For Indian ₹85 per person and for foreigner ₹550 per person

Mahanal Temples and Math, Menal

A very worthwhile stop between Kota and Chittaurgarh - one of two, together with the Bijolia temples - is at the Mahanal temple complex of Menal. This temple of Mahanal was a great centre Shaivism. This magnificent temple is built in the Bhumija style

The main temple is the 11th century Mahanaleshvara (Lord Shiva of the Gorge) since the whole site is built above a 30m drop, over which after monsoon an impressive waterfall can be seen. It was not the case when I visited in February after the season. Walking around the temple one will discover exquisite stone carvings. Very close by are the ruined remains of 8th century sanctuaries as well as a Torana, a freestanding gate, and a Math, a former Hindu monastery.

If one crosses the dried-up river bed above the waterfall one comes to another Shiva temple.

How to reach Mahanal Temples from Garadia Mahadev using public transport?

  1. From the exit gate walk towards the highway. To the place where you left the bus earlier.

  2. Take any bus going towards Bijuliya / Chittorgarh / Bhilwada and get down at Menal Resort - ₹20 (You can simply inform the driver to drop you near Mahanal temple on the highway while boarding).

  3. Mahanal Temple is just a 100 meters walk from Menal Resort.

Chittorgarh - City with a resilient fort

Chittorgarh, or Chittor, is synonymous with Rajput pride. History reminds us, that on three separate instances, the fort was besieged by a superior enemy, and every time the Rajput warriors chose to ride out to battle towards a fatal end. The Rajput women and children performed jauhar, the act of sacrificing their lives over a funeral pyre.

Chittorgarh is prominently known for Rani Padmini (Queen Padmavati) Jauhar and became ever worshipped queen of Chittor, which has been beautifully put up in the movie Padmavati where Deepika Padukone played the character of Rani Padmini.

Chittor’s main attractions are within the fort and a visit here turns out to be an inspiring history lesson.

Kumbha Shyam Temple & Meera Bai Temple

Kumbha Shyam Temple is the biggest temple among the 113 Temple of Chittorgarh. Built by Maharaja Bappa Rao. The temple is fully made up of sandstone. The first thing which will

grab your attention will be the beautiful carving & designs on the wall as well as on the pillar of the temple. The temple is made up of comprising architecture of two different temples. The front part of the temple is similar to the Somnath Temple of Gujarat and the back to the Jagannath Temple of Orissa

Vijaya Stambha

Vijaya means victory and Stambha means pillar. Built in 1448 by Maharana Kumba as a symbol of victory against the Mahmud Khilji. The base and the upper part of the pillar are

comparatively broader than the middle part. It has a height of 122 ft with 9 floor and 157 stairs. The wall of the tower, decorated by the god idol stone carving depicts Hindu goddess-like Lord Ganga, Lord Yamuna, Lord Saraswati along with the sculptures of Gandharbas and Opsoras. It's worth exploring from inside

Sammidhashwar Temple

The splendid sculpture of the temple is one of the major attractions for tourists, constructed by Bappa Rawal.

Gaumukh Reservoir

In Hindu culture, the cow is also known as Gau. The shape of the reservoir resembles the shape of the cow’s face. So popularly known as Gaumukh (Gau – Cow: Mukh – Face). This place has a spectacular view comprising of sky, hill, city, fort and Gaumukh Reservoir.

A small Shivling & goddess Lakshmi lie just below the stream of water falling from Gaumukh. This reservoir is probably still a primary source of water for the fort. This is the perfect spot to take a full panorama picture of Chittorgarh city along with Chittorgarh fort. Gaumukh, always

full of water all around the year and still, it’s not exactly known that from where this water comes continuously. So it never disappoints its visitor.

Jauhar Kund

The three most prominent Jauhar performed by Rajput women were

  • In the 1303 AD, when Alauddin Khilji besieged Chittorgarh Fort, which was under the control of Rana Rawal Ratan Singh. After defeating Rana Rawal Ratan Singh in the battle, Alauddin Khilji wants to take Rani Padmini but Rani Padmini denies to go and she performed Jauhar.

  • The second Jauhar, performed on 8th March 1535. When Bahadur Saha of Gujarat attacked the Chittorgarh Fort then there was no ruling king as Rana Sanga died after the Battle of Khanwa. So Rani Karna Vati took the responsibility as their son Udaysingh was so small to take the responsibility. Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to Humayun, the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, as a symbol of brother-sister relation and seek help from him to fight against Bahadur Saha. But sadly Humayun reached late and Bahadur Saha already took over the reign. So Karnavati performed Jauhar along with 13000 women.

  • The third Jauhar, performed in September 1567, when Akbar attacked the Chittorgarh Fort. Rana Udai Singh changed the strategy and he along with his sons and royal women left the fort through a secret route. The Chittorgarh Fort was left under the command of Jaimal Rathor and Patta Sisodia. During the 4 months of besieged by Akbar, all the foods and essentials, begun to finish within the fort and finally from the fear of enslavement, Rajput women performed.

Rani Padmini's Palace

The room in a Rani Padmini's Palace has a very interesting and scientific setup. If a mirror is placed in a particular angle considering the places where Rani Padmini sitting arrangement was done during the visit of Alauddin Khilji so that he can see her only through the mirror

but not face to face. This arrangement was made so that Alauddin Khilji and his soldiers would move back to Delhi because one of the demands of him was to see the Rani Padmini.

Suraj Pole

From there you can see the battlefield where 3 most important battles were fought.

Apart from that one of the main attractions of that battlefield is that if one looks very

carefully then one can notice the mountains are shaped in such a unique way that it seems that a large person is lying. The name of the range of mountains is Kumbhakaran Pahari or Kumbhakaran Mountain.

Other prominent monuments

Kirti Stambh - The tower was built by a Jain merchant Jeeja Bhagerwala during the reign of Rawal Kumar Singh for the glory of Jainism

Rana Kumbha Palace - This place was once the home of the famous bhakti poetess Meerabai.

Ratan Singh Palace - This palace is surrounded by high walls and the entrance has crowned arch with two pillared chhatris.

Jain Mandir (Satbis Deori) - Satbis Deori is a holy temple for Jains and is situated inside the Mohan Magri. At present, There are six Jain temples on the fort of Chittor.

Seven Gates of the Fort - To enter into the Fort Of Chittorgarh, the person has to go through seven huge gates (Pol). Each gate is different in its name, built as massive stone structures with secure fortifications for military defence.

  1. Padan Pol - its name is derived from the Rajasthani word Patwi which means eldest or first)

  2. Bhairon Pol - is named due to the statue of Lord Bhairon situated nearby. It was renamed as Fateh Pol as Maharana Fateh Singh rebuilt it.

  3. Hanuman Pol - is named so due to the construction of Hanuman temple nearby

  4. Ganesh Pol - where a temple of Lord Ganesh is situated.

  5. Jodala Pol - it is connected with the sixth pol so it was named as jodala pol

  6. Laxman Pol - is the sixth gate to which a tourist can reach after a sharp turn from jodala Pol, near to Laxman Pol there is a temple for Lord Laxman.

  7. Ram Pol - it is named so as the ancestors of the kings of Mewar were the descendants of Lord Rama.

Timing: 08:00 am to 07:00 pm

Entry Fees: For Indian ₹40 per person and for foreigner ₹100 per person

How to reach Chittorgarh from Mahanal Temples using public transport?

  1. Simply take any bus from Menal Resort going towards Bijuliya / Chittorgarh / Bhilwada - ₹30 (You can simply inform the driver to drop you at Chittorgarh while boarding).

  2. Don't worry Chittorgarh has a proper bus stand and Chittor Fort is hardly 2 kms from the bus stand.

Pocket-Friendly Accommodation around Chittorgarh Fort


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


Listen to Me:

  • For Taragarh & Garh Palace please hire a guide who can take you through the stories and history of this beautiful palace as a one to one attention is exactly what you will need for a wonderful, unforgettable experience. Authorized Tour Guide will cost you ₹500 for a group upto 9 peoples. You have to ask for them at the ticket counter.

  • Do not forget to take a water bottle as there is no arrangement of drinking water inside the Taragarh Fort & Garh Palace. Try and visit the fort during the early morning hours or post noon. Walking around in the scorching heat can become excessively exhausting during the daytime.

  • The ideal time for tourists to visit the Bundi, Kota and Chittor is from November to March when the weather is pleasant, and you can easily walk across and explore it.

  • The information about public transport from Kota - Garadia Mahadev Temple - Mahanal Temples - Chittorgarh is per what local people have shared. Since I was travelling in a private vehicle.

  • Chittorgarh Fort is substantial size will require you to have some sort of transport to get around. If you don't have your own private vehicle, you can hire a bicycle or auto rickshaw for the day. You can easily find them near the ticket counter, along with tourist guides. If you want to learn about the detailed history of the, I would suggest hiring a guide. If you decide to hire a guide, make sure you bargain and choose well. Don't pay more than ₹500.

  • Allow a minimum of three to four hours to see the important monuments. They're all marked on Google Maps, which provides an easy way of navigating. Ideally, time your visit to enjoy sunset at the fort too.

Like what you’re seeing and if you found the write up useful, would love to hear your feedback in the comment section. Do share, like and follow for more on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram & Whatapp.

If this weekend getaway has inspired the traveller in you, you may also like to explore...

Tagged: #OffbeatRajasthan #BundiTravelGuide #TripToBundi #PlacesToVisitInBundi #BundiAttractions #Bundi #Kota #Rajasthan #SoloTrip