When Arjuna was going to Dwarika with all Gopis during Mahabharata period. He
was passing through the present Bhilwara region. There was a war of Arjuna & Bhils.
Local tradition reveals that it came to be known as Bhilwara because it was mostly
inhabited by Bhil tribes in old days. These Bhils were eventually driven away towards
the hilly tracts and interior places of less importance by the ancestors of the
peasant settlers. It is said to have come up in the middle of the 11th century when
a Bhil tribal, supposedly one of the first settlers, built a shiva temple on the
site of the existing "Bada Mandir". This is in the area called Purana Bhilwara,
the oldest part of the town. If we are to believe this, the town is more than 900
years old. Ironically enough, now very few Bhils live in this area. Another version
recounts that the present Bhilwara city had a mint where coins known as 'BHILADI'
were minted and from this denomination was derived the name of the district. A town
nearby the city named "Mandal" is assumed to be the base of the Mughals when they
attacked Chittor Garh, the moughal forces camped near the "talab" of the town of
Mandal, ruins of the camp can still be seen there. A tower served as light house
was also built on a small hill in Mandal, know known as "Mandara (minar)" this small
hill also houses a devi temple. Bhilwara's history can be back to prehistoric period
when neolithic culture was flourishing at Bagore village. A pillar said to be of
first century BC at Nandsa village is evidence of Vedic rituals and culture.
Classical 'Nagar' style of temple architect can be seen at temples of Menaal (Mahanaleshwer),
Bijoliya (Raj Gharana of famous Sonal Kanawat), Gurlan, Gadarmala, Momi, Kanpura
and Mandalgarh places.