Bundi was once a holy city sprinkled with hundreds of small temples – also known as the “Chota Kashi” – Little Varanasi. Surrounded by the Aravalli hills on three sides, the town nestles at the foot of a large rocky hill, dominated by the obligatory Rajasthani Fort and Palace. Bundi’s Garh Palace is dilapidated and over-run by monkeys, but it is also lavishly decorated with intricate carvings and murals.
The Taragarh Fort, high on the hill overlooking the Palace has an intriguing legend to recount. It is here that the royal treasure was kept – it was shown to a ruler only once in his lifetime by the guardian Pathans who kept the location a family secret. The last of the guardians died in World War II while the young ruler Maha Rao Bahadur Singh was fighting in Burma. When the Rao came back he searched for the treasure but in vain.
Stepwells were built in the desert state of Rajasthan to provide shade and a cool place to collect and enjoy the waters hidden deep down in the low water-table. They also allowed for an increased water level when the monsoon was generous. Bundi is famous for its profusion of stepwells, which once numbered around 50. They vary in size and shape. Some were for royalty, while others were purely for drinking or bathing water. Temples line the walls of some wells.
Another of Bundi’s claims to fame is the residential status of Rudyard Kipling, who stayed at Sukh Mahal, a small summer palace on the outskirts of town. It’s believed Kipling wrote ‘Kim’ whilst staying here. He also penned this wonderful description of the Bundi Palace…
‘Jaipur Palace may be called the Versailles of India…Jodhpur’s House of strife, gray towers on red rock, is the work of giants, but the Palace of Bundi, even in broad daylight, is such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams – the work of goblins rather than of men.’
– Rudyard Kipling
To visit Bundi, contact us now to arrange an Add-on to one of our Group Tours.