OT Travel Itinerary: How To Spend A Weekend In Deogarh, Rajasthan

The expansive fort palace complex, temples, miniature paintings, jeep and train safaris, birding and wildlife spotting make for excellent weekend distractions
Deogarh Mahal is a 17th-century palace complex
Deogarh Mahal is a 17th-century palace complexShutterstock

A quick once-over of its provenance, in the annals of Rajasthan's history before you venture out, will reveal that Deogarh served as a feudal state in Mewar. And the "Rawat", or the raja of Deogarh, who controlled as many as 210 villages, was one of sixteen feudal barons (umraos) who was entitled to wait on the Maharana of Udaipur, the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, legendary for its warrior kings like Rana Kumbha, Rana Sanga and Rana Pratap.

Deogarh, formerly Devgarh, located in Rajsamand district, was the former estate of the Chundawat Rajputs (who hailed from the Mewar's House of Sisodia) and had 210 villages in their control. Gokul Garh Fort is one of the many defence forts that the Chundawats built to protect their jagir, at one time Rajasthan's fourth largest. To the west falls the Kali Ghati of the Aravali Range, while the Nathdwara Ghats are to the south and Ajmer in the north.

Badal Mahal at Deogarh Fort
Badal Mahal at Deogarh FortKailash Mohankar/Wikimedia Commons

The altitude allows Deogarh to be a popular destination all year round, even when much of Rajasthan is burning up under the untrammelled gaze of the summer sun. The expansive fort palace complex, temples, miniature paintings, jeep and train safaris, birding and wildlife spotting make for excellent weekend distractions. The other attraction of course is it's not as crowded, unlike Udaipur, Jodhpur even Bikaner. The area is noted for its granite polishing, a very old occupation on account of the region's mining activities because of the great reserves of costly stones, such as marble etc, serving the construction business.

Here's how to spend a weekend here.

Nakkarkhana at Deogarh Fort
Nakkarkhana at Deogarh FortKailash Mohankar/Wikimedia Commons

Check Out The Palace With A Fort

This tranquil 17th-century Deogarh Mahal palace complex appears to be caught in a time warp with its yesteryears setting by the Raghav Sagar Lake and Sopri Bundh. Centuries in the making, Deogarh Mahal's history begins further back even before the majestic palace was built. The complex is made up of several palaces each opening up on a private courtyard. What is really lovely about it is that it's not a "fort palace" but a palace within a fort which has been converted into a luxury hotel. A unique aspect of the palace is the fabulous range of Deogarh School miniature paintings that adorn its walls.

A Fortified Hunting Lodge Favoured By The Sarus Crane

A sarus crane
A sarus craneincredibleindia.org

Fort Seengh Sagar is a fortified hunting lodge, converted into a luxury villa, stands on an island in the middle of a small lake close to the silent ruins of the deserted village of Manpura, just 5km away from Deogarh Mahal. The spot comes into its own after the monsoon when the lake is abrim with water and birdlife - popular visitors being the Saras crane, white throated kingfisher, pied kingfisher, black-headed ibis, et al. This once densely forested patch of land was inhabited by lions (sinh) from which it gets its name. Its organic structure has been created by members of the legendary "Sompuras", the clan of architects of Gujarat revered for their brilliant temples and palaces.

Stile thinkana, baijnath, ritratto di maharavat nahar singh, deogarh, rajastan, 1831
Stile thinkana, baijnath, ritratto di maharavat nahar singh, deogarh, rajastan, 1831 Wikimedia Commons

Life In Miniature

Deogarh School of Miniature Painting was a breakaway from the major Mewar School in Udaipur. The late Rawat Nahar Singhji II, used to be an avid collector and could wax lyrical over this specialised art form. The work of the artists was dominated by scenes from the private lives and court ceremonies of the ruling Rawats, with occasional sorties into territory such as the Krishna Leela for light relief. Inscriptions on the back of many of the Deogarh paintings have enabled the majority to be identified with one particular family of artists - Bagta who painted the miniature of Anop Singh (active in Deogarh around 1769-1820) his son, Chokha to whom the miniature of Gokuldas II is attributed (1770-1830) and Chokha's son, Baijnath (1800-1845). Stylistic evidence suggests that the same artists may also have worked on some of the wall paintings outside and inside Rooms 210 and 228 in the palace.

Take A Train Safari

Sign up for a unique journey from Goram Ghat to Phulod (17km/2hrs)  and see rural Rajasthan by meter gauge train on a 1930s British track. The track consists of 17 U-shape bridges and two tunnels with lots of monkeys popping up to watch you go by. Head to Kamblighat, which is ten minutes away from Deogarh Palace. The ending station is Phulad, from where you can ride back to Deogarh.

On A Temple Trail

The popular Anjaneshwar Mahadev Temple is located a few kilometers outside the city outside town. The Dashavatar Temple dedicated to Vishnu is said to date from the Gupta period. Manastambha Jain Temple Complex which dates back to the 17th century houses 31 shrines marked by images of the Tirthankara images, Manasthamba (votive pillars), Ayagpattas (votive tablets), Sarvatobhadra Pratimas or Jain images visible from all sides and Sahasrakutas or (carved pillars).

What To Shop

The three "M's" - mojaris, metal craft and miniature paintings - should be on top of your list as far as souvenirs go. The region is famed for its leather and metalwork (both in brass and silver) and there are a number of shops in the Rajputon ka Mohalla where you can lay your hands on sturdy jootis, intricate metal toy carts and locks in the shape of camels, birds and scorpions, besides beautiful old and new silver jewellery. Check out Navrattan Jewellers for its excellent and evenly priced range at the&nbspKotwali Chabutra outside the palace gates.&nbspA few shops away is the Royal Art Palace that sells bric-a-brac but its traditionally bound leather diaries and old wooden photo-frames are worth browsing through. If you are looking to pick up some miniature paintings, head for Rijhavan, the palace shop that besides silver jewellery, silk shawls, garments and bedcovers, also sells Deogarh miniature paintings.

Around Deogarh


Constituted on April 10, 1991 as a separate district from Udaipur, Rajsamand takes its name from Rajsamand Lake, the famous artificial water body built by Maharana Raj Singh in the 17 th century. Rich in history, religion, culture, industry Rajsamand offers visitors a diverting range of activities to fill in leisurely days in this pretty region.

Rajsamand district is Rajasthan's biggest producer of marble. The picture-postcard-perfect Rajsamand town is a rewarding melange of serenity, heritage, and spirituality. You will simply love the alluring prospects served up by the serene Rajsamand Lake with its stepped embankments. It is located between the towns of Rajnagar and Kankroli. Created by damming the Gomti, Kelwa and Tali rivers, it's a popular picnic spot.

Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh FortWikimedia Commons

In World War II, the lake also served as a seaplane base for the Imperial Airways. Towards the Kankroli-end, lies Nauchchoki, an immense white stone embankment adorned by ornamental arches and pavilions. The Nauchchoki embankment is made up of 25 carved stone Raj Prashashti - the longest stone inscription in Sanskrit in the world. The approach to the water's edge is by marble terraces and an intricate network of stairs. Standing by the lakeshore is Dwarkadheesh Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It falls en route to Nathdwara via Eklingji.  

Dewair Battle Memorial
Dewair Battle MemorialWikimedia Commons


Dewair lies in the lap of the Aravalis in proximity of Kumbhalgarh and Madaria. In ancient times it was dominated by a variety of tribes. Many of Maharana Pratap's military campaigns were defined by guerrilla warfare tactics against the Mughals. The victory of Dewair was a crowning glory for him. Col. James Tod in his Annals and Antiquities of Rajputana described Dewair as "Marathon of Mewar". The beautiful Victory Memorial to Maharana Pratap was inaugurated by the then President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil in 2012.

Haldighati Pass
Haldighati PassWikimedia Commons


The historic pass, about 40km from Udaipur, links the districts of Rajsamand and Pali. Its name is inspired by yellow soil of the region and the site is remembered for the battle of Haldighati, which took place in 1576 between the kingdom of Mewar and the Mughal army led by Raja Man Singh. Maharana Pratap led the armed forces of Mewar against the Mughals who fought under the command of emperor Akbar's general Man Singh I of Amer. Check out the Maharana Pratap Museum here. Haldighati is also renowned for the mud art of Molela which is being vigorously promoted as a local cottage industry.

The Information

When to go: September to March and July to August

Nearest Airport: Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur (135km/2.5 hrs) is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Jodhpur. 

Nearest Railway Station: Ajmer (146km/3hrs) and Udaipur (135km/2.5hrs), which is equally convenient with a speedier connection from Delhi (Mewar Express which runs from the Nizamuddin Railway Station). From Jaipur, catch the Lake City Express to Udaipur. It's a pleasant 5-hr drive on NH 48 from Jaipur to Deogarh via Kishangarh, Ajmer and Beawar.

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