Welcome to my Rajasthan, fascinating Rajasthan.
This land is a colourful melange of massive forts, stunning palaces, diverse cultures, delectable cuisines and warm people, set amidst a rugged yet inviting landscape.
It is a land that has inspired me and countless others. Come tread on the sands of time. In Rajasthan you will find every hue in Nature's grand palette - the red sands, the blue of royalty, the pink cities or the amber sunsets. Surrender yourself to the sounds of trinkets or the sounds of the all conquering wind. Sight and sounds that are far removed from any city. Sights and sounds that will transport you into a folk lore.
Music, art and dance is woven into every inch of this land I call paradise. You will find it carved in every grain of sand. Here you will find the past, the present and the future. You will find passion. You will find adventure. And you will find yourself.
Come, walk into the unforgettable embrace of my Rajasthan.
The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Rajasthan
Rajasthan, the Land of Kings is synonymous to heroism, royalty and honour. Historic tales of battles fought and romance of the riches adorn the walls of the state. Established in the era marked with wartime ballads yet living in the modern period, this beautiful region is a travellers' destination. Those looking out for the remnants of the past should not pass up a trip to Rajasthan. For wanderers interested in adventures at the various landscapes should definitely get a glimpse of this venturesome state. And for the ones who plan to have a quiet sojourn gazing at the beauty of the golden sand dunes, Rajasthan tops your list. Come, explore the miscellany of the old and the new in Rajasthan, a glittering jewel of India.
The disintegration of the well spread Gupta empire marks the onset of Rajputana, a collection of several princely states of Rajasthan. The Rajputs faced sever Muslim attacks but their courage and honour for their land kept them strong. This period of evolution witnessed great leaders like Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Rana Pratap of Mewar who defied the mighty Mughal Emperor Akbar.
However, in the 18th century, the Mughal Empire faced a major fall-back as the British made their presence felt in the country. Most of the princely states continued with self-governance but at the time of Independence, Rajputana majorly comprised of 18 princely states, two chieftains and a British administered province of Ajmer-Merwara.
The 1950s mark the merging of these 18 provinces into one whole state and Sawai Man Singh II, then Maharaja of Jaipur was made the Rajpramukh. Today Rajasthan has 33 districts covering an area of 3,42,239 sq km.
The contour of Rajasthan is varied and well divided by the Aravalli Range that spreads across the state from the southwest to the northeast. With an unproductive region in the northwest to a comparatively fertile land in the east. Rajasthan's topography is a potpourri of the sandy deserts and prolific vegetation. It is home to the Great Indian Thar Desert and the Chambal River which is solely responsible for the water supply in the region.
Irrespective of rich cultural roots, Rajasthan is equally modern and flourishing as any other urban city. The state roads flaunt the most expensive vehicles and at the same time run camel carts, horse drawn tongas and scooter rickshaws. The region is well connected by a network of roads and a steadily improving transport system.
When it comes to accommodation, Rajasthan welcomes royal tourists and backpacking travellers equally. Your choices range from luxurious hotels to economical yet comfortable dormitories. The State owned Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation also run a chain of hotels in the major destinations. These tourist bungalows provide reasonably priced accommodation in the form of dormitories, single rooms, air-cooled and air-conditioned rooms.
Arts and Industries
When one speaks of rich culture in India, Rajasthan is what comes to our minds. Proving it true for several years now, Rajasthan depicts each nuance of its authentic civilization in its artwork. Stone, clay, leather, wool, wood, lac, glass, brass, silver, gold and textiles. You name it and the Rajasthani craft industry has it. The industry not only provides mass employment but is also a way of sustaining years of family businesses started centuries ago.
Rhythm and Resonance
Born and cultivated in the erstwhile royal courts of Rajasthan, the state is known to be the birthplace of various music and art forms. The site of dancers adorned in colourful attires moving to the melodious sounds of the traditional string instruments perfectly complements the backdrop of the golden sands and the crimson sky of the Thar Desert. Rajasthan is where the ancestral folklore stories of the royals come alive. Rajasthan's rhythm and resonance in its rustic form truly reflects the glory of the state, the religious significance of every incident and upholds the courage and bravery of the Rajputanas.
Every city in Rajasthan is marked with a colour and each of these colourful regions are bordered by amazing architectural structure. May it be the pink hues of Jaipur, royal blues of Jodhpur or the golden glow of Jaisalmer, the framework of every city is adorned with ancient architecture.
The state witnessed prolonged rule of the Mughals and Hindus. Thus explaining the intricate and significant carvings. The forts, temples, palaces, havelis and stepwells all speak of the Rajputana culture. Rajasthan is nothing but a visual treat to travellers.
It is believed that the dialect, cuisine, water and turban in Rajasthan changes every 12 miles. Marwari in western Rajasthan, Jaipuri or Dhundhari in the east and southeast, Mewati in Alwar, Braj Bhasa in Bharatpur, Mewari in Udaipur and the list goes on. Thus, explaining the varied cultures and creeds found in this independent yet steadily progressing state.
Come modern day urbanisation, the people in Rajasthan have still held on their roots out of choice. Their hospitality and simplistic behaviour is what you're most likely to lose your heart to in Rajasthan.
There is never an end to lip smacking finger licking food in Rajasthan. The delicacies reflect the Rajputana culture in the purest forms. Just like the dialect, the cuisine in Rajasthan also differs every few miles. However, the most renowned dishes still are the Dal-bati-churma, lal and safed maans, soyeta and lasun-ki-chutney that accomplish at savouring your palate.
In the earlier days, due to the war situations and lack of vegetation in Rajasthan, womenfolk would prepare dishes that could be preserved over a long period of time. But considering the modernisation in the country, fruits and vegetables from all over the world are easily available in the state. One can also find international food outlets in the major cities.
The royalty of Rajasthan
The royalty of Rajasthan doesn't just belong in its past. Even today, Rajasthan has several royal families who continue to live the rich and opulent lifestyles of the bygone era.
The Mewar Dynasty
Mewar or Mewad, one of the oldest dynasties of Rajasthan produced more than 75 rulers. Rana Sriji Arvind Singh Mewar is the 76th custodian of this royal dynasty. Mewar, the world's oldest surviving lineage has its remnants spread across Rajasthan through marvellous heritage hotels, resorts and charitable institutions. The magnificent Jag Mandir Palace on Lake Pichola is also a mark of the Mewar ancestry.
The Royal Family of Alsisar
Also known as the Raja of Khetri, Abhimanyu Singh is the 16th heir of the royal family of Alsisar. Under the lineage, he owns a haveli in the pink city of Jaipur and Ranthambore. He is also the co-sponsor of an annual EDM festival, Magnetic Fields.
The Royal Family of Jodhpur
Apart from a few forts and palaces, the royal family of Jodhpur is the proud owner of the world's largest private residence – the Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur.
The Royal Family of Bikaner
Princess Rajyashree Kumari of Bikaner, daughter of Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji is the current heir of the royal family. Arjuna Award winner, founder and Chairperson of many charitable trusts in Rajasthan, Princess Rajyashree Kumari has upheld the name of her empire. She is also the sole owner of the luxurious palace and historic hotel, Lalgarh Mahal.