The Royal Rajasthan Experience
Journey through Rajasthan, the Land of Princes, is steeped in legends and mystery of bygone heroes and timeless culture. Set amidst the Aravalli Hills, Rajasthan is enveloped by the natural wonders of the Thar Desert, and dotted with surreal lakes, majestic forts and palaces, multihued cities, pristine villages and wildlife. Revel in vivid shades of Jodhpur’s blue-walled cityscape or take a holy dip at waterside ghats in Pushkar. Explore the bustling old markets in modern pink city of Jaipur or admire the illuminated palaces of Udaipur as the sun sets at the banks of Lake Pichola. Get inspired by the grandeur of the sand castle of Jaisalmer or sight a peacock dancing in Ranthambore National Park. Rajasthan almost overwhelms the senses with a truly incredible travel experience.
Atithi Devo Bhava”, meaning ‘the guest is next to the God.People of Rajasthan
- Destination: Rajasthan
- Nearest City (Airport): Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, New Delhi
- Nearest City (Railway Station): Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, New Delhi
- Dates: On request
- Months: August to April
- Level: Easy to Difficult
- Guide: Available
- Price: On request
HISTORY & HERITAGE
The medieval forts and palaces of Rajasthan, the symbols of power and hospitality, are remnants of the fascinating history of Indian royalty, Mughal empires and British colonialism. Go back in time as you explore these awe-inspiring monuments, along with the intricately carved havelis, ancient temples and step wells that add to the architectural grandeur of the region. Here are some of the best forts and palaces to visit in Rajasthan.
• Amber, Jaigarh and Nahargarh fort in Jaipur; Chittorgarh and Kumbalgarh forts in Udaipur; Jaisalmer Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site and the only living fort in India; Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, one of the best museums in Rajasthan including the kaleidoscopic Takhat Mahal; and Ranthambore Fort in the eponymous national park.
• Udaipur’s City Palace on the banks of Lake Pichola, Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Palace on offshore islands; Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, and City Palace in Jaipur.
Stay in beautiful heritage hotels and high-end havelis or mansions for a glimpse into the world of royalty. The luxurious palaces and forts, such as the 16th century Beaux-Arts palace built by ruler Udai Singh overlooking Lake Pichola in Udaipur, or a hotel inside the famous Jaisalmer Fort built in the 12th century by ruler Rawal Jaisal, are worth the splurge, as you’ll have a chance to immerse in class and opulence.
CITY TOURS – HERITAGE WALKS/CYCLING
Exploring the alleyways and delightful nooks of the pink, blue and gold cities by heading out on a guided walk or cycling tour, and sampling a part of Rajasthan’s rich cultural heritage, scenic and natural wonders, and local flavors, gives you a chance to truly experience Rajasthan as it really is.
The hidden treasures are found beyond the cities, in rural Rajasthan. Explore up-close the nomadic way of life, and authentic culture and cuisine of the Bhils and Minas, the white-clad Bishnois, and many such local tribes. Postcard-picture scenes of bright saris and huge turbans, bullock carts and grazing camels, unfold as you delve deeper into the rustic layers of Rajasthan.
Ranthambore National Park is a world-renowned forest reserve uniquely located at the shores of a ruin-studded lake amidst the arid land of Rajasthan. Home to the elusive Bengal tiger, the park also boasts of Asian lions, sloth bears, nilgai antelope, sambar deer, jungle cats, leopard, elephants, buffalo, rhino, monkeys, and wolves, not to forget the rich birdlife.
With far fewer tourists is Keoladeo, Asia’s famous bird sanctuary and a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts millions of migratory birds each winter from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. A bird-watching haven, it is home to some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane. Sunrise safaris, cycling, nature treks or walks are amazing ways to spot the wildlife at the national parks.
Rajasthan’s finest treasures are its vast and untamed desert landscapes. The journey across the gateway towns of Jaisalmer and Bikaner into the shimmering sands of Thar Desert takes you through desert forts and temple ruins, remote villages and colorful markets, countless camels and rare sights of the black buck running wild. The highlight for many, though, is camping under the desert stars on a camel safari, an experience unlike any other.
Festivals in Rajasthan are exuberant, colorful and grand, with an unmatched joyous yet spiritual spirit. The cultural fiestas immerse you in the legacy, the art, the music, the dance, the craftsmanship, and the folklore kept alive and unchanged for generations. Here are some of the most popular festivals, also the best times to experience Rajasthan like a local.
• Ranthambore National Park Festival (Jan) – a tryst with wildlife, heritage and music in Ranthambore.
• Jaipur Literature Festival (Jan) – experience the power of literature and culture in Jaipur.
• Sufi Music Festival (Feb) – soothing sounds of Sufi music in Jodhpur.
• Gangaur Festival (Mar-Apr) – colourful celebration of spring and marital bliss in Udaipur.
• International Folk Festival (Oct) – a soulful cacophony of traditional music and contemporary sounds in Jodhpur.
• Pushkar Camel Fair (Oct-Nov) – an epic spectacle of gatherings of camels and pilgrims in Pushkar.
• Desert Festival (Feb) – as the name suggests it is a three day extravaganza in the sand dunes of sights, smells, tastes and unique delights of the desert city, Jaisalmer.
Rajasthan is a handicraft collector’s delight. You can find them in local street markets or at high-end emporiums, or even buy directly from the artisans and also watch them craft. Some of the beautiful hand-made creations are the block-printed textiles, sculpted artefacts in brass and silver, studded kundan jewelry, lacquered bangles and jewel boxes, the famous Persian-style blue ceramics, fine embroidery and pashminas, intricate miniature paintings, and many more. Buy for yourself or to gift someone, either ways you help support the local communities.
Rajasthan’s cuisine is a blend of indigenous Marwari and Rajput flavors with influences from the Mughal era, and the neighboring states of Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. Among the most savored are dal baati churma, onion kachoris and gatti ke subzi, also the main staples. The grand feasting dishes, such as laal maas, an aromatic meat curry, pulao and kebabs, sweet mawa kachori and ghevar, add the royal touch. Sample these culinary delights, and for learning the nuances of local cuisine, take a cooking class.
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