The Ethereal Charms of Bundi
Bundi is a small town nestled in a gorge at the base of the Aravalli Hills in Rajasthan. The town, around 200 km from Jaipur, was ruled by the Hada Rajputs for much of its history and is home to some gorgeous examples of Rajput architecture.
Bundi’s Taragarh Fort, one of India’s most splendid fortresses, is the crowning glory of Bundi and lords over the town. It is from here that the Hada Chauhans ruled over the state of Bundi from the 13th century CE. The fort is a majestic sight but the exterior hides an even more spectacular interior with regal gates, pavilions and hallways.
Inside the fort is the Chitrashala created by Rao Ummed Singh. The walls of the Chitrashala are covered in stunning murals, in blue and gold, depicting court scenes and scenes from the legends of Krishna, in Bundi style.
Sukh Mahal is a minor summer palace on the banks of the Jait Sagar lake surrounded by a terraced garden, a couple of kilometres from the centre of the town. It was well loved by Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling, who stayed here for some time and also partially wrote his novel Kim here. Today, it is a museum.
Chaurasi Khambo ki Chhatri is an 84-pillared cenotaph constructed by Rao Raja Anirudh Singh in 1683, in memory of the son of his wet nurse on the outskirts of the town. A stunning structure, it looks particularly dazzling at night when lit up.
Bundi is known for its step wells, the most striking of them being Raniji ki Baoli, constructed in 1699 by Rani Nathawati, wife of Rao Raja Anirudh Singh. One of the finest in Rajasthan, it is 46 mt deep and brilliantly carved in fluid images including the avatars of Vishnu.
The picturesque Naval Sagar lake in front of the fort is the fulcrum of the town and it is on its banks that the town grew and spread. Bundi is truly a step back in time, ‘the work of goblins rather than of men’, as Kipling described it.