Saturday, 18 February 2017

Bundi (Rajasthan) - A Good Place to go to

Rajasthan is the place to see forts and palaces to one's heart's content. Bundi, a quaint, small town in south-east Rajasthan has somethings more to offer. Made memorable by the poem "Nakal Garh" by the poet Rabindranath Tagore about Bundi's chivalrous past, but somewhat far from the "maddening crowds" the town trundles along carrying its considerable history without much ado. But within the fort walls, in the "Garh Palace", is one of the finest range of paintings that one could expect to find in the Rajasthani miniature style. In the "mahals" of the Garh Palace that rise tier upon tier clinging to the hill-side, these paintings take the place of the inlay work and the pilaster decoratives that one finds in other palaces elsewhere - and is the better for it. Going back 300 to 400 years, these paintings - though somewhat faded in some places with passage of time - still glow with a light and a life all their own. It is one of the finest and largest "art exhibitions" of its type one could expect to see anytime anywhere.

A view of the "Garh Palace", Bundi

 One of the many murals in the Rajasthani miniature style at Garh Palace

But where Bundi really scores over the others is in the wide range of "rock art" that have been found near and around by a local "aficionado", Om Prakash Sharma, popularly known as "Kukki-ji" in the locality. Single-handedly Kukki-ji has explored hillocks and stream-beds around Bundi and today he can rightly boast of having identified over 100 rock art sites within about 15 to 20 kms of the town. Thus with Kukki-ji as the guide, one can literally and metaphorically travel from enjoying 17th century miniature paintings in the Garh Palace to pre-historic paintings by early man in India, possibly 6000 to 7000 years old in the course of a day. It is not an experience easily to be had. It is perhaps not an exaggeration to consider that these 100 odd sites (and still counting) along about a 35 kms. stretch as discovered by Kukki-ji  near Bundi equal the famous assemblage of rock art at Bhimbhetka near Bhopal. 

"Kukki-ji" at one of the rock art sites

A rock art painting of a buffalo, made by early man

All in all, a visit to Bundi can be quite be quite satisfying. The local "kachouris" and "samosa"  are delicious add-ons. 

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