Bairat: An Offbeat Secret Near Delhi

A rich heritage site of ancient remains, Bairat takes care of your long-drive cravings in Delhi
A View of Bairat-Viratnagar
A View of Bairat-ViratnagarWikimedia Commons

People desire an unexplored and esoteric destination when they wish to get away for a weekend. They want to take long drives to a place that will be immensely rewarding and memorable. This curiosity to find unique locations roots from an itch to not waste weekends over hackneyed destinations. Here we have a brand new addition to the list of offbeat destinations, which you can chart easily from Delhi.

History of Bairat

Bairat, or Bairath, or ancient Viratnagar, was the capital of Matsyadesa, founded by King Virat. When the Pandavas were in exile, they spent their thirteenth year in disguise within the kingdom. Located on the hill known as Bijak-ki-Pahari (Hill of the Inscription), the site has yielded numerous ancient artefacts of much historical value. It houses the remains of one of the oldest purpose-built structures, Bairat Temple–a Chaityagriha (prayer hall) built by Ashoka in 3 BCE. Among other notable discoveries are two of Ashoka's Minor Rock Edicts, the Bairat, and the Calcutta-Bairat Rock Edicts. The earliest circular Buddhist shrine, Bairat, is home to a monastery and numerous remnants of Asokan pillars beside the circular temple. Just 216 km from Delhi is the oldest surviving ruins of the Buddhist Bairat Temple. Take a long drive from Delhi to the site as you kick back and explore this hidden gem.

Things To See

The Remains of the Bairat Temple
The Remains of the Bairat TempleWikimedia Commons

The Remains of Bairat Temple

The ruins of the temple are a testament to the earliest civilisations of the subcontinent and make for a majestic sight. It has the remains of the circular temple, which had used fire-burnt bricks. Archaeologists believe that the temple was such an elaborate and detailed architecture that it had no precedent, making it a highly revered Buddhist site of its time. It has a vast cannon-shaped rock in front with a rock platform in between where archaeologists have discovered inscriptions.


The hill around Bairat Temple, known as the Beejak-ki-Pahari, is an elevated rocky point of the area. It houses all the Buddhist inscriptions, individual monastic cells, and other discovered artefacts. Visitors can walk around the hill and rest on one of its rocks as they absorb the ancientness of the site.

The Mughal Gate
The Mughal GateWikimedia Commons

Mughal Gate

At 5.3 km from Bairat Temple is the Mughal Gate of Viratnagar. A classic example of medieval architecture, the Mughal Gate is surrounded by lush greenery. Outside its gate is a splendid view of old banyan trees, which opens up to a panoramic view of the place.

Ashoka Rock Edicts

At a distance of 6 km from Bairat Temple and 1.6 km from the Mughal Gate is an isolated site that houses the Ashokan Rock Edicts. Aside from the inscriptions, the site provides a scenic view of the city, and travellers can enjoy sunsets from this point.

There are several other interesting places near Bairat that travellers may find interesting. The Ashoka Shailekh and the Jain temples, for example, are a must-visit.

Where to Eat

The area does not have too many choices if you want to stop for a bite. One place for some refreshments is the Ramdev Family Restaurant in Viratnagar, located around 3.9 km from Mughal Gate, taking the NH-284A. The restaurant has vegan and gluten-free choices. You can also visit Gulmohar Express vegetarian restaurant, which is 4.7 km from Mughal Gate on the same highway. It is known for its efficient, customisable dishes, Rajasthani cultural performances, and terrace-top seating arrangement.

Where to Stay

The Gulmohar Sariska Resort in Viratnagar may be a good option as the lush green landscape of the Aravalli Hills surrounds it. It is also near the Sariska National Park. Travellers can also check out the Shahpura Palace, just 65 km from Jaipur.

How to Reach

Air: The nearest airport is in Jaipur (104 km).

Rail: The nearest railhead is in Alwar (61 km). The Jaipur railway station (103 km) is better connected.

Road: Travellers from Delhi can take the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway to reach the site. Viratnagar is located on the Delhi-Alwar highway and is accessible from major cities.

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