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Bairat- Rajasthan India

NOWHERE IS THE AGED and majesty of the Aravalli Hills as apparent in the region as it is Bairat The striking topography of giant rocks, variously textured and shaped, provides a dramatic backdrop for an excavated, ancient archaeological site that dates back to the 3rd century BC .One of the cities along the main north-south trade route, this was a major Buddhist centre. A rock edict of Emperor Ashore (273-232 BC) was found here, and at one end of the village, off a dirt track, high on a hillock locally known as Bijak ki Pahadi( are the remnants off a Buddhist monastery and circulars temple. It is believed to be India's oldest free standing structure. Historians have identified it as a chuitya hall or chapel which was once supported by 26 octagonal wooden columns.

Beharat's history , however, goes back to the time of the Mahabbarata (around the 9th century BC), when this land formed part of a kingdom comprising much of eastern Rajasthan, and was ruled by King Virat from his capital of Viratnagar (present Bairat). It was here that the Pandavas , spent the 13th year of their exile. Locals believe that one of the Pandava brothers, the mighty Bhim , lived at Brim ki Doongri(`Bhims hillock"), and that Arjuna created the River Bangangan when he struck an arrow into the earth. King Virat joined the Pandavas in the battle at Kurukshetra , and his daughter married Arjuna's son, Abhimanyu.

On the other side of town, near the rock relict, is an early 17th-century garden mansions dating to Jahangir's reign. Within the compound is a jain temple, and just outside is the charming 16thcentury hunting lodge where Akbar camped on his way to Ajmer. Locally known as the Chhatri, E was built on a raised platform, , with five well sculpted pavilions.

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