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The Cenotaph of Rao Raja Bukhtawur Singh, Ulwur.

The Cenotaph of Rao Raja Bukhtawur Singh, Ulwur.

Photographer: Impey, Eugene Clutterbuck

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1860

Shelfmark: Photo 971/(53)

Item number: 97153

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Chattri of Raja Bakhtawar Singh at Alwar in Rajasthan, from an album of 80 albumen prints taken by Eugene Clutterbuck Impey. 'This is a very elegant and striking instance of the Hindoo cenotaph, and its appearance is greatly favoured by its site, on the edge of the tank...The terrace and pavilions are of red sandstone, but the centre is of white marble streaked with black. In design it very much resembles that of Sooruj Mull at Govurdhun, though more modern.' The princely state of Alwar is in the north-east of Rajasthan, bordering the Delhi region. Alwar's strategic position resulted in it changing hands several times, its Fort was fought over by the Rajputs, the Mughals and the Jats from the 10th to the 19th centuries. Despite the kingdom's ancient history, the town of Alwar with its many palaces and cenotaphs is relatively new. It was largely founded in the 18th century after Rao Pratap Singh of the clan of Kachhwaha Rajputs succeeded in taking the Fort from the Bharatpur Jats who held it. He made Alwar town his capital and on his death in 1791, the kingdom passed to his adopted heir Rao Bakhtawar Singh who ruled till 1815. The cenotaph in the picture is dedicated to both Bakhtawar Singh and the rani who committed sati (self-immolation) on his death. Built by his son Vinay Singh (ruled 1815-57), it is a colonnaded pavilion of marble resting on red sandstone and features the curving eaves drawn from vernacular architecture which became incorporated in Mughal imperial and thence Rajput buildings, and graceful domed kiosks at its sides. It faces one side of the large stepped reservoir which also rests against the palace buildings commenced by Bakhtawar Singh in 1793 and added to by Vinay Singh.

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