During our grand Rajasthan road trip last year, we dropped by Viratnagar, a nondescript little town, which is so steeped in history that it deserves a special trip of its own. And while we are yet to make that trip, I am collecting my thoughts on this once glorious city, also known as Bairat.
Bairat’s history goes back to the time of Mahabharata and Mahabhashya when it was known as Viratnagar. They say during their 13th year of exile, the Pandavas lived in Viratnagar. There are ancient caves called Bhim Ki Dungri, where Bhim was supposed to have lived. It was also a part of the Mauryan Empire. Viratnagar has, ruins of Bijak-ki-Pahadi, a Buddhist Chapel from 3rd Century BC. It once had a flourishing Buddhist culture and the town is home to a Buddhist monastery, a rock and wood shrine, and a rock-cut edict from the Emperor Ashoka. There are also the remains of an old Buddhist Stupa.
During the Mughal era, this was an important town as well. Its proximity to the gorgeous jungles of Sariska made Akbar come here for hunting. This town has Akbar’s Hunting Lodge as well.
Viratnagar also houses a gorgeous Jain Temple: Shri Parshvanath Digambar Jain Nasiyan.
They say the Chinese traveller Huen Tsang had visited Viratnagar.
This town and its surroundings also has many ancient boulders which represent human skull shapes. This may be purely coincidental as more research is needed to figure if there was human intervention in creating these.
How to reach : Viratnagar can be reached via road from Jaipur (52km) or Alwar (66km).
When : Winters are the best time. November till March is a good time to visit this area.
Where to stay : We recommend staying at Jaipur or Alwar.