Located some 90-odd km to the south of Jaipur on route to the Ranthambore National Park, Tonk is not exactly on a regular tourist trail in Rajasthan but certainly deserves a visit. Once ruled by Afghani pathans, the small town has a smattering of mansions that are a fine testament to the wealth and the power of its owners who ruled the town. Jostling for attention alongside these ancient mansions are colonial buildings that came about during the Raj when Tonk served as an important administrative center for the British. The two most exquisite buildings in Tonk are the Sunehri Kothi and the Jama Masjid.
Sunehri Kothi (or Mansion of Gold) isn’t a mansion at all. It is in fact a magnificent hall with some breathtaking enamel mirror-work, gilt and stunning painted Belgium glass. Constructed by Nawab Mohammed Ibrahim Ali Khan (1867-1930), the Nawab of Tonk, for poetry recitals, dance and music, Sunehri Kothi has witnessed some attempts at renovation to less-than-desirable effect. Despite it, though, it remains a stunning work of art and deserves a visit.
The imposing Jama Masjid is one of the finest mosques in Rajasthan and the only other major tourist draw of Tonk besides the Sunehri Kothi. Frescoed with flowers and ferns and intricate patterns, construction of the mosque began in 1246 by Amir Khan, the first Nawab of Tonk and was completed by his son in 1298.
Tonk is also home to the Arabic and Persian Research Institute, which houses a rare and precious collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts that date back to the 12th to the 17th centuries.
An interesting stopover just off the Jaipur-Tonk-Kota highway (and about half-an-hour’s drive to the south of Tonk) is Hathi Bhata, a gigantic elephant that has been carved out of a single block of stone dating back to 1200. It serves as a great picnic spot for locals and a detour that you should consider taking.
Listing image: Rajasthan Government
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN TONK
Tonk offers several budget and mid-range hotels. Homestays are slowly gaining popularity. Coupled with warm people and the legendary Rajasthani hospitality, these could well be a better bet than any hotel you’ll ever stay in.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN TONK
Restaurants serving authentic Rajasthani cuisine are located near Jilla Pustakalay and Ghanta Ghar while those in Kafla Bazaar and Ghanta Ghar serve assorted cuisines including north Indian, south Indian and Chinese cuisine.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TONK
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Tonk is as given below. The best time to visit Tonk is also specified.