There isn’t any dearth of reasons for traveling to Rajasthan, the epicentre of history, culture and scenic desert beauty in India. Often called the Land of the Royals, Rajasthan is as famous for its sand dunes, forts and lakes as it is for its sumptuous food and vibrant culture. To explore the different facets of Rajasthan would spell true nirvana for a traveler. Here are 5 reasons why you should travel to Rajasthan at least once in your lifetime.
Rajasthan is endowed with a unique and vibrant culture. In the streets you will spot men in turbans and women decked up in multi-hued dresses and traditional ornaments. You can revel in traditional Rajasthani dance and musical performances by local artists, or watch puppeteers spin magic with their cloth puppets as they recount historical events and the tales of erstwhile kings and queens through the ancient art of storytelling. Get your hands tattooed in beautiful Henna or Mehendi patterns. You could also score the bazaars for genuine handicrafts, ethnic footwear, lehenga-choli, paintings and jewellery to take away as tokens of Rajasthani culture. Rajasthan is also an ideal destination to experience the customs and ways of the desert lifestyle.
Travel Tips: Visit the fresco paintings in the buildings and temples of Shekhawati, witness the vibrant gypsy dancers in the desert, and shop for trinkets and antiques in the colourful bazaars of Jaipur.
For centuries Rajasthan was the stronghold of the Rajput royals, who bestowed the state with an abundance of majestic palaces, imposing fortresses and Havelis built with marvellous architectural finesse and splendour. The cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Chittorgarh are especially famous for a plethora of heritage buildings including Amer Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace, Mehrangarh Fort and Hawa Mahal. While traveling to Rajasthan you are also bound to be touched by the religious fervour and devotion of the locals. The state is home to many ancient temples built by the Maharajas between 8th and 11th centuries. The most popular include the Jain temples at Ajmer, Dilwara and Jaisalmer, Brahma Mandir at Pushkar, Birla temple at Jaipur and Karni Mata Mandir at Bikaner.
Travel Tips: At Amer Fort in Jaipur, you can climb atop a beautifully decorated elephant to reach the entrance of the fort on the top of a hill. In Udaipur, a must do is the evening lake boat ride near the City Palace.
Rajasthan houses several world-renowned wildlife sanctuaries and national parks where you can spot amazingly diverse flora and fauna. One of the best places to spot the royal Bengal tiger during the day, Ranthambore National Park is a game sanctuary whose lush green forests seem to be taken right out of the pages of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a haven for migratory birds arriving in India for the winter from Europe, parts of Asia and Siberia. Other popular wildlife reserves worth a visit while you’re traveling to Rajasthan include Sariska Tiger Reserve, Tal Chapper Black Buck Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park and the Desert National Park.
Travel Tips: Tiger spotting at Ranthambore can be a pleasure. Shanti Travel creates Horseback riding tours across the plains & desert of Rajasthan. The camel back rides in Jaisalmer are a treat.
Rajasthan is well known for the hospitality and warmth of its people. Take a day out to explore the streets and markets on foot while traveling to Rajasthan. Smile at the people and they will welcome you with open arms. Talk to the local vendors, learn how to tie a turban or weave a basket. Visit a traditional Marwari Bhojanalaya (vegetarian restaurant of the Marwaris) and enjoy a traditional Rajasthani meal rich in exotic spices, ghee and butter. Due to a scarcity of water, Rajasthani cuisine is known for its abundant use of milk and milk products making it a unique Indian culinary tradition. Mouth-watering sweets such as Ghevar and Mawa Kachori also form an integral part of the meal. Do not miss out on the famous Daal-Baati-Churma, Pyaz ki Kachori and spicy Lal Gosht (red meat in gravy).
Travel Tips: Visit the Chokhi Dhani eco village & resort in Jaipur to savour traditional Rajasthani dishes.
Imagine an arena teeming with over 50,000 camels dressed in colourful attire being pitted against each other in beauty contests and auctioned off to interested buyers. That’s Pushkar Fair for you. The world’s largest camel fair, it is held every year with dramatic pomp and show. Festivities include music and dance, camel safaris across the desert, dips in the sacred Pushkar Lake and a food fest. Other famous festivals you could indulge in while traveling to Rajasthan include the Jaisalmer desert festival, Jaipur elephant festival and the Urs Fair in Ajmer. The forts and palaces of Rajasthan are also favourite destinations for grand weddings. You are in for a gala time if you get a chance to attend one of these ornate weddings replete with lavish decorations, dazzling dance performances, fireworks and elaborate rituals.
Travel Tips: Visit the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in Nagaur and Jodhpur in February 2015. The iconic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur will be the venue for this mesmerizing musical extravaganza. Contact us for details.
For these and countless other reasons, Rajasthan is a favourite destination for travelers who come from all over the world to bask in the cultural richness and spirited fervour of this desert state. Traveling to Rajasthan is akin to making inroads into an endless extravaganza of colours, festivities and Joie de vivre.