Dungarpur is as exotic as the green marble found here and shipped globally and liessnug in the foothills of the Aravalli range. Harsh and wild in the northeast and teeming with life in the fertile plains of the southwest, it is irrigated by two rivers, Mahi and Som.
Dungarpur’s rise to tourist fame is thanks to the exceptional architecture of its palaces and royal residences. These stone structures are adorned with ‘jharokhas’ (windows)and built in a style that was born during the times of Maharawal Shiv Singh (1730-1785 AD). Dungarpur’s goldsmiths and silversmiths are skilled artisans Famous for Their lacquer-painted toys and picture frames.
Dungarpur was founded in 1258 AD by Rawal Veer Singh, the eldest son of Karan Singh, the ruler of Mewar, after he drove out the local Bhil chieftain named Dungariya. Later rulers of Dungarpur added to the town’s architectural heritage.
Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Dungarpur
Udai Bilas Palace
The Udai Bilas Palace has been named after MaharawalUdai Singh II. Its striking design follows classic Rajput architectural style and boasts of detailed designs in its balconies, arches and windows. A beautiful wing built of the local bluish grey stone called Pareva overlooks the lake. The palace is segregated into Raniwas, Udai Bilas and Krishna Prakash, also known as EkThambiyaMahal. The EkThambiyaMahal is a veritable marvel of Rajput architecture featuring intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings. Today, Udai Bilas Palace functions as a heritage hotel.
Juna Mahal (Old Palace) is a 13th century, seven-storeyed edifice. It is built on a high platform constructed from Pareva stone and its rugged exterior gives it a resemblance of a citadel. It has been elaborately planned with fortified walls, watchtowers, narrow doorways and corridors to delay the enemy for as long as possible. What lies inside is a complete contrast to the exterior. Visitors will be spellbound by the beautiful murals, miniature paintings and delicate glass and mirror work that adorn the interiors.
Gaib Sagar Lake
The lake is famous for the shrine of Shrinathji that rests on its banks. The shrine complex contains numerous exquisitely carved temples and one core temple, the Vijay Rajrajeshwar Temple. This temple of Lord Shiva displays the skilled craftsmanship of the famed sculptors or ‘shilpkars’ of Dungarpur.
Government Archaeological Museum
This museum was established with the objective of displaying sculptures collected by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan, mainly from the Vagad region. The Dungarpur Royal family helped set up the museum by gifting land and its own personal collection of charming sculptures and historically important inscriptions. The collection housed here includes statutes of various deities, stone inscriptions, coins and paintings dating back to the 6th century.
The Badal Mahal, built using Pareva stone, is another splendid palace of Dungarpur. Located on the banks of GaibSagar Lake, it is renowned for its elaborate design and a fusion of the architectural styles of the Rajputs and the Mughals. The monument comprises two stages, three domes and a veranda. Each dome sports a carved half ripe lotus while the largest dome sports three.
The Beneshwar temple, containing the most revered Shiva Linga of the region, is situated on a delta. formed at the confluence of Som and Mahi rivers. The Linga is believed to be Swayambhu or self created .It stands five feet high and is spilt broken at the top in five parts. Just near the Beneshwar temple is the Vishu temple constructed in 1793 A.D. by Jankunwari, daughter – in law of Mavji, a highly revered saint and believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is said to be constructed at the place where Mavji spent his time praying to God. Two disciples of Mavji called Aje and Vaje built the Laxmi Narayan temple. Though these are other Gods and Goddesses, People identify them as Mavji, his wife, his son, his daughter-in law and disciple Jiwandas. Besides these temple, there is also a temple of Lord Brahma.
Located barely 9 kilometres from Dungarpur is Bhuvaneshwar, famous for a Shiva temple which is perched on a mountain top. The temple is built around a naturally formed Shivaling. Tourists can also visit an ancient monastery located atop the mountain.
This ancient shrine is located on the banks of the Gangdi River about 3 kilometres from Dungarpur. The area around the temple also houses other attractions such as Bhulbhulaiya, Madhavrai Temple, Hathiyon Ki Agad and several inscriptions.
Vijay Raj Rajeshwer Temple
The Vijay Rajrajeshwer Temple is located along the banks of the GaibSagar Lake. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati, displays the fine architecture of its times. The construction of the temple was ordered by Maharawal Vijay Singh and was completed in 1923, during the reign of Maharawal Lakshman Singh.
MaharawalPunjraj built this temple in the year 1623. The idols of Shri Radhikaji and GoverdhanNathji are the main attractions. The complex also houses several shrines dedicated to Shri BankeBihariji and Shri Ramchandraji.
Goodh Mandap is a three-storied hall meant for the common use of three temples located in its vicinity. Supported by 64 legs and 12 pillars, this hall is a marvel to behold.
Nagfanji is renowned for its Jain shrines and not only does it attract devotees from Dungarpur but also tourists who travel from far to see the temple. The temple houses statues of Devi Padmawati, NagfanjiParshwanatha and Dharnendra.The Nagfanji Shivalaya,which is located close to this temple, is also a tourist attraction.
At a distance of 58 kilometres from Dungarpur, located on the banks of River Mahi, is a hamlet called Galiakot. The place is known for Syed Fakhruddin’s shrine. He was a renowned saint who was buried in the hamlet after his death. The shrine is made from white marble and has his teachings engraved on it walls. The inner portion of the dome is decorated by beautiful foliage while teachings of the Quaran are engraved in golden letters on the tomb.
On the banks of Som river, there is an old and beautiful Shiva temple called Deo Somnath built in the 12th century. Built of white stone, the temple has imposing turrets. One can see the sky from within the temple. Though there is a perfect adaptation of parts in the masonry, yet it gives the impression that individual stones are crumbling. The temple has 3 exits, one each in the east, the north and the south. The entrance gates are two storied The Garbha Garah has a high dome. In front of it is the Sabha Mandap – built on 8 majestic pillars. There are Twenty Torans of which four still exist. Others were destroyed by the flood waters of the Som. The idol of the deity is in a chamber, eight steps below and the entrance is from the Sabha Mandap. There are several inscription by pilgrims and the oldest belongs to 1493 A.D. Several warriors were cremated near the temple and memorials have been raised in their honour.
The temple Boreshwar Mahadeo was built during the reign of Maharawal Samant Singh sometime in 1179 A.D. It is situated on the banks of the Som river.
Situated in Khadagada, historical background of the temple is 200 years past. the temple has its known popularity from the name of goddess Bhairav the manuscript of the temple. Besides the temple is surrounded by other small temples of goddess Ganapati, Lordshiva Goddess Laxmi and Lord Hanuman.
How to Reach Here
By air: At 120 kilometres, Udaipur is the nearest airport followed by Ahmedabad at 175 kilometres.
By road: National Highway No. 8, which runs between Delhi and Mumbai and the State Highway (Sirohi – Ratlam highway) passes through the district.
By rail: The railway station is 3 kilometres from the city. An important train connection is Himatnagar-Dungarpur-Udaipur.
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