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Rajesthan

A REMINDER OF ROMANCE AND ROYALTY

See             full size image The magical land set amidst the desolate desert beauty. The land synonymous with romance and chivalry, immensely rich in culture, history and natural beauty, that is Rajasthan. Always teeming with colour, joy and friendlyness that&amprsquos unique to this part of the country. Every thing about Rajasthan fascinates from miles of golden stretches of sand to the kaleidoscope of magnificent forts, opulant palaces and marvellous havelis, each a splendid architectural creation having a legend of its own. The land comes alive with exuberant folk dances and music, ballads and spectacular festivities that are an inseparable part of Rajasthan&amprsquos culture. Many beautiful temples dating back over centuries dot the entire state, making it a popular pilgrim spot for people from many faiths. Even for wildlife enthusiasts, the state is an excellent retreat with its arid zone of the Thar Desert and the dry deciduous forests that offer rich variety of flora and fauna. A wide range of accommodation is available all over the state to suit all budgets and you live like a Maharaja in the opulant palaces or Havelis&ampndashwhere once lived Maharajas and feudal Lords of yesteryears. So, if you are looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience, start out to discover Rajasthan , It is an experience you will cherish for a lifetime.

JAIPUR SHEER SYMPHONY IN PINK

The picturesque capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is colour washed pink&ampndashthe colour associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Built in 1727 A.D.by Mharaja Sawai Jai Singh 11, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendour. The ancient heart of the pink city still beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur&amprsquos colourful Bazaars where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautiful laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvellous heritage hotels, once the residence of Maharajas, are worth admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-heud costumes that make your trip to pink city a memorable one.

UDAIPUR VENICE OF THE EAST
The city of dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure water lakes, hemmed in by the
lush hills of the Aravalis.Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavour of a heroic past, epitimising valour and chivalry. Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar&ampndasha Kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 years ,and founded by Maharana Udai singh in 1559 A.D. Exquisite lake palaces of Udaipur , shimmering like jewels on Lake Pichhola are overwhelming in splendour. Several places of interest around Udaipur, including the majestic Chittaurgarh, the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh, beautifull Jain temples of Ranakpur, Eklingji and Nathdwara and the cool retreat of Mt. Abu, make the visit to Udaipur a memorable one.

JAISALMER THE GLORY OF THE GOLDEN FORT 
Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a Golden Mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone stands with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber-heud city. The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which , Lord Krishna -the head of Yadav clan, foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156 A.D. when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital-Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill. For years Jaisalmer remained untouched by the outside influences. The rise of shipping trade and the port of Mumbai saw the decline of Jaisalmer. But the desert fortress, that seems to be straight out of the ” Tales of the Arabian Nights” , still enchants. The setting sun turning Jaisalmer into a beautiful golden brown is a spectacular sight.

JODHPUR TALES OF GRANDEUR AND GREAT HEROES 
Set at the edge of the Thar desert, the Imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the dersert. Once the capital of the Marwar state ,it was founded in 1459 A.D. by Rao Jodha&ampndashchief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendents of Rama&ampndashthe epic hero of the Ramayana. The massive 15th century A.D. Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 mts. above the plains.The city is encompassed by a high wall&ampndash10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions. A major trade centre of 16th century A.D. ,the fortress-city of Jodhpur is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. While the graceful palaces, forts and temples strewn throughout the city bring alive the historic grandeur , exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a ramantic aura to the city. Countless festivities celeberate the rich past and culture of the princely state.

AJMER  THE LAND OF COMPOSITE CULTURES 
Situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills, Ajmer has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajai pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. when Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then Ajmer became home to many dynasties, which came and left-leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the city&amprsquos history, converting it to an amalgam of various cultures and a blend of Hinduism and Islam. Today Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Durgah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi, saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, which is equally reverred by the Hindus and Muslims.

PUSHKAR THE BLESSING OF BRAHMA
Just 11Km from Ajmer on the edge of the desert lies the tiny tranquil town of Pushkar along the bank of the Pushkar Lake&ampndashan important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. Surrounded by hills from three sides, Pushkar abounds in temples. Of these the most famous is the Brahma temple&ampndashthe only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the country. Every year thousands of devotees throng the lake around the full moon day of Kartik Purnima in October/November to take a holy dip in the lake.A huge and colourful cattle fair– the Pushkar fair, is also held this time Although a serene town, Pushkar bustles with life during the joyous celebrations, held on Kartik Purnima.

BIKANER CITADEL OF CULTURE AND CAMELS
The Royal fortified citry with a timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the desert state, the city is dotted with many sand dunes. More popularly called the Camel country , the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of a life here. The wells of Bikaner– an important source of water are other attractions of the city. Bikaner&amprsquos history dates back to 1488 A.D.when a Rathore Prince, Rao Bikaji&ampndasha descendent of the founder of Jodhpur [1459 A.D.], Rao Jodhaji ,established his kingdom here. The magnificent forts and Palaces, created with delicacy in reddish-pink sandstone, bear testimony to its rich historical and architectural legacy. Undulating lanes, colourful bazaars and bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience.

SAWAI MADHOPUR GATEWAY TO THE TIGERS’ DEN
Sawai Madhopur is the gateway to the world renowned Ranthambore National Park-the famous Tiger Reserve, just 12 Km away from here. Ranthambore has been a witness to the rise and fall of many rulers and a series of battle scenes. In the 13th century A.D., Govinda, the grand son of Prithviraj Chauhan took over the reign of the land. Later his successor Vagbhatta , beautified the city and built a noteworthy temple at Jhain. Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted it to Maharaja Sawai Madho singh 1 of Jaipur in 1754 and since then it was maintained as the hunting preserve of the Maharaja. Queen Elizabeth 11 and Duke of Edinburgh were part of the Royal hunting parties who stayed here.
 

SOME POPULAR FESTIVALS OF RAJASTHAN

CAMEL FESTIVAL– [BIKANER ]
A recently introduces, lively and colorful event in the desert city of Bikaner. The camel festival is organised by department of tourism, art & culture Rajasthan. This festival is organised in January each year and it flaunts the beauty of the beasts that catwalk their way into the hearts of millions. Folk music and dances of the desert, add on what is otherwise an exclusive camel affair. January is just the ideal month for a desert spree, and Bikaner just the right spot, to witness the ships-of-the-desert in action. The camel festival begins with a colorful processions of bedecked camels in te red sandstone backdrop of the Junagarh fort. The festivity advances to the open sand spreads of the polo grounds, followed by camel races, camel milking, fur cutting design, the best bread competition, camel acrobatics, camel bands and watching all are the gaping spectators. The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of the drivers. Colorful, bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands, cast a medical, spell. The evenings close with a traditional rendezvous of renowned artists of Rajasthan and the local folk performers. An inspiring fire dance, and dazzling fire-works light up the fortified desert city of Bikaner.

DESERT FESTIVAL - [JAISALMER]

Relive the magic and brilliance of the Desert City -Jaisalmer , the city that parades it
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