This post is the second and last part of my visit to the beautiful town of Bundi, about 40 kms away from Kota in Eastern Rajasthan. Bundi is famous for its rich heritage in the form of Bundi Palace (Garh Palace), Taragarh Fort, Many step wells (baoris) scattered around the town and beautiful havelis. In the first part, We traveled to the magnificent palace of Bundi and its world-famous Chitrashala (Art Gallery). This part is about the Taragarh Fort and Raniji Ki Baori (The Queen’s Well), another must visit destination in Bundi.
Taragarh Fort: This fort is situated on the same hill, on which the Bundi Palace is. The Palace is situated on the lower side of the hill and fort is on the top of the hill. The ticket counter is same for the palace as well as for the fort.
Ticket Price: Ticket price for the fort 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 Bundi Palace, 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.
Timings: Opening hours of the fort 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.
From the main ticket counter, a concrete trail is leading towards the main gate, Hathi Pol, of the pol. In front of Hathi Pol, another trail is leading towards the fort. I wanted to visit the palace first, but the guard at the gate suggested me to visit the fort first, because it could be unbearable to visit the fort in the intense sunlight on the later part of the day. As I moved towards the fort, another guard handed over a wooden stick to keep the monkey away. There are lot monkeys and langoors on the way going towards the fort, so it would be advisable to keep a wooden stick with you.
Important Tips: Don’t forget the water bottle. There is no arrangement of drinking water inside the fort and it will be very difficult to walk in the intense heat. The hike on the hill is quiet exhaustive during the summer.
Constructed upon a steep hillside above the Bundi Palace at the height of 1426 feet, once Taragarh Fort or ‘Star Fort’ was the most impressive structure of the city of Bundi. This fort was built by Rao Bar Singh in 1354 AD. Because of its star like structure, it is known as Taragarh (Star Fort). Most parts of these impressive structures are now in ruins. Today it seems only a gloomy shadow of that past. I found nothing interesting inside the fort. The fort was a complete mess without a proper management. It was full of bushes everywhere. There were several buildings inside the fort, but all are in ruined state. Some of these buildings also have the beautiful paintings on the wall, but due to the lack of security, people are easily defacing them. Most of the paintings are now destroyed.
From the top of the hill, Bundi city looks very nice. Many of the houses are painted with the blue color, giving it a name of another Blue City of Rajasthan. You can shoot Bundi city from the fort and that is the only reason why the fort is worth visiting.
There are massive reservoirs inside the fort in the forms four step-wells. They were the lifeline of extensive water supply to the residents of this fort, but all of them are dried now. One reservoir is full of dirty water. I didn’t find any other people inside the fort area. Only monkeys and langoors rule over the fort of Bundi these days. The entry fee of INR 25 + INR 50 (camera) seemed too high for visiting such a mess-up.
I saw a tower like structure in a corner of the fort. Passing though the dense forest of thorny bushes, I reached there. But, it was a wireless station of Rajasthan Police, and entry was restricted for the general public. So, I returned back from the fort to the lower part of the hill and enjoyed my time at Bundi Palace.
Raniji Ki Baori (The Queen’s Step-Well): In the later part of the day, I went to visit the famous step-well of Bundi, Raniji ki Baori (The Queen’s Step-Well). Bundi is also known as the city of step-wells. It has about fifty beautiful step-wells and tanks called Baoris. Raniji ki Baori is situated along a busy chowk area of Bundi and is best among all because of its architectural beauty. It was built in 1699 A.D. by Rani Nathwat Ji, the queen of Raja Aniruddh Singh of Bundi. Baori used to be the center of religious and social functions in those days. The Rani Nathawat Ji is reputed to have built twenty one such baoris.
The Baori was under renovation during my visit, but excellent carvings were clearly visible on the walls, pillars and high arched gates. Entry-ticket price is INR 25 to visit this step-well. For foreign nationals, entry ticket price is INR 70. For video camera, INR 100 ticket is required for the Indians as well as the foreigners.
Adjacent to Raniji Ki Baori, there are many food stalls, selling jalebis, bati-churma and other street foods, where we can enjoy authentic and delicious street foods of Rajasthan at the great prices.
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