Fact file:

Alwar is 166 kms from Delhi and 160 kms from Jaipur.

Best time to visit : November to February.

Where to eat: Prem Pavitra Bhojnalay offers excellent local fare at reasonable prices.

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Yellow mustard crops, kissed by the winter sun swaying on either side of the road.

Tree canopies playing hide and seek with the foggy morning as our car whizzes by this gorgeous rustic scene.

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 166 kms from Delhi, Alwar is a lesser known gem in Rajasthan. Often overshadowed by the touristy circuit of Jaipur-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer, Alwar is a perfect weekend destination, providing an off beat experience.

Hop into your car and head to this untouristy city for a slice of heritage, architecture, landscapes and more!

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View from Bala Qila

Here’s a list of must dos when in Alwar:

• City palace now known as the Alwar court:

Start your day exploring a palace which is now a court! Before lawyers strut in and out, enter the rustic palace right in the heart of the city.

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A rustic door at the Alwar court

The yellow jharoka windows and arches will bowl you over but not before the turquoise blue doors treat your eyes.

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Royal blue doors in the courtyard

While the hustle and bustle of the daily court activities goes on, for me time has stopped. I am in another era, imagining how princesses sashayed in and out of these symmetrical corridors.

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The corridors at the Alwar city Palace

The palace is huge and there are enormous courtyards with pigeons fluttering around.

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Do not miss the glorious view from the top floor next to the museum.

Moosi Maharani Ki Chatri:

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A monument that speaks a fable of love, faith and sacrifice : the gorgeous cenotaphs of Moosi maharani  are intriguing. The marble cenotaphs glisten in the sun as I climb up the stairs marveling at the intricate arches.

The queen who jumped into the pyre of her dead husband is revered and people pay homage to her with incense sticks and marigold flowers. An enthusiastic watchman shows me around, narrating tales of the queen and the famed marble slab, beneath which is water which cures every disease.

I look on, as a few local ladies move the slab and dig in, acquiring a fistful and drinking it.

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The work on the cenotaphs is an architectural marvel while the ceilings are breathtaking.

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The intricately carved ceilings

I circumambulate the one storey building overlooking the Gopal sagar lake and I know where I am spending the next hour.

Gopal Sagar lake

With minarets and the majestic view of the surrounding hills through the arches, Gopal sagar lake is a photographer’s delight. With not a single soul in sight, the lake made for some great company in my solitude. Each minaret has a pathway leading to it and the panoramic view of the lake is just wow.

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Gopal sagar lake flanked by the City Palace in the right

The only flip side is the unkempt waters of the lake and I wish the authorities look into it. For me if there has to be a Alwar cover shot, it will be this!

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The panoramic view from inside a minaret

Bala Qila

There are two reasons to visit Bala Qila: the view from the top and the fact that has been thrown open to the public only since a year.

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The drive to Bala qila is as exciting as the prospect of seeing a birds eye view of the city.

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Entrance to the fort

The fort is huge and several parts are under renovation. In some chambers the dampness gets unbearable, but the rawness of the place edges me on.

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Chambers, staircases, balconies and doors: the fort may not be of the same grandeur as certain other Rajasthani forts, but the rustic charm of the place will not disappoint you.

• Markets:

When in Alwar, do not miss the traditions silver shops that give AC shopping malls a run for their money with their old world ways.

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The place is known for its Milkcake, a delectable Indian sweet. Explore the vibrant markets around the city palace area for traditional jewellery and Rajasthani fabrics.

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Siliserh lake:

The perfect way to end your Alwar escapade is a short trip to Siliserh lake : 17 kms away from the city on the Sariska road. The lake nestled in the Aravalli mountains is a gorgeous place to see the silhouettes of boats and the drowning sun.

Serene and devoid of crowds, the lake is picturesque against the backdrop of hills.

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No hawkers, no chaos, just a cup of kulhad wali chai and nature’s company.

Other attractions: if you wish to drive around Alwar.

1.Bhangarh fort: a haunted fort, 95 kms away( make sure you have ample of time for this, as entry isn’t permitted after 6 pm)

2.Sariska forest reserve : this one deserves a night halt. 48 kms away, the reserve is a great way to unwind with nature, even if you don’t spot a tiger!

About the Author:

Divyakshi is a travel blogger who blogs at http://www.quirkywanderer.com

A door lover, story teller who loves long road trips.

Loves traveling to off beat places, people, stories, conversations and in the process to her own self.