As I entered Rewa the first thing that I noticed was its boisterous market. It immediately reminded me of one of the popular markets of my hometown, Aminabad. Located in the north-eastern part of Madhya Pradesh the town looked like a regular mundane affair. What are we here for, was one though that constantly echoed in my head. Keeping all my apprehensions aside I decided to venture the town without any preconceived notions. While everyone else decided to put their feet down for the rest of the evening I along two other female explorers decided to step out and get a little flavor of the town on our own. We decided to head to the nearest attraction Rani Talab.
Rani Talab is one of the oldest and holiest water bodies present in Rewa. A huge temple in the middle of the water body and many temples lined up at the bank of the pond confirmed that the place has a lot of religious significance. There are boats available at the bank of the pond, one can easily peddle down to the temple in the middle of the pond. As the sun descended the temples started gleaming with electric lights and people started chanting prayers. While we walked around the pond we discussed all possible TV series under the sun. The nip in the air suggested that it was time to head back to the hotel.
The next day started early and we all left in time for our first destination of the day which was Baghel Museum. It is one of the oldest museums in Rewa town. As we drove towards the museum the town started unfolding various layers of curiosity. A minaret here, an old arch there and various varied sized domes here and there made me realize this humble city has a rich history. Driving through those narrow lanes it occurred me that Rewa as a city has so much potential which needs proper exploration. I tried posting a picture on Instagram at the museum but I couldn’t find the geo-tag of the museum. It left me thinking that such a gem of a museum is so untouched that it doesn’t even have a geotag.
Baghel Museum is a rich repertoire of various possessions of all the Maharajas of Baghel dynasty. The museum showcases artifacts which are direct proofs of the affluent lifestyle of the rulers of Baghel dynasty. It isn’t like any museum that I have seen so far. Right from their clothes to their stationary to their cutlery to their arms and ammunition, everything that you can associate with a ruler was present in the museum. I was specially intrigued by the arms gallery of the museum which showcased all kinds of swords, guns, shields and other important weapons which were used in the fights in those era.
Baghel museum also possess a lot of expensive silver and gold artifacts as well. The guide told us a lot of it has been looted. That is the reason why there are strict rules against photography and videography inside the museum. The museum also has a unique collection of antiques, glass items, paintings and other rare articles. The most fascinating part of the museum was the stuffed body of the first white tiger spotted in Rewa by the Maharaja of Rewa, Martand Singh. The guide told us that in those days hunting was considered honorable. Often the king used to go for hunting to get out of boredom. We cracked jokes around how we just have social media and few friends to combat boredom and nothing like their royal ways. Photography and viedography is strictly prohibited inside the museum and hence no pictures. The museum remains open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in morning and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the evening. There is a nominal entry fee for the museum as well.
The next pit stop of Rewa was Govindgarh fort. The facade of the fort was all crumbled and I started wondering if the whole fort is similarly dilapidated. Govindgarh Fort was built in 1857 by Raghuraj Singh. Situated on the banks of Raghuraj sagar lake Govindgarh Fort is a proof that adept architects existed in that era as well. Though the fort stands all crumbled and broken today but it would have been an imposing structure in its own days. Just like looking at an old women you can tell if she was beautiful in her younger days or not I could tell the same for the fort. As you enter from the huge arch doors there are huge chariots (which used to pulled by Elephants), which were used as the mode of transportation for the kings. As you walk through those small doors, climb those dark stairs you will realize how much potential this place has.
Govindgarh Fort is not only crumbled but feeble as well, so watch your steps and be safe while you wander into the narrow lanes and broken balconies. The most intriguing part of the fort is a wooden structure where the women of the royalty took bath. This part of the fort overlooks the Raghuraj sagar lake and offers a great view. One of the architectural trivia of this part is that it is built in such a way that you can see the sun from the sunrise till the sunset. This also ensures ample sunlight in the wooden enclosure all day long. Isn’t that such a thought out architectural approach.
Govindgarh Fort also has a link to the existence of the White Tigers. Maharaja Martand Singh spotted a White Tiger and it amused him because of its different coloration. He didn’t let the wild be in the wild. He locked the first ever white tiger called Mohan in Govindgarh Fort. Later Mohan was bred with Bengal Tigress and its own daughter. This did help in increasing the count of the white Tigers but it came at the cost of genetic deformities. In the race of making more Mohans we definitely lost the essence of a White Tigers. King Martand Singh later established Bandhavgarh National Park for protecting tigers.
Govindgarh Fort has been leased out to a Delhi based hospitality company which plans to convert it into a heritage hotel. This will help people know more about the history and legacy of the fort and also help to develop the tourism of the state. I hope the restoration and reformation doesn’t take away the real essence of the fort.