Motorcycle Journey to Bundi: Bundi is situated in the Eastern Part of Rajasthan, closed to the more famous city Kota, that is about 40 kms away. It is a small city and a district headquarter. I visited this beautiful city during my motorcycle trip to The Eastern Part of Rajasthan, that started from Ranthambhore National Park (Read here: Solo Backpacking to Ranthambhore National Park and Endless Wait to Sight a Tiger. After having a nice time in Ranthambhore, I moved toward the next destination, Bundi, that is about 125 kms away from Ranthambhore.
Route Followed: Ranthambhore…Sawai Madhopur…Kusthala…Indergarh…Lakheri….Khatgarh….Bundi
When the journey from Ranthambhore to Bundi was started early morning at 4.30 AM, everything was just covered with the darkness. I was unable to locate the road signs. Without any visible road sign or any person on the road, I lost my way in a local colony of Sawai Madhopur, while tried to take a short cut! I looked around for the help, but everyone was still in their sleeping dreams and I didn’t find anyone around. Without any choice, I returned back on the main road again and luckily, found a person walking there. He was kind enough to show me the right road and I was again on the main highway going towards Bundi. Like any other place, I only had the trucks to follow on the highway. After moving some 40 kms from Ranthambhore, I realized that I was running short of the petrol and the alarm triggered. However, the best thing on the highways are that you can find the petrol pumps at frequent intervals. I stopped at a petrol pump, but every attendant was sleeping there. I woke up the attendant and got my tank full. After Lakheri, I took a state highway towards Khatgarh. There were some bad patches along this road, but still it was a good highway for riding. Without any problem, I reached Bundi around 8.00 AM, when that small town was still waking up from its night dreams.
The small city of Bundi was just starting its business. Very few people were there on the road and the shops in the market were still opening. With the help of a local person, I found a guesthouse. There was no intention to spend the night in Bundi, because I already had a hotel booking Chittorgarh for the night stay. I bargained with the owner and he rented me a room till 2.00 PM. That much of time was enough to me. I took some rest before exploring the top attractions of Bundi.
Bundi Palace: Built by Rao Ratan Singh, this palace is the most popular attractions of Bundi. Luckily, it was just 100 meters away from my guest house, so I walked towards the palace first.
Timings: Opening hours of the palace is from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM in the summer and from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the winter. This is clearly displayed on a board there, but when I reached at the ticket counter about 8.50 AM, the counter was closed. A security guard informed that the ticker counter normally open at 9.00 AM. After 15-20 minutes wait, a person started selling tickets to the palace as well as Taragarh Fort. Taragarh Fort is situated on a hill just above the palace and the way leading to the fort starts from the main entrance of the palace. In this post, we only talk about the Bundi Palace and Its famous school of art at the Chitrashala (Art Gallery). For Taragarh Fort and Raniji Ki Baori, please visit this post: The Beautiful Town of Bundi, Part 2: Taragarh Fort and Rani ji ki Baori.
Ticket Price: Ticket price for the palace is 25 INR per person. For a digital camera, there is a separate ticket of 50 INR and for video camera it is 100 INR. For foreign nationals, entry ticket price is INR 100, while camera tickets are same as the Indians.
Similarly, For Taragarh Fort, prices are same i.e., 25 INR (100 INR for foreign nationals) for entry, 50 INR for still camera and 100 INR for video camera.
Bundi Palace and Taragarh Fort is a private property of Ranjit Singhji of Bundi and these are not maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Being a private property, they are subjected to high costs of maintenance, expertise and security, thus burdening the tourists with a bit high entry charges, especially the camera tickets.
Important Tips: Bundi Palace is worth visiting after paying that much of money. Its chitrashala (art gallery) is a complete paisa wasool (value for money) for the still as well as the video cameras. But, Taragarh Fort is only a wastage of money. In lack of proper care and maintenance, it is in a badly ruined state, surrounded by shrubs and not worth for the hike.
Bundi Palace: Bundi Palace is a masterpiece, a hidden gem in this small town. This massive palace was built by Rao Raja Ratan Singh Hada between 1607 A.D. to 1631 A.D. This palace is built over a side of the hill on the top of which is the Taragarh Fort. If you see the palace from the top, it looks like a hanging structure. This palace was also a fascination for Rudyard Kipling, who wrote, It is such a palace as men built for themselves in uneasy dreams, the work of cobbling rather than of men.
The whole palace is an aggregation of separate palaces built by later rulers, but they are so perfect in harmony that it look like a fabulous conglomeration of palaces built over a hill.
Chitrashala (Art Gallery) at Bundi Palace:Bundi is the place of an authentic school of painting ” The Bundi School”. The best wall paintings in the Bundi style are still available in the Chitrashala, Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal and Chandra Mahal. These paintings are displayed in excellent conditions, well preserved and truly fascinating to attract millions of visitors, but Bundi is still hidden from the tourist map.
Art Galley of Bundi Palace is a visual delight. This gallery is the part of a beautiful palace, known as Ummed Palace, built by Rao Ummed Singh. Many murals, wall paintings and artworks at its wall make it a must visit place. These paintings are mainly related to Hindu Mythological Stories (Especially related to Lord Krishna), court proceedings, love stories, musical melodies and general scenes of recreational fights as well as wars. These paintings are highly influenced by Mughal and Mewar style of Art. The color scheme consists of green background, on which men and women are printed with white color, while red, blue, black and yellow colors are used for traditional dresses. Photography without flash is allowed inside the art gallery. Separate 25 INR ticket is required for videography. Some of these paintings are:
Some of the palaces also have these paintings on the wall. They do not appear as good as the paintings in the art gallery, but still they are very nice work of art.
At the end, Bundi Palace looks a prefect, off the beaten track, destination to me. I love Bundi because of its rich heritage lying in its art gallery, its splendid palace and its isolation from the maddening crowd. This Blue City does not seem very popular among the Indians, but in the street of Bundi, you can meet a lot of foreigners exploring the beauty and charm of Bundi.