Vijay Mandir Palace
¤ The Palace Attraction
There are some interesting places you could visit if you travel a
little away from the main township. Perhaps that is the reason why it
is often said that Alwar's best attractions are outside the town.
Vijay Mandir (1918) is a magnificent palace located 10km from Alwar.
This elaborate 105-roomed palace with a well laid garden and a
rippling lake in the foreground was built by Maharaja Jai Singh,
supposedly along the lines of a ship. The eccentric Jai Singh had some
good ideas after all (see History of Alwar and Moti Doongri for more
on the king's deeds).
But of course, if Jai Singh had given shape to something nice, his
'normal eccentricities couldn't be far behind. It so happened
that the maharaja had earlier commissioned another palace, Yashwant
Niwas. It was an elegant Italianate one. Fastidious as he was, Jai
Singh decided at once that he didn't like it, and built the Vijay
Mandir. At least he was quick to make decisions!
¤ Sita Ram Temple
Within the palace grounds is the Sita Ram Temple. Devotees throng to
this temple during Ramnavami, an important festival of North India
(see Religion of India for more on Ramnavami).
Note: Visitors need
permission from the Maharaja of Alwar (at Alwar House, New Delhi) to
enter the Vijay Mandir.
¤ Moti Doongri
Nothing remains of Moti Doongri (Pearl Hill) now except for a
lingering sense of loneliness and waste. Courtesy the same Jai Singh
who burnt his pony (see History of Alwar). You'd be thoroughly
disappointed to see the ruins of the glorious 100-roomed palace that
was so perfectly destroyed flat by the eccentric Maharaja. Why? Some
say he wanted the wealth that was supposed to have been buried under
the hill. Others say that he went quite mad after his favourite queen
committed suicide. But who knows the truth? The saddest part of the
story is the way he destroyed this place. The demolition took two
whole years and cost more than what it took to build it!