Honeymoon in Rajasthan India

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About Rajasthan

Rajasthan, the land of kings, the home of the Rajputs- a group of warrior clan, is the magical land set amidst the desolate desert beauty. Though it's former rulers are dead and gone, the forts and palaces of amazing architectural beauty and luxury, still stand testimony to its rich cultural heritage reminding of the romance and chivalry, pride and honour, joy and warmth of hospitality that is unique. The historic cities of Rajasthan also maintain their traditional flavor in their arts and craft, colorful and buzzing marketplaces with vibrant men in turbans and women with bright mirrored skirts and jewelry. The modes of transport reveal a blend of modernity with the plying of camels, oxen, elephants, buses and cars.

Lively folk dances and music, ballads and colorful festivities are an integral part of its vital culture. Like all deserts, miles of golden stretches of sand of Thar also offer the tremor of life in its oases of magic and romance. Many beautiful temples and mosques also dot the entire state and they come alive during usual Hindu and muslimfairs and festivals. Some of the finest national parks and sanctuaries are a rich source of pastime, pleasure and excitement for the wildlife enthusiasts. Rajasthan is widely known for its fine miniature paintings, fabulous fabrics and Jewelry and a host of beautiful handicrafts.Travel masti brings to you a variety of travel and tourism activities to choose from in this magnificent land.

HISTORY

The past flavor lingers on. However, Rajasthan is much more than the imagination of few rulers. It is an identity created by people, who enjoy life and have ample proof to show for it. The earliest inhabitants of Rajasthan belonged to the Great Harappan Civilization. This area saw the arrival of the horse riding Aryans from central Asia in about 2000 BC. The Mauryan dynasty-one of the first dynasties to rule over large parts of India controlled this area in about 400 AD. With the passing of time however this arid region became the scene of the ravaging onslaught brought about by the Huns and the Scythians. The settling of the Scythians in Rajasthan set the stage for the rise of the Rajputs who were the offspring's of the Indo-Scythians. With the passing of time this new race proliferated into a number of new clans. Rajasthan thus became the homeland of these groups of warrior clans, collectively called Rajputs, who dominated this region for over a thousand years. They carved out small kingdoms in this region during the 9th and 10th century AD that were often at war with each other. Due to this lack of unity, the Rajputs were unable to present a combined front against a common aggressor. This weakness ensured that every foreign aggressor in India created enough trouble for the Rajput rulers of Rajasthan. All this resulted in them being defeated or subjugated by the Mughals, who reduced them to the status of a vassal.

Nevertheless the bravery and, sense of pride and honor amongst Rajputs is unparallel in the history of India. Chivalry was the hallmark of the Rajputs. They fought with courage and determination. Death to defeat was the theme of Rajput warring ideology. They would face the enemy with all the might even if defeat were imminent; in which case jauhar was performed. In this grim ritual women and children would commit suicide by immersing themselves in a huge funeral pyre. It was for these qualities that some of the Rajputs rulers and chieftains adorned the court of most of the Mughal rulers especially Akbar. There warring skills were used to the fullest by Akbar who very effectively used the services of these brave fighters for the protection of his vast kingdom by inducting into his standing army. He also entered into matrimonial alliances with prominent Rajput families most important being the one with princess Jodha Bai, daughter of the Maharaja of Amber.

With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Rajputs were gradually able to recover their lost territories and status. These turn of events were however short-lived, as very soon the British set foot on the Indian mainland marking the beginning of one of the most eventful phase of Indian history. The British Raj, as it was popularly called, was characterized by many anew trends and practices. One of these was their policy of signing articles of alliances with most of the princely states in India that ensured their independent existence subject to certain political and economic restrictions. This marked the decline of the once mighty and powerful Rajput dynasties of this region.After independence Rajasthan became an integral part of the Union of India under the new constitution.

CULTURE

Hindi is the official language of the state. But the principal language is "Rajasthani", and the four major dialects are Marwari in the west, Jaipuri in the east, Malwi in the southeast and Mewati in the northeast. But Hindi language is replacing Rajasthani. Moreover, you will find English speaking people in all the major cities, and in remote villages also you will find someone who can speak and understand English. But other languages are completely unknown. You may ask Tour Operators to help you on this and they do have guides who knows almost all the languages.

Like the topographical variation of the land, the culture of Rajasthan is a wide spectrum of brilliant hues caressed by waves of settlers ranging from ancient Indus Valley urbanites to pastoral Aryan herdsmen, Bhil forest dwellers, Jain merchant princes, Jat and Gujjar cultivators, Muslim craftsmen, and the Rajput warrior aristocracy. All shaped this region called the land of kings. Colorful costumes, festivals and customs relieve the tedium of coping with a harsh, demanding land. People travel to Rajasthan to savor its splendors and imbibe its enviable heritage. Discover it all in the fairs and festivals, folk music, Rajasthani cuisine and crafts of Rajasthan.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

The Rajasthani?s love for colour and joyous celebrations is proved by the elaborate rituals and the gay abandon with which he surrenders himself to the numerous fairs and festivals of the region. In addition to the festivals celebrated by the Hindus, Muslims and others, there are also the traditional fairs.

There are animal fairs, there are religious fairs and there are fairs to mark the changing seasons. Infact, celebrations occur almost round the year and are a splendid opportunity for the visitor to gain an insight into the life of the Rajasthani. Other than the traditional fairs, recently established festivals which involve elephants, camel races, dance and music have been specially organised for the tourists. Among the better known fairs of Rajasthan are:

Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb.)

Essentially an animal fair, it provides an opportunity to participate in some of the local sports.

Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb.)

One of the most popular of all festivals it is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. A true show on the sands which attracts even the much traveled visitor.

Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb.)

A religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. This fair is the centre of attraction of a large number of tribals from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who join their brethren from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

Gangaur, Jaipur (March-April)

A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati,the consort of Lord Shiva. It is time for young girls to dress up in their finery and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well-being of their husbands. This 18-days festival is laced with various activities and culminates in a grand procession marking the arrival of Shiva to escort his bride home.

Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April)

A festival to welcome the spring season. There is song, dance, processions, devotional music and fireworks where almost everybody participates.

Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April)

A festival to celebrate Holi, this is a great occasion for the visitor to watch several elephant sports and also play this festival of colours. A show is organised with the elephants turning out in their best finery.

Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar)

Held in the memory of the revered Sufi Saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, it is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organised to mark the festivals.

Summer Festival, Mt.Abu (June)

Organised in the only hill station of Rajasthan, this is the coldest place at this time of the year. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of gaiety prevails in this tiny hill resort and the tourist has ample time to relax and enjoy himself.

Teej, Jaipur (July-August)

A festival to mark the advent of monsoon. Processions, women dressed in bright colours and a lot of merriment prevails during Teej. Essentially a women?s festival, it is interesting to watch them enjoying in groups and at various bazaars where they turn up to shop in all their finery.

Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October)

A festival devoted mainly to the music and dance of the Marwar region. This is a festival that allows the visitor to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of this part of the state.

Pushkar Fair, Puskkar (November)

The well-known and marked with largest participation of all the festivals of Rajasthan, Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a mammoth cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlight of this event.

Camel Festival, Bikaner (January)

An enchanting desert city which comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor finds an opportunity to see some unusual folk performances, camel, race camel dance etc.

FOLK DANCES

Dance is an expression of human emotion as mush as music and it is found in almost limitless variations in Rajasthan. Simple unsophisticated, dancing is seen in their fairs and festivals in the kudakna of the Meena boys, the dancing which goes with the Rasiya songs of Braj, and the dancing by women and men where the women carry a pot or a lighted lamp on their head. In the Charkala dance of Braj, an elaborate lampstand replaces the single lamp.

The Gair of Mewar have inner and outer circles of dancers who move diagonally or loop in and out. It is intricate and fascinating. The Gair of Jodhpur is performed in a single file and martial costumes are worn for effect. The Geendad of Shekhawati is similar. Sticks or swords are often used in male dances, and the Shekhawati dance has the daf accompanying it.

The terahtali is a tantalising dance performed by women while sitting. The women have manjeeras( little brass discs) tied with long strings to their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well. Their male accompanists sing and play the tandoora while the women, with sextrous and fine movements, create a strong rhythm with the manjeeras. Foe added effect they may hold a sword between their teeth or balance pots or lighted lamps on their heads.

The famous Ghoomar, Rajasthan's popular dance gets its name from ghoomna, the pirouetting which displays spectacular colors of the flowing ghagra, the long skirt of the Rajasthani women. Men have a range of their own more vigourous dances.

Free dancing full of zest, with rows of dancers waving colorful pennants, makes the Bam rasiya of the Braj region spectecular. It is performed at holi. The Kucchhi Ghodhi or Dummy Horse dance is performed on festive occasions.

The dance of the Kalbelia women is vigourous and graceful. An authentic fire dance is performed by the Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu districts. The accompanying music rises in tempo as the dance progresses, ending with the performer dancing on brightly glowing embers-a breathtaking and deeply impressive sight.

The terahtali is a tantalising dance performed by women while sitting. The women have manjeeras( little brass discs) tied with long strings to their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well. Their male accompanists sing and play the tandoora while the women, with sextrous and fine movements, create a strong rhythm with the manjeeras. Foe added effect they may hold a sword between their teeth or balance pots or lighted lamps on their heads.

ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Rajasthan is known for its traditional and colorful art. The block prints, tie and die prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. Handicraft items like wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, blur potteries are some of the things you will find here. Rajasthan is shoppers paradise.

Rajasthan is famous for the majestic forts, intricately carved temples and decorated havelis. Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittauragrh Fort, Lake Palace Hotel, City Palaces, Jaisalmer Havelis are true architectural heritage.

SHOPPING

Rajasthan is among the richest state in the country as far as the fields of arts and crafts is concerned. Rajasthan has created and preserved rich craft heritage which includes fabulous fabrics in lovely prints, precious and semi-precious stones, Kundan Meenakari Jewellery, embroidered leather work, other hand crafted items of wood, ivory, lac, glass, brass, silver and gold.

Carpets and Durries

The hand knotted woolen carpets of Tonk, Bikaner, and Jaipur are generally based on Persian styles. The traditional cotton durries of Jaipur, Jodhpur are mostly in pastle shades with geometrical motifs design.

Leather ware

Leather is also an essential raw material for making musical instruments such as the tabla, dhol, kamaycha. These instruments are used by Rajasthani folk musicians. The world fame jootis are made from leather having artistically embroidered uppers. These are incredibly comfortable and sturdy. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer are traditionally known for these footwear. Bikaner is known for its painted lamp shades, shields and vases made from camel hide .Designer hand-bags, purses, belts, hats, stools and collapsible chairs with graphic embroideries made from leather at Tilonia village near Ajmer is also example of good craft man ship.

Paintings

Painting of Rajasthan miniature and folk are known all over the world for treatment and composition, color scheme and subjecting. Use of vibrant colours, bold lines, two dimensional treatment of figures and entire composition distributed in compartments are some of the unique features of these paintings, popularly known as ?phad? paintings.

Wall Paintings

Palaces, Havelies, even huts are commonly having Walls and ceilings covered with colorful paintings in Rajasthan. Some of the finest paintings can be seen in havelis of the Shekhawati region and the ancient towns of Bundi and Kota. And some of the most humorous on the walls of houses tucked away in the lanes of Jaisalmer.

Pottery

Palaces, Havelies, even huts are commonly having Walls and ceilings covered with colorful paintings in Rajasthan. Some of the finest paintings can be seen in havelis of the Shekhawati region and the ancient towns of Bundi and Kota. And some of the most humorous on the walls of houses tucked away in the lanes of Jaisalmer.

Textiles

Rajasthani textiles come in a fascinating range of dyed and block-printed fabric which are further embroidered. Each region has its own special color scheme, design and technique. Hand-block printed textiles of the townships of Sanganer and Bagru near Jaipur have won the hearts of millions at home and abroad. Jaipur's quilts are a hot favorite with most tourists. Tie-and-dye textiles, called bandhej or bandhani are an important Rajasthani craft. Different methods are used to tie the fabric into small points and produce various patterns like lehariya, mothda, ekdali and shikari. The best bandhej comes from Sikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwara are the other centers. Zari and gota are lavishly used in bridal and formal costumes. One can pick up saris or even cushion covers with this elaborate mettalic thread embroidery.

Puppets

Puppets is an ancient and popular form of folk entertainment. No village fair, no religious festival and no social gathering in Rajasthan can be complete without Puppets. With their sparkling eyes and brightly colored dresses, the kathputlis , gives unforgettable experience.

General Information of Uttaranchal

LOCATION

Located in northwest India, Rajasthan borders Punjab in the north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the east and Gujarat in the south. On the western side it shares a long stretch of border with the neighboring country Pakistan. Situated on the Thar Desert, Rajasthan protects the western border of the country standing as the sentinel who never tires. The art of Rajasthan ensures that people visit the desert.

Rajasthan is diagonally divided into the hilly and rugged southeastern region and the barren Thar Desert, which extends across the border into Pakistan. Within these divisions however, it is a storehouse of varied physical feature or topographical diversity. The arid Thar also boasts of Mount Abu the only hill station in the state famous for its flora and fauna. While the Aravali hills provide the much-needed relief to this arid land, the wide spread sand dunes of the desert and arid region make it one of the toughest terrains in the world. Jodhpur (the second biggest city of the state) is the edge of the dry and shifting desert land from where on the not so arid but cultivable land starts. It is a store house of the art of Rajasthan. Moreover, the rocky range of Amber, hilly range of Mewar, river basin of Bharatpur and fertile Aravali range gives the topography of the state a unique look.

How to Reach

By Air

Rajasthan is well connected by air with almost all the major cities of India. A number of airlines both, government as well as private have regular flights connecting the state with rest of the country. The five airports of the state are, Sanganer, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Kota.

By Rail

Rajasthan is well connected by a good network of rail. It connects the state with almost all the places of interest in the country. But comparing to the railway option, the roadways are more preferable, as well as, recommended as the railway tracks are mostly meter gauge and hence time consuming.

By Road

The best way to visit Rajasthan is by road. A good number of Government and private buses ply to the state connecting it with its nearby places of interest. Moreover, taxis and other vehicles are also available on hire from many places to the state.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Rajasthan is one of the driest regions in India. Except in the hills of the Aravali range, temperature in most other parts of the state reaches the 40?C mark during the summer months. Winters are mild in Rajasthan with the temperatures ranging between 22?C and 8?C. The climate of Rajasthan is characterized by dry and hot winds. The rainfall, which is characteristically scanty, comes during the month of July and September. However rainfall is comparatively high in the hilly Aravalli range. The southwest region of the state, being on the tropical region is considerably humid. Thus, you may plan your travel trip to enjoy the art of Rajasthan accordingly.

Tourist Attractions in Rajasthan

Udaipur

Udaipur Rajasthan Travels and Tours IndiaThe city of Lakes

The city of Dawn,Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure water lake,hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravallis. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets,painters and writers.

Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar-a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years. The foundation of the city has an interesting legend associated with it. According to it, Maharana Udai Singh, the founder,was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditations on a hill overlooking the Lake Pichhola.

Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces,lakes,temples,gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls,carry the flavor of a heroic past,epitomizing valour and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the Lake Pichhola is an enticing sight.

Alwar

Alwar is 150 Km from Jaipur and 170 Km. From Delhi. It is nested between a cluster of small hills of the Aravalli range. Perched on the most prominent of these hills is a massive ancient fort that whispers tales of the rich Delhi. The people of the state did not accept any external interference?s and daringly resisted against foreign invasions.In the 12th and 13th centuries they formed a group and raided Delhi. But finally Sultan Bulban (1267 A.D - 1287 A.D) suppressed them, bringing the area under the Muslims rule. In 1771 A.D. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the clan of Jaipur?s rulers, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own. Apart from its long history, the city has a rich natural heritage with some beautiful lakes and picturesque valleys thickly wooded in parts.

Jaipur

Jaipur Rajasthan Holidays IndiaThe picturesque capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is color washed pink-the color associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. This Beautiful city along with Agra and Delhi form what is known as the Golden Triangle of Indian tourist circuit. Built in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendor. The ancient heart of the Pink City still beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. The only planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall.

There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur's colorful bazaars where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels, once the residence of Maharajas are worth admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes that make your trip to the pink city a memorable one.

Bharatpur

The 55 km journey by road from Agra drives you to the town of Bharatpur-the eastern gateway to Rajasthan. Bharatpur is popular for its bird sanctuary-the Keoladeo Ghana National Park - finest in Asia rich avian variety. Every year the rare Siberian cranes come to spend the winter in the warmer climate of Bharatpur. Of the remnants of the royal past remains the marvellous Bharatpur Palace housing a rich repository of a large number of ancient exhibit that date back to the early 15th century.

Mount Abu

Mount Abu Rajasthan Travel Vacations IndiaA pleasant retreat set amidst the lush forested hills, Mount Abu is a green oasis in the barren desertscape thats Rajasthan. Situated at the southern tip of the Aravali range the hill retreat owes its cool climate to its rich flora covering the entire hillside that includes coniferous trees and flowering shrubs. The road leading to Mount Abu is a curved one characterized by arid region dotted with huge rocks in weird shapes and high velocity winds. The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is more than just a summer retreat. Its stunning array of exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples, dating back 11th- 13th centuries, make it a popular pilgrimage centre. ?Abu? according to a legend.stands for the son of Himalaya, deriving its name from Arbuada,the powerful serpent who rescued Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, from a chasm.

Mount Abu has been home to many sages and saints. Most famous of them was Sage Vashishtha who is believed to have created four agnikula Rajput clans from a fire-pit by performing a ?yagna? or fire sacrifice, to protect the earth from the demons.

Ajmer

Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major center of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. when Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri.since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties, which came and left leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the city's history, converting it to an amalgam of various cultures and blend of Hinduism and Islam.

Jodhpur

Jodhpur Rajasthan Tour Guide Vacations IndiaThe lifestyle in jodhpur is unusually fascinating with folks wearing lovely multihued costumes,artistically designed. Women folk wear wide gathered skirts and a hip length jacket, with three quarter length sleeves , covering the front and back. The colorful turbans worn by the men folk add more color to the city . It was from here that the popularity worn baggy - tight , horse riding trousers- ? Jodhpurs? took their name.

Shopping in Jodhpur bazaars is a heady experience with a colorful display of the rich collection of exquisite handicrafts. The tie and dye fabric, embroidered ?jutis? or slippers in suede, camel skin, velvet and more color to the city.it was form here that the popularly worn baggy-tight horse riding trousers,-" Jodhpurs" ,took their name Countless festivities celebrate the rich past and culture of the princely state. The Marwar Festival held annually is one such spectacular bonanza.

Bundi

Bundi is 36 km from Kota is and is one of the unexplored cities with a rich historical wealth. Once a part of Kota, it was ruled by the Had Chauhans- an offshoots of the famous Chauhan clan who ruled Delhi and Ajmer.

Interesting monuments including impressive medieval forts, palaces, havelis, temples with beautiful stone idols and chattris with carved pillars, along with a picturesque lake in the heart of the town, add to its charm. Bundi is very famous for its intricate carvings and murals.

Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Rajasthan IndiaRising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone stands, with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber-hued city.

The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival, held in Jan/Feb. every year, when the city reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms.

Folk dances, exciting competitions an contests, especially the turban-tying contest. Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities. Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized wit folk artists performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night. Surely a not-to-be missed event.

Kota

Along the eastern bank of the Chambal River lies Kota - an amazing juxtaposition of the majestic medieval age and modern industrialisation temples its untouched wealth of impressive forts, opulent palaces and splendid temples dating back over several centuries retain the past glory, the present day edifices and heavy industries have made it the industrial heartland of Rajasthan.

Bikaner

Bikaner Rajasthan IndiaThe royal fortified city with a timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the desert state, the city is dotted with many sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval splendour that pervades the city's lifestyle. More popularly called the camel country , the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of life here. Be it pulling heavy carts , transporting grains or working on wells, camels are the prime helpers.The wells of Bikaner: an important source of water are other attractions of the city. These are built on high plinths with slender minareted towers on each of the four corners and can be noticed even from a distance.

Bageshwar and Sitalakhet are other places of interest. Bageshwar is one of the main camping sites for the journey to Pindari Glacier, which is situated at a height of 3,820 meters. Kafni Glacier is also close by (3,860 meters) and Sitalakhet is an upcoming tourist resort on the Shayahi Devi hill.

Ranakpur

Renowned for some marvelous carve temples in Amber stone, Ranakpur is one of the five holy places of the community 96 km from Udaipur ,these temples were created in the 15th century A.D. during the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed with a wall. The central ?Chaumukh? or four faced temple is dedicated to the venerated the Tirthankara Rishabhji. Open on all four sides, it enshrines the four faces image of Adinath. Sprawling over 48,000 sq. feet, the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars-all distinctly carved Images of 24 tirthankaras are carved on the ?mandaps? or porticoes in a corridor around the shrine with each mandap having a ?shikhar? or spire adorned with little bells on the top. The gentle breeze wafting through the corridors move the bells creating celestial music all around the complex. Rising in three storeys, the temple has four small shrines with 80 spires supported by 420 columns.

Chittaurgarh

Chittaurgarh Rajasthan IndiaThe Pride and glory of Rajasthan, Chittaur echoes with the tales of romance and valour unique to the Rajput tradition. A ruined citadel, where the royal past lives in its imposing forts, graceful palaces and spectacular chattris. This fortified settlement has been ravaged thrice and each time the outcome was 'Jauhar'-when women and children immolated themselves on a huge funeral pyre while men donned in saffron robes of martyrdom rode out of the fort towards a certain death. Alauddin Khilji was the first to sack Chittaur in 1303 A.D. overpowered by a passionate desire to possess the regal beauty, queen Padmini. Legend has it, that he saw her face in the reflection of a mirror and was struck by her mesmerising beauty. But the noble queen preferred death to dishonour and committed 'Jauhar'.

Shekhawati

The semidesert region of Shekhawati is a colourful fantasy having a fascinating uniquely of its own. The open air art gallery, as it is popularly called is famous for its plethora of painted havelis, all commendable pieces of the rich artistic traditional of this region.

Havelis: Shekhawati?s magnificent havelis or mansions, built by rich merchants of the region, display a unique architectural style that evolved around the courtyards to ensure safety and privacy of the women folk and protection from the heat of the long and harsh summers.

Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh Rajasthan IndiaCradled in the cluster of thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali ranges,the formidable medieval citadel- Kumbhalgarh stands a wary sentinel to the past glory. Rising from a prominent ridge, 1914 metres high from the sea level, the fort was built in 15th century AD by Maharana Kumbha (1419-63 AD) and is the principal fortification after Chittaurgarh, lying 90 km north-west of Udaipur.

Jhalawar

The princely state of the Jhalas, Jhalawar was created in 1838 A.D., after being separated from Kota by the British. Remarkable contributions from various rulers including Zalim Singh I made it a culturally rich state. Lying in the south-eastern region of Rajasthan at the edge of the Malwa plateau, Jhalawar has rocky but water-laden verdant landscape, unlike much of Rajasthan. With some exquisite pre-historic cave paintings, massive forts, thickly wooded forests and exotic wildlife variety. Jhalawar boasts of rich historic as well as natural wealth. One can spot countless species of birds as one drives past the lush countryside. Red poppy fields and orange laden orchards make the countryside all the more fascinating and colourful during winters. The area around Bhawani Mandi is known for contributing a major share to the production of citrus in the country.

Sawai Madhopur

Sawai Madhopur Rajasthan IndiaLying on the main Delhi-Mumbai railway line, Sawai Madhopur is the gateway to the world renowned Ranthambhor National Park- the famous Tiger Reserve , just 12 km away from here. Ranthambhor has been a witness to the rise and fall of many rulers and a series of battle scenes. In the 13th century A.D. Govinda, the grandson of Prithviraj Chauhan took over the reign of the land. Later his successor Vagabhatta, beautified the city and built a noteworthy temple at Jhain.In the middle of the 15th century A.D. Rana Kumbha captured the fort and gifted it to his son to be occupied later by the Hada Rajputs of Bundi and Mughal Emperors Akbar and Aurangazeb. Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted it to Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I of Jaipur in 1754 and since then it was maintained as the hunting preserve of the Maharaja. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were part of the royal hunting who stayed here.

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