Known for its exotic monuments, Jaipur is India’s first planned city. Established in 1927 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, it was the capital of earlier Kachwaha rulers. Today, the city is an attractive tourist destination, a versatile showcase of culture, art and architecture. The royal forts and palaces, the lovely gardens and the exquisite works of art in the form of handicrafts and jewellry are the threads woven into the very fabric of the city and these make Jaipur what it is-Mesmerizing.
Jaipur is a city of magnificent Forts and Palaces. These include the impressive City Palace, the massive Amber Fort, the unique Hawa Mahal, Jaigarh and Nahargarh Fort. The Jantar Mantar, a World Heritage Site, has architectural astronomical instruments. Jaipur, also called the ‘Pink City’ due to the unique color of the various forts and buildings, creates a mystic aura to entice the tourists.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The major attraction of the city of Jaipur is its colorful and joyful festivals that occur all the year round, engaging tourists in the fun filled activities. These include the Kite festival Jan 14/Makar Sankranti, Elephant Festival in Feb/March, Gangaur Festival in March/April, and the Teej festival in July/August. These fairs and festivals charm and attract tourists from India and abroad presenting the true essence of Rajasthan’s culture and heritage.
Jaipur also has a spiritual flavor with numbers of temples present all around the city. Of these, the Birla Temple, Govind Devji Temple, Galtaji and Moti Durgri are well known.
Jaipur known for its exquisite carpets, handicrafts, Jewelry and Camel leather items has a number of markets and bazaars selling these exclusive items at great bargains. The authentic and surreal beauty of these works of art makes these markets a shopper’s paradise.
Also called the Venice of India, the city of Udaipur is one of the greatest tourist attractions of Rajasthan. The city is known for its lakes and the beautiful Aravallis. The city of romance, Udaipur has all the ingredients of a Fairy Tale – Gardens, Temples, Lakes and exotic locales that charm the tourists.
Known for its serenic beauty, Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake. The lake is connected to the Swaroop Sagar Lake and The Fateh Sagar Lake. The numerous lakes in Udaipur with their exotic beauty and crystal clear water add the mystical feel of the city.
The City Palace, with its many balconies, provides a scenic view of the Lake Palace. The Lake Palace, with its romantic mysticism is breathtaking, magical and enchanting and is now the Taj Mahal Hotel. The Sajjangarh Fort, Bagore ki Heveli impress with their majestic, luminous and towering charm. The city of Udaipur transports into an era of royal old world charm.
Dudh Talai, Rose Garden, Sahelio-ki-Bari, Din Dayal Park, Sukhadia circle, Gulab Bagh Zoo, Rajiv Gandhi Park are one of the few gardens and parks that attract the tourists. The lush lawns with the backdrop of Aravallis hypnotize with their natural beauty.
MONUMENTS AND OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
Moti Magri, Udaipur Solar observatory, Pratap Museum and Ahar Museum provide insight into the culture of the royal rulers of Rajasthan. Offering in-depth knowledge about the lifestyle of the Royalty, these places fascinate and enrich the tourists.
The Shilpgram centre that depicts the life style and culture of rural artesians from Rajasthan and nearby states is a cultural treat. The Shilpgram Utsav organized every year in Dec./Jan attracts huge number of tourists for its authentic feel and exquisite handicrafts. The soul stirring folk music and dance performances by artists from various parts of the country add to the magic of the festival.
Established in 1488 AD by Rajput Prince Rao Bika Ji, Bikaner has a rich cultural heritage. A city with palaces and forts, magnificent temples, it is the ultimate exhibit of Rajasthani culture and traditions.
FORTS AND PALACES
The Junagarh fort, a display of Mughal, Gujrati and Rajput architacture is known for its picturesque court yards. The Lalgarh palace, Gajner Palace, Jain Haveli, Bhandeswari Haveli, create a royal aura and impress with their architectural brilliance leaving the viewer spell bound.
WILD LIFE SANCTUARY
Home to unique wildlife creatures like blue bulls, Indian hares, wild boars, dear and antelopes, the Gajner wildlife sanctuary transports to another world. The scenic landscape and the view of the migratory birds hypnotize with their presence.
Ganga Singh Museum, Sadul Singh Museum, Prachina Museum, Rajasthan State Archives display historic artifacts depicting the richness and depth of Rajasthan’s culture and traditions. Reflecting the lives and passions of the royalty of Bikaner they enrich the tourists with wisdom and knowledge.
The Shiv Bari Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the way to Bikaner has a beautiful wall painting of Nandi Bull facing the Shiva Lingam. The Devi Kund is the royal crematorium which has several Chhatris or cenotaphs, each dedicated to the ruler of Bikaji dynasty. These Chhatris have delicate Rajput paintings and illustrate the great architecture of Rajasthan.
The Camel festival organized by the Department of Tourism Art and Culture, of Rajasthan Government in January in Bikaner is a major tourist attraction. Fascinating tourists with their grace, the camels are a treat to watch. The visitors can witness the most incredible performances by camels such as races, camel dances and rides.
Founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in 7th century AD, Ajmer was a major seat of power for the Chauhan dynasty. Today it is a centre for Sufism revered by pilgrims – both Hindus and Muslims who visit the Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti to seek his blessings. A centre of culture and education, Ajmer is famous for the prestigious Mayo College, one of the best private education institutions in India.
FORTS & MONUMENTS
The Taragarh Fort situated in Nagapahari in the Aravallis guards the entrance of the city. The Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra is known for its calligraphic inscriptions. The other forts famous for their architectural brilliance are Akbar Fort, Mansingh Palace and Bijay Niwas Palace.
Ajmer’s major tourist attraction is the Dargah Khwaja Sahab, the shrine of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti. The sacred Tomb is in the centre and the mystic aura of the holy shrine infuses pilgrims with serenity, peace and spirituality.
The Digambar Jain Temple also called the Nasiyar Red Temple adorned with precious stones, gold and silver art work is also a huge draw for pilgrims visiting Ajmer.
Ajmer has a beautiful Lake the Ana Sagar, an artificial lake that enhances the beauty of the Sufi town. The Daulat Bagh garden surrounding the lake adds to the charm of the lake. Lake Foy Sagar also situated near Ajmer is known for its picturesque beauty.
Symbol of communal harmony, the Urs festival is celebrated every year for 6 days to seek the blessings of Khwaja Chisti. Many programs and quwwallis are organized and Ajmer turns into a mystic Sufi city that attracts pilgrims of all faiths.
A city with the expanse of the desert as backdrop dotted by the colors of life, warm people, beautiful havelis, Jaislmer is straight out of a fairy tale. Founded by Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, the city was located on the trade route between India and Egypt and to Arabia. As a result, the city prospered and saw many wealthy merchants building their artistic & monumental havelis here.
The city of Jaisalmer has a rich architectural heritage discernible in magnificent Jaisalmer Fort, Deewan Nothmal ji ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki haveli, Patwon ji ki Haveli and the Tazia Tower.
The Jaisalmer Fort is in fact a whole township that has palace complex, havelis of rich merchants and residents of traders.
Jaisalmer has a beautiful rain water conservation lake built by Maharawal Godsi in 14th century. Surrounded by many temples and shrines, the lake is known for its striking and photogenic beauty. Amar Sagar, a water reservoir developed by Maharawal Amar Singh is also another tourist attraction.
CAMEL RIDES AND SAND DUNES
Near the Jaisalmer city is the village Sam where one can enjoy Camel rides along with traditional folk dance. Shifting sand dunes add to the breath taking experience of a lifetime. Village Khuri located near Jaisalmer also offers similar magical experience of rides, ethnic folk dance and shifting sand dunes.
The rich fauna of the Thar can be seen in the Desert National Park. Sand dunes, rocks, compact salt lake bottoms and fixed dunes cover a major part of the park. Home to the Great Indian Bustard, State bird of Rajasthan, the park is also inhabited by black buck, Chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, cat and hare.
Also 17 Km from Jaisalmer, tourists can visit the Akal Wood Fossil Park and see fossilized wood that is more than 180 million years old.
Organized by the Department of Tourism in the month of Jan – Feb in Jaisalmer, the Desert Festival is a showcase of the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. Folk musicians and beautiful women in traditional attire dance and sing folk songs and ballads. The tourists can enjoy puppet & acrobat shows, Camel races & polo, traditional processions, Tug of war, Matka race. Turban trying and Mr. Desert competitions also draw huge crowds.
Found by Rao Jodha, leader of the Rathore class, Jodhpur is the second largest city of Rajasthan. It prospered immensely during the British rule, especially the merchants of Jodhpur.
FORTS & MONUMENTS
The city of Jodhpur is famous for the Umaid Bhawan Palace. A magnificent architectectural feat, the fort is known for not using any mortar binding using a special system of interlocking. Impressive and spectacular, the fort is a major tourist attraction. The Mehrangarh Fort sprawling over a huge hill is known for its glorious past and majestic looks.
Jodhpur also has a Govt. Bangur Museum known for its rich treasury of coins, idols and paintings.
LAKES AND PARK
Near Jodhpur, is an exotic wildlife and natural spot, the Guda Lake, adjacent to Bishnoi village. Another lake, the Kailana Lake, is also known for its scenic beauty.
Mandore Gardens are famous for the cenotaphs of the rulers of Jodhpur and extensive gardens.
Jodhpur has many temples famous for their architecture, sculptures, historical background and spirituality. The Mahamandir Temple, Ranakpur Jain Temple and Somnath Temple are among the well known.
MACHIYA SAFARI PARK
1 km from Kailara Lake lies the wildlife park where tourists can observe deer, desert fox, blue bulls, rabbits, wild cats, monitor lizard, monkeys and large number of birds.
Home to many sages and religious saints, Mt. Abu was under the Chauhan rulers. Later it was leased by the British from the Maharaja of Sirohi to operate as their head quarters in Rajasthan.
Nakki lake is the largest manmade lake in India at 11,00 mts. above sea level . It is called the Lake of Love as the lake is said to be dug by the Sage Rasia Balam to seek the hand of his beloved Kunvanri Kanya. The Garacia tribe considers the lake to be auspicious and offer prayers in the Shukla Paksha in April and seek blessings of their ancestors.
Mt. Abu is famous for its Delwara Jain temples, which I fact, is a group of 5 temples. A great example of human creativity, these temples have intricate carvings and art work on the walls, pillars, doors etc. Other famous temples are the Gaumukh Temple, Arbuda devi, Guru Shikhar, Raghunath Temple, Rishikesh Temple, Sankar Math, Sant Saurovar, Risabhadev Temple and Achaleshwar Temple.
Mt. Abu wildlife sanctuary situated in the Aravallis has a rich flora and fauna attracting nature lovers and tourists. Rich in herbal medicinal plants and large varieties of plants, this sanctuary is home to many rare species and orchids too! It also has Sambhar, Civet, Wolf, Hyaena, Sloth Bears. A large variety of birds makes it a paradise for bird watchers.
The summer festival in the month of May on Budh Poornima offers a colorful bonanza of dance, music, art and other activities that leave long lasting impact in the memory of the visitors. Boat races, horse races, folk dances etc are some of the major tourist attractions. The three day winter festival, a Kaleidoscope of Rajasthani folk music, dance, art and culture organized in December also attracts large crowds due to many cultural events.
With a history dating back to the epic age, Bharatpur city has come a long way. Its roots can be traced back to king Bharat, brother of Lord Rama on whose name it is called Bharatpur. In 1733 AD, it was taken over by Maharaja Suraj Mal who built magnificent forts and palaces across the city.
FORTS & MONUMENTS
Bharatpur has many forts that attract visitors throughout the year. The strikingly alluring Deeg Fort has sprawling gardens designed in the typical Mughal style. Lohagarh Fort is another majestic fort in Bharatpur with an interesting history. This fort also built by Maharaja Suraj Mal could never be conquered even by the modern artillery led by the British. Bijay Garh built during the time of Lord Krishna, 45 kms from Bharatpur is also another famous tourist attraction.
Bharatpur has many temples known for their spiritual and architectural magnificence. The Ganga Mandir, Laxman Mandir are among the many with intricate carvings on pillars, arches and ceilings.
NATIONAL PARK & SANCTUARY
A major attraction of Bharatpur that attracts both national and international visitors is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Inhabited by a large number of wild life species and many local and migratory birds, Bharatpur sanctuary is a heaven for wildlife and bird lovers. The sanctuary has diverse flora with deciduous trees and dry grassland. The migratory birds which include Siberian Cranes, Pelicans, Geese, Ducks, Hawks, Larks, Pipits etc. are a major tourist attraction.
Organized in the month fo Feburary, the Braj Mahotsav celebrates the proximity of UP to Rajasthan. Folk dances, music and culture of both states can be seen in the colorful show put up by numerous artists. Professionals perform the Raas Leela that depicts the life of Lord Krishna and enthrall the visitors with their display of culture and traditions.
Few kms away from Kota, Bundi is yet unexplored, small town of Rajastha but which has much to offer in terms of intricate architecture and picturesque locations.
Ruled by Hada Chauhans, it has many interesting places, forts with intricate carvings that are a unique blend of art and culture.
FORT & MONUMENTS
The Taragarh Fort is a popular tourist attraction. It contains three water tanks which never dry up and are testimony to the advanced architecture and engineering skills of medieval India. The Bundi Palace near the Taragarh Fort is famous for its Chitrashala or picture gallery. The Raniji ki Baori, Ratan Daulat are also unique places to visit in Bundi.
Nawal Sagar, Dabhai Kund, Jait Sagar Lake, Phool Sagar are famous lakes known for their raw charm.
One of the oldest cities of India, Pushkar is a very sacred place for Hindus. A city of temples, it is most known for the Brahma temple built in the 14th Century. The Pushkar Lake with 52 Ghats, surrounded by temples is known for its spiritual and sacred significance.
PUSHKAR LAKE & TEMPLES
Considered to be as sacred as Lake Mansarover of Tibet, the Pushkar Lake is a pilgrimage for Hindus. The Brahma temple has a huge idol of lord Brahma. The Savitri temple at the top of Ratnagiri Hill is dedicated to the wife of Brahmaji, Goddess Savitri. Other famous temples are Sri Sawai Bhoj, Gautam Maharishi, Atpateshvar Mahadev and the Varah Temple.
Organized on the full moon day of Kartik Purnima in Oct.-Nov., the Pushkar Fair is a cultural feast with dance, music, festivities and many other activities that entice the tourists.
Puppet shows, Camel auctions, Camel races, magic shows are part of the fun filled activities that excite and enchant the tourists. The camels bedecked with colorful jewellry, anklets and beads crate a magical aura.
The Pushkar Lake and the many temples in the backdrop add to the mysticism of the city and draw thousands of pilgrims every year.