The district is
named after the capital of the former princely state of Dungarpur. Dungar
means a hill or a mountain and pur means a town, thus Dungarpur means a
hill town. Rawal Veer Singh Dev took over this part of the state from the
Bhil Chieftain Dungaria and laid the foundation of the city as well as of
the Old Palace on 14 October 1282 AD. The district is wild and rugged
being situated in the foothills of the Aravalis. The terrain though fairly
open in the south and east is interspersed with stony slopes covered with
low jungle of cactus, jujube trees and salar (Boswellia Servata, gum
producing tree). A variety of shrubs and trees which require neither a
deep soil nor moisture also grow in this area. In the north and the east
the country is rugged and wild but towards the south west border the harsh
features gradually become softer. The eastern part of the Gujarat region,
slopes down towards the basin of the Mahi river and consists of a plain
and a level cultivated area. Two rivers, the Mahi & the Som, flow
through the area. The former separates the districts from Banswara and the
latter forms the natural boundary between this district and Udaipur. The
cultivated area is mostly confined to the valley and low ground between
the hills where the soil is alluvial. Dungarpur is famous for its
particular style of architecture. The palaces of the Dungarpur princes and
the residence ot the noble ones are adorned by stone jharokhas and a new
style of jharokhas which was developed by Maharawal Shiv Singh reign
(1730-1785 AD). The gold and silversmiths of Dungarpur and Banswara are
well known for lacquer painted toys and picture farming.
Bhils are fobust people of short stature. They are mostly animists, but
over the year have been greatly influenced by Hinduism. They believe in
the existence of God and in the transmigration of souls. The Bhils worship
Cavins erected on hill-tops or raised platforms. Cavins are piles of loose
stones, smeared loose with red paint. They worship Mata Goddess to whom
propitiatory offerings of goats and male buffalo are made. Other favourite
deities of the Bhils are Mahadeo, his consort Parvati, Hanuman and Bhairon.
Bhils have lost much of their ancestral way of life. Some however are
still armed with ancient weapons such as bows and arrows. The Bhils in the
district are divided into twenty six clans. A Bhil village consist of a
number of huts, scattered over hillocks. Each Bhil after marriage, makes a
new home for himself on some nearby hillocks. The chief Bhil Goddess is
Bhawani or Kali worshiped under different names. Bhilmen generally wear
silver or bronze kadas, kanthis and doras. Bhil women mostly wear bras
OF INTEREST ARE:
Udai Bilas Palace: In the east of this beautiful town is Udai Bilas
Palace, the residence of the Royal Family named after Maharawal Udai Singh
II, a great patron of art and architecture. Maharawal Udai Singh built a
wing of bluish grey stone "Pareva" overlooking the lake and the
"Ek Thambia Mahal" (Literally one pillared palace), featuring
intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades
brackets windows, arches and frieze of marble carving a veritable marvel
of Rajput architecture. Still the royal residence the Udai Bilas Palace
offers accommodation with all major facilities.
Junamahal: Almost as old as the town itself, the construction of
the palace was started in the turbulent 13th century using the superb
natural defence of a rocky peak some 1500 ft above sea level. This seven
stories structure resembles a fortress with crenellated walls, turrets and
narrow entrances and passage ways to slow down the enemy. Inside, one will
see the most colourful and vibrant rooms embellished with frescoes,
miniature paintings and glass and mirror inlay work. Juna Mahal is still
owned by the royal family and can be visited by invitation only.
Gaib Sagar Lake: In Dungarpur, the most famous shrine is that of
Shrinathji located on the embankment of the Gaib Sagar Lake. It is a
conglomeration of several small and medium sized temples with one main
temple, all massive and strongly built. The latest architectural glory in
marble is the Vijay Raj Rajeshwar Temple, which is dedicated to Shiva.
Carved and constructed by Shilpis of Dungarpur, it bears testimony to the
greatness and glory of the art in this region.
& ART GALLERIES:
Government Museum: The Govt. Archeological Museum in Dungarpur with
its fine collection of old statues is worthwhile place to visit.
Dungarpur Museum: A newly constructed museum named "Rajmata
Devendra Kunwar State Museum and Cultural Centre. Dungarpur" was
opened to the public in 1988. The sculpture gallery of the museum throws
light on the history of Vagad Pradesh that was spread over the present
areas of Dungarpur, Banswara and Tehsil Kherwara of Udaipur district. The
museum also has a panel of portraits of the erstwhile Maharajas of Dungarpur State and photographs of palaces, temples and monuments from the
many phases of the land's history.
Baneshwar (60 km): The Baneshwar temple, with the revered Shiva
Linga of the area, is situated on a delta formed at the confluence of Som
and Mahi Rivers. Near this temple is the Vishnu Temple, believed to be
constructed on the spot where Mavji, believed to be an incarnation of Lord
Krishna, spent his time in meditation and devotion. There is also a
beautifully constructed temple of Brahma, which has a spacious two storied
building and exquisite carvings on pillars and doors. A big fair is held
Deo Somnath (24 km): On the bank of Some River, is a 12th century
old beautiful Shiva Temple. Built of white stones, the temple has imposing
turrets. The juxtaposition of huge slabs of stone, both vertically and
horizontally reflect the skill and intricate workmanship of the architect
of those days. The features of this temple convey an impression of great
Galiyakot: Galiyakot is a small village of Tehsil Sagwara in
Dungarpur District. It is located on the banks of the River Mahji and hold
special significance for Dawoodi Bohras, a sect of the Ismaili Shia
Muslims. They converge at Galiyakot for Ziyarat (pilgrimage) at he
memorial of the revered said, Sayyed Fakhruddin. The mausoleum is called
Mazar-e-Fakhri. The followers of the saint arrive here not only from the
States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan but also from abroad.
Baroda (41 km): An erstwhile capital of Vagad, the village has some
beautiful temples. Of particular note is the old Shiva temple in white
stone and an ancient Jain Temple whose black wall has exquisitely carved
images of the 24 Tirthankaras.
Bhuvaneshwar (9 km): A famous temple of Lord Shiva is situated here
and is the venue of a colourful fair held on the fifth day after Holi.
Gair dance by the Bhils is the Major highlight of the fair.
Poonjpur (37 km): A beautiful temple dedicated to Mavji preserved
the manuscripts of a book - "Chopra', written by Mavji and an idol of
Nishkalank riding a horse.
Baneshwar Fair: The name Baneshwar is derived from the revered
Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. "Baneshwar"
means the "master of the delta" in the local Vagdi language and
this name was given to the Shiva Linga. The Baneshwar fair is held at a
small delta formed by the river Som and Madhi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi
to Magh Shukla Poornima.
The Baneshwar fair in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs:
one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and
another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by
Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to
be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Two disciples of Mavji named Aje and
Vaje built the Lakshmi Narain temple near the confluence of rivers Som
The Pran-Pratishta ceremony of the idols was performed on Magh Shukla
Ekadashi and since then, the fair is held on this day. Large congregation
that gathers here at the time of the fair pays homage to all the deities
with equal reverence. On Magh Shukla Ekadashi, the priest called the
Mathadhish, arrives at the fair side from Sabla, in a huge procession. A
16 cms. silver image of Mavji on horseback is also brought here.
The river water supposedly becomes holier when the Mathadhish takes a
bath. Hence, people bathe along with him in the river. The Bhils consign
the ashes of their dead at the confluence of the rivers. The Baneshwar
fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the
congregation consisting of Bhils. They revere Baneshwar Mahadev as well as
Mavji. The Majority of the gathering is from this district of Dungarpur,
Udaipur and Banswara.
The Bhils attending Baneshwar fair sing traditional folk songs in high
pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Cultural shows are
arranged by youngsters of the clan. Groups of villagers are also invited
to participate in the programme. The fair resounds with the gaiety of
songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats. Adding
to the excitement are joy ride on merry-go-rounds and swings. The large
number of shops in the fair provides an opportunity for buying and selling
of essential goods and fancy articles.
Urs at Galiyakot: Thousands of followers and devotees converge at
the shrine during the annual Urs which is celebrated on the 27th day of
Moharram, the first month of the Muslim calendar. Many devotees seek
blessing of the saint to have their wishes fulfilled. This is called
mannat and generally the devotees come to the shrine again to express
their gratitude after their whishes are fulfilled. Before the Urs
ceremonies begin, the tomb is decorated with flowers and lit up with
lamps. The Urs is initiated with mass prayers and recitation of the Holy
Quran. A devotional gathering called Majlis is held wherein songs are sung
in praise of the saint. A free community lunch is organized and all the
devotees feel privileged to partake of that feast. The ceremonies of the
Urs are headed by the Dai-Ul-Mutlaq, who is the religious head of the
community. People make offerings at the shrine consisting of sweets,
fruits, coconut and jaggery. Cash offerings are also made.