Forts are the essence of Rajasthan. Tourists throng this state to visit the majestic and beautiful palaces and forts. They always restrict themselves to a certain few most-talked-about and famous ones like Chittorgarh, Mehrangarh, Kumbhalgarh, Amer, etc. But there are few other forts worth visiting in Rajasthan which have made their mark in history yet have lost their fame with time. Taragarh fort is one such Fortress. It gets less footfalls round the year owing to less publicity and social media coverage. We had it in our list of travels for a while and finally in the November of 2020 our plan materialised. We were in Udaipur and one fine day we just decided to give it a go.
Drive to Bundi
Situated at a distance of 260 kms from Udaipur and 35 kms from Kota, this fort can be travelled by Road, Train or Flight. Since we love road trips, this was the easiest decision for us to make. We jumped on the idea of getting our car tattooed with the immortal memory of Bundi. Roads in Rajasthan, in general are pretty good. Our trip to bundi was quite smooth and very scenic as well. Just before reaching Bundi, you get to see the open vastness of the fields giving a raw feel to the whole landscape. It all looks so beautiful that you won’t be able to resist the urge to capture it in a frame. We were excited to find ourselves there and did a little photoshoot of our own. The particular stretch we are talking about can be seen while driving from Udaipur (just before Neem ka khera, after you cross the railway tracks).
After a drive of around 4.5 hrs we entered the city of Bundi. There is a very old and rustic feel to the place. Instead of heading directly to the fort we continued our drive along the highway which takes you to the other side of the city. Enroute we saw the impressive fort with the backdrop of Aravali hills and the city of Bundi lying at the base of the fort. The whole composition was very endearing. We stopped by to click a few photographs.
Bundi is a very old city and like the other old cities of Rajasthan, the houses of Bundi can be seen painted in white and blue hues.
Houses in the city seem to be an inter-knitted pattern of blocks stacked together. Some of them are so close in proximity to each other that you have to practically pass through one of them to reach the other, while the other are connected to each other by a network of alleys.
The alleys are quite narrow and meandering through them is quite interesting. Though at some places the alleys are not wide enough to pass through the vehicles whereas at some other places vehicles did have access but mind you, only one at a time.
After admiring the city we headed towards the fort. The entrance to the fort requires a ticket – ₹100 per pax for Indian Travellers. The parking outside the fort is free of cost. You might find some people asking for money to park, but please refrain from doing so. Since we went during the COVID times, they checked our temperature and also got our hands sanitised. Wearing the mask was compulsory inside the fort premises. Thanks to Covid, crowd was pretty scarce there. We were told that its been a month that the fort was re-opened and the footfalls have not been much since then. On that particular day, there were lots of students around owing to the entrance exam for the police admissions.
Finally we entered the fort premises, and it looked worn out. It felt as if nobody had been there in a long time. The structures around were not in a very good shape. We clicked a few customary pictures trying to capture it as best as we could. But we were starting to get a little dejected. Right then we saw a paved path going slight uphill and that got our hopes high. We started following that path and and started looking forward to our visit. Its about 100 mtrs walk on that path which leads you to the entrance of the fort. The huge door at the entrance gets you hooked which has a story of its own. Its created in 2 styles prominent at time when this fort was built. Since bundi has been ruled by both Rajputs and Mughals, you can see both architectural styles carved on that door. When you enter it, its Rajput style and on the other end its Mughal design. The door leads you into the courtyard of the Fort which is maintained pretty well.
Inside the fort…
First floor of the palace is where the real history begins. We enter into Diwan-e-Khas where the King used to address his kingsmen. The courtyard contains the throne of the King which is is built with white marble. Courtyard leads you into the Queen’s chamber which is done very aesthetically. You find colorful murals on the walls around. Mostly they are done in green and blue colors. One can just imagine the beauty it might have been when the palace for thriving with life. Queen’s chamber comprises of many smaller parts like Royal bath, Chattar palace, Phool Mahal, Badal Mahal, Jhoola chowk … etc. Each of these has its own art, story and beauty woven in time. Out of all these, the most attractive works can be found in Badal Mahal. Jhoola chowk is still pretty much in ruins. It’s recently been opened for public and its restoration work is in progress. And yeah, currently there is no jhoola (swing) in the jhoola chowk so don’t be dejected. But yes you can see the structure where jhool used to be tied. If you are interested in art and history, please do hire a guide. There are lots of stories which we might miss otherwise.
After you are done with the queen’s chambers, there is a path which leads you onto the terrace of the chattar mahal. And believe us when we say, you get to witness some of the amazing city views from up there along with the fort itself. It provides us with a unique blend of human civilisation and nature(Aravali hills) separated by the history (walls of the fort).
Are we done with the fort?
Nopes – not yet. Best things are always saved for the last. Chitrashaala – that’s where the real magic begins. This part came as a real surprise to us. This was basically the entertainment section of the Royalty. The whole place is just gorgeous – even after it has withered away with time. Let’s paint a picture for you….Imagine being in a hall with walls covered with huge murals all around with little glass pieces tiled to the walls and pillars of the hall which enables you to see any reflection in them. And then lit it up with hundreds of diyas (oil lamps) with their light playing its reflection in all those mirrors. This ballet of colors and light was further showered with music and dance. Can you just imagine how beautiful the whole ambience would have been….! The wall murals here are again in the color theme of green and blue hues along with Mughal art style but the stories are from the Hindu Legends. Some of the famous paintings are Shiva taking Ann-daan (sacred offering of food ) from Devi Annapoorna, Shreenathji painting, Jagannath Puri painting, Krishna raas-leela, Gajalakshmi and Dhola-Maru. Each of these paintings depict unique stories.
With this we ended our tour of the fort. The fort is quite impressive and huge and in a good shape as well. Over the dunes of time, it has been ruled by both Rajput and Mughal emperors but it has never been ruined by either. Successive generations only to its beauty and architecture. We left with happy memories and would definitely suggest you all a quick visit to the fort.