Karauli – A tete a tete with the city
Also known as : Kalyanpuri
Founded in : 1348 AD
Location : North Western India, Rajasthan
Best time to visit : October – February
Local transport : Camel rides and bullock carts.
Souvenir : Handicrafts of Rajasthan, bangles
Places to see : City Palace, Bhanwar Vilas Palace, Madan Mohan Temple, Kalyan temple, Kaila Devi Fair, Kaila Devi Game Sanctuary, Ranthambore Tiger Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary,Mahaveerjain Temple
Karauli - The Tale of the City
Karauli was founded in 1348 AD. The Karauli family ruled and was known as the ruling family of Karauli. They were known as the head of the Yadhuvanshi Rajputs. The Yadhuvanshi Rajputs are the descendants of Lord Krishna. Legend says that Raja Bijai Pal founded the city. He was supposed to be the 88th in the line of descendants of the Hindu God Krishna. Not much is known about this place from 995 AD to 1348 AD. The state was a fief in the state of Jaipur. In 1818, Karauli became a part of the Rajputana agency. In the early 19th century, Karauli became an independent principality. The Royal Family maybe built the 600-year-old fort in the 14th century and the stupendous palace in 1635AD. The fort and the palace were under the Royals until 1938 AD. Sometime during this period, the Bhanwar Vilas Palace was built by Maharaja Ganesh Pal Deo Bahadur. He was the ruler of Karauli and the Fort was deserted by the family. Karauli in earlier days was known as Kalyanpuri.
Karauli – Down the Ages
Karauli, the Yaduvanshi city was named Kalyanpuri after the deity Kalyanji. It is also known as the place of Shri Madan Mohan ji, the deity of the Indian God Lord Krishna. Karauli has a temple dedicated to Kaila Devi. Situated 160 kms away from Jaipur, Karauli was protected strongly by its rulers. The city is surrounded by a big wall. This wall is made of red sandstone, which is made stronger by bastions. The outside wall is dilapidated now and has 6 gates and 11 posterns. The walls are made of red stone ramparts as security. These ramparts are in ruins today and very little is left of the original piece now. Today, the Karauli City Palace is an 18th century building with lot of ornamented stucco work and frescoes. The Palace is being rehabilitated to look better.
Karauli, with the Kaila Devi Temple has a lot of religious significance. It is said that the founders of the place are descendants of Lord Krishna, the Yaduvanshi Rajputs. These Rajputs occupy the topmost rank in the history of Rajput valor and courage. Karauli is supposed to be directly linked to them.
A traveler coming to Karauli is struck by its simplicity and immense pride that is exuded in the atmosphere. The balance of this chivalry and the modesty with which the people in Karauli sing glory of their past is the best thing the tourist can take back as a travel kitty. Besides, Rajasthan handicrafts and bangles from Karauli are a good buy here.
Karauli – Joie de vivre in the city
The city with its history of valor and courage has a lot to offer to the visitor. Its chivalry and the pride of the Yaduvanshi clan is evident as we step into the city. The air smells of past battles won and glory reigned. We could see the following in the city :
City Palace : This palace is very old and is a monumental piece of architecture. This is a total treasure of architecture and carvings of stone. It has magnificent lattice work and beautiful classic paintings. The beauty of the constructive piece of elegance is lovely and mesmerizing. The whole thing is an experience and the palace is stupendous in appearance. This 600 year old palace was built in the 14th century by the Royal family. The fort as well as the city palace is the official residence of the Royal Family of Karauli until 1938 AD. The city palace today is the 18th century building with a lot of ornamented stucco work and frescoes.
Bhanwar Vilas Palace : This palace was built in the royal residence in the year 1938 AD by Maharaja Ganesh Pal Deo Bhadur. He was at that time the ruler of Karauli. The colonial design of the palace with the well furnished interiors gives it a very aesthetic look. The art de décor furniture and the well constructed monument is a remarkable sight. The palace ground has a lot of plants and animals. Today it is home to many tourists.
Madan Mohanji and Kalyan ji : The Karauli City is the home to many temples. Out of these, the temples constructed for Madan Mohanji Madan Mohanji is the deity of Lord Krishna who is worshipped by millions of people from Rajasthan and other states. So these magnificently built temples, are revered by all from Rajasthan.
Mahaveerji Jain Temple : The Mahaveerji Jain temple is a famous pilgrim spot of the Jains. This has a combination of both the ancient and the modern styles of architecture.
Kaila Devi Fair : This is one of the most respected Fairs in Rajasthan. This fair is held at the Kaila Devi temple. This goddess is worshipped as the guardian deity by the Yadavas, Khinchis, and the princess of Karauli. There is a small Bhairon temple opposite the Kaila Devi’s shrine. This has the temples of Lord Hanuman. This Lord Hanuman temple is also called Languriya. The fair is the attraction for many pilgrims from states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana. The fair has many shops, which sell many articles, and the Mina tribal people perform dances, which are meant for happiness, and they sing songs in praise of deities. This makes the atmosphere joyful in the environment. This is held during the dark half of “chaitra” and is there for 15 days. There is a lake near the fair, which has boating facilities. The fair is a good show with a lot of extravaganza, culture, and tradition.
Wildlife Sanctuary :
Kaila Devi Sanctuary : This game sanctuary is a protected forest. This is an extension of Ranthambore Tiger Project. Chinkaras, Wild Boar, Blue Bull, Jackal, Leopard, Panther, Tiger, Sloth Bear, Hyena, Wolf, Sambhar, and many birds. This lies 25km from Karauli.
Ranthambore Tiger Park : This lies 110 km from the city of Karauli. The park is famous for the tigers. The efforst made by the park authority is world renowned. It was the hunting ground of the Jaipur Maharaja. In 1955, the park was declared as a game sanctuary. In 1980, it was a national park. The Project Tiger was included in 1972. The tiger population has increased here. This is the best place to see the majestic predators. The Antelopes, Nilgai, Sambhar, Chital, Sloth bear, Wild boar, chinkara, porcupines, jackals, jungle cat and marsh crocodile. The lakes are full of water lilies, lotus with a huge bird population. The Indian Hare, Mongoose and Monitor lizards are also found here along with 264 species of birds.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary : This is situated 110km away from Karauli. It was earlier known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Today it is known as Keoladeo Ghana Sanctuary, and is a fantasy of bird land. This is the kingdom of birds. Keoladeo got its name from the Shiva temple in the middle of the sanctuary. It was the ornithologist Salim Ali, who brought this park into existence. Prince Bhamji of Morvi State in Gujarat converted this place into such a big wildlife reserve. There were duck shoots that were organized by the rulers of Bharatpur. There are 375 species of birds, numerous mammals and reptiles. There are birds migrating into this land from everywhere. Coot snipes, Spanish Sparrow, Red Crested Porhard, Rosy Pelican and Flamingo. The arrival of the rare Siberian Crane is also an important event. Pythons, Spotted Deer, Sambhars, Blue Bull, Black Buck, Jackals, Otters, Fishing Cats, and Monitor Lizards are also found. Thus, this makes the sanctuary a nature lover’s paradise.
Thus, Karauli, the sanctuary city with its immense tradition and culture adds to the beauty of a trip to Rajasthan. The city with its ancient palaces, temples and wildlife resorts is a place to reckon with in the tour of the State. A tourist visiting this place is bound to go back with a lot of memories, and nostalgia, and makes the tour a pleasant one to remember. As he leaves the place, he thinks, “We can never let sleeping dogs lie, in this land of magnificent monuments.”