Alwar is one of Rajasthan’s royal cities filled with historic and cultural value. From its princely forts to its elegant architecture, exploring this city will make you feel like a jack to a king. And that’s why many tourists have been coming here to taste a bit of opulence.
Set against the backdrop of the Aravali hills, this city is bustling with charm. You can find most of it in its colorful markets and vibrant fairs. What else does this ancient city have in store? Read our Alwar travel guide to know more.
Alwar went through a whole list of name changes before finalizing its current one. It was believed that its name was derived from the Salva tribe and it was initially called Salwapur, after which a bunch of changes led it to be named Alwar. Some believe that the city was named after Alaval Khan Mewati, the prince who snatched Alwar away from the Nikumbh Rajputs. More theories revolve around the genesis of its name. But, one thing is certain, this city has had a lot of rulers and that has influenced the formation of its diverse culture.
Its rich Rajput influence can be seen in the many monuments and structures this city holds. Bala Quila Fort and City Palace are just some of the many examples and it’ll take quite some time to fully cover the greatness of Alwar’s offerings. Being a city that’s rich in history and wonder, its charm attracts many visitors and it’s one of Rajasthan’s most revered gems.
The people in this pomp city adorn themselves with colorful clothing, sporting the traditional Rajasthani culture. They are extremely warm, and welcoming, and will make you feel at home. Another aspect of the people from Alwar you should know is that they know how to celebrate. With vibrant music and dancing, residents in Alwar know how to have a good time. One notable festival you should know about is the Alwar Festival - a 3-day event held in February showcases the rich traditions and culture of the city. At the festival, many other events are hosted such as fancy dress competitions, flower exhibitions, etc., and hand made handicrafts and fabric items are displayed.
Food is an important slice of Alwar’s cultural pie as well. The native dish of this city is Kalakand - a variant of a milk cake that’s prepared with cottage cheese and sweetened milk. Don’t forget to take a bite into this savory goodness before exploring the majestic Alwar.
Also Read: Top 9 Things To Do In Rajasthan
Unfortunately, you cannot fly directly to Alwar. The nearest airport to this city is the Jaipur International Airport (JAI), which is approximately 160 km from Alwar. From the airport, you can take a taxi or be even more economical and take a bus to reach the city.
If you’re coming by train to this city, the Alwar Railway Junction would be your primary stop. Many trains from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and many more places have scheduled runs to this station. Plus, the bus station is just 5 km away from Alwar Junction so you can easily catch a bus and progress to your desired location conveniently.
Alwar is easily accessible by road from cities such as New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and more. Trips from these cities are pretty long if you choose to drive. So, ensure that you take an adequate number of chai breaks and stretches. If you’re visiting Alwar from an area in Rajasthan, many private and government-owned buses ply to this city as well.
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If you want to enjoy shopping on the streets of Alwar or exploring the many wonders it has, you should visit this city during the winter season, which lasts from October to February. That’s when the climate is favorable and the ambiance is appealing. Plus, it’s the time when the tourist season picks up too.
Summers in Alwar are not a joke! Temperatures range in the torrid range of 33°C to 40°C. At times, the city during the peak summer season sees temperatures crossing above 44°C. Likewise, the monsoons are not the preferred season to visit this city since the unexpected downpours can be a huge bummer while exploring.
Also Read: Udaipur Travel Guide
Public transportation in this city is efficient, making it a breeze to get around places. For longer distances, you can choose buses, and for shorter ones, auto rickshaws are the way to go. They are cheaper alternatives and are a good way to explore the city. Alwar does have taxis as well but is smart about using them. Ask at least 3 taxi drivers about rates and select the cheaper one.
Rajasthan has a plethora of forts in its region and some of them are found in the charming city of Alwar. One notable one you should visit is the Bala Quila Fort, better known as the Alwar Fort. It oversees the city while it rests comfortably on a hill in the Aravalli Range. The view of this place is breathtaking and you’ll surely get a couple of social media-worthy pictures for your feed.
The enormous fort covers a large distance of 5 km in length and is approximately 1.5 km wide. In it, you’ll find a whole range of small and large towers to give you a sniper’s view of the city. Speaking of snipers, muskets - heavy guns that shoot armor-piercing bullets - are kept on display in the halls of the fort. So for all our Call Of Duty freaks, these were the guns that were used back then!
This fort was built in the 15th century by Muslim Rajput Hasan Khan Mewati. Ever since then, the fort has witnessed many other rulers walking through its corridors such as the Marathas, Yadavas, and Kachwaha Rajputs. In all, this fort has a lot of stories to tell. Along with the towers, 6 gates around the fort are visible as well. Jai Pol, Chand Pol, Laxman Pol, Suraj Pol, Krishen Pol, and Andheri Gate are all of their subsequent names and they’re mini monuments of the bravery and courage of the Rajputs. Their walls also have inscriptions with ancient scriptures and sculptures and reading them will surely make you think about the past.
Just below the Bala Quila Fort, you will find the magnificent City Palace, also known as Vinay Vilas Mahal. Built in the 18th century, this fort is a perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal opulence. Today, the ground floor of this place is used by government administration, but its other floors are converted into a historic museum.
The walls and ceilings of the palace are something to be marveled at. They’re decked with pretty works of mirror art along with beautiful murals that enhance the vibrancy of this palace. The museum preserves its royalty by storing various artifacts of memorabilia in it. Royal furniture, ancient weapons, and colorful paintings are some antiques you’ll find in this museum. And this place is indeed a time capsule reminding us about the richness of our heritage.
After you have marveled at the opulence of City Palace, you can rest in the lap of greenery of Company Bagh. This place goes by other names such as Purjan Vihar or Company Garden and is easily understood by locals. This becomes handy if you’re searching for directions to the place.
Built during the rule of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 A.D, the garden consists of well-trimmed lawns, and smaller gardens that are well maintained and lush. So, if you just want to spend some time unwinding after a hectic day of touring, perhaps you can lie in the serenity of Company Bagh.
Another hallmark of this place is the Shimla Chamber, a house that contains a huge dome over it. The establishment was christened that name because of its in-room temperature being cooler than the surrounding areas of the city. Company Bagh is one of Alwar’s most popular spots for tourists and is a must-visit for those who are touring the city.
Also Read: Exploring The Forts And Palaces In Jaipur
What Is Famous About Alwar?
Alwar is known for being one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan. But it’s not restricted to it just being that. This historic city is known for its number of forts, and fairs that are celebrated with great pomp and style.
What Food Is Famous In Alwar?
Kalakand, a type of milk cake made of cottage cheese and sweetened milk, is Alwar’s famous dish. This dish can be found easily in any sweet mart so don’t forget to try some once you’re in Alwar.
Is Alwar Safe To Travel?
Alwar is a relatively safe place to travel. Only, you need to be a bit careful about roaming in crowded places. Take care of your belongings and avoid shady areas. Have a chat with your housekeeper to learn about which areas to avoid and other precautionary measures.
What Is The Best Way To Reach Alwar?
The best way to reach Alwar is by train. Several trains from major cities travel to the Alwar Railway Junction. From there, you can catch a bus or a rickshaw to your hotel. You can travel by air as well but Alwar doesn't have its own airport. The nearest airport is in Jaipur (Jaipur International Airport) which is approximately 160 km from Alwar. You can then travel to the city by bus or taxi, but that can get a bit strenuous.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Alwar?
From April to June, Alwar is under the radar of the summer heat. And though the monsoon months of July to September add to the beauty of Alwar, it can make sightseeing a challenge. So, the best time to visit Alwar is during winters, i.e. from October to March.
How Are The Roads From Delhi to Alwar?
The roads from Delhi to Alwar are well-maintained and provide great connectivity to many cities. So, planning to reach Alwar by road could be an easy task whether you take the regular bus service, or arrange for a private vehicle from Delhi.
What Is Famous In Alwar For Shopping?
Some of the things you definitely need to get from Alwar are handmade bags, home decor items, juttis, colorful bangles, semi-precious stones and jewelry, and silver souvenirs. And, some of the best markets to get these items from Bajaja Bazaar, Mala Khera Bazaar, Sarraf Bazaar, Churi Bazaar, Kedalganj Bazaar, and Hope Circus.
What Is The Old Name Of Alwar?
Alwar was previously known as Alpur, was later named Ulwar. And, during the reign of Maharaja Jai Singh, it was changed to Alwar.