Nestled between the Betwa and Pahunj rivers, the historic city of Jhansi in Uttar Pradeshis synonymous with its famous and bravehearted queen, Rani Lakshmibai, who valiantly fought against the British forces during the First War of Indian Independence in 1857. The tale and stories of the heroic queen who was just a 23-year-old woman with a child then, still echo through the walls of the Jhansi Fort and Rani Mahal which are the most famous attractions here.
Jhansi was under reign of the Chandela kings from the 9th to 13th century and was known as Balwant Nagar previously. The city lost its significancein the 11th century but rose back to distinction in 17th century during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Deoof Orchha, who built the Jhansi fort. The city became the capital of Maratha province in the 18th century when Maharaja Chattrasal offered Jhansi to Peshwa Baji Rao and later the princely state of Jhansi between 1804 and 1853. The territory then came under the British rule and after the independence of India, Jhansi was included in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The culture of Jhansi displays a deep Bundeli influence. The uniqueness of this culture are reflected through its customs which are followed extensively by the people of the city and its impact is also reflected in several art forms and folk dances of the region.
The people here are known to show great interest in literature and education which is visible with the presence of Bundelkhand University along with several other institutes for higher education. The population is also known to have keen interest, respect, and love for art and culture.
Places to Visit in Jhansi
- Rani Mahal – Translating to the Queen’s Palace, Rani Mahal was the former and royal residence of the queen Rani Lakshmi Bai. The palace was built in the 18th century and a major portion of it got ruined during the Indian rebellion. However, it was later renovated into a museum displaying artifacts from the 9th century and life of Rani Lakshmi Bai.
- Jhansi Fort – Jhansi Fort is a 17th century architectural monument nestled atop Bagira, a hill situated in UP, and has undergone royal construction followed by destruction in the first War of Indian Independence against Britishers. The fort houses Baradari with creative architecture, Kal Kothari for prisoners, Ganesh and Shiv temples, and a museum that showcases remains of the Chandela dynasty like weapons, paintings, clothes, etc.
- Jhansi Museum – It is an iconic museum built around the late 19th century which helps in tracking down the roots of Indian history during colonial period and before that. Also known as UP Government Museum, Jhansi Museum houses artifacts since the 4th century BC along with impressive artworks of pre-modern India.
- Panchatantra Park – It is an animal-themed park mainly for children based on the comic book called Panchatantra. Apart from the numerous animal-themed slides for the children, the park also has a jogging track and seating spaces for adults.
- Cenotaph of Raja Gangadhar Rao– The cenotaph of Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Raja of Jhansi and husband of Rani Lakshmi Bai, was constructed after his death by the queen in 1853. The cenotaph is enclosed by a lush green garden, a pond, and impressive architectural designs.
- Orchha Fort Complex – The small town of Orchha located a few kilometers from Jhansi has a historical fort complex built in 1501 AD by Raja Rudra Pratap Singh of Bundela dynasty. It is an amalgam of Rajput and Mughal architecture with latticed windows, projected platforms balconies, and mirrors on the ceilings. The complex house monuments such as Raja Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Rai Praveen Mahal, and spectacularly designed gardens.
- Karguanji Jain Temple – It is a 700-year-old temple which is an important pilgrimage for the Digambar Jains, a sect that believes in renouncing all material things to attain salvation.
- Mahalakshmi Temple Jhansi – It is located on the banks of Lakshmi Tal, a famous lake in the city of Jhansi. The ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Laksmi and has beautiful architectures adorned with sculptures of Hindu deities and detailed carvings.
- The Baker’s Factory – As the name suggests, the restaurant is the best place to relish some of the best bakery items and desserts which are available at reasonable rates. Other cuisines available here are Indian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese.
- Hotel Yatrik – A budget-friendly restaurant with both veg and non-veg dishes, but if you are a chicken lover, then you must visit the restaurant for an umami savory of Chicken Changezi, the best in all of Jhansi.
- Jhansi Hotel – A little heavy on the pocket for non-earners or students, Jhansi Hotel has a comfortable and an astounding ambiance with delicious food. Serving Indian, Mughlai, Italian, etc., the restaurant is one of the most famous ones in Jhansi. Must try their Alfredo Pasta and Butter Chicken with Garlic Naan for a gastronomic delight.
- Crust Pizza – A restaurant specializing in pizzas and burgers, Crust Pizza has several different types of pizzas and burgers. Do try their mint chicken burger and the massive burger with a twofold chicken patty.
- Mahima Food – The restaurant serves the least expensive yet one of the most delectable chicken dishes to devour. Located inside the food court at Safar Bazar, it serves a variety of chicken dishes with Punjabi Chicken and Chicken Tikka Curry along with tandoori roti being one of their best sellers.
- Hotel Ambience – It is a go-to place for sizzlers, pasta, and flavorful north-Indian dishes, must try their Chicken curry, Shahi Paneer, and Missi roti here.
- Manali Café and Lounge – It is a rooftop café and lounge with a stunning view of the city, delectable food, and soothing vibes and is an ideal place to visit with friends and family both.
- Black Mud Café – It is known for flavored hookahs, but the food is also great. The restaurant serves veg and non-veg dishes at reasonable rates along with great smoothies and drinks.
- Jhansi Hotel (INR3,639)
- Regenta Place Jhansi (INR4,945)
- Green Leaf ByOmatra (INR1,505)
- Hotel Singh Regency (INR1,118)
- K3 Club Residency (INR3,775)
- Hotel Sita (INR2,328)
- Hotel Bundelkhand Pride (INR2000)
- Lemon Tree Hotel, Jhansi (INR3,549)
- Nataraj Sarovar Portico – Jhansi (INR3,471)
Folk Dances of Jhansi/Bundelkhand
- Badhai Dance – This dance form is performed on happy occasions such as marriages or childbirth or other kinds of gatherings usually by women.
- Rai Dance – It is a unique dance where the inspiration comes from a simple mustard seed twirling in a saucer. The dancer synchronizes their movements according to the drum beats and both complement and complete with each other with the beats.
- Akhara Dance – It is a dance form in combination with martial arts where the dancers perform with bamboo sticks while moving to the beats of dholak.
- Jawara Dance – It is a dance form performed to celebrate good harvest where women dressed in colorful clothes balance basket of jawar on their head while dancing to the beats of music.
- Norta Dance – It is performed by young girls during the time of Navaratri that signifies the victory of good over evil.
The Jhansi Mahotsav
The Jhansi Mahotsav is a grand event celebrated on a large-scale during February and March. It is organized in a stadium where several cultural and literary activities are showcased, and workshops and performances are organized at the Rani Lakshmi Bai Park.
The Shilp Mela organized here displays the art and craft forms by master craftsmen from region of Bundelkhand while the Bundeli dance forms are performed by professional dancers on a special stage called Bundeli Munch. For children, special exhibition, competitions and workshops are held at the Deendayal Auditorium. The event brings the best of cultural exhibits of Jhansi and Bundelkhand region and is celebrated every year with enthusiasm.
How to Reach Jhansi
- By Air: Jhansi is well-connected to other major cities via regular flights. The nearest airport is in Gwalior at 100km. You can book a cab from there or get a bus from outside the airport to the main city.
- By Train: There are no regular trains to Jhansi from other cities. The nearest railhead is at Shivpuri which is 91km away.
- By Road: Jhansi is well-connected by road from other neighboring cities. You can get a state-run bus from other cities of UP, Delhi, Haryana.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
WHAT IS JHANSI FAMOUS FOR?
Jhansi is the city of the famous and brave Queen Rani Lakshmibai, commonly known as Jhansi Ki Rani, who fought against the Britishers during the first war of Indian independence in 1857. It is also famous for its historic forts and stories.
WHAT WAS THE CAPITAL OF JHANSI?
The original walled city grew around its stone fort which crowns a neighboring rock. The historic name of the city was Balwantnagar from 1817 to 1854. Jhansi was the capital of the princely state of Jhansi which was ruled by Maratha kings.
WHO DESTROYED JHANSI?
Rani Lakshmibai died while fighting in Gwalior in 1858. She was wearing a soldier’s uniform when she died and was aged 23. Soon, Gwalior was captured by the Britishers. According to them, Rani Lakshmibai was the toughest to defeat amongst all Indian freedom fighters.