Past the shimmering Lake Pichola in Udaipur, enter into the 18th century complex of the Bagore Ki Haveli and breathe the fresh air of the past lingering in every corner. This old and renowned attraction in Udaipur hosted as a guest house for decades to the royal families and the governmental personnel, only to be transformed into a museum in the later times. Perhaps, it is one of the famous museums in the whole of Rajasthan because it not only offers a visual treat to the eyes by giving a sneak peek into the private rooms of the royals and seeing an array of paintings and sculptures but also features a heritage dance show called Dharohar. So come and explore Udaipur beyond the lakes, palace, gardens, temples and markets and experience something authentic and worth cherishing.
Overlooking the wide expanse of Lake Pichola, the Bagore Ki Haveli wrinkled with time but it still possesses its charm, a heritage attraction which we all enjoy to witness in today’s time. This 18th-century fossil built by the then Prime Minister of Mewar, Shri Amar Chand Badwa was once a humble home for many successors and the guest house for the government employees. With time it required multiple renovations ultimately losing the elegance and the ancient vibe of the haveli. But in 1986 after coming under the West Zone Cultural Center (WZCC), Bagore Ki Haveli transformed into a grand museum that echoes royal lifestyle. With over hundred rooms intact with a rich history and Mewari architecture, each area captivates the overly excited visitors. The rooms display an exquisite and history filled collection of glassworks, modern art, Mewar paintings and traditional costumes. It also showcases the rich folk dance of Rajasthan as the sunsets, but we will talk more about the folk dance later in the blog.
After piercing through the lanes of Udaipur from Gangaur Ghat Marg and traversing the white painted buildings, the first step inside this spectacular dwelling can leave you in awe. To be honest, Bagore Ki Haveli may not be as fascinating as compared to other havelis in Rajasthan but you can witness the grandness where the royals once celebrated out in the open courtyard. Here, the two-storied Lotus Fountain cascades water offering a certain rejuvenating vibe and the Kuan Chowk (well court) that is placed with plants oozing freshness even more. Bagore-Ki-Haveli has three chowks, the Kuan Chowk as mentioned above, the second, Neem Chowk is located on the first floor. This attraction is covered by magnificent brass doors and was used for entertainment purpose for the royal men where they would dine with the dance performances all night. Today, you can witness this court displaying authentic performing art forms. Even the Kanch Mahal (mirrored passage) and Durrie Khana were specific sections for only mardana (men).
The Tulsi Chowk, on the other hand, was a hub for the princesses that is surrounded by small women quarters called as Zenana. Performing Ghoomar dance and celebrating lavish royal lifestyle was their ongoing daily fiesta. But a visit here today, you will be greeted by a beautiful collection of turbans and women’s costumes. It also has a gallery located in the Tulsi Chowk that is beautifully recreated in the authentic style of the then havelis grand days. Bagore Ki Haveli is not confined to just these sights, it also has Shringar Kaksh, a woman dressing room that contained wooden trunks to store princesses possessions. Exhibited in the room, you’ll also find Itra Daan, a perfume used by the women. The women of the haveli also took great interest in music and would often indulge in playing music instruments at Sangeet Kaksh like santoor, chang, dholak, nagada, sarangi, etc. Besides that, the men also enjoyed various board games which can be witnessed in the Manoranjan Kaksh that exhibits local games like chaupad and ganjifa.
The haveli also contains several exhibits apart from the private room attractions. From the largest turban to the women’s costumes, the complex also features a collection of a thermocol model of Bagore Ki Haveli. The collection also adds up to its attraction by featuring sculptures of the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal and the Victory Tower of Chittorgarh. The basement of Bagore Ki Haveli features a wide collection of the art gallery that displays contemporary artworks. In addition, you can also witness the Indra Viman (The Elephant Chariot) that belonged to the Kings of Jhalawar that has a history of its own.
If you are visiting Bagore Ki Haveli for a day trip, might as well stay for the evening show that displays various authentic folk dances. Each of the dances displays and portrays exquisite Rajasthan heritage and the sole driving factor that makes every spectator’s body shiver is when a man blows the shankh (seashell) just before the show starts. With mesmerizing dance performances with authentic folk music, the stage at the Neem Chowk glows with colourful affair you simply can’t miss out on.
Chari Dance: This is one of the most famed folk dances of the Northern Rajasthan that features a woman dancing with an earthen pot over her head. Draped in a traditional wear, the women dance gracefully balancing the pot to the traditional beats of some of the musical instruments like dhol, dholak and nagada.
Gawri Dance: Mostly performed in the southern parts of Rajasthan, the Gawri is a tribal dance that is performed by the Bhil tribe. What is unique about this dance form is that it involves dynamic fight scenes between the Goddess Amba and Devil Bhimwal, not this is something worth watching.
Ghumar Dance: Loved by all ladies, this dance form is seen in multiple movies and reality shows but the ones performed at the haveli is worth seeing. This dance requires the ladies to spin around savouring the moment wearing long and colourful ‘ghaghara’ and a ‘ghoonghat’ veil. It is a fun dance to witness, your body might just move to the beat.
Terah Taal Dance: Performed by skilled artists, it requires the performer to tie thirteen brass discs around the body, also known as ‘Manjeeras.’ They are then held by the hands and played Terah Taal, better known as the thirteen rhythms. It is fascinating dance form, you have to witness.
Kathputli Dance: Perhaps it is the best part of the show for the kids, Kathputli Dance is a doll dance which is handled by a puppeteer using ropes and wooden dolls. This act is famous throughout Rajasthan, if not in the haveli, you’re for sure to witness this act across the state in restaurants, fares and even resorts.
Bhavai Dance: Dancing on traditional Rajasthani beats, the Bhavai artist carries more than six pots on her head. Similar to that of Chari Dance, except this is even more fascinating. The instruments that accompany the dance are pakhawaj, jhanjhar, dholak, sarangi and harmonium.
The Timings for Dharohar Show: 19:00 to 20:00
Ticket for Local Tourists: Rs 60 (adults) and Rs 45 (kids)
Ticket for Foreign Tourist: Rs 150
Entry: Rs 25 per person and Rs 100 for camera
Timing: 10 am to 17:30
Being a famous tourist destination in Rajasthan, you can expect tourists hopping in and out of the city daily. Thus, the question is often asked, how to reach Udaipur? Below I have mentioned the three ways of getting there.
Airport: Maharana Pratap Airport is located around 22 kilometres from the city centre. The airlines that ply on regular basis are Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet that flying to and fro major destinations like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram.
Railway: Udaipur has two railway stations, the main Udaipur Railway Station and the suburban Rana Pratap Nagar railway station. This is done in order to decongest the already congested main station located 3 kilometres from the city centre.
Roadways: Udaipur City Bus Depot is the central bus station for Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation. The buses that are offered range from luxury to basic like the Rajasthan Roadways Deluxe, Super deluxe and AC buses. There are private travel buses as well that ply to and fro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Agra, Mathura, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Surat and Kota extending to some cities of Madhya Pradesh as well.
As one of the most visited places in the whole of Rajasthan, Udaipur features a number of splendid hotels, resorts and hostels. As a traveller or a tourist, you’re going to be spoilt with so many staying options to choose from and the city endeavours to highlight even more accommodations ideal for all sort of holiday ideas.
Oozing rustic scent of Rajputana past, Bagore Ki Haveli is certainly something to look forward to when you plan a trip to Udaipur next. The old ruined building may also charm every travelling souls to stay back and listen and jive to the music in the dance fiesta.
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