A mix of a little bit of history, some mythology and abundance of nature is what Viratnagar or Bairat is all about. An excursion to Viratnagar, located some 53 km from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, can fulfill the sense of adventure and enrich the mind at the same time. It has been popular among local tourists, but it is now also seen as a favored destination by more people, especially because of its proximity to the Sariska National Park. There are some other popular places like Silserh, Bhangarh Fort and the town of Alwar near Viratnagar.
The history of Viratnagar is said to go back to the Mahabharata time. As per mythological tales, the place was founded by King Virat, in whose kingdom the Pandava brothers had spent their hidden year in exile. There are some natural caves located at the various hillocks in Viratnagar forest area. One of the caves is called Bhim Ki Dungari, believed to be an abode of the Pandava brother Bhima during the exile period. There are smaller caves near the Bhima cave, which are believed to be the residence of the other four brothers.
Viratnagar also has a Buddhist connection and tourists can see the remains of old monasteries in the area. A popular tourist spot Beejak Ki Pahari, a Buddhist temple, is worth a visit. It is a circular-shaped structure with a stupa in the center. It is said to have been built during the time of Emperor Ashoka. Viratnagar was once part of the Mauryan empire. Around 5th century it was under the Chedi Kingdom and then became part of the Mauryan Kingdom. There is an ancient rock called Ashok Shilalekh at Viratnagar with inscriptions of Emperor Ashok’s diktat engraved in it.
The town is also said to have played host to Mughal emperor Akbar, who would stay at Viratnagar for hunting, while on way to visit the famous dargah in Ajmer. Some ancient cenotaphs of Mughal times exist in Viratnagar. Besides the town has a small museum with old coins, pottery, metal objects, etc. There is a Ganesh Giri Temple and a Jain temple in the town.
Since it is located near the Sariska National Reserve, nature is abundant as well. The rocky formations of the area look like animal figurines or human skulls.
How to reach Viratnagar and when to visit?
Viratnagar is well connected by road. The nearest airport is 53 kms away from the Sanganer Airport of Jaipur. Travelers can take a train to Jaipur or Alwar and hire a cab to Viratnagar. Since it is near to Sariska National Park, one can club a visit to the tiger project and Viratnagar. The town is open for visitors throughout the year, but it being Rajasthan, the desert state, the best times would be winter or spring months.