Jhansi is a historic city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Jhansi is the gateway to Bundelkhand. Jhansi is the administrative headquarters of Jhansi district and Jhansi division. Jhansi is one of the important tourist places in Uttar Pradesh. The name Jhansi has become synonymous to the Rani Lakshmi Bai, but apart from that there are a number of tourist places in Jhansi. It was also the capital of the princely state of Jhansi which was ruled by the Marathas. One of the most famous of Indian revolutionaries Rani Lakshmi Bai was also a Maratha queen who participated in the 1857 revolt. Jhansi, lying at an average altitude of 284 meters above sea level, is situated between the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Jhansi was known as ‘Balwant Nagar’ during its earlier days. Jhansi was the seat of the Chandela Dynasty and rose to prominence under their rule. The historical significance of the city has made it an important tourist spot. Jhansi is also famous in the world map for its forts and palaces that remind us of the valor and struggle of the bygone era.
The city of Jhansi was once called Balwant Nagar and was a stronghold of the Chandela Dynasty. It was in the 11th century that Jhansi began losing its importance slowly. During the 17th century, under Raja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha, Jhansi again became popular. Raja Bir Singh Deo had good relations with the mughal emperor Jehangir. In 1613 Raja Bir Singh Deo constructed the Jhansi fort. One of the best administrators of Jhansi was Raja Gangadhar Rao. In the year In 1842 Raja Gangadhar Rao married Mannikarnika. After this marriage she was named as Lakshmi Bai. Lakshmi Bai was the Rani of Jhansi or Queen of Jhansi who led her forces against the British during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. She sacrificed her life during this first struggle of Indian Independence in 1858. Also known as the Joan of Arc of India, Lakshmi Bai’s name is famous throughout the world and symbolises strength, valor and courage. After Mohammed Khan Bangash attacked his kingdom in 1729, he gifted some of his lands, which included Jhansi, to Peshwa Baji Rao, who helped defend his country. Naroshanker was named the governor of Jhansi in 1742. Naroshanker was responsible for extending the Jhansi fort, and the extension was called Shankergarh. In the 18th century the town of Jhansi served as the capital of a Maratha province and later the Princely State of Jhansi from 1804 till 1853, when the territory became a part of British India.
Tourist attraction :
Jhansi fort :
The Jhansi Fort is one of the fortified areas located atop a hill in the city of Jhansi, The early 17th century fort was made by Raja Bir Singh. Extending over 15 acres, this fort is a great example of the north Indian style of architecture. It was surrounded by a huge16 to 20 feet thick granite wall as part of its fortification. The fort extends to a sprawling expansion of 15 acres and this colossal structure measures about 312m in length and 225m in width. Apart from that the fort has four entrances and ten gates. The Fort also houses the Rani Mahal which was the living quarters of Rani Lakshmi Bai and is now an archeological museum. The Jhansi Mahotsav held here during January or February is probably the best time to visit this fort. The fort has the Karak Bijli tank located within it along with a museum that offers good collections of artefacts and sculpture that speak of the bygone era of Bundelkhand. There is a temple inside the fort which is attended by a priest. There are beautiful temples of Lord Shiva and Ganesha inside the fort. A museum which has a collection of sculpture and provides an insight into the history of Bundelkhand.
Rani Mahal :
A must-visit place in Jhansi is the Palace of Rani Laxmi Bai called the Rani Mahal. Rani Mahal is so called because it was the palace of the famous warrior queen of India. It was built by Raghu Nath-II of the Nawalkar Family. A former palace, now converted in to a museum, Rani Mahal boast of a rich history that arise the patriotic feeling of every Indian. The palace has an open courtyard with arched chambers around it that is completely different from the typical Bundelkhand architecture. The palace was one of the main centres of the Great Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. It houses a collection of archaeological remains of the period between the 9th and the 12th century AD and the sculptures excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India. Rani Mahal is two storied building with flat roofs built opposite a quadrangular courtyard. There is a well on one side of the courtyard and a fountain on its other side. The palace also has a Durbar Hall located in the second floor that has a genuine painted wood-panelled ceiling.
Maharaja Gangadhar Rao ki Chatri :
The chathri was constructed by Rani Lakshmi Bai in memory of her beloved husband Gangadhar Rao. Located by the side of Lakshmi Tal or pond, the chhatri is regarded as one of the most important historical monuments in the city of Jhansi. The monument is located in the Jhansi fort and is built in a typical Maratha Hindu style. Despite being more than 150 years old, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao ki Chhatri has withstood the ravages of times. Its curved roof standing upon twelve artistically carved pillars is a splendid example of the magnificent architecture of those times. Its elegant appeal attracts large gathering and now a days this monument has become one of the favourite hot spot of the tourists in Jhansi.
Government Museum :
The Government Museum of Jhansi was established in 1878 and is one of the best places to find few of the rare archeological gems in India. This museum is another popular tourist attraction and is centrally located within the city. Its four galleries house an interesting collection of prehistoric tools; terracottas dating from the 4th century BC; and sculptures, costumes, and weapons from the Chandela dynasty. Apart from the exquisite artworks there are weapons, statues and dresses of the Chandela dynasty. In the museum you can find a picture gallery of the Gupta period that highlights the important events of that period. The Government Museum holds various historical artefacts and the entire first floor is dedicated to Rani Laxmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi. It encompasses weapons, terracotta and bronze sculptures, manuscripts, paintings, gold, silver and copper coins.
Mahalakshmi Temple :
Mahalakshmi temple and Ganesh temple are the most popular Hindu shrines in Jhansi. Located at Lakshmi Tal, the temple is the shrine of Goddess Lakshmi which is Built in the 18th century by Raghunath Rao (II) Newalkar, who was appointed the subedar of Jhansi consequent. As per Hindu belief, Mahalakshmi is the deity of good fortune and it is believed that sincere adoration of this goddess would fetch you high rewards. Now the temple has become one of the most sought after tourist attractions in Jhansi since it has witnessed so many historical events during the reign of Rani Lakshmi Bai. This temple is quite famous and is visited by many devotees every year. This temple is mainly devoted to Goddess Mahalaxmi. Special puja takes place during Diwali, and this is the peak time when devotees visit this temple.
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