Described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘Land of Camels and Snakecharmers’, Rajasthan has a vast cultural and historical repertoire. Royal patronage to arts and crafts in the days of kings and queens made sure that Rajasthan has a rich and unique lifestyle today. Colors, intricate designs and jubilance are embedded in every aspect of life in Rajasthan – be it food, clothes, houses and mansions, or entertainment. Situated to the east of Aravalli Hills, a part of Rajasthan falls under Thar desert area but it has greener cities too where peacocks welcome monsoons with their graceful dances.
Famous as the Land of Rajputs, warrior clan known for its chivalry, Rajasthan retains medieval charm to this day and its massive forts have been mute witnesses to several exceptional tales of romance, loyalty and heroism in the past. Haunting strains of desert music give an ethereal mood to gorgeous sunsets at Sam Sand Dunes of Jaisalmer and the acrobatic and graceful performances by folk performers lure tourists to distant villages. Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is one of the biggest forts of India while Chittorgarh Fort has fascinating legends that are strange in their own way. Beautiful Rani Padmini who committed ‘Jauhar’ (self-immolation) or Panna Dhai who sacrificed her own son to save the prince from the hands of the usurper have become immortal and still live in touching narrations, folk songs and plays of the region.
Freshly pounded red chillies and spices form an important part of Rajasthani cuisine and brass and copper utensils are still in favor in rural Rahasthan. Rajasthan Tours invariably include Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan; the three desert cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Bikaner; and the romantic city of Udaipur also known as the ‘City of Lakes’. Some of the other major tourist attractions of Rajasthan are Pushkar, Ranthambore National Park, Bundi, and Kumbhalgarh Fort. Deshnoke Temple, dedicated to Goddess Karni Mata, has been a media sensation for years now because rats are considered sacred here and are practically provided with a safe haven. Tourists often find it appalling that ‘prasad’ here is first fed to rats and then distributed to other devotees.
Lavish interiors and warm hospitality of the heritage hotels of Rajasthan have their roots in the erstwhile royal traditions of the land. Most of the heritage hotels were once forts, palaces, outhouses, guesthouses or hunting lodges of the rulers of the land and to this date, guests receive royal treatment here. However, they are fitted with all the modern conveniences to keep guests comfortable. Frescoes and wall paintings of the mansions of Shekhawati region are much talked about too. The vibrant colors and varying themes of these frescoes are so popular that many Westerners especially request to include them in their itineraries during their Rajasthan tour.
Rajasthan is a paradise for wildlife lovers, bird watchers, and photography enthusiasts. You may spot as many as 100 species of birds at Kaladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur in a single day. Sariska Tiger Reserve and Ranthambor National Park are famous for their collection of Royal Bengal Tigers. The Ranthambor Fort is an excellent match to the rugged and forbidding surroundings of the huge wildlife sanctuary known for an exotic collection of other animals too. Rajasthan is for those who dare, for those who dream of lavish interiors and sophisticated lifestyle, for those who love unique cultures and for those who are artistic in nature. In fact, Rajasthan charms everyone with its versatile wonders.