In the mid 15th century when both clans met as equals, they determined the boundaries of their two kingdoms with a saying "Aonla aonla Mewar, Baoliya baoliya Marwar." Aonla is a shrub with bright yellow flowers that flourished in Mewar but was not spotted in Marwar. The baoliya, a robust thorny tree, on the other hand was common in Marwar but not found in Mewar. The Godwar region, of which Ghanerao forms a part, has plains covered with aonla.
In medieval times, when one's word was sacrosanct, the boundary remained untouched but later, in the 18th century, Godwar was annexed by Marwar. The Sisodias of Mewar appealed to the British overlords to force the Marwar Rathores to return Godwar but instead the political agent chose to redefine the boundaries with a more solid demarcation, the Aravalli ranges, leaving Godwar with the Rathores of Marwar. Mewar continued to demand Ghanerao back and kept Ghanerao's seat in the Mewar courts, albeit unoccupied. As a result, the Ghanerao rulers were the only Rajput royalty that had a hereditary seat among the premier nobles of both Houses of Mewar and Marwar.
Today, Thakur Sajjan Singh, a descendant of the feudal lords of Ghanerao, talks proudly of this honor, explaining that being Rathores, they owe allegiance to the Maharaja of Marwar but cannot forget their ties with Mewar and how they fulfilled their duty by protecting the fort of Kumbhalgarh. Situated just about 5 kms. from the' gate of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, the small village of Ghanerao is placed in a picturesque forested region. The town, has a number of red sandstone havelis (houses with courtyards), with some old temples, baolis (step wells) and marble chhatris (cenotaphs) scattered about.
The old fort lies south of the town and is marked with cannonball scars, a testimony to the wars that were fought here. Standing watch over the town of Ghanerao is the Ghanerao Rawla (castle), a red sandstone castle built in 1627 that served as the home of the rulers. One has to negotiate a narrow, winding, side scraping road, which leads through the depths of the village, to reach this beautiful castle. The building is designed in the typical Rajput architectural style,with beautiful carved lattice friezes and marble jharokas. Rajput miniature paintings, chandeliered rooms and ancient walls, there is a nostalgic air of past glory and of the royal lifestyle that the Thakurs led.
The charming marble pavilion in a central courtyard of the castle was where palace musicians used to perform. There are faded miniature paintings on the walls and obsolete elephant stables within the grounds. Some of the boundary walls are marked with cannon balls and around the castle are the family cenotaphs of the former rulers, warriors who gallantly upheld their clan. Thakur Sajjan Singh has opened his rustic castle to paying guests, and today one can stay in one of the pleasant 16 rooms of the Ghanerao Royal Castle, each different from the other with balconies, verandhas and terraces.
The charming host and his son, Kr. Himmat Singh, who runs the hotel on the day to day basis, and also organize treks to Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is about 14 km. away by trek. Jeep excursions can also be arranged to the Kumbhalgarh Fort that is 49 km. away by motorable road and to the Ranakpur Jain Temples, which are approximately at a distance of 20 km. Ghanerao Royal Castle is a pleasant hotel where one can experience the unspoilt rural environment.
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