Alwar is renowned for its museum, palaces, historical ruins and game sanctuaries in the neighbouring forests. Once an ancient Rajput state, formerly known as Mewat, Alwar was nearest to the imperial Delhi. The people of the state did not accept any external interferences and daringly resisted against foreign invasions. In the 12th and 13th centuries, they formed a group and raded Delhi. But finally Sultan Bulban (1267 A.D – 1287 A.D) suppressed them, bringing the area under the Muslims rule.
In 1771 A.D. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the clan of Jaipur’s rulers, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own. Apart from its long history, the city has a rich natural heritage with some beautiful lakes and picturesque valleys thickly wooded in parts. Some of the finest variety of birds and animals are spotted here. Alwar has one of the finest wild life sanctuaries in Rajasthan-Sarika, which is an excellent tiger country.
The City Palace : Seperated from the base of the hill by Sagar, a picturesque tank it consists of a group of buildings in different styles. The Armoury has old swords,sabres and other weapons of Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh, Nadirshah and Aurangzein addition to those bearing the seals of persian rulers, can be seen here. Of these some have hilts of gold studdes with jewels.
The Fort –Bala Qila : This huge fort with its ramparts stretching 5 km form north to south and 1.6 km from east to west, stands 300 metres above the city and 595 metres above the sea level. Constructed before the rise of the Mughal empire. Babar had spent a night at this for and took away the hidden treasures to gift to his son, Humayun. Akbar’s son , Jahangir had also stayed here for some time during his exile. The place where he stayed is called salim mahal. The for was finally annexed by maharaja Pratap singh in 1775 A.D. It is a forbidding structure with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge towers encompassing it. The fort has several gates-jai pole, Suraj pole, Laxman Pole, Chand Pole, Kishan Pole and Andheri Gate. Also there are remains of Jal Mahal, Nikumbh Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and many temples.
Museum :The museum is lodged in a portion of the City Palace and has a finest collection of Mughal and Rajput painting dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some rare ancient manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Sanskrit. “Gulistan ” (the garden of roses) , ” Waqiat-I-Babri ” (autobiography of Mughal emperor Babar) and Bostan (the garden of spring) are some of the notable ones amongst the collection. It also has the copy of the great epic “Mahabharata” painted by the artists of the Alwar school. A rich collection of the Indian armoury are among other exhibits of the museum. Behind the City Palace is an artificial lake built in 1815 A.D. by Maharaja Vinay Singh with few temples along its banks. A marvellous chhatri with unusual Bengali roof and arches, also known as the Moosi Maharani ki chhatri, is situated in this are Purjan Vihar (Company Garden) : A picturesque garden,laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 A.D. The garden has an enchanting settign called “Shimla” which was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh in 1885 A.D. The lush surrounding and the cool shades make it the idyllic visiting spot during summers.
Vijai Mandir Palace (10 km) : A splendid palace, built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1918 A. D. picturesque lake overlooking the palace makes it a fascinating sight. A fabulous Sita Ram Temple in the palace attracts number of devotees, especially during Ramnavami. One needs prior permission from the Secretary to visit the palace.
Siliserh Lake Palace (13 km) : An idyllic picnic spot with enchanting landscape of wooded hills and beautiful chhatris on the embankment of the 10.5 sq. km placid lake. A magnificient royal palace and the hunting lodge, built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1845 A. D. for his queen Shila stands overlooking the lake. Now converted as the Hotel Lake Palace,it offers boating and sailing facilities and is a delight for the trigger-happy phjotographers and fil makers.
Jai Samand Lake (6 km) : A beautiful artificial lake constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1910 A.D. is a popular spot for outing and picnics. During monsoons,sprawling greenery all around makes it a visual treat. Easily accessible by road from Alwar.
Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary :
Located at a distance of 32 kms from Alwar, Sariska Sanctuary was established in 1955 A.D. under the Rajputana Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act,1951. It is on the Delhi – Jaipur National Highway, 201 kms from Delhi. The area of the Sanctuary is about 461 sq. km. A large variety of indigenous birds and wild animals, particularly tiger, panther, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar can be seen in an evening drive round the Sanctuary. The valley has picturesque surrounding of wooden hills. Facilities are available for general shooting and tiger photography in the forests near Alwar .