Romancing History ? A Holiday in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, the name evokes myriad impressions ? an intricate tapestry of colour, sound and smell. Holidaying in Rajasthan brings one face to face with mammoth contradictions ? where royal grandeur is easily offset by rustic charm and lavish opulence belies ingenious survival. Geographically too, Rajasthan is a land of contrasts: dense forests give way to an arid landscape and lofty hills separate baking dunes from brimming lakes. And no Rajasthan holiday is complete without an experience of the spirited Rajputs, whose proud and haughty exterior conceals an inner friendliness and warm sense of hospitality.
Rajasthan, meaning the land of the kings, has a history dating back 5000 years. A Rajasthan holiday is the experience of a living tradition. Dotted with well-preserved architectural wonders echoing age-old legends, many of these, especially the ancient havelis are in use even today. Similarly, ancient temples in this mystic land have effortlessly spanned eons of worship by the devout as they resound even today with chanting and ringing of bells.
Holiday in Rajasthan! Follow in the footsteps of the ancient caravans as you travel through this ageless land by a camel safari or step into the shoes of kings, as you ride into palaces sitting atop an elephant. Track the tiger in wild Rajasthan or have a holiday adventure driving a jeep over sand dunes in a hip desert adventure.
Rajasthan is dotted with the reminders of its ancient past, its forts ringing with ballads of the valour and romance of the Rajputs. But the tourist is not a visitor to dead relics showcased in a museum. A Rajasthan holiday is an enthralling ride through the living portals of history.
Bikaner: Located in North Rajasthan, Bikaner is desert country famous for its medieval spirit, its monuments and camels. Junagarh fort, Lalgarh palace, Jain Haveli and Bhandeswari are a feast for the holiday crowd.
Jaipur: Rajasthan's pink city offers a holiday with a refreshing blend of the traditional and the modern. Its attractions include the Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall, Jantar Mantar and the forts, Nahargarh, Jaigarh, Amber and Moti Dungri.
Jaisalmer: The magic of the desert is very alive in this legendary town famous for its havelis ? traditional mansions that are artistic expression with skilled craftsmanship, carvings and paintings. Other attractions include the breathtaking Jaisalmer Fort and the Tazia Towers.
Jodhpur: The ancient Marwar empire in the desert, this military town is also famous for the kingly sport of Polo. It is famous for its monuments including Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mehrangarh fort and Jaswant Thada.
Udaipur: Known for its lakes and palaces, this is the ultimate Rajasthan holiday. Udaipur epitomizes artistic endeavor from brilliant architecture and miniature painting to vibrant performing arts. Tourists are simply dazzled by the City Palace, Lake Palace, Crystal Gallery, Durbar Hall, Bagore-ki-haveli Dharohar, Jag Mandir, and Maharana Pratap Memorial.
Wild Rajasthan Holidays
Rajasthan is also a haven for some thrilling wildlife holidays, housing as it does some of the best National Parks and Sanctuaries in India.
Ranthambore National Park: Located at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, Rajasthan's important hill ranges, this former hunting ground of the Maharajas is one of the best places in the world to see the tiger. Other wild life her includes sambar, chital, nilgai, hyena, caracal and panther.
Sariska National park: Situated among the rugged Aravali hills that dominate North West Rajasthan, Sariska's dry deciduous forests are home to a wealth of wildlife. Besides the tiger, a holiday here offers sambar, chital, chousingha, wildboar, langur, Rhesus macaque and a wealth of birds.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park: Originally the hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur, this lovely bird sanctuary owes its existence to an artificial tank, which is home to a variety of birds, resident as well as migratory. The star attraction of a holiday in Bharatpur here is the Siberian Crane, a winter migrant that flies to Rajasthan all the way from Russia.
Feisty Rajasthan Holidays
Holiday in Rajasthan for its people who don't look for reasons to celebrate. Fond of colour, mirth and pageantry, the irrepressible spirit of Rajasthan finds expression in a number of feasts, fairs and festivals that mark the seasons, commemorate occasions or simply let off steam!
Desert Festival: Holidaying here in winter, tourists find the desert around Jaisalmer bursting in a riot of colour and music. Around January, the Desert Festival presents an extravagant fanfare of Rajasthani men and women displaying the cultural wealth of their state.
Camel Festival: Held in January, this festival is dedicated to the 'Ship of the Desert', and lifeline to rural Rajasthan. Starting with a procession of decorated camels, it soon turns into jubilant festivity. Tourists are mesmerized by contests, acrobatics and dances put up by the well-trained camels.
Pushkar Fair: Tourists from around the world come to the town of Pushkar during mid November for this rural fair, which is essentially a pilgrimage to the lake here. The local people display their animals and livestock and nights is given up to music, dance and dramatics