After reading descriptions of the Ahar Cenotaphs online which described the location as being three kilometers from Udaipur in the “small town” of Ahar, I pictured this site in my mind as being an isolated place out in the country. It’s not at all like that. First, there is no empty space between Udaipur and the Ahar town limit. It all runs together into one big metropolitan conglomeration. The city has grown up around the cenotaphs, as you can see here.
Ahar is the cremation ground for the rulers of Mewar, an ancient Rajput kingdom which included Udaipur, Chittorgarh and parts of Gujarat. There were 19 kings who were cremated here, but there are over 250 cenotaphs within the walled grounds.
There were several dozen on the side where the entrance gate is and many more on the other side of this wall. It was tremendously hot that day. Rafiq said that there were many steps to get over the wall and it would be difficult for me, so we didn’t go any farther.
A cenotaph is a structure commemorating the dead, an elaborate headstone for a nonexistent grave. These are all in the form of chhatris, which are dome shaped architectural structures. Not all chhatris are in crematorium sites. The structure is found all over India in palaces, forts and hotels.
The cenotaphs are constructed entirely with marble and include fine detail work.
There is a small entrance fee to view the cenotaphs. My friends paid, so I don’t know what it was. Photography supposedly is not allowed on the site, but the bored guard couldn’t have cared less. Give him 100 rupees on exiting to make sure he stays that way.
When visiting, you should have your taxi or autorickshaw wait for you. Even though this is not an isolated spot, there were not many taxis or rickshaws that went by. Better to have your ride on standby to make sure you have no problems returning.