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India >> Rajasthan >> Dungarpur >> Dungarpur - The Hillock Kingdom
Dungarpur - The Hillock Kingdom Dungarpur, Rajasthan
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Dungarpur, the administrative head quarters of Dungarpur District, is a city in the southernmost part of Rajasthan state of India. Dungarpur is named after ‘The town of hillocks’ and the capital of the former princely state of Dungarpur. It formed the part of the territory known in history as ‘Bagar’ or ‘Vagad’ with ‘Vatpadrak’, present ‘Baroda’ (a village in Aspur tehsil) as its old capital.


Dungarpur, the majestic ‘City of Hills’, dates back to 1282 A.D. Dungarpur is the seat of elder branch of Sisodias of Udaipur, while the younger branch is the seat of the Maharanas of Mewar. The town of Dungarpur, the capital of the state, was founded towards the end of the 14th century by Rawal Bir Singh. The region boasts of a vibrant past. This former ‘Bhil’ bastion became the realm of the Rajput rulers of Mewar, when latter wrested control from Dungaria, the tribal chief. Though Rajput rulers have lorded over Dungarpur, the nomenclature of the region can be traced back to the legacy of the Bhils.


Dungarpur is an ideal place for one whose intentions are clear to do just nothing other than bask in leisure filled days and laze around in a tranquil atmosphere. In that case, one is required to book a room in Udai Bilas Palace, to enjoy its exquisite luxuries and comfort. The palace, now considered as a notional center of the town, is nestled in an idyllic surrounding with blue waters of the lake Gaibsagar, on its south and the dam that created the lake, to its west. Else, Dungarpur can keep you captivated for good three to four days if not more. It has a lot to offer in terms of sight seeing, the relics and the veiled realm of the old palace, the ecstasy of bird-watching and the rich multicultural facets of the city and its inhabitants.


Actually an old palace, the Juna Mahal is considered to be truly ancient. Some justifiable claims render it as the oldest existing royal palace complex in India, perhaps in the world. The construction of the palace commenced sometime in the 13th century and for about 650 years it was occupied by a single royal family, the Guhilot Rajputs. With the passage of time the palace building added new wings and floors. Today, it is a wonderful edifice, nine storeys high, with two levels under-ground, although the structure suffered from neglect during the period of non-occupancy.


The Juna Mahal sits majestically atop a 1,476-ft high hillock dominantly overlooking the old township of Dungarpur. Its towering cenotaphs and engraved balconies are visible even from a distance. The palace was built using a beautiful bluish grey local stone called pareva stone and is a rare example of exquisite temple architecture being introduced into a royal residence. The decorative rudiments include pillars, brackets and arches; the carving depicts warriors, dancers and musicians. The interiors are akin to a museum – its various chambers reflects true workmanship, tastefully and intricately decorated with ornamental mirror work, stone and glass inlays.


However, the most impressive of all, are the paintings adorning the walls. There are paintings of gods and goddess, the series depicting Lord Krishna and his playful stories are amongst the favorites. There are portrayal of court scenes, hunting expeditions, Gangaur festivity, and the embattlement of Bhils of Dungarpur by the Rajputs and even a portrait of Queen Victoria.


Gaibsagar and the adjoining woodlands provide a great place to observe avian fauna. From July onwards till February, the region becomes a nesting ground for a number of endemic and migratory birds. The woods are home to the grey partridges, the paradise fly-catchers and the golden-backed woodpeckers. In the marshy stretches between Udai Bilas Palace and the Juna Mahal, one can spot the sarus cranes and the wading birds.



An important pilgrimage site just off NH8, Rishabdeo is a captivating place. The origin of the temple here are unknown but there is evidence of some repairs having been done in the 15th century. The temple is built of blue-grey pareva stone with beautiful white marble carvings. The multi-pillared hall has an extra-ordinary intensity about it. In the centre is a big idol of black marble. Interestingly, Jains, Hindus and Bhils worship the deity in their own ways. For Jains the deity is Rishabdeo, also called Adinath, their first Tirthankar. For Hindus the deity is Kesriyaji, a reincarnation of Vishnu. Bhils worship the icon as their Kala Deo, the black lord. The temple is also known as Kesriya Temple because Kesar (saffron) is the chief offering made to the god here.


Baroda village, once the capital of Vagad, is situated at a distance of 41 km by road from Dungarpur and lies in Aspur tehsil. In Aspur proper also, there are a number of beautiful temples. Baroda village is famous for the ruins of temples of old Rajput architecture. Saivism and Jainism were the main religions of this place in the early times. Near the tank in Baroda village, there is a beautiful, old Shiva's temple made of white stones. In the heart of this village lies an old Jain temple. The principal idol in the temple is that of Parshvanath.


The Beneshwar temple containing the most reverend Shiva Linga of the area is situated on a delta formed at the confluenced of Som and Mahi rivers, about one and a half km from Nawa Tapra village. Sabla is the nearest bus stand located at a distance of about 7 km from the temple on Udaipur-Banswara-Dungarpur bus route. A fair at the temple is held during Magh shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Purnima. Just near the Beneshwar temple is the Vishnu temple which was reportedly constructed in 1793A.D..


The temple of Boreshwar Mahadeo is situated at a distance of 83 km from Dungarpur near village Solaj in Aspur tehsil and belongs to 1179 A.D.


There is a Shiva temple which is situated at a distance of 9 km from Dungarpur on the road side near Kanba village in Dungarpur tehsil.


Deo Gaon is situated at a distance of 24 km from Dungarpur in the north-east. On the banks of Som River, there is an old and beautiful Shiva temple, Deo Somnath. Built in white stone, the temple has imposing currants. It gives an impression of the antiquity. There are several inscriptions in the temple.


Situated on the bank of Mahi river Galiakot village is located 58 km towards the south-east of Dungarpur. The nearest town of Sagwara lies at a distance of 19 km. According to the tradition Galiakot derives its name from a Bhil Chieftain, who ruled the area. It was once the capital of the Parmar Rajputs and also of the erstwhile Dungarpur State. The relics of an old fort can still be seen. The village owes its renown to the shrine of Syed Fakhruddin. It is visited by thousands of Dawoodi Bohara devotees who gather here from all over the country at the time of annual ' Urs' which is held from the 27th day of  Muhharram, the first month of Mohammedan year. Syed Fakhruddin was widely known for his learning and saintliness. In the course of his wandering, he died at Galiakot village and was buried there.

 Getting there


Foothills of southeast Rajasthan.


100 km south of Udaipur and 500 km southwest of Jaipur.

 Fast Facts
Name Dungarpur - The Hillock Kingdom Best Time To Visit October to March
Location Dungarpur   Rajasthan   West   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Historical City
Temperature Summar   38-42°C      Winter   8-12°C      Rainy   32-35°C
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