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Chhota Udepur City Guide

"Royal retreat of eastern Gujarat"
Kusum Vilsa PalaceChotta Udepur was among the three princely states of eastern Gujarat the other two were Devgadh Baria and Rajpipla.

The founders of Chhota Udepur are the direct descendants of the famous Hindu King Prithviraj Chauhan, who bravely fought against the Muslim invaders and was immortalized in `Prithviraj Raso' a romantic-heroic ballad, narrating the love of Samyukta and Prithviraj. After losing a gallant battle at Ranthambhore to Muslim invaders, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs moved to the hills of Pavagadh via Malwa, established the capital at Mohan near Narmada and finally shifted the capital to Chhota Udepur. After 1822 AD treaty, with British, an era of peace prevailed and many Royal and Public buildings were erected in the town.

The original fortification in the town lies in ruins, overgrown with shrubs and creepers and Darbar Hall burnt down few years back. Many buildings were built in early 20's, around this fortification, in the fashion of big mansions of Mumbai, by the relatives of the ruler.

Collectorate BuildingThe town is situated at the edge of a big lake, with blooming lilies and a boulevard with palm trees. The series of temples along the lake dotting the skyline makes perfect setting for the colourful Tribal haat (market).

Among several temples at Chhota Udepur, the Jain derasar and Kali Temple are worth visiting. The Kali Temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Kali and is worshipped by the Royal family. The Jain derasar is typical example of plaster-decorated buildings of Gujarat, imitating woodcarvings and fingurines in plasterwork, showing the influence of Victorian art. The arcades, with decorated pillars, the figures with musical instruments, their dressing, headgear and hairstyle painted in an unconventional manner with bright colours, make a beautiful composition.

The visit to the sprawling 18 acre palace campus is must for any visitor to Chhota Udepur. The two palaces- Kusum Vilas Palace and Prem Bhavan Palace are the finest examples of early 20th century Indian palace architecture.

Kusum Vialas Palace The Kusum Vilas Palace was designed by a famous architectural firm of Mumbai, Bhatkar & Bhatkar, in the early 20's. The design concept was to create a palace in a harmonious fusion of the architectural style of Champaner with modern amenities of an elevator and other functional requirements. A large porch; arcaded facade and balanced architectural treatment of the 5 storeyed central wing with receding volume, capped with a dome lends majesty to the palace. The interiors are a blend of east and west. The carved pilasters, friezes gilded with real gold are replicas of such architectural elements at Champaner. The British-made elevator has a foyer at ground level, enclosed by series of exquisitely carved stone jails bringing in an ethereal light effect. The grand reception room on ground floor has large doors, a carved false ceiling, Grench furniture, Belgian mirrors and superb Italian marble statues. The wall paintings by an Indian artist, depicting the picturesque settings of Chhota Udepur and previous capital Mohan, are most remarkable.

The Prem Bhavan Palace in the same campus is now a heritage hotel, offering excellent accomodation, food and package tours to nearby interesting places.

Jain TempleOther architecturally beautiful royal buildings, now used as public buildings and government offices are collector's office, Rani Mahal, college and ITI building.

Ratanmahal Sanctuary (home of sloth bears, panthers, various bird species) 80 km, Jambu Ghoda Sanctuary (panthers, four horned antelopes, bird watcher's paradise) 48 km, Tribal haats of Bhil and Rathawa tribes in nearby villages, Hospeshwar Mahadev, Pavagadh (Kalika Mata Temple, rope way, Patai Rawal Place, fortification) 80 km, Champaner (Jami Mosque and other beautiful mosques,fortification) 80 km, Dabhoi (13th century fort, Hira Bhagol and other gates) 75 km, Sardar Sarovar Dam (one of the largest dams of India) 110 km, Sankheda (famous for its lacquered furniture work) 60 km.

Travel Information:

Air : Tribal HaatNearest airport is Vadodara (102 km)
Rail : Station on Vadodara (102 km), Ahmedabd (215 km)
Local transport : Non-metered auto rickshaws
Accomodation : Local guest houses, heritage hotel Prem Bhavan
Food : Local eating joints and at heritage hotel Prem Bhavan

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