Bhanwar Vilas, the sprawling Art Deco palace in the picturesque town of Karauli is the property of the erstwhile rulers of Karauli who have turned their historic home into a hotel does not carry the “heritage” label as a mere token but strives to preserve it in everything from the interiors to the lifestyle offered.
Karauli has a vivid and glorious past which sits perfectly at ease with a quaint, semi-pastoral present-the very quintessence of the charm of small town India. Its foundation was laid in 1348 AD by the Yaduvanshi Raja Arjun Pal ji, from whom the present Maharaja and owner of Bhanwar Vilas Palace is descended.
The Yaduvanshis (literally-the descendants of the Yadus) trace their lineage back to Lord Krishna. The current royal house was established in 995 A.D. by Raja Bijai Pal who was said to be 88th in the line from Lord Krishna.
The Yaduvanshis, who have nearly always remained around the area of Braj near Mathura, are said to have at one time held a formidable territory encompassing Alwar Bharatpur, Karauli and Dholpur upto Gurgaon and Mathura, the greater part of Agra west of the Jumna,and portions of Gwalior lying along the Chambal.
The great ruler, Tahan Pal ji built the magnificent historical fort of Timangarh about 1058.
In the time of Kunwar Pal, Muhammad Ghori captured much of the Yaduvanshi territory However, one of Kunwar Pal’s courageous descendants, Arjun Pal, was determined to recover the territory of his ancestors and embarked on a successful campaign to accomplish this. In 1348 he founded the present capital Karauli.
Gopal Das ji, among the most famous of the chiefs of Karauli is popularly known to have laid the foundations of the Agra Fort at Akbar’s request. The princely state was among the foremost during the Raj with seventeen gun salutes.