Spread over an area of 3084 square kilometers, Dholpur District is bounded by the state of Madhya Pradesh from the south, Uttar Pradesh from the east and northeast, Bharatpur District from the northwest and Karauli District from the west. The River Chambal flows between the Dholpur and Madhya Pradesh, hence forming the southern boundary. The district is divided into four main sub-divisions, namely, Dholpur, Rajakhera, Bari and Baseri and is further divided into five Taluks – Dholpur, Rajakhera, Badi, Saipau and Basedi.
In 1982, Dholpur became a separate district. Before that, it was known as Dhawalgiri and later as Dhaulagir. Prior to the epic battle of Mahabharata, this entire area was under the rule of Yadavs. Between 8th and 10th century, Dholpur came under the rule of Chauhans and till 1194 Dholpur was under the leadership of Mohammed Gauri.
After the battle of Panipat, Dholpur was conquered by the Mughals. Known for its immense natural beauty and dense forests, many royal families regularly visited this small town during the Mughal era. According to the legend, Akhbar was so fascinated by Dholpur that he built many palaces at Khanpur to make this town his capital city. However, later upon being offended by the locals over here, he left his place and founded Fatehpur Sikri.
After Aurangzeb’s death, Dholpur was conquered by Raja Kalyan Singh Bhadauria, who ruled over this region till 1761 AD, after which Bharatpur Raja, the Jat ruler Maharaja Surajmal took over.
During the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1803, the British army and the Jats together defeated the Marathas and took control over Gwalior and Gohad, where the latter city was handed over to the Jats as a reward. However, in 1805, according to a revised treaty, Gohad was handed back to the Marathas in exchange for Dholpur, Badi and Rajakheda. Thus, in 1805, Dholpur was under the rule of Rana Kirat Singh, during which this small town became a part of the Rajputana Agency, who ruled till the independence of India.
Tourist Spots in DholpurSituated almost in between Gwalior and Agra, this sleepy little town of Dholpur is an easy destination for day trips for tourists from nearby cities. Here are some major tourist attractions in Dholpur that one must not miss:
Known for its wide variety of aquatic species, Ramsagar Sanctuary is centered around the Ramsagar Lake, which houses a wide range of snakes, crocodiles and other rare fish species. One can even spot water birds such as Moorhen, Ibis, Stilt, Cormorants, White-Breasted Water Hen, Sand Piper, Jacanas, Darter, Herons, Ringed Plover and River Tern over here. Moreover, a wide variety of migratory ducks and geese can also be found over here during the winter season.
Located about 4 kilometers from Dholpur, Machkund Temple is considered a highly scared place among devotees. Deep rooted in tradition, the temple has a water tank situated in the middle, which is surrounded by many temples around it. Machkund is named after the eminent Raja Machchh Kund, the 24th king belonging to the Suryavanshi Dynasty, who is believed to have ruled for 19 generations before Lord Ram.
According to a popular belief, Raja Machchh Kund was resting over here when Kaal Yaman, a demon pursuing Lord Krishna, accidently disturbed him. Upon which the Kaal Yaman was burnt due to a divine blessing given to Raja Machchh Kund. A beautiful place, Machkund is surrounded by several temples devoted to various deities. Moreover, this place has also been mentioned in Shri Madbhagwat and Puranas. It is believed that the pilgrimage of Theerth Sthaan is only considered complete when the devotee takes a holy dip in Machkund.
Situated about 7 kilometers from the small town of Dholpur on the banks of River Chambal, near National Highway 2, Shergarh Fort stands as an important historical monument in Rajasthan. Built during 1540 AD by Shershah Suri, the fort acted as an obstacle for any invader who wished to capture Malwa and Gwalior.
Shergarh Fort also served as an establishment for military cantonment during the medieval period. This beautiful fort has four gates with the main entrance from the east gate. Inside, one can also find a Hanuman Temple, a tomb, palace building and other ruined structures.
Between the period of 1901 and 1911, Dholpur was under the rule of the Jat ruler – Rana Ram Singh. After his death, he was succeeded by Rana Nihal Singh in 1901. However, since he was not of age, he got the full rights to rule Dholpur only in March 1905. Afterwards, he built the Nihal Tower in Dholpur in 1910 on the Townhall Road. The base of the tower is covered with 12 gates and is 120 feet tall.
Talab-E-Shahi and Khanpur Mahal
Situated about 27 kilometers from Dholpur and 5 kilometers from Bari town in Dholpur District, Talab-E-Shahi is a picturesque lake, which was initially built to serve as a shooting lodge for Prince Shah Jahan. Built in 1617 AD, Talab-E-Shahi is home to a wide variety of migratory birds such as Shoveller, Pintail, Common Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Garganey Teal, Tufted Duck, Fadwall and Wigeon.
Right next to the lake, one can also find the Khanpur Mahal, a beautiful palace built for Shah Jahan, however it was never used. Both the lake and the palace were maintained by the rulers of Dholpur. Currently, the palace serves as the police headquarters of Bari Town.
Ravines of Chambal
This popular tourist spot once served as a safe haven for bandits and dacoits for several decades. Located right next to the River Chambal, the Chambal Ravines or locally known as ‘Beehad’ has harbored many popular dacoits like Phoolan Devi, Man Singh, Lokman Dikshit, Fakkad Baba and many more. This area is also known as ‘Veer Bhoomi Chambal’.
Van Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over an area of 60 square kilometers, Van Vihar Sanctuary is located on the Vindhyan Plateau and is home to various animals such as Chital, Sambar (Deer), Blue Bull, Leopard and Wild Bear Hyena. Known for its immense beauty, the entire sanctuary is surrounded by Khair and Dhok trees.
Legend has it that Maharaja Udaybhanu Singh of Dholpur was really fond of the wild animals in this sanctuary. He used to feed not just the antelopes and deer but also other ferocious animals like jackals, foxes and birds by hand. The sanctuary also houses an old forest rest house, which was built by the rulers of Dholpur.
Chopra Shiv Temple
Built during the 18th century, Chopra Shiv Temple is one of the oldest temples in Dholpur. Every year, during the month of March on Maha Shivratri, this temple is hoarded by thousands of devotees and pilgrims. Known for its grand architectural beauty, one can easily reach this temple by hiring a rickshaw from Dholpur Bus Stand.
National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary
River Chambal is considered as one of the most beautiful and unpolluted rivers of the country and contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. Founded in 1978, the National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to the rare Ganges River Dolphin. Spread over an area of 5400 square kilometers, the sanctuary is a part of a large area that is co-administered by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. About 400 kilometers of the river lies within the reserve. Besides River Dolphins, the sanctuary is also home to Gharial, Mugger Crocodiles and several migratory birds from Siberia.
Accommodation in DholpurEven though Dholpur is mostly popular among tourists as a single day trip, the city has several hotels (both luxurious and budget) for those visitors who want to stay for a longer period of time. Here are some famous hotels in Dholpur:
A luxurious inn with both AC and Non AC rooms, Jagan Hotel offers a range of facilities and services to its guests including Laundry, Satellite Television, Air/Bus/Rail Reservations, Taxi Rentals, Doctor On Call, 24 Hours Service, Conference Halls and Restaurant Service till midnight. Moreover, they also provide various local sightseeing tours for the visitors at a reasonable price.
Raj Niwas Palace
An epitome of finest luxury, Raj Niwas Palace with its spectacular building and interiors provides its guests a unique example of our fascination with Dutch and European ceramics. Its simple exteriors with unclad bricks and lustrous interiors leaves the tourists mesmerized. This magnificent hotel consists of eight royal palace rooms and eighteen luxury villas, each designed with traditional themes but equipped with modern facilities.
Various services provided in the hotel include a multi-cuisine restaurant, business center, safe deposit boxes, free Internet, swimming pool, fully stocked library and other activities such as sightseeing tours, horse riding and various outdoor activities.
Jaya Palace Hotel
Ranked as one of the best hotels in Dholpur, Jaya Palace Hotel is a family run hotel with a beautiful architecture. A perfect combination of modern and traditional, this hotel has been recommended by many travel guides as well. Built with traditional decors including beautifully carved balconies, open terraces, attractive courtyards and lovely gardens, the hotel provides the visitors with a classic Rajasthani experience.
Best Time to Visit DholpurLocated in the eastern part of Rajasthan, Dholpur is known as the location with the highest recorded temperature in the country. Summers in Dholpur are extremely hot with May and June as the hottest months. The temperatures over here during summers are usually higher than 40 degree Celsius. The highest temperature recorded over is 50 degree Celsius on 3rd June 1995. Similarly, during winters, the temperatures over here reach near zero and sometimes sub zero levels with the coldest months as December and January. The lowest temperature recorded over is – 4.3 degree Celsius on 29th January 1990.
Since Dholpur experiences extreme weather conditions, that is, very hot summers and extremely cold winters, the best time to visit Dholpur is between the months of October and February.
How to Reach DholpurThere are many ways one can reach Dholpur:
By Road: While travelling to Dholpur, one can easily take a bus or a taxi to the city. There are many government buses and private buses that operate daily to and from Dholpur. They are the most preferred and the most comfortable mode of transportation and are also easy to avail. A bus ride from Delhi to Dholpur would cost between Rs. 200 and Rs. 250 per person.
By Air: The nearest domestic airports from Dholpur are Gwalior Airport and Kheria Airport in Agra. Both the airports are located just 60 kilometers from the city. Many private airline companies operate from both the airports and flights usually cost around Rs. 4100 per person both ways. From there, you can easily hire a taxi or catch a bus to Dholpur.
By Train: Dholpur Railway Station is the only railway station available over here. Although it is not a major railway station, many trains connecting Dholpur to big cities like Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Okha and Jhansi operate from here daily.