Rajasthan – the land of Rajputs, lies towards the north west of India, bordered by the the states Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and India’s neighbouring country Pakistan. The state, one of the largest in India (by area), features a distinct topography, a distinct population, culture and a very distinct ecology. The land is different, whatever is built on it is different, people are different; culture, traditions, climate, everything is unique and – inviting. Heroism and romanticism are two of its ubiquitous attributes. From sixth century onwards Rajasthan has been a stage for a Royal Show-off. Luxuries of the past have left indelible marks, seldom ravaged by time. A thought about the place invokes a picture with images like sand dunes in the background, the hot blowing winds that gives a wavy appearance to the ground, a grand palace, people wearing turbans all around, slow country music filing the air and colorful buildings.
The earliest civilization that flourished in Rajasthan is believed as belonging to the Vedic Era. One of the earliest references has been made in the ancient Hindu scriptures and epics. Pushkar, a popular pilgrimage place has been referred in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The stupas and ancient Buddhist pilgrimage places provide substantial proof of the existence of Maurya’s here, somewhere near 341 to 261 B.C. However, the Maurya’s did not make any serious impact in the state.
Till fifth century, not much was done or observed in the state. Rajasthan entered into its glorious period with the coming of the Rajputs. The Rajputs, believed to be an off shoot of the Kshatriya (warrior) class of Vedic civilization, established their stronghold over the place and throughout the entire medieval and early modern period. Rajput clans further, gave rise to several dynasties like Chauhan, Kachhwaha, Sisodia and Rathore. Cities and towns prospered as the rulers managed to stay away from the invasions of other dynasties and also by cordial relations between them and powerful dynasties like Mughals. The monuments, forts, palaces and many other historical landmarks as such belong to the period between 6th to 18th century A.D.
During British rule in India, the region was a collection of many independently existing princely states. After independence the states were agglomerated and found the state of Rajasthan.
If there is any place as ‘Diverse’ in India it is Rajasthan. It is one of the most colorful and vibrant places in the sub continent. Encompassing magnificent forts, palaces, rich flora and fauna, unique culture and the legacy left behind by the erstwhile Maharajas, it is a must to visit place. All this and more contributes to make it a major tourist hub in the country. Tourism industry is quite developed and serves good here. A travel to the state is one way to know the past and the prospectus of the place.
The whole of the Rajasthan state is one great tourist attraction. At Rajasthan you have at your disposal the panorama of a place, the treasures of the past, unique culture and traditions and the most chivalrous and courteous people around. Some developed cities and towns have the distinction of bearing it all. It is these places that constitute the tourist destinations of Rajasthan. The popular ones include Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Alwar, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Bundi, Mt Abu, Ranakpur, Shekhawati.
Much of the popularity of Rajasthan is attributed to its magnificent forts and palaces. These forts, built by the famous Rajput kings, feature architectural brilliance, legends of the past, historical events and offer glimpses of the bygone days. The forts make up the key tourist attractions in the state. Many of them are located on hill tops overlooking the towns below. The forts exist as store houses to a number of other attractions. The most noted amongst them include Amber Fort, Chittaurgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Taragarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort.
Rajasthan PalacesThe Barrel of jaivan Cannon
The popularity of the palaces and forts of Rajasthan is far reaching and far more inviting. These palaces exhibit the extravaganza, the royal class and taste of the prosperous monarchs that ruled the popular cities. Much of the beauty and attraction of these kingly mansions has been preserved. These places have everything to catch an eye and keep imagination going. Spacious halls, exquisite works, murals, art galleries, paintings make them very precious. Popular palaces of Rajasthan include City Palace – Jaipur, City Palace – Udaipur, Lake Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Hawa Mahal.
Palace Hotels are essentially the palaces of the erstwhile rulers that were converted into hotels by the descendents of the Maharajas. Palace Hotels are the most luxurious accommodations available in Rajasthan. These hotels feature five star facilities with the heritage building being slightly modified and that too only the interiors. However, some parts of popular palaces are still kept as private residential property. These palace hotels are esatablished amidst beautiful surroundings and constitute one of many tourist attractions in the state.
Like palaces, havelis in Rajasthan are known for their excellent beauty and richness. Where as palaces were built by royal families, the havelis were built as residential places by the wealthy tradesmen in many cities and towns of Rajasthan. Worth visiting are the havelis in Shekhawati and Bundi. These havelis exist as grand mansions and feature royal luxuries. Noted Havelies of Rajasthan are Jaisalmer Havelis and Shekhawati Havelis
Of course, Rajasthan is known more for its magnificent forts, palaces and several other picturesque monuments, but the state offers excellent opportunities for a number of adventure sports too. On the vast stretch of Great Indian Thar Desert you can enjoy thrilling safaris like Camel Safari, Jeep Safari and Horse Safari. In addition to safaris, you can also indulge yourself in other advenutre options such as Paragliding, Ballooning, Boating, Angling, Trekking, Camping, Wildlife Safari etc.
Wildlife in Rajasthan
Despite arid and un productive belts of land the state is still bestowed with a good population of flora and fauna. Located in the state are some premier wildlife sanctuaries of India. These sanctuaries support a lot many species of wild animals, birds and reptiles. Rajasthan supports one of the best bird sanctuaries of the world. Tourists, bird lovers, environmentalists – all sorts of people often flock at these places. Most important wildlife sanctuaries of Rajasthan include Ranthambhore National Park, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Sariska National Park and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan
Rajasthan celebrates many fairs and festivals and with much enthusiasm and fanfare. Traditions form an essential part of the society and people cherish them to their hearts full. Some local festivals are more or less like carnivals and feature several activities and practices. The popular state festivals gives a good insight of the cultural values and social interactions of the local populace. It is one great experience to witness one such event. Famous fairs and festivals of Rajasthan are Pushkar Fair, Camel Festival, Elephant Festival, Desert Festival, Teej Festival, Gangaur Festival, Nagaur Festival, Mewar Festival, Kite Festival and Shekhawati Fair.
Rajasthan enjoys some of the delectable food served in North India. Popular dishes, again originating from the royal kitchens, have found their way into the hotels and restaurants that stand established in the region. Non vegetarian food, especially the game cooking is one good contribution to the North Indian cuisine.
Shopping at Rajasthan
If there is any place to buy some fascinating stuff of arts and crafts, the place is Rajasthan. Antiquities have always been a popular commodity to be sold in the markets here. Besides that, there are textiles, jewellery, embroidery works, marble works, curios and many other items on the trade list. Shopping as such is a great experience and one can have a plenty of fanciful articles.
Culture of Rajasthan
The culture of Rajasthan is as distinctive as its land forms. The traditional life style is in itself an identity of the place. Much of the practices and cultural values that people cherish bear elements of the powerful monarchs that ruled the state in the medieval period. The rituals, regional dress, music and dance and etiquetes have undergone few changes over last so many centuries. At Rajasthan you are surrounded by people wearing turbans, high pitched countryside music, a royal courtesy and more.
Famous Train Travel in Rajasthan
Some great trains provide the means of reaching various cultural cities of Rajasthan. These luxury trains offer wonderful travel packages for a round tour in the state. The squad includes one of the oldest running locomotives, Fairy Queen. Palace On Wheels is one of the world’s best luxury trains. And to add to more there is Heritage On Wheels