The local Rajput rulers of Alwar had a sweet-bitter relation with the rulers of
Delhi in the early medieval period and there was a constant struggle to take control
of Alwar. As Alwar was located at a strategic place, the Mughals annexed it and
used it to mount military campaigns against the erstwhile Rajput principalities
and states. The decline of the Mughal rule saw a brief struggle between Jat and
Rajput rulers. Later Pratap Singh, a noble, restored parity in 1775. The descendents
of Pratap Singh were great patrons of art and under their rule Alwar became an important
cultural center. The later rulers forged an alliance with the British that soon
broke off, with the latter taking over Alwar.
History of Alwar
The erstwhile state of Alwar, in north-eastern Rajasthan, is possibly the oldest
kingdom in kingdom-studded Rajasthan. In 1500 BC it formed part of the Matsya territories
of Viratnagar (present-day Bairat), which also encompassed Bharatpur, Dholpur and
History becomes inextricably bound with mythology, as it was here in the ancient
kingdom of Matsya that the Kauravas embarked on the cattle-rustling mission which
precipitated the war between and their kinsfolk, the Pandavas. This battle forms
the basis of the Mahabharat.
The city of Alwar is believed to have founded by a member of the Kachh family who
hailed from Amber, but control was wrested from the Kachhwahas of Nikumbhas. They
in ruin lost the city to Bada Gurjara Rajputs of Machari. It passed to the Khanzadas,
under Bahadur Nahara of Mewat, who converted from Hinduism to Islam to win the favour
of Emperor Tughlaq of Delhi. At this time, Alwar was part of the kingdom of Mewat.
Descendants of Bahadura Nahara defended the Alwar fort against the Muslims in 1427.
Alwar's fortunes were inextric bound with those of Mewat, which was contiguous
with Delhi. Although the Mewat leaders professed the Muslim faith, he continues
to ally himself with the Rajputs.
As Alwar located on the strategic south-western side of Delhi, this of course rankled
with Mughals, who mounted numerous miliitary forays into the region, conquere it
after great difficulty. Alwar was later granted to Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur by
Aurangzeb. It was retaken when the emperor visited the city and noted the great
strategical virtue of its fortress.
The Jats of Bharatpur then threw their hat into the ring, briefly overrunning the
region, and installing themselves in the Alwar fort. They were evicted by the Lalawat
Narukas (descendants of the Kachhwaha prince of Amber, Naru) between 1775 and 1782
under the leadership of the Naruka thakur (noble) Pratap Singh. His descendants
were great patrons of the arts , commissioning the transcription of numerous sacred
and scholarly texts and encouraging painters and artisans to visit the Alwar court.
In 1803, the British awarded the Alwar thakur with the title of maharaja as thanks
for their support in a battle against the Marathas. This friendly alliance was short-lived,
however, with the maharaja of Alwar strongly resenting British interference in governance
when a British Resident was installed in the city.
Following Independence, Alwar was merged with the other princely states of Bharatpur,
Karauli and Dholpur, forming the United State of Matsya, a name which reflected
the fact that those states all comprised the ancient Matsya kingdom.
In 1949, Matsya was merged with the state of Rajasthan.