Historically significant, Alwar is believed to the be the location where the Pandavas from The Mahabharata spent their 13-year period of exile, while politically it was considered a strategic location amongst the Rajputs in their process of acquiring territories in the north. Today, Alwar, or Matsya-Nagar, is a location you should consider for a weekend getaway if you’re in Delhi and looking to take a break from all the noise.
Surrounded by the lush green mountains of The Aravalli Range, this is the most breathtaking part of Alwar. Spread over seven kilometers’ square area, this tranquil lake comes alive in the month of August when the monsoons bring out the verdant richness and freshness of the lake. The best way to enjoy the lake is to take a motorboat ride from the fort palace which lasts about 30 minutes and can be extended on request. The boat ride traverses the outer contours of the lake bringing you close to the foliage of the hills where you can see a variety of flowers in full bloom. Moving along, the central island within the lake is home to a number of birds and is the official retreat for crocodiles during summer.
A three to four hour ride in an open jeep in the forest that starts out at about seven in the morning. The park is well maintained and managed well in terms of the allotments of rides and the allocation of guides and jeeps. The routes are clear and the strategic points are well marked for tourists to spot a tiger or two along with a number of animals and birds. A good thing to remember here is that only the jeeps can take you to the exact parts of the forest where you have a chance of spotting tigers. If you choose to take your private cars in, you can only go as far as the mettled roads go and the only things visible from there are some deer. The trip ends upon arrival at the Pandupole Temple where you can stop for snacks and use the restrooms.
Believed to have been built as a hunting lodge by Maharaja Vinay Singh and a retreat spot for his beloved Queen Shila, the Heritage Lake Palace has been converted to a tourist spot with facilities for overnight stays and food. Architecturally it is perched upon and built into a cliff from the mountains, thus having an entrance from both the mountain passages as well as a long stairway from the lake. This is the place where people halt for a simple meal comprising of sandwiches, paneer-pakodas, tea and coffee before heading out to explore the lake. Other facilities include rooms for rent for those who wish to spend the night.
Milk cakes (kalakand) are found in abundance on the streets of the market in Alwar. Assorted with nuts and cream, almost every stall has them stacked up and ready to serve. The central market is known to be a busy one with narrow lanes intersecting one another. With the hustle and bustle for daily necessities, this market also glitters with hanging bangles of innumerable colors and designs. Adorned with dangling yellow bulbs, the interior of the market emits a golden hue.
The road from Sariska National park to Siliserh Lake is an adventurous one, if you are willing to take it. The road is smooth and the drive scenic with lush green mountains on both sides where you can occasionally spot a peacock of two dancing or running for its life. There are areas where the turns are sharp and the driveway leads into moss-covered caves. The adventure lies in moving away from the main road and taking a turn that leads you into a world within the mountains. There, you find small pockets of inhabitants who welcome you to their humble home and treat you to tea. The milk tastes nothing like that of the city as they milk the cow in from of you and bring you an experience of rural life.