Rajasthan, known formerly by the name Rajputana or the land of the kings, is the largest state in India. It covers an area of 342,239 sq kilometers which is 10.4% of India. However despite of its large size it is covered by the Great Indian Desert, Thar. The Thar Desert runs parallel to the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Being located at the forefront of Indian civilization, the state of Rajasthan has seen the age of kings thus, explaining the moniker ‘the land of kings’. Rajasthan houses an amazing display of arts and architecture, courtesy of it being a princely state. Each individual kingdom of Rajasthan has a distinctive style of architecture and arts making it one of the most culturally diverse places in the world.
JAIPUR, the capital of the state, Jaipur is also the largest city in the princely state of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1727, by the Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Sawai Jaisingh II, who was the ruler of Amber. Also known by the nickname ‘Pink City of India’ which is due to the distinctive saffron or pink color of the buildings. The planning of the city was done according to the Vedic Vastu Shastra (Indian architecture). The well planned streets and detailed and artistic architecture make it one of the top preferred tourist locations.
In the 2008 Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey, Jaipur was ranked #7 of the best places to visit in Asia. Jaipur has lots to offer to even the most average tourists. Forts, monuments, temples, Gardens, museums and vast market places of Jaipur bring tourists who come from all around the world to experience the food, fun and frolic at this wonderful town. Jaipur is also home to a huge no. of arts and craft with more than 20 unique specializations.
AJMER is surrounded by Aravalli ranges and is a city seeped in both history and culture. It lies near Pushkar, a major Hindu pilgrimage site and is the home of the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. This makes it a unique pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Muslims. Apart from being a pilgrimage site, it is also the home of many fascinating historic sites and therefore welcomes tourists from all over the world. In 2015, Ajmer was selected as a heritage site for the HRIDAY – Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
PUSHKAR lying in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, the holy City Pushkar is often described as the king of pilgrimage sites in India. The town is located at the shores of the Pushkar Lake, which was created by the tears of Lord Brahma and is one of the oldest cities of India and the date of its origin is unknown and is often associated with the Hindu mythology. It is famous for its temples and various Ghats which are frequented by hundreds of visitors during the annual bath. The water of the lake is considered sacred and thus is responsible for the town’s repute as a pilgrimage spot.
Perhaps the most illustrious attraction of Pushkar is the annual camel fair. It is a five day fair held where people buy and sell livestock. But that’s not all; the fair is home to a large no. of tourist crowd that is attracted by the music, dance and various events that are held here during the camel fair. Camel races are one of the major attractions as well.
UDAIPUR has been termed as the Venice of the East, the City Udaipur is known by its common moniker, the city of lakes. The city was the capital of the Sisodiya Rajputs of Mewar and is famous for its palaces that exemplify the finesse of Rajputana Style architecture. Udaipur was founded in 1553 by the Sisodiya Rajput Ruler Maharana Udai Singh II. The Mewar Rajputs founded the city to relocate their capital from Chittor to a more secure location. Today, most of the palaces have been converted into hotels, thus attracting a huge no. of tourist crowd to this city.
The city’s picturesque location at the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains, the state of Udaipur is a unique destination. Apart from its various palaces, forts, market places, and various temples are also the reason for its popularity. The cities are well planned and the people hospitable, the place is not only famous for its palaces and monuments, the city of Udaipur has a lot to offer its visitors.
JODHPUR, The second largest City of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is also the second most populated city of Rajasthan after Jaipur. The city was founded in 1459 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler, Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar. The city was founded as Marwar’s new capital after the fall of the former capital of Mandore. Jodhpur is also called the Sun City as it enjoys a bright sunny weather all year round. Strategically, it is considered to be the most important city of western Rajasthan as it lies only at a distance of 250 kilometers from the Indo-Pakistan border.
Also, because it lies in the center of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is an important tourist destination as well. Jodhpur has been listed many a times in various tourism magazines and documentaries and has topped the lonely planet’s list of most extraordinary place to stay in 2014. The various hill forts, palaces and the old walled city are just a handful of attractions from the multitude that this wonderful city has to offer.
JAISALMER, the aptly named ‘golden city’, which comes from its view during the day, the city of Jaisalmer lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city was founded by The Bhati Rajput ruler Maharawal Jaisal Singh in 1156 Ad and it gets its name from the golden sands of the Thar Desert and the same golden colored sandstone used in the city’s architecture. This is a famous tourist spot due to its magnificent architecture and the various arts and crafts which are unique to this region. It thrives on tourism, and can be called a home away from home for a huge no. of tourists from all around the world.
The unique feature about the city of Jaisalmer is its architecture. It was built as a walled city which makes it one of the largest forts in the world. You might want to pack a lot of paperbacks and almost 3-4 days to enjoy the life in this city to its fullest. The fort has numerous eateries that offer Italian, French and local cuisines. Visit during the months of November and December and you will enjoy this castle city to its fullest.
BIKANER, the city of Bikaner was founded in 1488 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler Rao Bika. Rao Bika was the son of the Rathore Ruler Rao Jodha who founded Jodhpur. The land was usurped from the rivaling Jat rulers of that time. However, no matter how many wars the ancient city has seen in the past, today Bikaner is another prime tourist destination and is famous for its sweets and snacks. The place is known for its forts and food.
The various arts and crafts of this place are also unique, especially the intricately carved windowpanes called Jharokhas. It is one town we would personally recommend for you to visit if you want to experience the authentic taste of Rajasthani cuisines. The various fairs held in Bikaner also attract a huge no. of visitors from all around India and the world.
MOUNT ABU, the place takes pride of it being the only hill station in the desert state of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is situated in the Aravalli mountain range and is a part of the Sirohi District of Rajasthan. The place apart from being a retreat for the people of Rajasthan and Gujarat from the scorching sun but has a lot of historical and religious significance. Mount Abu was known as the Arbuda Mountain, which has been mentioned in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata and is known to be the place where the Great Sage Vasistha retired. The hill station houses many ancient sites and temples which are frequented by many pilgrims from across India along with many forts and lakes. The place is a heavenly retreat for the sun scorched people of Rajasthan, with its lush green surroundings and various picnic spots.