I decided to explore the Royal cenotaph at Ahar which is a small town, 2-3 kms from Udaipur. This place serves as the burial ground for the royals of Mewar and these cenotaphs were built approximately 350 years ago. Each cenotaph is carved out of white marble and embellished with sculptural details in the roofs and columns.
A dome is built on top of each in the typical Rajput style of architecture, known as a Chhatri or Umbrella. Its supported on another set of columns which too are beautified with figurines and other motifs. A series of steps lead up to the elevated platforms of each cenotaph.
According to Rajput tradition, when the husband dies; his wife commits Sati or self-immolation in the flames of his funeral pyre. Most of these kings had more than one queen.
Out of the 19 kings cremated here, the most notable cenotaph is of Maharana Sangram Singh. Fifty six pillars form the structure of this cenotaph which has an octagonal dome. The pillars are richly ornamented to denote the status of the deceased king. He was buried here along with his 21 wives.
The last king to be cremated here was Maharana Bhagwat Singh who was the father of the present King Arvind Singhji. The latter undertook the initiative of restoring the beauty and importance of his heritage. He has turned Ahar cenotaph into an important tourist spot. So much so, that several Hindi movies have been shot here for this unique locale.
There is a small step-well with a Shiva temple next to these memorials which were considered holy by the ruling kings. There is a small museum too nearby which houses relics unearthed here and have great historical significance.
These grand stone memorials have withstood the testament of time to present the grandeur of the Mewar lineage in Udaipur. A walk through these silent tombs left me awe-struck and I must confess to not climbing on them as I felt it would be disrespectful. Nowhere else in Rajasthan have I come across such a unique memorial ground to commemorate the ancestors.
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- Ahar is about 3 kms east of Udaipur city and one can hire an autorickshaw or a cab for a round trip.
- Entry to the grounds is free and its open everyday from sunrise to sunset.
- The museum has a small entry fee is located a few steps down the road from the Cenotaph.
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If Rajasthan fascinates you, you could peruse my other posts on #RajasthanTravelDiaries here: