Located in the east of Rajasthan, the beautiful township of Karauli is only a couple of hours from Agra and the Taj Mahal. Founded in the 14th century, it’s home to several important Krishna temples as well as a variety of other attractions. So if you’re looking to explore more of Rajasthan, here’s some of the top things to do in Karauli.
Stay with royalty
Home to one of the last remaining Maharaja dynasties in India, the royal family of Karauli has opened their home to guests and travellers alike. And if you’re visiting the area, a stay here is definitely not an experience you should miss.
Upon arrival at Bhumendra Villas, you’re met by a local priest who welcomes you with a traditional blessing and cool drink. Built in 1938, the estate has an extremely British feel. As you enter the sitting room, you’ll find decorated photographs and paintings of the royal family members who previously called this place home.
Passing through the sitting and dining rooms, you’re once again outside in a beautifully decorated courtyard. It’s encased on all sides by the rest of the estate’s buildings and some of the guest bedrooms. Though the accommodation is of a more rustic style, its guestrooms still feature modern-day luxuries, including air conditioning, big comfy beds and vaulted ceilings.
Before dinner, head to the courtyard for an evening drink. Here you may get to meet the prince and princess, as they regularly greet guests before retiring for the night. Dinner is served in one of the larger dining halls. And the surrounding grounds boast beautiful gardens, stables and a swimming pool which you are free to explore. Just look out for the brightly coloured peacocks that also call this estate home.
Visit the Kaila Devi Temple
Located just outside of town is a Hindu Temple dedicated to the Goddess Kaila Devi. Believed to have been built around the 1600s, the Kaila Devi Temple features beautiful artwork depicting historical stories.
From mid-March to early April, around 100,000 local Hindus make the pilgrimage to the temple to pay their respects to Kaila Devi. En route, the streets are lined with people offering water, medical assistance, free food or shade. Such efforts which are gratefully received by the pilgrims, some of whom will have travelled from over 200 kilometres away.
Eat street food at the Karauli Market
At the heart of Karauli is the local market, where people are buying and selling close to everything imaginable. From the fresh produce and spices that make up India’s delicious cuisine to stores selling colourful saris and bangles – there’s all manner of oddities and souvenirs to be purchased here.
The market also offers a great opportunity for trying Karauli’s street food or a fresh cup of masala tea. For just a few rupees, you can eat freshly made treats just like the locals do. Towards the end of the market, you’ll find a Hindu temple dedicated to the God of Shiva. And if you arrive just before 9am, you can experience the showing of the deity and worshippers making their prayers.
Marvel at the City Palace
One of the final places to visit in Karauli is City Palace, where previous generations of the royal family used to reside. Since the move to their new lodgings, the palace has been turned into a museum showcasing the history of the royal family and region.
The palace is also an architectural beauty, being built from local red sandstone typical to the area. However it’s maintained its medieval grandeur. And inside it’s a treasure trove of stone carvings, classic paintings and exquisite latticed stone screens. The perfect place to gain a more in-depth understanding of the history and culture of Rajasthan.
We visit the beautiful Karauli on our India group tours. Why not take a look?