Tourism in Bundi
Your travel guide to visit Bundi in India of the North and do not miss any tourist activity. Discover the best things to do, places to see, must-sees, and historic places. Also find information about accommodation to know where to sleep, when to leave or how to get there.
Bundi is an Indian city in the Hadoti region of southern Rajasthan, located about 150 km from Chittorgarh and 40 km from Kota. Although very different, much smaller and has an atmosphere of its own, it has -similar- aspects to Jodhpur by its fort overlooking the city and its small neighborhood of houses in dilapidated blue-indigo colors.
If you are looking for a picturesque town without artifice, in a raw and typical Rajasthan style with old alleys, all in a warm, relaxed atmosphere and without (too much) horn festival: visit Bundi.
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- Visit Taragarh Fort
- Look for the gates of Bundi
- Jait Sagar Lake
- Government Museum
- Sukh Mahal
- Shambu Lake
- Sikhar Burj
- Admire the cenotaphs and chhatris of Bundi
- Find kund and baori
- Tiger Reserve (Ramgarh Vishdhari)
- Phool Sagar Lake
- Phool Sagar Palace
- Discover the cave paintings
- Visit the temples of Bundi
- Bhimlat Waterfalls
- Viewpoint on Bundi
- Krishna House Tea
- Visit the market
- Visit the old town
- Visit Indargarh
- Bundi Festival
- Did you know?
- Tourist Office
- How many days to visit Bundi?
- When to go to Bundi?
- How to get to Bundi
Visit Taragarh Fort
Taragarh is one of the countless forts in Rajasthan. It was built during the reign of Rao Singh Bar in 1354 and overlooks the old town of Bundi from the top of its 500 meters of elevation on a hill.
It is a place where one can easily spend a day. At least if we go off the trails, which I encourage you to do. I was obviously the only one to do it and I had the heights of the fort almost to myself. There are many baori and monuments hidden in the vegetation of small havens of peace.
This Rajput palace is the one you can see from the city of Bundi and the first you visit when entering the walls of the fort. You access it by passing the elephant gate, Hathi Pole. Do not hesitate to be guided for the visit and to push doors. The palace is a huge labyrinth. You can actually visit it in depth and go through the most repulsive corridors, sometimes even covered in bat guano. They will take you to unsuspected places.
The palace is divided into mahal (buildings):
Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal, Chhatra Mahal and Chitrashala.
Chitrashala, also called “Umaid Mahal” is a Rajput art gallery that depicts scenes from the princely life and love story of Radha and Krishna. You will also find representations of Vishnu or Surya (deity of the sun) on the ceilings. It was Rao Umaid Singh’s private home. The place was turned into a pavilion after his death.
Several rooms containing other important paintings are closed. You can ask to open them with the guards (you will have better luck if you are accompanied by a local guide).
Ranisa Tara Palace
Ranisa Tara is a palace located on the heights of the fort. Near it are 2 large kund to visit and a massive bastion to the west, facing the telecommunication tower where one of the gates of Taragarh Fort is located: Chamunda Pole.
Descending from Ranisa Tara Palace, take the first path that leaves on the left through the vegetation to access the huge watchtower. You will have an amazing view from here. Especially on the city with a cenotaph in the background (see the following sections) and also on the lake Jait Sagar.
Warning: there is a very deep well barely protected and not indicated on this tower.
Going back down the steps that lead to the tower, take the path that descends even lower instead of retracing your steps. You will find a beautiful step well surrounded by bushes just below. I couldn’t take off from this place in the late afternoon. It’s a very rejuvenating place. The sun was beating on the north face of the basin, there were many birds, not any human around, it was good.
Shiv Temple Chhatri
Return to the same trail and then always move downhill. You can visit the cenotaph that you saw from the tower. It is converted into a Shivaist temple, with a beautiful shivalinga on the ground floor and a lingam¹ upstairs. The view from up there is magical and as the visitors are all in the same parts of the fort, you will also have this place to yourself. Sit, breathe, breathe, contemplate!
Maybe you will have a little desolation for the place which is very degraded by the youngest who obviously do not necessarily realize what this monument represents but it deserves a visit because it is one of the most beautiful places of the fort.
Note: Don’t forget to take off your shoes. The cenotaphs are erected in memory of the dead, especially since this one serves as a temple, all of which need to be visited barefoot in India.
Continue the visit by going down the path behind this temple and then you will arrive straight on a bastion with another breathtaking view of Bundi. From here, you can walk along a good part of the rampart and then you will fall back on the intersection that leads to Ranisa Tara or the entrance to the fort below. The complex is huge, why settle for the beaten track?
The ticket price for the entire complex costs INR 600 for foreigners (camera included). You have access to all the palaces but also to Kshar Bagh which is outside the fort.
The complex is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00.
Look for the gates of Bundi
Who says big fort, says many doors. Like many medieval towns in Rajasthan with forts, the siege of Bundi was protected by fortified gates. The one through which one enters the Taragarh compound is “Hathi Pole”. Here are the “Poles” of the city:
Many others exist on the outskirts, especially on the road to the lakes
Jait Sagar Lake
Jait Sagar Lake is a beautiful place to visit. The atmosphere is completely different from the old town. It is the perfect place to walk around with beautiful landscapes. You will find many lotuses on the water if you arrive at the right time. Here are the activities to do around the lake:
● You can visit Tiger Hill, the first on your right when you arrive at Jait Sagar. It was a place where big cats were numerous in the past, hence its name
● The Government Museum
● Sukh Mahal
● Jain and Hindu temples
The Government Museum in Bundi faces Jait Sagar Lake, about 1 km from the Old Town. It is located in the same place as Sukh Mahal. Many ancient weapons that were used in the time of the Maharaja and objects from the fort are on display. You will also find information about Bundi and its history.
Sukh Mahal (or Sukh Niwas) is a palace that was built on the shores of Jait Sagar Lake during the reign of Rao Raja Vishnu Singh. It was used as the second home of the Maharaja of Bundi for the summer seasons. It was also a place used for festival processions. It is said that there is a tunnel that connects Taragarh Fort and this palace in case of invasion.
Shambu Lake is just past Jait Sagar Lake. There is little water during the dry season but it fills up after the rainy season. You can observe many different species of birds here.
Among others: egrets, cormorants, painted stork, kingfishers and even black-headed ibises. I have seen all these species coexist among many others.
Sikhar Burj was the hunting lodge of the royal families who ruled Bundi. The tiger was hunted, as well as bears, antelopes and wild boar. Today it is abandoned but it is a beautiful place to visit facing Shambu Sagar Lake.
The square is literally invaded by macaques. I advise you to be wary if you feed them because there are more than you think. At the sight of food, they will be dozens to emerge from the trees. Be careful when you visit the interior of Sikhar Burj as you will be at their home. Note that there are 2 beautiful cenotaphs to visit behind the building.
Note: The lakes Jait Sagar and Shambu are not far from the city center, it takes less than an hour to walk to reach Sikhar Burj for example. The visit of the 2 water points and places to visit around can offer you a beautiful day of walking.
Admire the cenotaphs and chhatris of Bundi
Many cenotaphs dot the landscape of Bundi. You will easily notice them, often erected on top of hills, on lakes and sometimes even at the corner of a street. They are monuments built in memory of deceased people but they do not contain bodies. In India, many are cremated.
84 Pillared Cenotaph
The “84 pillared cenotaph”, as its name suggests, is composed of 84 pillars. This is the most impressive to visit. It was erected in the 17th century by a former Maharaja of Bundi, Rao Raja Anirudh in memory of his adoptive brother Deva. The historical monument is dedicated to the worship of Shiva. You will find in its center a lingam. You do not see it in the photo since it is taken from the front, but behind each of the pillars are several rows. There are 84 pillars in total.
The tour costs 350 INR for foreigners.
Khsar or Kesar Bagh is a site dedicated to the memory of former rulers and members of the royal families of Bundi. You will therefore find in this place many cenotaphs. The historic site is located on the side of the road halfway between Jait Sagar Lake and Shambu Sagar Lake. It consists of 22 maharaja cenotaphs and other smaller memorials.
The visit to Khsar Bagh is combined with that of the fort, which means that you have to visit all 2 places in the same day, or buy an individual ticket at the entrance of Taragarh.
Find kund and baori
Bundi is a city filled with step wells. You may know them as “baori”, “baoli“. There are more than fifty of them here and were twice as many in the past.
Today, at least a third is in ruins. I spent a day visiting some of them. It’s quite simple, ask ” baori” to the inhabitants of any street where you are and you will discover a different one each time.
Baori in India
As the following image shows, many wells are neglected in India. These monuments were once sacred and were considered energy places (and still are today) since they connected the underworld, the terrestrial world and the celestial world.
They were never built and oriented randomly but according to precise parameters. Namely, among others, the sun or energy circuits. When the British settlers arrived, the Indians were still actively using the wells. They were part of everyday life for domestic water use, drinking and rituals. There were constantly people inside.
The settlers later decreed that the Baori were impure and made the locals stop using them. This is how they began to be abandoned. However, there are still wells used and others converted into temples. There is a city a majority of stepwells are still honored and visited for religious and spiritual purposes : Varanasi
Notable Kund and Baori in Bundi
You can easily visit Nagar Sagar Kund which is located at the Bundi fruit and vegetable market. There is another well right in front of him, his twin. You can also visit Dhabhai Kund, which is one of the largest and best maintained or the huge baori Raniji Ki in a completely different style, in the shape of an “L” sinking 46 meters into the ground. No other is like him. However, its visit is paid and costs 200 INR for foreigners. These 3 places are all close to each other.
Nawal Sagar is also a popular kund. It is a basin with a cenotaph in the middle and a submerged temple dedicated to Varuna.
Tiger Reserve (Ramgarh Vishdhari)
Ramgarh and the tigers
The surroundings of Bundi as well as a large part of Rajasthan were once inhabited by many Bengal tigers. In Bundi, the last individual was last seen in 1999 in Ramgarh (Bundi Nature Reserve) before disappearing. About 130 km away, the Ranthambore National Park has ensured for many years the preservation and sustainability of the maintenance of the feline population to such an extent that it has continued to grow.
It was in 2020 that a male tiger from Ranthambore was again reported in Ramgarh. A natural migratory movement probably due to the overpopulation of the famous reserve, due to the territories already all occupied by the dominant males.
Then comes 2022, when a female from Ranthambore was voluntarily transferred to Bundi. So there is at this time a couple of tigers in the Ramgarh reserve. All that is needed is a little patience and hope to see the future offspring arrive.
This is not the first recorded migration. In 2013 a Ranthambore tiger was identified in Ramgarh for the same reason and was later reported again in Ranthambore where it managed to establish its territory. The reason for its return is the non-presence of other tigers in Bundi and therefore the lack of females to mate.
A problem that did not exist decades ago when the Bengal tiger population was not in a critical state of extinction. There are only 3,000 tigers left in India, but this number has been steadily increasing for several years thanks to conservation programs that are being carried out throughout the country.
Fauna of Ramgarh
The Ramgarh Game Reserve in Bundi is inhabited by many leopards, foxes, sloth bears, striped hyenas, porcupines, nilgaut antelopes, caracals and many other wildlife.
The reserve is open to walkers. Its entrance is located near Shambu Lake about an hour’s walk from the city center.
Phool Sagar Lake
Lake Phul Sagar is set back from Bundi, to the west behind the hill of Taragarh Fort. It is a place appreciated for its many crops, fields, hiking trails and biodiversity that is home to a rich ornithofauna. There are also many lotuses in bloom around September. A tourist activity is available at this place: the visit of Phul Sagar Palace.
Phool Sagar Palace
The Phool Palace or Phul Sagar is a magnificent monument built in 1947 (date of India’s independence) by the last Maharaja of Bundi, Maharao Raja Bahadur Singh Ji. It is completely surrounded by nature and located by the lake that bears the same name. The palace is very large but it has not finished being completely built. I noticed that it coincides with the date of abolition of monarchies in India (1950), I imagine that there is a connection between these 2 events.
Discover the cave paintings
There are numerous rock art sites dating back to the Mesolithic around the Bundi and Kota districts and extending to the borders of Madhya Pradesh. About 400 places have been identified to date. Some of the archaeological sites are notable, elaborate and still well preserved but most of them are not informed. You will have to find a guide since their locations are not indicated, often difficult to access and several tens of kilometers.
If you find a local guide, make sure they don’t throw water on the paintings. There is one in Bundi that is used to using this method to bring out the details. I cannot recommend it for this reason. The paintings have gone through millennia in caves and watering them is by far the most effective way to erase them forever in the decade that follows.
Here are some of the major sites:
Note: Site names may be written differently or impossible to find on maps due to localities not officially translated from the local language.
Visit the temples of Bundi
Chauth Mata Mandir
Chauth or Chouth Mata Mandir is an ancient temple built by Maharaja Bhim Singh in the 15th century. It is a very important temple in Rajasthan and also a place of pilgrimage. It is dedicated mainly to the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. The place of worship is nicknamed “Monkey Temple” by the locals because of the large amount of macaques that live there.
Note: Due to the large number of people who feed the monkeys, they have become accustomed to stealing food but apparently they sometimes snatch things like smartphones, beware.
Varun Dev Temple
There are no chances to miss Varun Dev Temple if you visit Bundi. This temple half immerged in water is dedicated to the worship of Varuna, a god who is associated with the aquatic world such as water, oceans, rivers … This name may not be unknown to you. It was given to a river of Varanasi which flows into the Ganges with its neighbor Assi, which thus formed the name of the holy city.
Keshav Rai Ji Temple
The Keshav Rai Ji temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the city of Keshoraipatan is one of the oldest in Rajasthan. It is near the Chambal River, on the banks of the ghats. Keshoraipatan is also a major Jain pilgrimage center. The place has an important religious history and even though it is as far as 45 km south of Bundi, it is a must-see place for temple visitors. according to Indian mythology, Vishnu manifested himself in two forms here, making Keshoraipatan an holy place.
Having visited this small town in the Bundi district, I found it to be a calm and beautiful place. Unlike Bundi which is touristy, this place is completely off the beaten track and the locals let you know. Read more about Keshoraipatan by following the link below :
Shree Kancham Dham
One of the most beautiful temples to visit in Bundi is Shree Kanchan Dham, 35 km from the city in the locality of Gendoli Kalan. This place is unlike any other. It is presented by a very large circular platform surrounded by water and 12 buildings in the style of cenotaphs. They contain the representation of the 12 jyortilinga² scattered throughout India. This is a must-see place if you are in Bundi and you are interested in visiting the temples.
Kedareshwar Mahadev Temple
This ancient temple is one of the most sacred in Bundi. It was built with a kund by Rajput Raja Kholan Rajput on the banks of the Banganga River. It is located in the city but set back from the center, further south.
Rameshwar or Rameshwaram is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located 15 km from the town of Bundi in a unique and mountainous environment close to a large waterfall. It is one of the most popular in the area.
Bhimlat is a locality located 36 km from Bundi. This place is known in the district for its large waterfall 44 meters high located in the middle of lush nature. A paradise for hiking and outdoor activities.
The waterfalls will be more impressive if you visit them outside the dry seasons and even more so after or during the monsoon. It is also in this vicinity that one of the many rock art sites of the district of Bundi is located.
Viewpoint on Bundi
If you visit the fort of Bundi, you will necessarily have one of the best views of the city, provided you visit the heights of Taragarh. But you also have a breathtaking view from the opposite point, the hill that is on the other side of the fort. A thick wall was erected on its crest to prevent the attackers from invading the city from this place.
You can walk along it and see the panorama of the fort and the old town from the cenotaph. Otherwise, you can continue walking on the rampart and then you will arrive on a very large bastion. It is a really nice place to seclude yourself, perched on the hill and among the trees.
Krishna House Tea
Krishna has a reputation for preparing one of the best chai masala in all of Bundi. He mixes tea with different ingredients carefully dosed including cloves, ginger, pepper, cinnamon or cardamom.
Many other people make the national chai with a similar recipe but it is Krishna that everyone will tell you about so here is where it is located:
Visit the market
The Bundi Market is a constantly buzzing place where you can find absolutely anything and everything. It is a good place to walk and shop. It is located right next to the two Nagar Sagar Kund stepwells.
Visit the old town
Visiting the old town of Bundi is one of the best things to do: it’s an activity you never get tired of. The maze of alleys of the little blue town is a place to get lost. There are very narrow and colorful streets in a steep place. I am thinking in particular of those below the road that border the point of view mentioned above.
It is this aspect that gave one of the old names of Bundi, namely ” Bunda-Ka-Nal” which means narrow roads. In addition, Bundi was also called Bunda Meena in the past because of the chief of the Meena tribe who ruled there. Subsequently, Bundi was founded by Rajput Hada Rao Deva following his conquest of the region.
Indargarh is a town in Bundi district completely unknown and off the beaten track. I went there not knowing what it looked like. I only knew that she had a fort and an important temple but nothing more. A superb discovery, a magnificent place with beautiful historical monuments, a small district of bright indigo-blue houses.
Indargarh is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain range and is located midway between Bundi and Ranthambore.
Many religious festivals are held in Bundi, as in all other cities of India. But every year there is an artistic, traditional and colorful festival that features different artists and musicians of local folklore. A good opportunity to see a cultural digest for 2 consecutive days. The festival starts at Garh Palace and then takes place in the city. The dates change every year but always fall in November or December.
Did you know?
Bundi and the Jungle Book
Rudyard Kipling, the famous author of The Jungle Book is credited with having been inspired by Bundi where he resided for some time to write this collection of short stories which was later readapted. If you look at the reliable sources, you will realize that Bundi is actually associated with Kipling since this is the place where he wrote his novel “Kim”. Which was written precisely in the Sukh Mahal Palace (also known as Sukh Niwas).
This is how a phrase like “the author of The Jungle Book wrote a novel when he was in Bundi” has over time transformed into “The Jungle Book is inspired by Bundi”.
Bundi has been inspired by Kipling for the Jungle Book but also places like Ranthambore and others in Rajasthan. Kipling travelled also to East India for a while before finally writting the Jungle Book in United States a few years later.
For more information on some archaeological and historical sites, find local guides or to help you during your trip, you can contact the tourist office:
How many days to visit Bundi?
Bundi is a small town that has the advantage of having the majority of its tourist attractions very close to each other. In fact, almost everything to do is within walking distance. I think 2 days is the bare minimum to visit the city and its major activities. Nevertheless, this is the length of time I had thought of and it took me a full week to visit properly.
Enjoying Bundi away from the hustle and bustle
Besides the places to see and things to do, Bundi remains a perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of other major tourist cities in Rajasthan which are on most routes such as Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur or Jodhpur for example. This is one of the other reasons that might suggest you stay a longer period of time.
When to go to Bundi?
● Favourable times
The ideal months to visit Bundi with cool weather at night and pleasant during the day are January, February or even March and from November to December.
● Unfavourable times
June, July and August fall into the monsoon period. It’s raining a lot. The remaining months are the hottest with temperatures difficult to travel.
How to get to Bundi
Many bus companies serve Bundi from many cities. Public transport is very well developed in Rajasthan but prices and schedules all differ, it is best to inquire on site.
There are no airports in Bundi. The closest are located in Jaipur and Udaipur (about 250 km).
1. From Kota
Bundi is located about 40 km from Kota.
From Kota Junction (KOTA):
The MEWAR EXPRESS (12963) train departs daily at 00:45. The journey takes 40 min.
From Kota Junction (KOTA):
The KOTA MDS EXP (19816) train departs daily at 04:50. The journey takes 30 min.
From Kota Junction (KOTA):
The JAB RTM EXP (19818) train departs daily at 05:45. The journey takes 45 min.
Other trains depart at different times depending on the day of the week.
2. From Chittorgarh
Bundi is located about 140 km from Chittorgarh.
From Chittaurgarh Railway Station (COR):
The MEWAR EXPRESS (12964) train departs daily at 21:00. The journey takes 2h15.
From Chittaurgarh Railway Station (COR):
The RTM AF EXPRESS (19817) trains depart daily at 14:00. The journey takes 3h40m.
3. From Ajmer
Bundi is located about 160 km from Ajmer.
No trains stop at Bundi from Ajmer. On the other hand, the easiest and fastest option is to go to Kota and then take another train, bus or taxi.
From Ajmer Junction (All):
The DAYODAI EXP (12182) train departs daily from Kota at 15:30. The journey takes 6 hours.
Other trains depart at different times depending on the day of the week.
4. From Jaipur
Bundi is located about 190 km from Jaipur.
No trains stop at Bundi from Jaipur. However, 10 trains depart daily from Jaipur to Kota. The journeys last about 3h30. You can easily then take a local bus from Kota or another train. Bundi will only be about 40 kilometers away. This is the easiest and fastest option from Jaipur.
5. From Udaipur
Bundi is located about 250 km from Udaipur.
From Udaipur City Railway Station (UDZ):
The MEWAR EXPRESS (12964) train departs daily at 18:30. It is the only one that serves the city of Bundi. The journey takes 4h45m.
¹Lingam: Symbolic representation of Shiva made by a physical person for the purpose of worshipping the deity.(↑return)
²Jyotirlinga: Symbolic representation of Shiva in the place where the deity self-manifested. Hindu mythology says that Shiva drilled holes in these places, and that the celestial and underground worlds are connected. There are 64 Jyortilingas in India but only 12 are actually sacred and the most popular is in Varanasi.(↑return)