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.
The Current Family
Maharaja Krishna Chandra Pal of Karauli, the current head of the dynasty, the 181st of an illustrious line remains as invested in the local culture and philanthropic works as his ancestors. At present he is heading two religious temple trusts where he has employed five hundred people, through which he is running mobile hospitals,three schools, a hundred bed hospital and also hosts medical and surgical camps. He also runs the Maharaja Ganesh Pal Ji Charitable Trust, named after his grandfather, which is working towards water conservation projects with the help of a Dutch foundation called Stichting Karauli. The Maharaja is a former member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board and the Game warden of the Kaila Devi sanctuary.
Maharani Rohini Kumari of Karauli is the first lady in the family to determinedly step out the of pardah system and join politics. Having successful contested the 2008 elections, she represented Karauli in the state legislature till 2013.The scion of the family, Vivasvat Pal is a keen artist and sculptor who has exhibited in Vienna among other places. He is married to Anshika Kumari of Ramnagar-Dhamerdi.