Karauli, a holy city 160 km from Jaipur and 103 km from Sawai Madhopur, is venue for the famous Kaila Devi fair. The pale red sandstone of Karauli is well known which was earlier called Kalyanpuri,
after the local deity Kalyanji, was founded 1348 A.D. legend has it that the ruling family of Karauli are descendants of Lord Krishna. They are considered head of the Yaduvanshi Rajput: their family
history is rich with tales of valour and glory.
Karauli was strongly fortified by its rulers. The city is surrounded by a wall of red sandstone strengthened by bastions at several palaces. The peripheral wall, now dilapidated at several palaces, has
six gates and eleven posterns. Raja Gopal Das of Karauli ruled from 1533 to 1569. during this time, he defeated Daud Khan. To acknowledge his valorous deeds, the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, bestowed on him
the award of Ranjit Nagarah which is still with the erstwhile rulers.
PLACES OF INTEREST ARE:
Karauli offers to the tourists an atmosphere of quiet rural ambience with warmth and hospitality. Places worth visiting include the old city palace, a lake which has boating facilities, temples of Madan
Mohanji and Kalyanji. It is said that the Kalyan Ji and the Madan Mohan Ji Temple were the brain child of Maharaja Dharma Gopal. Karauli was an independent state till the merger of the princely states
to the Union of India.
Numerous monuments, buildings and temples inhabit the verdant surroundings of Karauli. You can take a safari trip, go boating on the lake or just relax and enjoy the sylvan delight of its rural ambience.
A visit to the old city, palaces and surrounding temples, including Kaila Devi is recommended. The majestic lines of the Durbar Hall, with its delicate stone carvings and exquisite frescoes of the old
city palace are a must on the tourist agenda. There is a game sanctuary in the vicinity, a trip to which can be arranged on horse-back or a jeep. During one's stay here, one can enjoy rides as varied as
those on camel back and bullock carts, to those on vintage cars.
Bhanwar Vilas Palace: Planned like a European building by the maharaja himself, who eliminated the need for an architect, the palace has been converted by the current head of the family, who also
keeps vintage cars in his garaged, into a 25 room hotel.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS:
Kaila Devi Fair: The fair of Kaila Devi, popularly known as Mahalakshmi, (the goddess of wealth), holds an important place among the celebrated fairs of Rajasthan. The fair as held at the village
Kalia in Karauli district in the Month of Chaitra, starting from Chaitra Budi 12 and lasting for a fortnight. The temple of Kalia Devi is located on the banks of the Kalisil River in the hills of Trikut,
2 kms. to the north-west of Kalia village.
It houses the images of Mahalakshmi and Chamunda. Kaila Devi has been regarded as the guardian deity throughout the ages by the Khinchis, the Yadavas and the princess of Karauli. A small temple dedicated to
Bhairon is situated in the courtyard and facing the shrine of Kaila Devi is a temple of Hanuman locally called "Languriya". Throughout the year, there is a steady flow of devotees to this
spot but during the Kaila Devi Fair, the participants number as many as 2 lakhs.
There is no restriction for members of any community to visit the fair or the shrine. A large number of pilgrims from Rajasthan, utter Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana visit the fair.
The devotees bring with them cash, coconuts, kajal (kohl), tikki (vermilion), sweets and bangles as offerings to the goddess. The ritual of Kanak-Dandoti is observed by the staunch devotees. They cover a
distance of 15 to 20 kms to reach the temple, not on foot but by prostrate, making lines with their hands in that position, advancing upto the line drawn and repeating this procedure till they reach the
temple. While some eat food and take rest during the journey, others endure the rigours of the ritual without these. Successors of Goli Bhagat, who used to be a great devotee of Kalia Devi, come from
Agra to carry out his tradition of paying homage at the shrine.
The fair is visited by a large number of traders who set up their shops and sell a variety of indigenous products. Groups of mina tribesmen arrive in a sprit of gaiety-dancing, singing and creating a lively
atmosphere. The spacious courtyard becomes the venue for dances and songs sung in praise of the deities.