While planning a short getaway from NCR, never had Alwar appeared in our list. But this time it did, when I was planning husband’s birthday surprise. Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri in Alwar was our first stopover before we checked into Dadhikar Fort. The less known cenotaph awed us with its beauty and here is all you need to know about it.
The cenotaph or chhatri was in 1815 in the memory of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh and his mistress Moosi. The society then used to turn look down upon people with illicit relationships and she too faced the same fate. But apparently she was the only woman to produce a male child, a must for people in that era. When Bakhtawar Singh died, she self immolated (a ritual known as Sati then) an thereby gained the respect of the same society. Though she was never married to the king, she was given the status of “Maharani” posthumously. Their son Vinay Singh made this cenotaph in their memory.
Before reaching the cenotaph, one has to cross the lake “Sagar”. The mesmerizing green water and the chhatri structures are just too pretty. The watch towers were made to spend time in evening watching the sun set against the shimmering green backdrop.
Cenotaph- The saga of red
The ground floor is a beautiful structure of red sandstones and the first floor which is made of white marble. You can visit the ground floor with your shoes. The ornate carvings in the structure exudes royalty and a historic charm. The several pillars of the structure on which the first floor rests gives a unique look.
The first floor – Marbled in white
Two narrow and steep stair cases take you to the first floor made with white marble. Facing the emerald green lake, the beautiful cenotaph is a gorgeous place to spend time in solidarity. The upper dome is shaped as a flower, offering a magnificent shape to the whole chhatri.
You can roam around in the outer premises with your shoes on but have to take them off before entering the shrine. The shrine has the feet imprints of Bakhtawar Singh and Moosi Maharani where you can light up incense sticks and offer prayers.
The temple’s enormously pretty ceiling and walls are to watch out for. Each wall of this place narrates stories of Mahabharata and Alwar’s rich history through the art, which were painted hundreds of years ago. Even in the scorching of summers, the marble shrine remains cool. Thanks to its shape and carefully planned architecture with natural ventilation.
Chat with the temple pujari or the cop present there who would entice you with interesting tales. We left the place around 2 pm after imbibing the stunning beauty and having conversations with both. It is surprising that Moosi Maharni ki chhatri in Alwar does not appear in the UNESCO World heritage sites’ list. The forgotten history and the fading interest of people may perhaps be the reason.
The best part about Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri is that it remains open 24 hours and there is no entry fee. However, it is difficult to talk about safety and lighting arrangement at night. Hence it is advisable to visit before sunset.
How to reach and road condition
There are apparently two routes to reach this place. One is a neat and well built road, from the outskirts of the town. (Rajasthan usually has a good road network). The other one is a bad road through the town. This narrow and pot-holed route was suggested by Google. Please do not follow it blindly. We asked the locals and they kept saying that cars can easily pass the narrow lanes. At one point in time we thought of turning the car around and skipping the place. But the curiosity within us didn’t let us do that and we kept navigating through the bumpy and filthy lanes.
If you are a resident of Gurgaon, Alwar is hardly 130 km away. We took Gurgaon- Bhiwadi Alwar bypass Road-
The route that you can follow is from the outskirts of the city. Once you reach the Maharan Pratap chowk, take left towards the marketplace. You will cross sweet shops, apparel stores and a famous khaadi store from the round about. Goggle had suggested us to go straight and we lost our patience. Phew!
Read this for more offbeat stories of Rajasthan
P.S: We did this trip in October 2019