84 pillared cenotaph- An underrated gem in Bundi

Bundi's glorious 84 pillared cenotaph

The mysteries of ancient times have always appealed to us and inspired us to visit historical places across the globe. One such monument is the 84-pillared cenotaph in the quaint little town of Bundi in Rajasthan.

The name of the cenotaph comes from chaurasi khambe or 84 pillars. The monument stands on 84 beautifully carved pillars erected on a raised platform. The symmetrical design with detailed engravings on white stones creates a sight to marvel at.

Back in the past

The glorious 84 pillared cenotaph
The glorious 84 pillared cenotaph

The Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri was constructed in 1683 by Rao Raja Anirudh Singh, a ruler of Bundi. As the legend goes, he got the cenotaph built in the memory of his nurse, Deva, showcasing the profound respect and gratitude he had for her. Other historians believe that Rao Raja Anirudh built the cenotaph dedicating it to his foster brother named Deva. Whatever the reason was, we can vouch for the monument’s timeless beauty and the benevolent nature of the ruler that reflects the values and social structures of the past.

The marvel of 84 pillared cenotaph

the painted celling of 84 pillared cenotaph bundi
Skillfully painted ceiling of 84 pillared cenotaph

The chhatri is a double-storied structure adorned with artistic figures of gods and animals. The stone work is a fine example of the Rajput Architecture they took pride in. A flight of stairs takes you to the lower level of the chhatri where a large Shiva Lingam is placed in the middle. The beautiful dome covers this level in the shape of a flower. 

Shiva Lingam in 84 pillared cenotaph
The Shiva Lingam in the cenotaph

A tiny staircase in the corner leads to the upper level, the terrace of the main cenotaph. In this space, 4 chhatris or umbrella domes are placed in 4 corners with 16 pillars supporting them. These 16 pillars and the ones at the lower level sum up to 84. The lower level walls have simple yet intrinsic carvings, depicting the brilliant craftsmanship of artisans. 

Around the cenotaph

The stair walls around Chaurasi Khambo ki chhatri
The stair walls around Chaurasi Khambo ki chhatri

The Cenotaph is located in the old part of the city. Henceforth the surroundings were empty, with vacant plots and playgrounds around. However, in recent times, construction work has taken over the city and no plot remains vacant. Right next to the cenotaph is a resort under construction. This was during our visit in January 2024. In the coming few years the infrastructure of Bundi would undergo a sea of transformation. As you gaze around from the lower level of the cenotaph, a blanket of greenery is visible, often interrupted by new constructions.     

Revisit the hidden gem

84 pillared cenotaph Bundi
The historic 84 pillared cenotaph in old city of Bundi

Bundi has numerous stepwells and small ancient memorials. However, 84 pillared cenotaph is overshadowed by the popularity of Rani ji ki Baori. Unfortunately, it never got the attention it deserved. In spite of being damaged the monument was preserved and now lies under the protection of state tourism. Simple but impressive, the story of 84 pillared cenotaph needs to be celebrated much like the revered Maharaniyo ki Chhatri in Jaipur. 

How to reach Chaurasi Khambo ki Chhatri

The cenotaph is merely 2 kilometres from the popular counterpart Raniji ki Baori. The easiest way to reach here is via auto or taxi. We covered this distance on foot as the weather in January was great and also to complete our steps for the day. Haha!

Timing and entry fee

The monument remains open from sunrise to sunset. Closing time is between 5-5.30 pm.

Entry fee- Composite ticket for Indians is Rs 75 that clubs Sukh Mahal, 84 pillared cenotaph, and Rani ji ki baori. If you are not clubbing the three places, the entry fee would be Rs 50 per monument for Indians. International tourists would pay Rs 350 irrespective of a composite or single entry.

How to reach Bundi

By Road– Bundi is 38 km from Kota, 229 from Jaipur, 385 from Sanchi Udayagiri. The best way to reach Bundi is by driving. Instead of driving 436 km from Gurugram, we divided the journey into three parts. Here is the breakup of our journey- Gurugram to Tonk (two nights), Tonk to Udayagiri (two nights), Udayagiri to Bundi (three nights), and back to Gurugram.  

By Train- Bundi Railway station connects with major cities of India including Rajasthan, UP, and MP. So please check the timetable and connecting stations here.

By Air– The nearest airport to Bundi is in Jaipur located 206 km away. You can complete your onward journey in a taxi or connecting bus.

Best time to visit Bundi

October to March is the ideal time to visit Bundi when the weather is pleasant. Summer months are harsh and unbearable. You can still visit during the shoulder season when the hotel rates are all-time low.

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