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The historical sites are like nowhere else in the world, many of them being UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Intricate ceilings, beautiful minarets, miniature art, elegant temples, mirrored beams, and opulent palaces, Rajasthan is home to the most charming and ornate historical sites such as fortresses, mansions, castles, and palaces. The architecture in this state is an amalgamation of Hindu, Islamic and provincial styles that give it a distinct edge compared to various other destinations in the world.
Located on the outskirts of Jaipur, Amer Fort is striking from the first moment you look at it. Sitting on the top of a hill, the enigmatic presence of this magnificent piece of architecture is truly arresting. Built-in 1592 AD by Raja Man Singh Jee, this fort has stood the test of time and come out strong and as spectacular as ever. The Sun gate that opens on the main courtyard of the fort is such a beautifully imposing entrance that one is immediately drawn inside just to open into another realm of artistry. Archways, murals, courtyards and glasswork ceilings are just some of the characteristics that make Amer Fort an unforgettable destination.
Timings: 8am–5:30pm & 6:30–9:15pm
One of the largest forts in Asia, Chittor Fort is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to have been built as far back as the 7th Century A.D. The beauty and grace with which this fort had been built is evident till date even though the different armies attempted to destroy it over three times. Built over such a large area, the fort can be divided into several different segments to visit. Complete with towers or ‘stambhs’, reservoirs, wells, palaces, temples and a Wildlife Sanctuary around it, Chittor Fort requires time to explore as it is so rich in history and full of legends.
This luxurious palace located in Jodhpur is one of the largest private residences in the world today. With beautiful interiors, large paintings depicting war scenes, plush lobbies, marble squash courts and various other ultra palatial comforts, a part of Umaid Bhawan Palace is a fully functional hotel managed by the Taj Group, and the other part used as a private residence. They also have a museum section, that displays many of the extravagant gifts and possessions of the royal family over the years.
Rajasthan has an unending variety of palaces, Havelis, and forts, other than the ones mentioned above, that most definitely must be visited if traveling down to this historical state. Some famous names include Ranthambore Fort in Sawai Madhopur, Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Golden Fort in Jaisalmer, City Palace in Jaipur, and Junagarh Fort and Palace in Bikaner.
The desert has many secrets and to achieve a sense of nirvana we recommend a relaxing time unwinding while looking up at the dark sky and staring at the stars in the middle of the Thar. There are a number of companies that provide camping in the desert which includes camel safaris and an evening meal with Rajasthani folk dance performances and live music.
Some of the popular desert luxury safaris stays include:
Rajasthan also hosts the desert festival once a year in Jaisalmer, which is generally a three-day event that showcases traditional dance and culture, with performers dressed in bright colors and heavy jewelry. They also have various stalls that sell customary foods that are an absolute delight.
Dates: 7th February - 9th February, 2020
Location: Jaisalmer, on the Golden Sand Dunes
Tickets and Information: Visit the Tourism Rajasthan Government website for access to all festivals’ information.
It doesn't matter where you are in the entire state of Rajasthan, and in whatever mental state, look around and it will surely be vibrant, positive and colorful. From the stoles of the village women, decorated with combinations of colors and mirror work, to the pink houses in Jaipur’s old city or blue washed over Jodhpur’s little homes, Rajasthan is like one large life-size painting. There are so many ways to explore these shades in this sea of colors, such as the traditional folk dances of the Kalbeliya wearing black and silver or the red, yellow and green ‘safa’ turbans worn on the head of the men.
Rajasthan is also renowned for its folk music and dances across the world. All distinct regions and principalities in this state have distinct dances and unique music which they are so proud of. As a tourist, they will welcome you warmly and you are sure to experience at least one dancing or music session, and we recommend that you experience ‘Ghoomar’ and ‘Kalbeliya’ at least once when you are down there.
Rajasthan is one of the best food destinations in India, and if you are a foodie, this will definitely be a heavenly experience for you. Spicy food is the specialty of this beautiful state, but to relieve the heat, Rajasthan offers a wide array of sweets and desserts which will steal your heart.
Where: Spice Court, Achrol House, Jacob Rd, Civil Lines, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302006
Why: Although traditionally ‘Daal Baati Churma’ is a dish that involves a simple lentil stew served with whole wheat unleavened bread cooked over hot coal and topped with ‘ghee’, Spice Court in Jaipur does a twist on it. The bread is stuffed with slow-cooked mince or ‘keema’ mixed local herbs and spices making it wonderfully juicy and tasty.
Where: Lal Bagh Restaurant, Daulat Chamber, 65, Sardarpura, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001
Why: A beautifully cooked dish, made predominantly with red chilies and slow-cooked until the meat falls off the bone and is absolutely tender, Laal Maans is a popular favorite at this restaurant. Served with ‘roti’, which is a whole wheat flatbread, the meat used here is traditionally goat, cooked with an array of spices such as cumin, cardamom, cloves, and fenugreek. The curry is an absolute delight to the senses and you just want more and more.
Where: This snack is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike and naming one particular place and calling it the best will not be appreciated by anyone. Most sweet shops and corner stores in Rajasthan serve up this delicious little goody and although it tastes different everywhere, it's always yummy and comforting. Top places for Onion or Pyaaz Kachori are :
There are various other dishes that are native to Rajasthan and worth trying such as Ker Sangri, Gatte Ki Sabzi, Rajasthani Thali, Kalmi Vada, Badam ‘Almond’ Halwa, and Ghevar. A big shout out to Lassiwala on 312, MI Road, Jayanti Market, New Colony, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, serving the best Lassis ever. ‘Lassi’, a yogurt drink, as opposed to ‘lassies’, for those of you who got a little excited with the idea!!
Approximately 100 kilometers out of Jaipur lies the Ranthambore National Park, which is a major tourist attraction and protected site, famous for Tigers in their natural habitat.
Other than tigers, there are various local flora and fauna that can be explored in the region and is native to this part of the world. Some of them include, leopards, langurs, sloth bears, marsh crocodiles, chinkaras and many more.
Motorable at almost any month of the year, due the lack of rainfall in the region, the entire reserve has excellent tracks to drive on and view tigers in their natural habitat.
Rajasthan has a range of things to pick and choose from, or you can do it all! It is definitely a great place to explore and we would recommend it over an International destination any day if you haven't explored it already.