Banswara is a city in Banswara District in south Rajasthan in India. The princely state of Banswara was founded by Maharawal Jagmal Singh. It is named for the "bans" or bamboo forests in the area. Located in the Mahi river basin, Banswara is a tribal district. It derived its name from Bans or Bamboo trees, which once grew in abundance here. While the central and western plains of the district are known for their fertile forests, the scattered ranges of the Aravalli form the eastern region. Maharawal Jamal Singh founded the erstwhile state. The ancient town of Banswara is surrounded by a stone wall, now in ruins. A place of a former ruler stands overlooking the town. The district is also known for its rich flora and fauna. It is also known as 'City of Hundred Islands', due to presence of numerous islands in the Mahi River, which flows through Banswara. Banswara city is governed by City Council (Nagar Parishad) which comes under Banswara Urban Agglomeration. Although the city has population of 100,128, its urban / metropolitan population is 101,177 of which 51,941 are males and 49,236 are females.
Banswara is located at 23.55°N 74.45°E. It has an average elevation of 302 metres (990 ft). Banswara District is in southern Rajasthan with an area of 5,037 square kilometres (1,945 sq mi) located between 23.11° N to 23.56° N latitudes and 73.58° E to 74.49° E. longitudes. It is bounded on the north-east by Dhariawad,Pipalkoot & Arnod tehsils of district-PRATAPGARH, (Rajasthan) ; on the east by RATLAM district of Madhya Pradesh; on the west by Sagwara and on north-west by Aspur tehsils of DUNGARPUR district; and on the south-east by JHABUA district of Madhya Pradesh and on south & south-west the DOHAD district of GUJRAT . The region represents a rugged terrain undulated by short ridges west of Banswara. The eastern part of it is occupied by flat-topped hills of the Deccan trap. It has the southern end of the Aravali Mountains. The drainage system belongs to the Mahi river which originates from Amjera hills near DHAR in Madhya Preadesh. Its main tributaries are Anas, Chanp, Erav, Hiran and Kagdi. The Mahi Bajaj Sagar dam has been constructed on the Mahi, about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) away from Banswara town. The Right and Left Main Canals and their distributaries irrigate 60,149 hectares (601.49 km2) of land. Normal annual rainfall is about 82.59 centimetres (32.52 in).
Maize, wheat, rice, cotton soya-been and gram are the main crops. Graphite, soapstone, dolomite, rock phosphate, limestone and a variety of marbles are mined in the region, with some deposits of gold found around Jagpura. About 20% of the area is designated as forested land, but most of the forest land is devoid of trees in the non-monsoon months.
Banswara (literally "the bamboo country"), was a Rajput feudatory state in Rajputana during British India. It borders Gujarat and is bounded on the north by the native states of Dungarpur and Udaipur or Mewar; on the northeast and east by Partabgarh; on the south by the dominions of Holkar and the state of Jabua; and on the west by the state of Rewa Kantha.
Banswara state was about 45 miles (72 km) in length from north to south and 33 miles (53 km) in breadth from east to west and had an area of 1,606 square miles (4,160 km2). The population in 1941 was 258,760.
Banswara district forms eastern part of the region known as Vagad or Vagwar. The district was formerly a princely state ruled by the Maharavals. It is said that a Bhil ruler Bansia or Wasna, ruled over it and Banswara was named after his name. Bansia was defeated and killed by Jagmal Singh who became the first Maharaval of the princely state. It is named so because of the bamboo which were found in abundance in the forests.
In 1913 some Bhils revolted under the headship of a social reformer Govindgiri and Punja which was suppressed in November 1913. Hundreds of Bhils were shot dead at the Mangarh hillock where they were holding a peaceful meeting by the Mewar and Sirohi forces. The place has become sacred and is better known as the Mangarh Dham. With the merger of the princely states in the Union of India, the Banswara State and Kushalgarh chiefship got merged in the Rajasthan in 1949 and Banswara was carved out as a separate district by merging these principalities.
As of 2011 India census, Banswara city had a population of 101,177. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Banswara city has an average literacy rate of 86.98%, higher than the national average of 59.5%, with 92.76% of the males and 81.01% of females literate.
The district is predominantly inhabited by tribals mainly Bhils, Bhil Meenas, Damor, Charpotas, Ninamas, etc. The district population is 17,98,194 (2011). The rural population is 16,70,368 (2011) and the urban population is 127,826(2011). The population density has raised from 298 per square/km (census 2001)to 399 per square/km (census 2011). Average literacy rate of whole district is 52.70% which is lower than the national average of 59.5%. The population under the age of 6(six years) is 12%.
The main occupation of the people, specially of tribals, is agriculture. The tribals live in small one-room houses, known as "tapra", which lie scattered all over the area.
The other major castes are Patels, Rajputs, Brahmans, Mahajans, and Muslims. The dialect spoken in the district is Wagri, a mixture of Gujrati and Mewari. Literacy has increased to 57.20%(census 2011) from 44.63% (census 2001) but women literacy, is 43.47% (2011) in comparison to 28.43%. (census 2001). In Totality literacy percentage has increased by 12.57%.
In and around Banswara
Anand Sagar Lake
Te artificial lake on the eastern side of Banswara was constructed by Lachhi Bai of ldar, the Rani of Maharawal Jagmal. The lake has Kalpa Vriksha holy trees believed to fulfil the desires of visitors.
This dargah of Abdul Rasul a Bohra Muslim saint, is situated in the southern part of Banswara city.
Believed to be the legendary place where the Pandavas stayed during their exile.
Covered with beautiful lotus flowers, the lake flanks the Badal Mahal the summer resort of the summer resort of the former ruler.
Kagdi pick up weir (3km)
A part of the Mahi Bajaj Sagar Project, this scenic spot is famous for its fountains and gardens.
The Lord Shiva temple in the eastern part of Banswara is located inside a natural cave on a high hill and offers a panoramic view of the scenery below.
Built under the Mahi Bajaj Sagar Project on the Mahi River. The Mai River also has a number of islands inside the Mahi Dam catchment area, which give Banswara the name of “City of a Hundred Islands”.
Shri Raj Mandir
A 16th century palace still occupied by the royal family, this mansion is a beautiful example of rajput architectural excellence.
A deep cave situated under a hill, the legend goes that as Lord Rama stayed here during his exile, a pool of cold water can be found here throughout the year.
Once the capital of the Parmar rulers, this village is of great archaeological interest. The ruins of a cluster of shaivite and Jain temples dating back to the 11th, 12th and 15th centuries can be found here.
A 12th century Brahma temple, Chheench has a black stone statue of the deity.
Famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Siva.
Known for its old temples and ancient monuments, Talwara is also renowned for its Sompura sculptors who carve beautiful statues from the local black stone.
Tripura Sundari (19km)
This famous shrine at Talwara is said to be one of the Sakhtipeethas. The presiding deity here is Goddess Tripura Sundari (commonly known as Turtia Mata) a manifestation of Goddess Durga. The 18 handed image of Tripura Sundari riding a tiger is carved out in black stone. The temple is believed to be constructed by Samarat kaniskha who ruled here.
How to reach there
Banswara is 160km from Udaipur, and is connected to it by air. It is also easily assessable by rail and road from any part of the state.