Banswara- History, Geography, Places

Banswara Location, Area & Administration

District of Banswara is situated in the southern most part of Rajasthan, at an average altitude of 302 meters. It is the small district with area of 5037 sq. km and lies between 23.11° N to 23.56° N latitudes and 73.58° E to 74.49° E. longitudes. The district boundary in the east and south coincides with the state boundaries of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat respectively, where as the northern-eastern and western boundaries of Banswara coincide with district boundaries of Pratapgarh and Dungarpur districts, respectively.

Banswara district is composed of 11 tehnsils namely Abapura, Anandpuri, Banswara, Bagidora, Choti Sarvan, Gangadtalai, Ghatol, Ganoda, Garhi, Kushalgarh, Sajjangarh.(Reference)

History of Banwara

Since antiquity, Banswara has been land of tribes. Around 1400 BC, Bhils and Minas roamed and ruled the land. The princely state of Banswara was established by Jagmal Singh after defeating and killing a Bhil ruler Bansia or Wasna. The district is said be named after the same Bhil ruler or probably for the “bans” or bamboo forests in the area.

The rulers of the state bore the title ‘Maharawal‘ from 1688 onwards.

Banswara State became a British protectorate on 16 November 1818.

Banswara district forms eastern part of the region known as Vagad or Vagwar. Another popular name of Banswara is ‘Little Kashi’ or ‘Lodhikashi’, due to the presence of 12 and a half Swayambhoo Shivalingas.

Historical Places of Banswara

Tripura Sundari

Tripura Sundari is the temple, devoted to Goddess Tripura Sundari or Turita Mata, which has beautiful idol of black stone having 18 hands each carrying a symbol, while the Goddess is seen riding a tiger. The exact date of construction of this temple is unkown but, it is said to have been built before Samrat Kanishka (Kushana time), who ruled here. It is one of the ‘Shakti Peeths’ of the Hindus.

Mangarh Hill (Jallianwallah Bagh of Rajasthan)

It was on Mangad hill, six years before the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre, that over 1,500 Bhil tribals that were gathered for a peaceful meeting under social reformer Govindgiri and Punja, were killed by British forces on November 17, 1913.  In 2016, CM of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje declared that a national museum will be built at the martyrdom site. (Reference).

Madareshwar Temple

This is a famous temple of Lord Shiva built inside a natural cave on top of a hill towards the eastern part of the city .It provides a sensational view.

Paraheda

Paraheda is a famous Shiva temple located in Garhi Tehsil. It was constructed by King Mandlik in the 12th century and is approximately 22 kilometres from Banswara. Shri Raj Mandir or more popularly known as the City Palace, situated on a hillock overlooking the town, is built in Rajput Acritecture style in the 16th century.

Cheech

This village is known for its famous 12th century old temple of ‘Lord Brahma’. which houses a statue of Lord Brahma of an average man’s height.

Talwara 

This town is famous for the ancient temple of the Sun, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Jain Temple of Sambharnath, Lord Amaliya Ganesh, Maha Laxmi Temple, Dwarkadhish Temple and Jain Temple of Sambharnath. A number of Sompura Sculpture artists can be seen carving stones on the roadside in Talwara.

ANDESHWAR PARSHWANATHJI

Andeshwar Parshwanathji is a famous Jain temple located on a small hill in Kushalgarh tehsil. The temple is home to rare Shilalekhs from the 10th century. The place also houses two Digamabara Jain Parshwanatha temples.

ABDULLA PIR

It is a popular shrine of a Bohra Muslim saint.This is the Dargah of Abdul Rasul, known as Abdullah Pir, situated in the southern part of the city. Every year a large number of people, specially of the Bohra Community, take part in the ‘URS’ at the Dargah.

Fairs & Festivals of Banswara

Holi

Holi is the main festival for the tribals. During Holi tribes wear their traditional dresses carrying swords & sticks and perform the “Gair dance“, a typical tribal dance of this region.

Divasa (Haryali Amavasya)

Divasa is a festival celebrated on the last day of first fortnight of Shravanmas. On this day special bath is performed to Bullocks and other animals, and prayers are offered to them as they are considered God’s different posture.

Aamligyaras

This festival is celebrated on the 11th day of the bright half of Phalgun and unmarried boys and girls observe fast on this day. They go to a pond in the afternoon, wash themselves and bring small branches of tamarind trees. The Bhils attend the fair armed with bows, arrows and swords. This festival is held at Ghodi Ranchod, Bhim Kund, Sangmeshwar, etc.

Beneshwar Fair

The biggest tribal fair is held at Beneshwar (in Dungarpur) at the confluence of Mahi, Som and Jhakham. A number of tribals from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan gather to immerse the mortal remains of the dead. They worship, sing and dance on Magh Purnima, which falls in the month of February. The mela is held between Magh Shukla Gyaras and Magh Krishna Panchami.

Ghotia Amba Fair

This is a colorful and traditional fair held every year from Chaitra Thrayodashi to Chaitra Shukla Duje. The Bhils gather to take a holy dip in the tank near the temple with idols of Pandavas. They demonstrate their faith in the holy mango trees and Kaila Pani.

Mangarh Mela

The important fair of the tribals is held on Margshirsha Purnima. At this fair the tribals of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat participate and they pay tribute to Guru Govindgiri, founder of the Samp sabha.

Fairs of Banswara

Geography of Banswara

Banswara is also known as ‘City of Hundred Islands’ due to presence of numerous islands on the Mahi River named “Chachakota” (where the islands located). During rainy season, the region is surrounded natural surrounding water falls including Kagdi fall (Singpura) Juha fall, Kadeliya fall, Bhuadara fall, Jhulla fall & Cha-cha falls.

Tropic of Cancer passes through Banswara.

Rivers of Banswara

Mahi

  • Mahi is the largest river of Banswara, which originates from Amjera hills near Dhar in Madhya Preadesh. It enters Rajasthan from Khatun Village in Banswara and cuts twice the tropic of cancer.
  • Tributaries of Mahi include Som, Jhakham, Anas, Chanp, Erav, Hiran and Kagdi.
    Mahi basin

Banswara Natural Places

Mahi Dam

The Mahi dam was constructed on Mahi river between 1972 and 1983 under the Mahi Bajaj Sagar Project for the purposes of hydroelectric power generation and water supply. It is the Second largest dam in Rajasthan.

Kagadi Pickup Weir

Kagadi lake is a part of Mahi Bajaj Sagar and is located on Ratlam Road, 3 kilometres from the main city.

Dialab Lake

Dialab lake is a lake with mythological significance, it is believed that the Pandavas stayed here during their exile. There is a tunnel, which is believed to be going up to Ghotiya Amab, which the Pandavas used for their passage during the rainy season. A major part of the lake itself is covered with lotus flowers. On the banks of the lake is Badal Mahal, the summer residence of the former rulers.

Ram Kund

Ram Kund is also known as ‘Phati Khan’ because there is a deep cave under the hill. There is a Pool of  cold water found throughout the year. It is said that Lord Ram, during his exile came & stayed here.

Anand Sagar Lake

Anand Sagar lake, also known as Bai Talab, is an artificial lake constructed by Lanchi Bai, the Rani of Maharaval Jagmal Singh. The lake is located in the eastern part of Banswara and is surrounded by holy trees known as ‘Kalpa Vriksha’, famous for fulfilling the wishes of visitors. The ‘chattris’ or cenotaphs of the rulers of the state are also scattered nearby.

Banswara Natural Resources

The mineral wealth of the district is constituted mainly by non-metallic minerals like rock phosphate, limestone(Oda-bassi, Kalinjara), marble (Tripura-Sundri), dolomite, soapstone, graphite etc. The metallic minerals occuring in the district include manganese(Leelwana,Talwada), iron(Loharia), lead-zinc and copper ores. Recently presence of gold is reported in Jagpura-Bhukhia, Teemrana Mata, Khamera-Undwala area of Banswara

Banswara Population

As per 2011 Census, Banswara has total population of 17,98,194. The main occupation of the people, specially of tribals, is agriculture. The tribals live in a small one-room houses, known as “tapra”, which lie scattered all over the area.  The main dialect spoken in the district is Wagri, a mixture of Gujrati and Mewari.