Rajasthan is a place where cities pink and gold have been built over ashes of the dead. Citadels and fortresses, palaces and ramparts have sprung up in between the sands of the Thar, the great Indian desert that stretches through the western half of Rajasthan. The desert lands are framed by the 700 km craggy heights of the Aravallis, cutting the land in half. To the east of the Aravallis, Rajasthan grows its cotton in an agriculturally rich alluvial soil.
Rajasthan is a land of ornate architecture, decorative palaces, wide expanses of water and summer palaces on islands. The fortresses are steeped in memories: women who preferred mass suicide rather than fall into the hands of the enemy. Warrior clans are bound by inviolable codes of honour and chivalry; the Rajput pride and chivalry are a part of folklore.
In Jaipur, is the enchanting Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, tier upon tier of curved arch surmounting fairy casements with ornamental screens. The imposing gate of the City Palace is guarded by stone elephants. At the entrance of the palace, stands the Jantar Mantar, the largest and best preserved observatories built by Maharaja Jaisingh. The Rambagh Palace once a royal home is now a fabulous hotel. Pushkar, site of the biggest cattle fair in Rajasthan, is a brief 14 km from Ajmer. Chittorgarh fort is remembered for its association with the saint princess Mirabai and Padmini's Palace a pavilion where Alauddin Khilji saw the glimpse of the princess. Rana Kumbha's Vijai Stumbh stands in memory of a solitary victory. The Sawai Madhopur forest retreat and the Ranthanhor sanctuary are major tourist attractions
Places to visit:
Best time to visit: The hot wind sweeps over Rajasthan but brave it for an experience of a lifetime.The temperature lessens during the night. Winters can be quite cold in the desert during winters.
City Palace Jaipur - This is the former royal residence combining Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The palace has a museum with a superb collection of costumes and armoury of Rajputs and Mughals. The palace also has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Latin, Persian and Sanskrit.
Jantar Mantar - is an observatory in Jaipur and is the largest of the five remarkable observatories made by Jai Singh in five different cities. Its complex instruments represents the high points of medieval Indian astronomy.
Bharatpur National Park - Situated in eastern Rajasthan, about 176 kms away from Delhi, and 50 km west of Agra, is the Keoladeo Ghana or Bharatpur National Park, one of the most spectacular bird sanctuaries in India, nesting indigenous water- birds as well as migratory water birds and water side birds. It is also inhabited by sambar, chital, nilgai and boar.
Jaisalmer Fort - over 800 years old, crowns the Trikuta Hill. Within its walls, defended by 99 turrets, lies the old city, nearly a quarter of modern Jaisalmer. Seen from outside, the sight must be almost identical to what was seen by merchants on their overland camel caravans to central Asia. Once this desert outpost was an important gate for the trade route, and Jaisalmer grew wealthy on the proceeds.