Dungarpur is one of the prominent city of the Vagad region in Rajasthan. The word Dungar means hills in the common language and hence the Dungarpur means the city of hills. Dungarpur has an interesting topography ranging from rugged and wild terrain in the north east to the fertile plains of the alluvial soil in the south west. This region was also the stronghold of the Bhils. It is built around the huge Gaibsagar Lake and is enclosed by lolling hills on three sides.
History of Dungarpur
The chiefs of Dungarpur who bear the title of Maharawal are descended from Mahup who was the eldest son of Karan Singh, chief of Mewar in the 12th century and claim the honours of the elder line of Mewar. Mahup was disinherited by his father, he took refuge with his mother's family the Chauhans of Bagar and made himself master of that country at the expense of the Bhil chiefs.Dungarpur was founded towards the end of the 14th century by Rawal Bir Singh who named it after Dungaria who was an independent Bhil chieftain whom he had caused to be assassinated. Dungarpur became well-known under the Guhilot Ahara Suryavanshi Rajputs who trace their ancestry from the elder branches of the main lineage at Chittorgarh. After the death of Rawal Udai Singh of Bagar at the Battle of Khanwa in 1527, where he fought alongside Rana Sanga against Babar his territories were divided into the states of Banswara and Dungarpur.
Tourist Attractions in Dungarpur
Important tourist attractions in Dungarpur are Juna Palace and Udai Bilas Palace. Udai Bilas Palace is a good example of the Rajput architecture with its intricately sculptured pillars and panels, impressive balconies, bracketed windows and marvellous panels. The Udai Bilas Place was built in the mid-19th century by Maharawal Udai Singh-II, by the bluish-grey sandstone. The Udai Bilas Palace has been now converted into a heritage hotel and still under the control of the royal family of Dungarpur and a royal residence.
Juna Mahal is a seven storeyed structure which resembles a fortress with crenellated walls, narrow entrances, corridors and turrets. Interiors of the Mahal are decorated with miniature paintings, attractive frescoes, mirror and glass work.
Other attractions include: Temple of Shrinathji – It is a famous temple which is dedicated to the Shrinathji, it lies on the banks of the Gaib Sagar lake. Various lakes and forests in Dungarpur attract a large variety of migratory birds during the winters.
Festivals in Dungarpur
An important fair which is celebrated in Dungarpur is the Baneshwar Fair, it take place in the month of February at Baneshwar, a small delta formed by the river Mahi and Soma which is about 50 km from Dungarpur. It is a religious fair with traditional and simple rituals. It is one of the biggest and most important fair of the Bhils. 'Baneshwar' means the ‘master of the delta’ it is derived from the Shiva Linga kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. The tribal folks of Bhils assemble here from the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and offer prayers to Lord Shiva.