Bundi and Kota were once a single principality ruled by the Hada Chauhans, an offshoot of the famous clan of Chauhans who ruled Delhi and Ajmer. After the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan by Sultan Mohammed Gori in 1193, the Chauhan nobles sought sanctuary in Mewar. They were welcomed and proved allies to the Rana.
Yet some young warriors ventured on their own, overpowered the Meena and Bhil tribais of the Chambal valley and established the kingdom of Hadavati or Hadoti. Later two branches of the Hadas formed two separate states on either side of the Chambal. These were Kota and Bundi.
This former capital of a once-princely state, in Rajasthan, fills a narrow valley in the oldest hills in India: the Aravallis. The town sits still and massed, spreading across the floor of the valley and straggling up the bare hills.
A fortified wall encircles it; there is a lake, mirror-still, dead centre; a palace above, looking down in aloof grandeur; and the scrub-covered hills rising in shades of brown and khaki to jagged crests all around.
According to legend, back in the 12th century, restless young nobles of the warrior Chauhan clan conquered the Bhil and Meena tribals of these lands. One group chose the neighbouring area of Kota, the other settled in Bundi.
Do visit the Rani ki Baori. A former princess built this beautiful step-well with torana arches set between soaring pillars to frame the steps leading down to the water; panels have been carved in the images of the avatars: those age-specific redeemers whose sequence follows the line of animal-human evolution.
As in most fortified cities, the palace-fort complex dominates the town, massed across a rocky height, approached by a road of stone steps and ramps meant for horsemen and chariots. Here, the Chitra Mahal is an absolute delight. In a gallery built around a sunken court open to the sky, there are beautiful murals done in the Bundi style of miniature paintings. Many influences went into the development of this style: the long, oval, eyes of Mewar; the rounded female face and male costumes of the Mughals; the treatment of the landscape and the placing of the pavilions taken from the Southern Deccani school. Above the palace, accessed through the impressive Elephant Gate are the royal apartments, murals, balconies, corbels, pavilions, fretted windows, domes. Both offer excellent views of the town below.
Sunset dusts the memorial pavilions, or chhatris, of the former rulers with gold. This quiet place is set in a grove of old trees and the high platforms of the memorials are decorated with horses and elephants.
For all the bustle of the city, there is a timeless, trapped-in-amber, atmosphere about Bundi which, for many visitors, is oddly reassuring in a fast-changing world.
This white fort on the top of a thickly wooded hill is one of the most impressive forts in Rajasthn. It has an enormous tank which once supplied the palace with water.
It was begun by Maharao Balwant Singh and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture.
The palace at Bundi has a beautiful pavilion and a gallery of murals in the miniature style. The walls are covered with elaborate paintings of scenes from the Ragamala and Raslila, the Radha-Krishna story. The colour scheme of all these paintings is strikingly beautiful with all the colours of the rainbow.
A steep, paved carraife-way leads to this monument, The Hazari Pol or Gate of the Thousand, the Naubat Khana, the Hathi Pol with its curious old water clock and the Diwan-i-Am are some places of interest.
This structure is bif in such a manner that it forms stables for nine horses and a Hatia Pol, It was built by Rao Raja Ratan Singh Ji.
It is an artificial lake, broken up by islets. A temple of Varuna (Vedic God of the Wind) stands half submerged in the middle of it. The position of the lake, reflecting the entire city and palaces gives Bundi its uniqueness.
Outside the old city walls is a fine specimen of a stepped well. It has a high arched gate, ornated with excellent carvings on its pillars. The well has a depth of 46 metres and was built by a Rani of the Royal House.
A Summer palace built on Sukh Sagar Lake is set in a beautiful formal garden. It is said that an underground tunnel runs from Sukh Mahal to the old palace.
Phool Sagar: A palace built in the 20th century in contemporary style, Presently it is the home of the former ruler, Prior permission of his secretary is to be sought for a visit.
This is the royal hunting lodge. Nestling in the woods amidst lush greenery south of Phool Sagar, it makes a beautiful picnic spot.
Near the Shikar Burj is an old well-maintained garden where cenotaphs of the kings and queens of Bundi stand in all their rich architectural splendour.
This remarkably well constructed memorial erected by Rao Anirudh has 84 pillars in this single cenotaph along with a Shiva-linga.
3 kms. Nestled among the hills is a beautiful lake built by Jaita Meena. The fleeting fountain in the lake looks marvellous at night.
20 kms. Rameshwaram, the cave temple of Lord Shiva is surrounded by ranges of the Aravalli and is an added attraction of the place. It is a beautiful picnic spot set in attractive natural surroundings.
45 kms. Temple, on the bank of river Chambal.
45 kms. On Nainwa road is located the Ramgarh Sanctuary. Permission of the State Forest Department is essential to visit the sanctuary.
50 kms. On the Bundi-Chittaurgarh road is the old fort and city of Bijolia. By its side stands a high paved courtyard with a large temple of Shiva in the centre. An archway with many carvings leads to this temple with a fine image of Ganesh as guardian at the entrance.
70 kms. On the road from Chittaurgarh to Bundi lies Menal. Menal river runs over a bed of granite slabs and plunges into a cavernous over 122 metres deep gorage. On the other side of a broken wall is the temple complex. The fascinating carvings on the walls of the shrine depict various Hindu deities.
53 kms. A fort built by the ruler, Ajit Singh. Adjacent to it is the temple of Dhooleshwar Mahadev and a wonderful waterfall that makes the place worth a visit. Apart from this is the beautiful Ratna Sagar Lake. During the rainy season, animals like, bear and deer could be spotted.
65 kms. Within the imposing fort of Dugari is Ram Mandir containing vestiges of old wall paintings.
77 kms, The fort of Indragarh and the nearby places is famous for the renowned temples of Mother Goddess and Kamleshwar.
The celebration of Kajli Teej in Bundi is different from the Teej festival celebrated elsewhere in the state. At other places Teej is celebrated on the third day of the month of Sravana but in Bundi it is celebrated on the third day of the month of Bhadra.
The festival starts with the procession of Teej in a decorated palanquin from picturesque Naval Sagar and passes through the market culminating at Azad Park. Cultural programmes are organised in the evening in which local artistes and those from the Hadoti region perform.
Though the Teej procession is carried out only on two days, celebrations continue upto the 8th day culminating on Janmashtami, birthday of Lord Krishna.
Air: Jaipur 206 km is the nearest airport.
Rail: Bundi is well connected with Kota, Chittaurgarh and Udaipur.
Road: Good road connections link Bundi with important places around.