Rajasthan is where all the country's similies and metaphors appear to have come together. Sand dunes, wooded hills and amazing lakes, palaces and rugged forts , men and women in colourful turbans and skirts, bustling towns and quiet villages, camels, elephants and tigers, harsh sunlight and the cool evening breeze-are all there in abundance. But they form only part of an intricate tapestry. Beneath the surface, expect to find many contradictions. Wherever you travel, particularly when you escape from the popular tourist destinations, you will come across the unexpected, whether it is a local fair or a breathtaking view. The mood and the rhythm of the countryside changes from one region to another, and from season to season. It is a land of surprises ; it is a land of amazing natural beauty that can fascinate even the most seasoned traveler.
The cities of Rajasthan still retain the medieval flavour keeping alive the timeless traditions in their rich art and crafts, colourful bazars and vibrant people wearing multi-hued costumes and a bright smile.
No other region in the country assembles the many paradoxes of India as does the desert land of Rajasthan. Unexpected forest glens, lakes and temples appear like mirages in the deserts. On the crag are seen rugged forts, testimony to a turbulent history.
Rajasthan, a land of princes, palaces and preening peacocks is renowned for its monuments, art and culture that go back to several centuries. Admire a range of miniature paintings and frescoes of exquisite refinement, there is romance in Rajasthan's forts and palaces and arts of gallantry retold in ballads and legends, Then there are sanctuaries sheltering rich and varied species of flora and fauna. And the shimmering Thar Desert belt charms with a rare and amazing sight.
The land comes alive with exuberant folk dances and music, ballads and spectacular festivities that are an inseparable part of Rajasthan's culture. Especially enchanting are the evenings here, when melodious tunes echoing through the solitude of shimmering sands, fill the air.
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 a rich variety of flora and fauna. Some of the finest national park and sanctuaries are found here.
Rajasthan is also renowned for exquisite miniature paintings and frescoes, not forgetting the incredibly fabulous Rajasthani fabrics and jewelry alongwith a wide range of beautiful handicrafts.
The history of Rajasthan goes back 5000 years and boasts a heritage as rich as its landscape, from the grand palaces and rugged forts to its tranquil countryside. There is something for everyone in this vast state - those looking for an action packed holiday will find endless opportunities, from horse and camel safari to trekking. Those looking for a taste of royal lifestyle just need to check into one of the several palace hotels or heritage hotels that will make it possible for them to be treated like royal guests. A mouth-watering treat of Rajasthani cuisine ranging from desert specialities to royal delicacies, awaits you during your visit.
The panoramic outlook of the state is simply mesmerizing, with lofty hills of Aravali's - one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world and the golden sand dunes of the Great Indian Desert - the only desert of the sub-continent. No other region in the country is a conglomeration of so many paradoxes. It is a land of superlatives, everything over here is breathtakingly beautiful, impressive and fascinating!
Whether you are visiting Rajasthan's big cities with a fast-moving westernised lifestyle, or exploring historic towns or quaint villages, you will always find the people warm and friendly. And if you want to move away from the regular tourist beat, it is very easy to organise your own tour.
Accommodation could be a palace hotel, a smaller heritage hotel in the country, a guesthouse, a tent or a village hut-the choice is yours. But whatever you choose, your holiday in Rajasthan will be an unforgettable experience.
Rajasthan perhaps more than any other State in India, is a shopper's paradise centuries- old skills in the traditional crafts continue to produce some of the most exciting wares in the world. Tie-and-dye fabrics in vibrant colours. Fine block-printed textiles and silks. Wood and ivory carving. Lacquer and filigree work. Delicately cut precious stones, and exquisite enamelled jewellery.
Rajasthan's terracotta tradition that was linked with the civilization of the Indus continues today in almost every Village. Beyond the utility items like pots and pitchers, notable are the votive images and plaques of deities particularly from Molela (40 km north of Udaipur). The thriving blue pottery of Jaipur dates back to the 16th century when the influences of China and Persia were brought home by Raja Man Singh I of Amber through his contacts with the Mughal rulers of Delhi.
Among the textiles, it is the women's tie-and-dye odhn/sand the block printed Dresses that are the most distinct. These techniques are now put to use in modern garments, bed-spreads and table-cloths' The fine weave of the Kofa-dor/a satees are sought all over India for summer wear. Gold and silver khari printing, ajrakh, appliqued and embroidered textiles, also abound in Rajasthan. Of late, Rajasthan's carpet and durrie industry has been revitalised to suit the tastes of modern buyers, just as its pattu and khes (shawls for men) are finding new uses as upholstery and bed-spreads. The craftsmanship of jewellers and other skills of Rajasthan are renowned— particularly Jaipur's meenakari, a process of coloured glass. Silver is more commonly worn and worked upon and certainly more affordable for gift shoppers. Leather-ware, particularly jooties with embroidered uppers are famous and popular. Today even designer hand-bags with graphic embroideries make a good buy. Wood, metal and stone are used by today's craft persons to create decorative and utility items that shoppers often find irresistible.
Miniature paintings of the finest quality continue to be executed in Rajasthan— both on paper and on large pieces of cloth. Different regions maintain their own style, known as different schools of painting. Some well-known schools of painting are Marwar, Mewar, Hadoti, Kishangarh, Dhundhar and Alwar.
Rajasthani life is full of celebrations. Countless fairs and excitement, and rituals are observed twelve montt s: festivities are usually marked by folk-dances accompai made instruments. Participants costumed in their tree* partaking in these events are a visual delight, Coicu- -festival in a unique manner providing a veritable feast.
The festivities assuredly extend an opportunity to mingle with local folks and acquaint with various aspects of their cultural life. It will be indeed an irresistible and captivating experience that will tempt everyone to make repeated visits to this resplendent state.
Come to Rajasthan. A festive welcome keenly awaits you.Nagaur Fair - January/February, Nagaur
The sleepy town of Nagaur stirs to life at its annual cattle fair- one the largest in the country. Thousands of camels, bullocks and horses are offered for sale.Desert Festival January/February Jaisalmer
A unique three day show on the sands, when the desert blooms with the riotous colour of Rajasthan's desert heritage.
The biggest draw however is the camel race, couple with acrobaties and camel dance.Baneshwar Fair - January/February, Baneshwar (Dungarpur)
Quaint rhythms conjure up the tribal cultural identity of the Bhils of Rajasthan, Gujarat and M.P.. They assemble here to offer prayers to Lord Shiva, locally named as Beneshwar.Elephant Festival March, Jaipur
A magnificent spectacle, it unveils the majesty and grandeur of elephants, celebrated around Holi. A royal procession of sixty decorated elephants, a match of elephant polo, an elephant race and playing Holi on elephants are main events.Gangaur Fair - March/April, Jaipur
Ishar and Gangaur are the divine male and female who embody marital love. Dedicated to Goddess Gauri (Parvati), the festival commences on Holi. Young girls pray for grooms of their choice while married women seek a long life for their husbands. Primarily a festival for women, the celebrations include flower gathering and drawing water from selected wells. The women do these while chanting hymns to the Goddess. Festivities continue for 18 days culminating with the arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his bride home. A grand procession, with the idol of Gauri in beautifully decorated gold and silver a palanquin, caparisoned elephants, camels, horses, dancers, drummers and joyous children, goes through the city streets.Mewar Festival - March/April, Udaipur
Welcoming the spring season, the festivities diverge into song, dance, rituals and fireworks. The best that Rajasthani culture can offer can be savoured here. This is also dedicated to Goddess Gauri (Parvati).Urs, Ajmer
The Urs, a commemorative celebration, is held in the solemn memory of Khwaja Muin-nd-din Chishti, a prighly respected Sufi Saint fondly revered as the benefactor of the poor. Several hundred thousands pilgrims pay obeisance at this shrine in Ajmer every year.Summer Festival June 1-3, MtAbu
Mango groves, bauhinia trees and thickets of wild berries cover this hilly mount. Jagged rocks and rippling waters are visible through the green cloak, while down below lies dry scrub land. Three day festivity highlight the dances of tribals (the Garasias) and other folk dancers of Rajasthan and Gujarat.Teej Fair - July/August, Jaipur
Teej marks the advent of monsoon. It is celebrated on the third day of the bright lunar half of the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar. Goddess Parvati is invoked to bless her worshipers with conjugal harmony and bliss.Marwar Festival - October, Jodhpur
Jodhpur is an ideal venue for celebration, The Meherangarh fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace are symbols of the ingenuity, might and valour of the Rajputs of the Marwar region. The Palace recaptures proud moments, Spirited folk dancer's ensemble performed with gusto introduce audience to Rajasthani folklore.Dussehra Mela - October, Kota
Tall effigies of the demons Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad are burnt on Dussehra day to symbolise the victory of good over evil. Dussehra in Kota is the beginning of a festive period when people gather here from their villages to offer prayers to Lord Ram and celebrate his victory over Ravana, the ten-headed demon king. Men, women and children in colourful dresses participate in the festival to the strains of traditional music. Rural markets and shopping arcades emerge from nowhere, resulting in brisk trading. The whole festival takes on the form of a big carnival.Pushkar Fair - November, Pushkar (Ajmer)
Excitement, gaiety and a keen sense of competition fill the air as the long journey to Pushkar begins. Spirited columns of people with camels,horses, bullock – carts, cars and jeeps lead for Pushkar soon after Diwali. Full moon time of Kartik is the most sacred dip in the holy Sarovar by more than hundred thousand pilgrims.
The fair offers a wonderful opportunity to trade in cattle and leather goods. Womenfolk shop for bangles, clothes, utensils and sundry household items.Chandrabhaga Fair - November Jhalrapatan (Jhalawar)
Chandrabhaga is considered the holiest river in the part of Rajasthan. On Kartik Purnima (full moon) night,thousands of Hindus undertake a pilgrimage here for a dip in the holy water of the river.
A big cattle fair, next only to the Pushkar Fair, is held here on this occasion, blending religion with commerce. Livestock brought here includes cows, bullocks, buffaloes and camels. The fair provides an opportunity to acquaint with the people of Hadoti and their culture ritual and traditions. Besides the people of this region a considerable number of people converge here from nearby areas of Madhya Pradesh.Camel Festival - January, Bikaner
A unique celebration highlighting camel and cultural heritage of Northern Rajasthan. Dancing camels, glorious Gorbandh dance and camel safari expedition in the nearby desert invite many tourists to explore Bikaner and the surrounding places.