Yogender Pal Singh Ji – The Royals of Awagarh

How a 108-acre castle kept this Rajput dynasty fashionable

Maharaja Balwant Singh, Raja of Awagarh, CIE, OBE (1852-1909)

(RAHNUMA) The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major uprising in India against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown.

Etah a region with royal favors of Uttar Pradesh presented itself as the center of the revolt that gave birth to Indian nationalism, a realization that if Indians eschewed their differences and presented a united front, they would be able to take on the British.

Around 250 kilometers away from Delhi lays Etah, a place also revered as the birthplace of Amir Khusrau, the man who is regarded as the “father of Qawwali”. Etah has witnessed some of the most important historical events and there’s plenty of proof available to support this claim.

Etah was previously called as “Aintha” which means ‘to respond aggressively’ was named by the then king of Awagarh. Etah has been a witness to some of the most important historical events which made the region’s history and culture dynamic.

300-year-old and 108-acre pristine fort of Awagarh

The glory and pride of Etah district encircle around Awagarh, a historic town known as a tehsil of many colors and contrasts. Here stands a 300-year-old and 108-acre pristine fort of Jadon rulers of the Kshatriya clan, who had built this magnificent fortress.  Some experts speculate it has the largest moat encircling around it in India.

The Awagarh monarchy was founded by Thakur Chhatarbhuj Singh in 1701 and was the second biggest princely state in Uttar Pradesh. This was among the last princely states to join the Indian union after India’s Independence. The fort, surrounded by lush green fields, is an ideal destination for nature lovers and a perfect getaway from chaotic city life.

The royals of this household seem to have always a humble and low key persona. Today, the royal family still stays in the more than 300 years old Awagarh fort. One of the largest and oldest forts in that region, this one still hasn’t seen the rust of time. Proper care has been taken to keep it in its original condition. The royal fort, located on top of the amount, is visible from a distance. In the season of mustard in bloom, it’s surrounded by pretty yellow flowers all around this simply adds to the charm of the place.

300-year-old and 108-acre pristine fort of Awagarh

The royal family of Awagarh has played an important role in restoring the bygone glory, in terms of socio-cultural uplift of the society, Proper care has been taken to keep it in its original condition. The royal fort, located on top of the amount, is visible from a distance. In the season of mustard in bloom, it’s surrounded by pretty yellow flowers all around – this simply adds to the charm of the place.

According to His Highness Prince Bhupendera Pal Singh, who cited indianrajputs.com, a mega site which  showcases the culture, sophistication and heritage of some of India’s most celebrated Rajput royalty, Thakur Chhatarbhuj Singh the founder of the state was originally the Zamindar of Nari in the Chhatapargana. Singh settled in Jalesar during the reign of Emperor Muhammed Shah of Delhi (1719/1748), his son Thakur Bakht Singh was granted the large village of Misa by the Governor of Jalesar. Bakht Singh rendered military services to the Maharaja of Bharatpur and the Thakur of Amargarh and gradually made himself an independent chief. Singh obtained a decree from the Maratha rulers authorizing him to build a Fort at Awagarh.

Yogender Pal Singh Ji – The Royal of Awagarh

The title of Raja has been conferred on this Dynasty by the Maharana of Udaipur, and was formally recognized in 1838 as a hereditary distinction by Lord Auckland, the then British Governor-General of India.

Among many Philontropic Activities of the Royal Family of Awagarh is that this family had helped Rabindra Nath Tagore to set up Shantiniketan. Balwant Singh, Raja of Awagarh, CIE, OBE (1852-1909) is noted for his contribution in the field of education. He purchased land and started Rajput High School in 1885 at Agra with a donation of Rs. 12,00,000, which has now grown into Raja Balwant Singh College. He made an further endowment of Rs. 9,30,000 in the year 1909 before his death for the college. He also donated more than 100 acres in Agra for agriculture known as Khandari Farm, attached to Rajput High School.

Around 20 minutes from Awagarh, in Jalesar is the Patna Vihar Bird Sanctuary, a protected haven in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh. Every year, during winter the sanctuary sees around 100 varieties of birds, like cormorants, mynahs, ducks, herons, geese, and more, coming and making this place their home. The lake has enough water for vegetation, and seven watchtowers give you a 360-degree view of the land.

After a session of bird-watching, as one head to the fort complex, they get to see many tourist attractions, including the royal courtyards and palaces. The monuments tell a saga of a glorious past as well as offer a glimpse of the rich culture and traditions of the region.

Raja Surya Pal Singh Ji – Royal House of Awagarh

Surrounded by natural beauty, this 108-acre pristine fort, of the long-forgotten kingdom of Jadon rulers, has managed to retain its glory. Touring around the fort complex, you can catch a glimpse of the long-lost history of Jadons. The family temple of Lakshmi-Narayan sees much celebration during Basant Panchami. One can also engage in adventure sports, which have been specially set for tourists.

Awagarh is perfect for a day-trip and it gives tourists the real taste of royalty at close quarters. According to His Highness Prince Bhumendera Pal Singh, a member of the Royal House of Awagarh, as visitors walk around the fort, the members of the Royal House of Awagarh are more than happy to welcome them. A mere conversation with the members of the house will make evident the rich heritage and cultural contribution of this region.

By evening one can also go for some deer spotting in the close by areas. As the tourists sneak a peek into that era, they catch a glimpse of some of the best books on hunting on display, and, one can’t miss the Raja Ravi Verma hanging on the walls, still giving it that royal touch. Transported to the golden times of India during this visit, Awagarh is Uttar Pradesh’s best-kept secret.

300-year-old and 108-acre pristine fort of Awagarh
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