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Special Places to Stay in Dungarpur
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Udai Bilas Palace ($$)
A fabulous 19th century palace overlooking a lake backed by green hills, which is still the residence of the former royal family. There are 22 guest rooms furnished with authentic period furniture. Meals are served in the banquet hall with crystal chandeliers.
Things to see and do in Dungarpur
The immediate environs of the Udai Bilas Palace are such that the bird watcher would never feel the need to leave the compound. The adjoining Gaibsagar lake attracts a large number of aquatic birds - large colonies of spoonbills, herons, storks, ducks and many others can be watched from some of the rooms and from the poolside gardens. It is also possible to take a small rowing boat to get even closer to the birds.
The Dungarpur royal family, before moving to the `modern' Udai Bilas palace, used to reside in Juna Mahal (Old Palace) on a rocky hill a short jeep ride away. The Juna Mahal is an imposing structure - with 7 stories rising straight out of the rock. This is a well fortified structure, complete with turrets and look-out points. However, since it was also home to the family, there are several delicate touches. The durbar hall can still be admired for its glass lamps and beautiful frilled arches. There are some amazing frescoes on some of the walls. Do try and find the cupboard full of miniatures depicting some interesting positions from the Kamasutra!
Dungarpur borders a large tribal area. One of the largest gatherings of tribals, the Baneshwar Fair, occurs at an annual festival in January-February. Thousands of tribes-people gather at the confluence of two rivers and rituals include bathing in the river and carrying a statue of God Shiva to the river are highlights of the festival.