Bairat Archaeological Site
¤ Bairat Town
Distance : 52kmnorth of
Jaipur on Churu Road
66km from Alwar
¤ Bairat Town
Bairat or Viratnagar has a remarkably rich past, boasting of monuments
and legends of very old. In fact, this forgotten little town in Jaipur
district boasts of having the oldest freestanding Buddhist structure
in India the ruins of a 3rd century BC chaitya (chapel)
perched on a low hill. Among rocks are the remains of a monasterytoo.
Archaeological excavations from a hill in Bairat have revealed more
from the 3rd century BC, this time belonging to the great Mauryan
¤ Other Attractions
There are the rock-cut edicts of Emperor Ashoka, and a circular
brick-and-timber shrineof this period. The temple has lime plastered
panels of brickwork, alternating with 26 octagonal pillars of wood.
The entire structure was enclosed within a large rectangular compound
containing an open ground for an assembly in front of the entrance.
¤ The Glorious Past
However, the history of Bairat goes even further to the times
of the Mahabharata, some 3500 years back. It is said that it was in
the kingdom of King Virat that the Pandavas and their wife Draupadi
spent their thirteenth year of exile in incognito. But nothing remains
of this ancient city, though archaeological findings like coins and
pottery do indicate its antiquity. The Mughals, too, left their stamp
in this amazing city of Bairat. The 16th century chhatri (cenotaph)
bears some interesting murals. They are among the oldest in Rajasthan,
and had probably served as a model for the tradition of painting
murals. The Shekhawatiregion, which is famous for its astonishingly
large number of frescoed havelis (mansions), probably took the cue
from Amber's wall paintings which in turn were influenced by those of
the Mughal court. Anyway, the lodge in Bairat was where Emperor Akbar
is said to have hunted and stayed overnight en route on his pilgrimage
to Ajmer. The Temple of Parasvanath, Bhimji-ki-Dungariand
Bijak-ki-Pahari are worth seeing too.
¤ Viratnagar Museum
The Viratnagar Museum here, although not very large, has a good
collection of artefacts which lay claim to Bairats rich past.
The excavated material like pottery, old coins, seals, metallic
pieces, weapons and sculptures have been exhibited here.