Bundi

Bundi is of particular architectural note for its ornate forts, palaces, and step well reservoirs known as baoris.

In ancient times, the area around Bundi was apparently inhabited by various local tribes, of which the Parihar Meenas were prominent. Bundi and the eponymous princely state are said to derive their names from a former Meena king called Bunda Meena. Bundi was previously called “Bunda-Ka-Nal", Nal meaning “narrow ways”. Later the region was governed by Rao Deva Hara, who took over Bundi from Jaita Meena in A.D. 1342 by farud. renaming the surrounding area Haravati or Haroti.

The Hadoti region in which Bundi stands takes is named for the Hada Rajputs, an offshoot of the Chauhan clan. The Hadas settled in the region in the 12th century and dominated the area for several centuries thereafter. Bundi was conquered by them in 1241 and nearby Kota in 1264. At one time, the Hada-ruled state of Bundi encompassed the present-day districts of Baran, Bundi, Kota, and Jhalawar.

Palaces to visit

The Taragarh Fort, or 'Star Fort' is the most impressive of the city's structures. It was constructed in AD 1354 upon the top of steep hillside overlooking the city. The largest of its battlements is the 16th century bastion known as the Bhim Burj, on which was once mounted a particularly large cannon called Garbh Gunjam, or 'Thunder from the Womb'. The fort is a popular tourist viewpoint of the city below. The fort contains three tanks which never dry up. The technique with which they were built has been long since lost but the tanks survive as a testament to the advanced methods of construction and engineering in medieval India.

The Bundi Palace is situated on the hillside adjacent to the Taragarh Fort and is notable for its lavish traditional murals and frescoes. The Chitrashala (picture gallery) of the palace is open to the general public.

The largest of Bundi's baoris or stepwells is the intricately-carved Raniji ki Baori. Some 46 m deep, it was built in 1699 by Rani Nathavatji. The steps built into the sides of the water-well made water accessible even when at a very low level. The baori is one of the largest examples of its kind in Rajasthan.

The Nawal Sagar is a large square-shaped artificial lake in the centre of Bundi containing many small islets. A temple dedicated to Varuna, the vedic god of water, stands half-submerged in the middle of the lake. the lake feeds the numerous bavdis in the old city by creating an artificial water table.

The Nagar Sagar twin step wells are identical step wells crafted in pristine masonry on either side of the main spine of Bundi town. The kunds (pools) are currently full of waste from the ancient vegetable market in the vicinity.

The Dabhai Kund also known as the jail kund, is the largest of the kunds in Bundi. Though slightly overgrown, it is well worth a visit for the spectacular carvings on the numerous steps leading down to the water level.