Distance : 87km from Kota
335km from Jaipur
¤ Jhalawar Carved Out of Bundi Region
Till the middle of the 17th century, Bundi was the big daddy of
southeast Rajasthan, grabbing the major chunk of its history, its
stories of valour and those of chivalry, of diplomacy and everything
else that goes into creating history. All this went on until Kota was
set aside as a separate state and Bundi became a little smaller. Then,
as additional blow, it was decided that another state, that of
Jhalawar, would also be carved out of Bundi. This time too it was
Zalim Singh, that cunningly conspicuous ruler in the 19th century, who
wanted another state for his descendents to rule, because he was not
satisfied with just having Kota. Here it must be recalled that Zalim
Singh excelled at diplomacy, and getting what he wanted wasnt
much of a bother for him. The region east of Kota and Bundi was given
an official name, and so it came to pass that Jhalawar sprang into
existence in 1838, a craggy country interspersed with ponds.
Originally called Jhalrapatan, the town took its name from the
hundreds of temples with bells (jhalarapatan: city of bells) around
it. Another legend places the naming of Jhalawar to Jhala-ra-patun, or
the city of Jhala Rajputs.
¤ Jhalawar History
Jhalawar has a bit of its own history, but that happened towards the
middle of the 19th century when Bundis ruler Umed Singh died.
Zalim rushed back to Bundi from Gagron on hearing of the Maharaos
death. and then began the struggle for the seat of power between the
sons of Zalim and Umed Singh. Kishore Singh, the Maharaos son,
was made the ruler, much to the dislike of the other contenders.
However, he was soon overthrown and Prithvi Singh sat on the throne.
Finally, in 1838 Zalim Singh carved out the new kingdom of Jhalawar
for his descendents with this town as the capital. Here Zalims
statesmanship came into play, for this feat would not have been
achieved without the help of a higher power, namely the British.
Jhalawar went to Zalim Singh and his sons who loyally served the
British even during the Uprising of 1857 when the entire country
revolted against British rule.
¤ Zalim Singh-The Great Administrative
Zalim Singh was known for his administrative deeds as well as for
turning barren lands into fertile ones, and he adopted the same
principle for Jhalawar. But this time it was not scented flowers and
trees that he planted but opium, which turned in a hefty revenue
through local sale and export to distant China. Even today Jhalawar is
one of the main opium producing centres in India, and during the opium
harvest sprawling fields with miles of yellow poppy are a common
¤ Jhalawar- Turned As A Commercial Mart
With the setting up of a well-planned town, Zalim Singh ensured that
the wealthiest of merchants settled in Jhalawar. With his
understanding of the administrative system, he introduced the
municipality system in Jhalawar and had a stone pillar inscribed with
the basic laws and regulations of the town. These laws were to assure
the affluent traders of the security of their homes and wealth. Anyone
flouting these judicatures was dealt with harshly, and Jhalawar soon
turned prosperous. Consequently the town became `the grand commercial
mart of southeast Rajasthan and the centre of trade for the
region and neighbouring areas.
¤ A Great Cultural & Musical Center
Gradually, as the people prospered Jhalawar began to entertain the
arts, also becoming a great cultural nucleus of music and theatre
under its cosmopolitan kings. Jhalawar to this day boasts of one of
the finest opera houses in India from that period complete with an
amazing inbuilt acoustic system.
¤ Bhawani Natya Shala:
Built by Maharaja Bhawani Singh in 1921, was constructed on the
pattern of European opera houses. For a while it was a popular stage
for Parsi plays and music. The three storeyed building is made of
white and red stone and, like most Rajput structures, is crowned by
chhatris (pavilions) on its roof. On the outside, a narrow balcony
runs along each floor of the Natya Shala enclosed by iron railings.
¤ Raen Basera- A Magnificent Cottages
The Raen Basera on the banks of Kishan lake is a small, unique
cottage. Made entirely of wood by the Forest Research Institue,
Dehradun in 1936, its reputation travelled to Lucknow in Uttar
Pradesh. The entire cottage was dismantled and set up in Lucknow for
an exhibition, where it caught the attention of Maharaja Rajendra
Singh. He proceeded to buy the cottage, had it dismantled once again,
and moved to Jhalawar. The Raen Basera is now the property of the
irrigation Department of Rajasthan, but was originally a retreat for
¤ Home of Great Celebrity-- Ravi Shankar
The renowned sitar maestro Ravi Shankar grew up in Jhalawar after his
family moved here from Bengal. His father was the Prime Minister of
Jhalwar then, and Ravi Shankars brother, the celebrated dancer
Uday Shankaralso lived here for a long time. Uday Shankar formerly
used to dance at the Natyashala in Jhalawar before the European dancer
Anna Pavlova discovered him and put him into the international arena.
¤ The City is A Devotee of God Hanuman
Jhalawars coat of arms revolves around a likeness of the monkey
god Hanuman, known for his legendary feats of strength. Hanuman is
depicted here more as a caricature than a real monkey, and is set
within a shield. A horse and a lion flank each side of the shield
which bears an inscription. The entire image is crowned off by a
trident, representing the goddess Durga. Currently Zalim Singhs
descendents are the unofficial rulers, although their
titles and privy purses were taken away by the Indian government in
¤ Festivites in Jhalawar
The Chandrabhaga fair in Jhalrapatan is a rather interesting one.
Essentially a cattle fair, Chandrabhaga becomes a hub of activity with
cows, horses, buffaloes and bullocks being bought and sold by people
who come from as far as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.