Alwar is a city and administrative headquarters of Alwar District. It is in the state of Rajasthan, India. India's highest ever recorded temperature of 50.6 °C was measured at Alwar on 10 May 1956. Nestling between clusters of small hills in the Aravalli range, Alwar was an important outpost of the Mughal Empire. Situated about 150 km from Jaipur and 170km from Delhi, the city has a rich natural heritage with beautiful lakes and picturesque valleys thickly wooded in parts. Alwar has one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan the Sariska Sanctuary which is an excellent tiger country. The finest varieties of birds and animals can be spotted here.
Alwar was formerly the capital of the princely state of Alwar. It was formerly spelt as "Ulwar" in British India. This placed it in last position in alphabetically ordered lists, so a king changed the spelling to "Alwar" to bring it to the top.
The princely state of Alwar was founded by Pratap Singh, a Rajput of the Kachwaha lineage, in 1770. His son, aided the British against the Marathas. After the battle of Laswari (1803) Alwar became the first state of Rajputana to sign a treaty of 'Offensive and Defensive Alliance' with the East India Company. A few years later, Bakhtawar Singh ventured an armed incursion into neighbouring Jaipur, the senior Kachwaha state, and the erstwhile overlord of his predecessor. Varun Talwar was defeated; a fresh engagement was made with him by the East India Company, prohibiting him from political intercourse with other states without British consent. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Raoraja Bane Singh sent a force consisting mainly of Muslims and Rajputs, to relieve the British garrison in Agra. The Muslims deserted and the rest were defeated by the rebels. Pran Sukh Yadav, who fought beside Rao Tula Ram of Rewari in 1857, settled along with the kinsmen of dead soldiers at Village Nihalpura, Behror Tehsil, of Alwar District.
Alwar acceded unto the dominion of India following the independence of India in 1947. On 18 March 1948, the state merged with three neighbouring princely states (Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli) to form the Matsya Union. On 15 May 1949, it was united with neighbouring princely states and the territory of Ajmer to form the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan.
Alwar has an important place in Agriculture production in Rajasthan. Total geographical area of the district is 7,83,281 hectares which is about 2.5 percent of the State. In 2010–2011 the net cultivated area is 5,07,171 hecters from which about 83 percent area viz. – 4,51,546 is irrigated and remaining 17 percent area viz. – 82,903 is unirrigated. Double cropped area is 2,52,049 hectares of which 32,230 hecter (12%) area is irrigated and remaining 2,19,819 hecter (88%) area is unirrigated. Thus, the total cropped area of the district is 8,12,873 hectares. In Kharif season Bajra, Maize, Jowar, Karif pulses, Arhar, Sesamum, Cotton, Guar etc. are sown in about 3,29,088 hectare (42%) and in Rabi season Wheat, Barley, Gram, Mustard, Taramira, Rabi pulses etc. are sown in about 4,52,527 hectare (58%). The main source of irrigation is wells and Tube Wells. By 26064 Tube Wells about 192861 hectare area is being irrigated and by 57196 Wells about 265169 hectares area is irrigated. By other sources like canals, tanks about 404 hectares area are irrigated. About 35470 electric motors and 66502 Diesel pump sets are being used for Irrigation purposes. The normal rainfall for the district is 657.3 mm. The average rainfall in last ten years in the district is 724 mm. The rainfall distribution in the district is uneven and scattered which resulted sometimes flood problems and some time draught position which affect the Agriculture production as well as cropping pattern in Kharif & Rabi season. Thus, the Agriculture in the district by and large depends on rainfall distribution. The average rainfall in 2011 up to sep. is 217 mm.
Alwar contains many interesting and historical monuments. The city has a beautiful lake and a picturesque valley. The Sariska Tiger Reserve is located in the Aravalli hills only a few kilometres away from Alwar. The sanctuary, which is a Project Tiger reserve, also boasts of many other species, including rare birds and plants. The military cantonment of Itarana lies on the outskirts of Alwar. Hill Fort Kesroli now a heritage hotel is also nearby.
Places of Interest in Alwar
Bala Quila (Bala Fort)
Perched on a 300m steep cliff, this gigantic fort was constructed before the Mughal period. Its ramparts stretch 5km from north to south and 1.6km from east to west towering 304m above the city and 595m above sea level. The fort is a formidable structure with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge towers encompassing it. The fort has several gates Jai Pole, Suraj Pole, Laxman Pole, Chand Pole, Kishan Pole and Andheri Gate being the popular ones. Ruins of the Jal Mahal, Nikumbh Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and many temples can be seen here.
Built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in the 18th Century, this is one of the most attractive palaces in Rajasthan. A fascinating blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, the lower floors of the palace are now occupied by government offices, while the upper floors are used as a museum. The Museum has one of the finest collections of books (Sanskrit & Persian), archaeological finds, paintings (Mughal and Rajput school) and armoury (Swords, shields, daggers, rifles, pistols and other arms).
The Rani Moosi Chhatri in the premises is an interesting cenotaph that reflects Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Built in memory of Moosi Bai, queen of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh, the memorial is rated as one of the finest in its class.
Housed in the old City Palace, the museum has a unique collection of arms, bidri work, lacquered and ivory work, musical instruments, stuffed animals, beautiful brass ad pottery works from Jaipur, Multan, Bengal and Ceylon, miniature paintings and Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts.
Located almost midway between the railway station ad the city palace, this is a circular structure with a flight of steps leading to the top from all four sides. Named after Miss Hope, daughter of Lord Linlithgow, a Viceroy of India on the occasion of his visit to Alwar in 1939 – 40 AD, Hope Circus is now a famous shopping centre.
Purjan Vihar (Company Garden)
A picturesque garden laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 AD. The summer house here named “Shimla” was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh in 1885 AD. The lush cool surroundings make it an idyllic picnic spot during summer.
Tomb of Fateh Jung
This spectacular tomb has a massive dome, which is a fine blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles.
A prominent pilgrim center near Alwar, the annual temple fair is held in September/October.
Located inside the Sariska sanctuary, the splendid mined town of Bhangarh was built in the 17th century by Raja Madho Singh the brother of Raja Man Singh of Amber. Known for its medieval bazaars ad the old palace, he Someshwar and Gopinath Temples here have some fine carvings. According to a legend, the town is believed to have been cursed by an evil magician and had to be abandoned.
Located within the Sariska Tiger Reserve, about 18km from the entrance gate, this is a fine example of a vanadurg or jungle fort. Tucked away inside tiger-infested jungle, the fort once played host to Prince Dara Shikoh heir to the Mughal throne, when he was held captive by his brother Aurangzeb.
This hill fort is an ideal base to visit the neighbouring palaces, museums and sanctuaries of Alwar & Sariska. Now it has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Naraini (69km south west)
A hot spring near Baldeogarh, a legendary spot for the Nis (barber) community.
Naldeshwar (2km south)
Situated amidst rocky hills, the old Shiva temple here is known for its architectural beauty and the two natural ponds which receive water from the surrounding hills are worth a visit specially during the rains.
A legendary spot, the temple to Lord Hanuman and a cascading spring are the main attraction here.
Rajgarh (36km south)
The town is said to have been founded around 1769-70AD by Maharaja Paratap Singh before his conquest of Alwar fort. It is surrounded by low hill and has an extensive for now in shambles. A few miles west of Rajgarh town is the Nilkantha temple on a hill above Teiha village.
Sariska wildlife sanctuary (37km)
Also known as Sariska National Park or Sariska Tiger Reserve, this sanctuary is dedicated to tigers. Surrounded by barren mountains, Sariska wildlife sanctuary is an important part of the Aravalli range with dry deciduous forests. Apart from tiger, the park is also home to the Hyena, Jungle Cat, Civet, Sambhar, Chinkara, Nilgai, Indian Gazelle and four-horned antelope. ‘Chowsingha’ a four horned antelope found only in India can be spotted here. The birdlife comprises of the peafowl, gray partridge, quail, sand grouse, tree pie, white-breasted kingfisher, golden-backed woodpecker, crested serpent, eagle and the great Indian horned owl. The Kankwari Fort, ancient Shiva temples and a palace are the other attractions in the sanctuary. The Sariska Palace built as a royal hunting lodge is a magnificent piece of architecture.
Siliserh Lake (13km)
Built in 1845 AD by constructing an earthen dam between two hills to store the water of a small tributary of river Ruparel, this lake is picturesquely set amidst the forested slopes of Aravalli hills. Boating on the lake particularly during winter season is a rewarding experience.
A famous pilgrim centre on the Sariska-Alwar road, pilgrims come here to take a dip in the hot sulphur springs.
Tijara (48 km north –east)
Situated on the crest of a hill where hidden treasure was excavated recently, Tijara was once the capital of Mewat and has along and glorious history of bravery and sacrifice. A popular Jain Temple is located here.
Vijay Mandir Place (10km)
This grand architecture wonder is a remainder of the regal opulence and glory of yesteryears. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the year 1918, the place is known for its Sita-Ram Mandir, which attracts thousands of devotees during the Ramnavami celebrations every year.
How to get there
Nearest airport is at Jaipur (148km), Alwar is well connected by rail and road from any part of the state.