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BAIRAT

This is a fascinating small town set amidst Jaipur and Alwar. It possesses a rich history that well explains the significance of this tiny land. Situated around 90 kilometres from Jaipur, it brilliantly portrays the settings of the Mughal era and also has on display, beautiful murals and paintings depicting the same. This place plays shelter to the remains of a circular shrine. This shrine is believed to be the oldest structural temple in India. The most important inscriptions of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273-232 BC) can be found here.

The land is a combination of high ridges and rocky hills. According to a legend, the land was called Matsyadesa during the Vedic era. King Virat had Viratnagar as the capital of the land. The Pandavas, heroes of Mahabharata spent 13 years of exile there. Bairat is more famous as a Buddhist site and has great attractions for the tourists, like the Ashoka Rock Edits and a Mughal mansion with fascinating murals. A 500-metre high hill famous as the Bijak Ki Pahadi is situated here. There are two-terraced levels in this ancient monument. The lower level has the circular temple whereas the upper level displays residential buildings. The latter has cells for the monks and these quarters are precisely large and resemble an open courtyard.

The place offers a captivating view of the surroundings. Earlier, the shrine stood firm on 26 octagonal wooden columns, the space between which was filled with bricks. The shrine had a stupa in its domain and the entrance was towards the east. The Rock Edits (carved on a rock) and the garden house of the Mughal era are situated at a distance of 5 kilometres from the shrine on the opposite side. Bairat was, in those times, a very significant centre for the trading activities. Though a concrete structure now protects the rock edits, they are still barely visible.

The Mughal gardens are situated a little ahead. These 17th century gardens are spread across a vast area along the bottom of a high ridge. With trees enveloping a walled enclosure, there are many amazing buildings of historical importance. The murals, though exposed to the atrocities of the weather and changing seasons, have been maintained well. One of the attractions is the beautiful building termed as the Mughal Gateway by the Rajasthan Department of Archaeology. Housed inside are wall-paintings that depict the legendary scenes from Sanskrit epics. This place is supposed to be the area where Emperor Akbar had camped for hunting in the territory of Amber.

Legend has it that the garden was once a garden mansion constructed by a rich merchant to please the Emperor. Some of the murals have been placed on the dome of the five open pavilions on the roof terrace. They seem to be in a pretty decent condition as compared to those preserved in the room, despite being exposed to weather. The murals showcase narrative themes from mythological stories in the form of paintings, the most prominent colours being earth red, green, gray, white and black.


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