Chhota Udepur - A Heaven Nestled In The Hills ::
town of Chota Udepur is located in the far east of the Vadodara
District of Gujarat state, very close to the border of Gujarat and
Madhya Pradesh. This picturesque town is nestled among the Vindhyachal
range and the Satpura range of hills. The region in and around Chota
Udepur has a mixed population of tribals - Bhils and Rathwas, Muslims,
Hindus. This region is steeped in a glorious past of valor and chivalry.
Chota Udepur has a colorful history of Maharajas and their tales of
The royal family of Chota Udepur belong to the Khichi Chauhan dynasty,
who are d irect descendants of the brave Rajput king - Prithviraj
Chauhan. The Khichi Chauhans moved to Chota Udepur from Delhi via
Ranthambore and the Malwa plateau. In 1822 AD after a treaty with
the British, peace prevailed and a lot of development work was undertaken
to modernize the town. The visit to the sprawling 18 acre palace campus
is must for any visitor to Chhota Udepur.
The two palaces- Kusum Vilas Palace and Prem Bhavan Palace are the
finest examples of early 20th century Indian palace architecture.
The Kusum Vilas Palace was designed by a famous architectural
firm of Bombay, Bhatkar & Bhatkar, in the early 20's. The design concept
was to create a palace in a harmonious fusion of the architectural
style of Champaner with modern amenities of an elevator and other
A large porch; arcaded facade and balanced architectural treatment
of the 5 storeyed central wing with receding volume, capped with a
do me lends majesty to the palace. The interiors are a blend of east
and west. The carved pilasters, friezes gilded with real gold are
replicas of such architectural elements at Champaner. The British-made
elevator has a foyer at ground level, enclosed by series of exquisitely
carved stone jails bringing in an ethereal light effect. The grand
reception room on ground floor has large doors, a carved false ceiling,
Grench furniture, Belgian mirrors and superb Italian marble statues.
The wall paintings by the famous artist M.V. Dhurandhar, depicting
the picturesque settings of Chhota Udepur and previous capital Mohan,
are most remarkable.
The Prem Bhavan Palace is built in the same campus as the Kusum
Vilas Palace. This beautiful mansion was built for H.H. Natwarsinhji's
second wife, Premkunverba. This building has the distinction of being
built in a span of just 28 days.
Other architecturally beautiful royal buildings, now used as public
buildings and government offices are collector's office, Rani Mahal,
college and ITI building.
Some other places of tourist interest in
the vicinity of Chota Udepur include:
Ratanmahal Sanctuary (home of sloth
bears, panthers, various bird species) 80 km,
Jambu Ghoda Sanctuary (panthers, four
horned antelopes, bird watcher's paradise)
48 km, Tribal haats of Bhil and Rathawa tribes
in nearby villages,
Pavagadh (Kalika Mata Temple, rope
way, Patai Rawal Place, fortification)
80 km, Champaner (Jami Mosque and other beautiful
mosques,fortification) 80 km,
Dabhoi (13th century fort, Hira Bhagol
and other gates) 75 km,
Sardar Sarovar Dam (one of the largest
dams of India) 110 km,
Sankheda (famous for its lacquered
furniture work) 60 km.
All these locales and the palace are ideally suited for filming of
motion pictures. Many Gujarati language films have been filmed in
and around Chota Udepur. A visit to Chota Udepur would be a unique
experience, that assures of an insight into the glorious past of this
region, a peek into tribal lifestyle, their customs and culture.