The quaint city of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan was built in the 18th Century by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I of Jaipur. Home to the famous Ranthambore National Park, the ‘planned city’ of Sawai Madhopur is the Municipal headquarters of the district of Rajasthan. The city is graced with a string of interesting places to visit and has some thrilling stories to tell about the Rajasthan Monarchy.
The most popular places to visit while you are there are:
1. Ranthambore National Park
The dense deciduous forest that once belonged to the Maharajas of Rajasthan is a treasure trove of the best flora and fauna nature has to offer. The national park is known mainly for being one of the biggest tiger reserves of India. Among the many lakes inside the national park, the Padam Talao is the largest and provides the best view of the forest. Throughout the day, the wild animals come to the banks of the lake to drink water and bathe in the cool water of the lake. The sunset over the lake and the forest expeditions arranged by the park makes for a thrilling experience.
2. Khandar Fort
Just outside the boundaries of the Ranthambore National Park stands the ancient Khandar Fort. Because of its location on a vertical hill, the Fort had a reputation of being ‘invincible’ and its Rulers are said to have never lost a war. The spacious interiors of the Fort house several temples and ponds. Notable among the temples are the Jain Temple and the Hanuman Temple. The two huge water tanks, Ramkunda and Lakshmankunda are an instant attraction for the tourists. Adding to the eerie thrills provoked by the high ceilings, archways and latticed windows, quite a few wild animals like tigers and leopards can be spotted in the fort.
3. Bhoori Pahadi Sand Dunes
The Bhoori Pahadi Sand Dunes located at a distance of 45kms from Sawai Madhopur is worth a visit if you are looking for a day’s outing. The rambling area of white sand dunes provides for a perfect day’s adventure with camel and horse safaris available. Trekking through the mountainous area will enable you to capture breath-taking images of the sunset in the horizon. You will spot the small groups of Meena tribes in their colorful clothes and intricate Rajasthani jewellery and learn a bit about their way of life.
4. Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary
The Sawai Man Singh wildlife sanctuary is located 10kms from Sawai Madhopur in the rolling hills of the Vindhya Range. It is actually a buffer area for the Ranthambore Sanctuary and the eco-tourism site is a treat to the eyes providing a mesmerizing panoramic view of lush greenery. Pathways and biking trails lead up to the table-top plateau of Neemli Dang, a popular viewing point for tourists. Wild animals like hyena, nilgai, foxes, deers, hares and the occasional chinkaras can be spotted in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is also famous for a huge number of varying species of colorful blooming trees.
5. Rajiv Gandhi Regional Museum Of Natural History
An initiative of the Government of India, the Rajiv Gandhi Regional Museum of Natural History is located 9kms from the district of Sawai Madhopur. The institution is committed to the preservation of the abundant natural resources, forests and wildlife. The museum displays a large number of exhibits representing the flora, mineral resources and the geology of the Western region. Paintings, pottery, ornaments and handicrafts particular to Rajasthan local art are included in the display. The museum also houses a well-stocked library containing a large number of books on the wildlife and bio-diversity of the Western region.
6. Surwal Lake
A mere 15 mins drive from Sawai Madhopur takes you to the sparkling waters of the popular Surwal Lake. The serene surrounding of the lake is known to be a paradise for bird-watching. Over 50 species of birds flock in and around the lake, especially during sunrise and the early hours of the morning. Among the many birds spotted are the cranes, pelicans, ducks, graylag geese, spoonbills, robins and herons. The colorful kingfisher can be spotted aplenty near the shallow waters of the lake preying on its abundance of fish. Quaint farms with lush green fields dotted with grazing cattle and the occasional water canals grace flank one side of the lake. Winter is the best season to visit as during the summer the lake usually remains dry.
7. Amareshwar Mahadeo Temple
One of the most popular religious destinations where devotees flock to while at Sawai Madhopur is the Amareshwar Mahadeo Temple. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated at a picturesque location surrounded by sparkling green rolling hills and magnificent landscape dotted with beautiful groves and graced by a magnificent waterfall. The place is a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. Water springs dot the premises of the temple and there are separate bathing areas for men and women. Quite a few wild animals from the nearby Ranthambore National Park can also be spotted around the temple grounds.
Being a ‘planned medieval city’, Sawai Madhopur with its vast expanse of flourishing flora and fauna, the magical experience of natural beauty and a rich history to speak of, makes for a memorable vacation!