Showing posts with label Rajasthan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rajasthan. Show all posts

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rajasthan in 7 days - how

Every city in Rajasthan makes a tourist want to camp for at least three days, and explore its forts, havelis, lakes, shopping districts and nearby getaways in luxury. But if you’ve got a week off from work, and want to sample every part of the state, the good news is you can do it in a single, exhausting but delightful, week.

Day 1: Arrive at Jaipur
There’s a lot to see in the Pink City – so called because its old districts were painted pink to welcome Prince Albert in 1876 – and most tourist attractions close their gates by early evening, so it’s important to reach the capital as early as you can. The spacious, well-ventilated airport has the soothing atmosphere of a resort, and the soft, Hindustani classical music playing on the speakers is a welcome change from the hoarse yells and frequent announcements of busier airports.
Fortunately for tourists, some of the city’s key monuments – the Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Govinddevji Ka Mandir – are located within walking distance of each other.
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The imposing facade of Hawa Mahal, made of pink and red sandstone and decorated with quicklime, is used on the cover of most tour guides on Rajasthan. The stunning architecture of the interior unfolds over five levels. The courtyard where the autumn celebrations were held is the Sharad Mandir. Right above is the exquisite Ratan Mandir, with beautiful stained glasswork on its walls. The third storey, where the king used to worship Lord Krishna, is the Vichitra Mandir. As you climb to the fourth storey – Prakash Mandir – your clothes begin to flap about in the wind. With open terraces on both sides, this level offers great views of the city below. The top storey, Hawa Mandir, from which the monument draws its name, is an open roof. You may want to cling on to the walls for support, as the height and breeze can have a rather vertiginous effect.
If you want to visit the Govinddevji Mandir, keep an eye on the clock. The shrine opens for about fifteen minutes at select windows through the day. It would be a good idea to make enquiries about the next darshan before scheduling your trips to the other attractions nearby. The temple is several centuries old, and emanates an aura of peace.
Nearby is the City Palace, part of which is occupied by the royal family. Photography is not permitted in most of its galleries, so unless you’re into aerial vistas, you may want to leave your camera behind. Overpriced souvenirs can be bought at the museum shop as well as the Palace Atelier. The exhibition-sale at the palace is a good place to purchase art and handicrafts directly from their creators.
Depending on how much time you have left, you can head to the Albert Hall Museum and Doll Museum next, before starting off on the 11-kilometre journey to Amer Fort (Amber Fort). Or, you may want to switch the order. Keep in mind that the Albert Hall Museum shuts by 5:30 pm, and the guards start shooing out visitors by about 5:15 pm, so you should get there at least by 4:00. The main attraction at the museum is an Egyptian Mummy, but it houses a formidable collection of antique porcelain vases, idols, miniature paintings and artefacts. The beautiful sandstone-and-marble building is quaintly draped with nets to keep pigeons out, but you may be startled every now and again by a feathered visitor fluttering across a gallery. The Doll Museum, located near the Police Memorial on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, boasts a collection of dolls from all over the world.
Whatever else you miss in Jaipur, don’t leave out Amer Fort. The sprawling, sturdy structure exudes elegance even from the outside, its red sandstone walls bright against the green water of the natural moat formed by Maota Lake, and its white marble domes glowing in the sun. The interior of the fort has exquisitely carved walls, roofs and terraces, separated by manicured garden mazes. Combining Islamic and Rajput architectural styles, the construction of the fort began in 1592. The most beautiful part of the fort is the Sheesh Mahal. It is said a single ray of light could illuminate the entire hall, because of the clever placement of the tiny mirrors within. The precious jewels that once decked the inner walls of the palace have been lost in raids.
If you have time to spare, you can accommodate visits to Gaitore – the cremation site of the Maharajas of Jaipur, containing beautiful cenotaphs – and the Kanak Vrindavan temple, whose verdant gardens are especially lush right after the monsoon rains. Both are located just off the Amer-Jaipur road. This road also offers a view of the Jal Mahal lake palace.
Most hotels offer overpriced night tours of the city, but the more economical option is to book a cab and take it around the city at night.

Day 2: Pushkar, Ajmer and Jodhpur
After staying the night in Jaipur, you need to make an early start for Pushkar. The pilgrimage site is less than 150 km from the capital, but the roads are especially bad after the monsoon.
The town of Pushkar is walled in on three sides by hills, and a sandy bank rides up to the fourth. The legend goes that the lake was created when a lotus fell from Brahma’s hand. On the way to a temple that is believed to be as old as creation itself, you’ll find plenty of expat ventures – the Pink Floyd Café, advertised in the same font as the album cover of The Wall, and the Bob Marley Café.
Guides will harass you from about a kilometre ahead of the entrance to the temple. Many tend to cling on to windows and run with the car, so you may want to keep those shut. If you need information about the temple, members of the trust will speak to you within its premises, near the bathing ghat. They usually refuse to accept money, and ask tourists to donate instead at the hundi.
It is said a dip in the waters of the lake on Kartika Poornima is equivalent to undertaking penances for centuries.  But the more fastidious may want to desist, because the waters are not exactly pristine. Neither is the changing area. The more faithful can choose from more than 50 bathing ghats around the lake, each of which is said to have special powers.
The temple itself is crowded at any time of day, on any day of the year. Smaller than one would expect, the temple has only two shrines – the main Brahma shrine, and an underground shrine for Shiva. There are lockers right before the steps to the temple, to deposit cameras and mobile phones, which are not allowed into the temple.
The 12-kilometre journey to Ajmer will take you across the Nag Pahar, or the Snake Mountain of the Aravali Range, which winds around the beautiful lake.
There are several factors you must keep in mind if you intend to visit the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti dargah in Ajmer. First, avoid the dargah at namaaz time, unless you want to do namaaz. The crowds swell, and you’ll get pushed around pretty roughly if you happen to step in just before the call to prayer.
Also, the walk from the car park – which charges between Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 an hour, depending on the vehicle – takes about half an hour.
If you’re taking children along, keep them close. The sight of children crying in corners and frantic parents calling for their kids is a common one.
Cameras are not allowed inside, but mobile phones are.
The ideal clothing for this trip would be kurtas for men and salwar kameez for women. Men wearing shorts will have to rent lungis at the dargah. Heads should be covered, and men can either rent plastic skullcaps, or buy handkerchiefs. Women simply wrap their dupattas over their heads.
The number of visitors to the dargah increases manifold during the Urs Festival, held during the month of Rajab. For 2012, this period is 22 May-20 June.
Make sure you leave early enough to finish the 216-km journey to Jodhpur by nightfall. The roads are narrow and bumpy, and the traffic heavy, so the going will be slow. If you reach Jodhpur early, you may want to catch the sound and light show at the Mehrangarh Fort, and make a trip to the Balsamand and Gulab Sagar lakes.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Jodhpur, travel to Jaisalmer
The Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur is famous for its architecture, the views on offer, as well as its museum – which has a collection of palanquins, howdahs, weapons, paintings, and clothes. The adrenaline addicts may want to swing across the skies by registering for the fort’s aerial ‘zip’ tour, which entails being strapped to a rope and, well, zipped around.
You’ll have to leave for Jaisalmer at least by 1:00 pm, if you intend to see the sunset. If you’ve got time to spare, you may want to spend some at the government museum, which is best known for its collection of stuffed animals and desert birds. This museum also contains ancient teaching materials, and an exhibition of handicrafts.
The road to Jaisalmer is a good one, and you can drive at over 100 km an hour nearly all the way through. Head straight for Khuri village if you want to catch the sunset over the sand dunes. The resorts that organise jeep and camel safaris into the desert also put up folk entertainment shows and offer a typical Rajasthani dinner.
With good planning, you can spend the night at the desert, but since the next day will involve a long journey, you may want to spend the night on a soft bed in the comfort of a hotel room.

Day 4: Sightseeing in Jaisalmer, arrival at Udaipur
Sonar Quila, whose yellow sandstone walls glitter in the sun, is the ‘Golden Fort’ made famous throughout the world by Satyajit Ray’s movie Shonar Kella. For those tourists who’ve seen the film, the actual fort can come as a surprise, drastically changed as it is from the seventies.
Aside from an intricately carved Jain temple, the fort, which is nearly a millennium old, houses an entire village within its walls. The statue of Gangaur Mata, whose annual procession is one of the most festive events in Jaisalmer, is also housed in the fort’s museum.
Jaisalmer’s famous havelis include Patwan Ki Haveli and Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli.
But make sure you leave at least by 11:00 am for Udaipur. The nearly-600-kilometre journey involves a 15-kilometre crawl through a densely forested area, and you don’t want to run the risk of dealing with a flat tyre in the dark.
If you reach Udaipur early enough, you can hop over to the Pichola Lake, which offers a spectacular view of the Jag Mandir, City Palace and Lake Palace, lit up at night.

Day 5: Mount Abu
The only hill station in Rajasthan, Mount Abu is a three hour drive from Udaipur. The road is beautiful, and the dappled hillocks are a photographer’s dream. Make sure you reach the top of the mountain early, because a mist floats down by noon and hovers over the hill for the larger part of the day. On weekends, and often during weekdays, one may come across a volley of jeeps with Ahmedabad registration numbers, carrying intoxicated visitors from the dry state.
The Dilwara Jain Temple opens at noon, so it would be a good idea to trek up to the top of the mountain and come back down in time for that. If the weather permits, you can take in some great views from the Dattattreya temple perched on the crown of the hill.
The Jain temple looks plain enough from the outside – but apparently, built at a time when raids were frequent, the dull exterior was a bid to fool the marauders. The interior of each of the temple’s five shrines and domes is a study in patience and aesthetic. The beautiful carvings can’t be photographed, though, as cameras and mobile phones are not allowed in the temple premises.
The other tourist attractions in Mount Abu are the wildlife sanctuary – which looks like a forest straight out of an Enid Blyton children’s book – and the Nakki Lake, an artificial water body 1200 metres above sea level.
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Day 6: Sightseeing in Udaipur
The City Palace of Udaipur dates back to the sixteenth century, when the city was founded by Rana Udai Singh. The story goes that Rana Udai Singh went to the Eklingji Temple on the hill after the birth of his grandson Amar Singh. He shot a hare on his way down, and headed homewards. Suddenly, he noticed fumes radiating from the spot where he had killed the hare. Troubled, he consulted a holy man, who asked him to build a palace at the spot.
With gardens, birth charts, galleries of paintings, armouries, painted tablets, decorated alcoves, and memorabilia dating back centuries, the City Palace is a tourist delight. From the palace, a part of which is the living quarter of the erstwhile royal family, the Jag Mandir – which has now been converted into a luxury hotel – is a boat ride away. From the Pichola Lake, one has a view of the incomplete monsoon palace, an eccentric structure on the edge of a cliff.
Car junkies will want to head to the vintage car collection right after. The Garden Hotel houses a collection of classic cars owned by the Maharanas of Udaipur, many still in running condition. Moris, Cadillac and Mercedes models dominate. A couple of grand chariots, used on occasion even today, are kept here too. Tickets for a viewing of the cars, followed by lunch, can be purchased both at the City Palace and at the Garden Hotel before 3:00 pm. The car collection is open for viewing until 9:00 pm.
On the banks of Lake Pichola is one of India’s few cable car ropeways. Stretching from the Doodh Talai to the Machhla Hill, the hindola, as it is called, offers spectacular views of the five lakes as well as the City Palace and Sajjangarh Fort. The ropeway is open up to 9:00 pm, and the hilltop is a vantage point to watch the sun set over the Aravali Hills.
The Maharana Pratap Memorial contains a fascinatingly realistic statue of Rana Pratap Singh. After taking a look around the memorial and Sahelion Ki Bari – a complex containing lawns, flowerbeds, ponds and fountains – you can while away the evening at the Fateh Sagar lake, whose waters lap at the roads, and cascade down steps to a canal.

Day 7: Chittaurgarh en route to Jaipur
The Chittaurgarh Fort is located about 170 kilometres from Udaipur, and just over three hundred from Jaipur. Believed to be the largest and grandest in the country, the fortress is associated with rather morbid stories. Dating back to the seventh century, the stately fort practically encapsulates the hill it is built on, spanning nearly seven hundred acres. However, its history is a tale of bloody sieges, and terrible sacrifices.
During the eight centuries it was ruled by Rajputs, till Akbar’s 1568 invasion saw the fort abandoned, Chittaurgarh became legendary for two events – the jauhar (suicide) of Rani Padmini, and the escapade of Rana Udai Singh.
The story of Allauddin Khilji’s invasion is often told, with a mixed sense of pride and sorrow. Rana Ratan Singh, the ruler of Chittaur, found out in 1303 that one of the singers in his court was a sorcerer, and banished him. The man began to sing in a forest where he knew Allauddin Khilji was hunting.
Entranced by his voice, Khilji asked him to join his court. The singer replied, “why would you want to take my voice with you, when there is something far more lovely in the court of Rana Ratan Singh?” He then told Khilji about Rani Padmini’s unparalleled beauty.
After several ploys to kidnap the queen failed, Khilji gathered a large army and invaded the fort. As the Rana’s army suffered reversals, Rani Padmini gathered the women of the palace around her. They are said to have burnt themselves alive in an enormous pyre. There are contradicting reports of who won the war – the Rana or Khilji. But the victor was greeted by the sight of a huge mound of ashes as soon as the gates to the palace were opened.
The first structure on the hill, right after the entrance gate is the Vijaya Stambha, the Tower of Victory. Thirty feet wide at the base, the ornately carved tower rises to 120 feet. Visitors can climb up to eight storeys – the last one has been cordoned off. The inner and outer walls, and even the steps and alcoves are carved with figurines of Hindu deities. Some have been defaced by invading Mughals, but most are intact.
Close to the tower is the Rana Kumbha palace, the construction of which was completed in the early fifteenth century. The palace is now in ruins, but was once a grand edifice, and the site of Maharana Udai Singh’s birth.
His nurse Panna Dhav is considered a folk hero of sorts, and hailed as the epitome of loyalty. According to the lore, the invading Banbir stormed into the palace, his sword poised to kill the heir to the throne. The maid is believed to have hidden the baby Udai Singh in a fruit basket, and dressed her own son in royal robes and placed him in the cradle instead. The fruit basket was whisked away through secret tunnels. Many of these tunnels can still be seen, overgrown with weeds.
Exploring the ruin is a thrilling experience, and one stumbles upon gardens, dungeons and canopied terraces in the least likely places!
A little further uphill is the Padmini Palace, the winter resting place on the northern margin of the lake, which overlooks the Zenana Mahal on the lake. It is said that Allauddin Khilji first saw Rani Padmini’s face in the waters. Now, companies of parrots fly back and forth between the Zenana Mahal and the palace.
The Palace of Raja Ratan Singh is towards the west, and positioned so that he could look into the Padmini Palace and Zenana Mahal.
Chittaur was also the home of the Bhakti poet Rani Mirabai, and a temple has been built at the site where she is said to have kept a shrine for Lord Krishna. A sign at the temple declares “here is the place where poison was turned into nectar”.
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The fantastic structures that make up the fort, and the museum on the hill can keep tourists transfixed for hours. But the journey from Chittaurgarh to Jaipur takes about five to six hours, so make sure you leave early enough to catch your flight!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Folk music and Dances of Rajasthan

The people of Rajasthan live life to the hilt. After hard work in the harsh desert sun and the rocky terrain whenever they take time off they let themselves go in gay abandon. There is dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and puppet shows and other community festivities which transform the hardworking Rajasthani into a fun-loving and carefree individual. Each region has its own folk entertainment, the dance styles differ as do the songs. Interestingly enough, even the musical instruments are different.

Of considerable significance are the devotional songs and the communities who render these songs. Professional performers like the Bhaats, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats, Bhopas and Bhands are omnipresent across the state. They are patronised by the villagers who participate actively in the shows put up by these travelling entertainers. Some of the better known forms of entertainment are:

Ghoomar Dance: This is basically a community dance for women and performed on. auspicious occasions. Derived from the word ghoomna, piroutte, this is a very simple dance where the ladies move gently, gracefully in circles.

Gait Ghoomar: This is one of the many dance-forms of the Bhil tribals. Performed during Holi festival, this is among a few performances where both men and women dance together.

Gait: Another Holi dance but performed only by men. This becomes Dandia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad in Shekhawati.

Chart Dance: This is popular in the Kisherigarh region and involves dancing with a chari, or pot, on ones head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.

Kachhi Ghodi: This is a dance performed on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride the equally well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes. A singer narrates the exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.

Fire Dance: The Jasnathis of Bikaner and Chum are renowned for their tantric powers and this dance is in keeping with their lifestyle. A large ground is prepared with live wood and charcoal where the Jasnathi men and boys jump on to the fire to the accompaniment of drum beats. The music gradually rises in tempo and reaches a crescendo, the dancers seem to be in a trance like state. Drum Dance: This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge drums round their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer who holds a naked sword in his mouth and performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.

Teerah Taali: The Kamad community of Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honour of theft deity, Baba Ramdeo. A rather unusual performance where the men play a four-stringed instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with dozens of manjeeras, or cymbals, tied on all over their bodies and strike them with the ones they hold in their hands. Sometimes, the women also hold a sword between their teeth or place pots with lighted lamps on their heads.

Kathputli: Puppet plays based on popular legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying his skill in making the puppets act and dance, the puppeteer is accompanied by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak, or drum and sings the ballad.

Pabuji Ki Phach: A 14th century folk hero, Pabuji is revered by the Bhopa community. The phad, or scroll, which is about 10 metres long, highlights the life and heroic deed of Pabuji. The Bhopas are invited by villagers to perform in their areas during times of sickness and misfortune. The ballad is sung by the Bhopa as he plays the Ravan-hattha and he is joined by his wife who holds a lamp and illuminates the relevant portions at appropriate points.

Maand: Rajasthans most sophisticated style of folk music and has come a long way from the time it was only sung in royal courts, in praise of the Rajput rulers.

Professional singers still sing the haunting ballads of Moomal Mahendra, Dhola-Maru and other legendary lovers and heroes.

List of singers and performers also includes the Mirasis and Jogis of Mewat, Manganiyars and Langas, Kanjars, Banjaras and Dholies. Performances like the Kuchamani Khayal, Maach, Tamasha, Rammat, Nautanki and Raasleela are no less popular. The musical instruments of Rajasthan are simple but quite unusual. Handcrafted by the musicians themselves they are rather unique and include instruments like the Morchang, Naad, Sarangi, Kamayacha, Rawanhattha, Algoza, Khartal, Poongi, Bankia and Da There are dozens of other instruments which are exclusive to Rajasthan only.

It is a rather difficult task to list all the different types of music, dance and entertainment that can be found in Rajasthan. The range is mind-boggling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back after 4 week holiday in rajasthan

Back online after 4 weeks holiday in Rajasthan, will post new blog's ASAP.

Just in short this time during my visit to rajasthan, i visited Mathura, Vrindavan, Bharatpur .. awesome trip

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jaipur Life in Poem

Jaipur - Hawa Mahal
Jaipur - Hawa Mahal


Here in Jaipur the old and new worlds meet;

The forts,the temples,and the palaces

Look out on legislative offices

And schools and hospitals.This wide grave street

Worn by three centuries of slippered feet

And tripping pads of camels branches out

In roads that go impartially to meet

Old pleasure-gardens and new factories.

Here is a future growing from past beauty

Owning past inspiration-and a duty

To all men of all trades to build a city

Known for flourish of its industries;

Its roads made smooth for ordinary men

And knowledge climbing stairs to soar again.


Panorama View of Jaipur city
Panorama View of Jaipur city

Rajasthan - The Land of Kings

Rajasthan, literally meaning ‘Land of King’ is biggest state of India area wise. About Rajasthan it is said that it is the place where all the country’s similes and metaphors appear to come together to created a visual extravaganza. Bestowed with magnificent palaces and rugged forts, wooded hills and tranquil lakes, bustling towns and quiet villages, amazing variety of flora and fauna, the colorful and vibrant people, the desert land of Rajasthan offers both unmatched and unforgettable experience.

camel drinking water
Camel drinking water

Whenever you travel across Rajasthan, particularly from the popular tourist destinations, you will come across the unexpected, whether it is a local village or a bustling city market or superb mind-blowing architectural wonders. In fact, the mood and the rhythm of landscape of Rajasthan changes from one region to another, and from season to season. On the whole, Rajasthan is a land of magical fantasies that remain in lifetime memory of the visitors. So, come and discover the magical land on your own.

Hawamahal Jaipur
Hawamahal Jaipur
Jaipur : Also known as Pink city, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1727, Jaipur is the place where you experience the Rajput hospitality at its best. Established on the lines of Shilpa Shastra town planning, Jaipur is tempered with influences of Mughal and Jain architures of that era. Jaipur was painted in all pink in honour of Prince Albert who visited the city in 1853 and even today the city houses are painted in pink colour. Highlights of Jaipur include Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Museum, Jantar Mantar and Amber Fort. Jaipur is a paradise for shoppers, the city markets deal in the best tie and dye bandhnis, blankets, shoes and jewellery.

Jaisalmer : Jaisalmer is an oasis in the desert breast of Rajasthan. Situated in the westernmost remote corner of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer with its golden sandstone town walls provides the visitors medieval and an incredible feel. Places to be visited in Jaisalmer are Jaisalmer Fort, the havelis (mansions) most popular one being the Patwon ki Haveli and the Gadisagar Lake.

Lake Vilas Palace Udaipur
Lake Vilas Palace - Udaipur
Udaipur : Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, Udaipur is considered one of the most romantic cities of India. With its fairytale collection of exotic gardens, beautiful lakes and fantasy island palaces, Udaipur provides never before experience to visitors. Must visit places in Udaipur are City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Saheliyon ki bari and Bhartiya Lok Kala museum.

Jodhpur : Jodhpur the second largest city of Rajasthan, lies on the eastern fringe of the Thar Desert. Mehrangarh Fort is the main highlight of Jodhpur which stands on a low range of sandstone hill with a 10 km long stone wall and eight massive entrances. Other places worth a visit in Jodhpur are Jaswanth Thadam a white marble cenotaph to Maharaja Jaswanth Singh II. Sardar Market and Bishnoi village are other places of interest in Jodhpur.

Bikaner : Despite being one of the famous towns of Rajasthan, Bikaner is not much crowded. Junagarh fort is the major attraction of Bikaner. Besides the fort, other attractions of Bikaner include the Camel Breeding Farm and Rat Temple. Bikaner is also famous for the Bikaneri namkeens and bhujias.

Ajmer : Situated about 131 kms from Jaipur, Ajmer is known for the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order. People of all religions visit the Dargah for fulfillment of their wishes. Just 15 kms from Ajmer lies the Pushkar town known for its temples, especially India’s only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. Pushakar Lake and annual Cattle Fair are other attractions of Pushkar.

Wildlife in Rajasthan : Despite unending expanses of desert, Rajasthan is bestowed with a vast population of flora and fauna. Rajasthan is home to some of the important wildlife sanctuaries of India that include Ranthambhore National Park, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Sariska National Park and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. You can spot a variety of wildanimals and avian species in state of Rajasthan.

People and Culture : People of Rajasthan are friendly in nature and they spend a colourful life. One can get a glimpse of typical Rajasthani culture in food, dresses, music, dance and fairs and festivals of Rajashtan. People of the state celebrate a number of festivals all round the year that include regional and religious festivals. Some of the famous fairs and festivals of Rajasthan include Pushkar Fair, Camel Festival, Elephant Festival, Desert Festival, Teej Festival, Gangaur Festival, Nagaur Festival, Mewar Festival, Kite Festival and Shekhawati Fair. Rajasthan savour some of delicious food served in North India especially the non-vegetarian food.

Tiger on its prey
Tiger on its prey 

Adventrue in Rajasthan : Desert land of Rajasthan offers excellent opportunities for adventure seekers. One can enjoy adventure sports like paragliding, ballooning, boating, trekking, camping, camel safari, jeep safari and horse safari in Rajasthan.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jaipur - The Pink City


Also known as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is the capital city of the state of Rajasthan. It was founded in the year 1727 A.D by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. Named after its founder, the city is one of the first planned cities in India . Jaipur is a sought after tourist destination in the state, owing to its rich historical past and age old grandeur. The royal fervor can be evidently experienced from the ancient monuments dotting the city, lifestyle of the people, culture and the food. Surrounded by three magnanimous forts, carpeted with lush gardens and splashed with serene lakes, a visit to Jaipur is a sheer delight for visitors. To know some of the major tourist attractions and places to see in Jaipur, read on.

Places to See in Jaipur
City Palace

Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the palace is an excellent blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. On entering the palace complex, the first structure is Mubarak Mahal, built by Sawai Madho Singh in 19th century. It now houses a museum dedicated to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, showcasing royal costumes and bulky clothes worn by former rulers. The Diwaan-e-aam houses an art gallery displaying rare manuscripts, scriptures and paintings.
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal is the main landmark of Jaipur. Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the five storied pink sandstone structure is known as the Palace of Winds, as it boasts of 953 intricately carved windows overlooking the busy bazaar street. Originally, constructed for the royal ladies, this is an excellent example of Rajput architecture. Apart from providing an extensive view of the city, the sunset viewed from its latticed windows is an unforgettable experience.
Jantar Mantar
Another intriguing monument in the pink city is Jantar Mantar. It is one of the five observatories in India and was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. Providing an insight into the fields of numerology and astronomy, it 
houses ancient astronomical instruments chiseled out of stone. The most interesting instrument here is the Sundial. The shadow cast on it helps in the determination of local and meridian pass time. Besides, varied attributes of the heavenly bodies can also be calculated with the help of it.
Birla Mandir
Also known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, it is located near the Moti Dungri Fort. Built entirely out of white marble, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The temple has three domes which represent different approaches to religion. A major tourist attraction, the temple is highly crowded during festive time.
Albert Hall Museum
One of the oldest museums in the state, Albert Hall museum is situated amidst the sprawling Ram Niwas Bagh garden on the outskirts of Jaipur. The museum combines the fine elements of English and north Indian architecture and was opened in 1980s. It houses rare royal artifacts, miniature paintings from different schools of Rajasthan, carpet by Mirza Jai Singh I from Shah Abbas of Persia and an Egyptian mummy belonging to the Ptolemaic Epoch.

Kanak Vrindavan
Situated on the foothills of Nahargarh Hills, these are beautiful landscaped gardens with an intricately craved temple made of beige stone. The sprawling complex is laid with terrace sites, marble columns and lattices. The place is quite popular amongst picnickers and film makers owing to its splendor. The ideal time to be around here is during monsoon, as it sparkles after being washed from the rain water.
Amber Fort
Popularly known as the Amer Fort, it is one of the most magnificent monuments, situated on the outskirts of the city. The ruling fortress of the Kachhawa clan of Amber, it is an excellent blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The interiors of the palace are laid with expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings.
Other Attractions
Some of the other places worth visiting in Jaipur include Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Govind Dev ji Temple, Galtaji, Gaitore, Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh, etc. Besides, Jaipur is a paradise for all those, who love shopping and food. The ethnic items showcasing the traditional and royal art are a must buy here. Furthermore, you can pamper your taste buds with delicious Rajasthani cuisine and delicacies. In effect, Jaipur has proved to be a must visit tourist destination in the desert yet enigmatic state of Rajasthan.
Owing to the fact that Jaipur is a popular tourist destination, it houses a number of varied accommodation options catering to visitors from all economic backgrounds. The 5 star hotels in Jaipur include Le Meridien, Hotel Clarks, Hotel Mansingh, Oberoi Rajvilas etc. Apart from this, there are a host of heritage and budget hotels in the city.
How to Reach
By Air
The nearest airport is situated 10 km from Jaipur, which is known as the Sanganer Airport. It operates domestic flights which connect it with Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
By Train
Jaipur is well connected to all the major cities of Rajasthan and India by trains. There are regular trains to cities like Delhi, Agra, Chennai, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Udaipur, Bikaner and Ahmedabad.

By Road
A well-developed network of road connects Jaipur to important places in Rajasthan and north India. Private as well as government buses ply from here at regular intervals which connect Jaipur to all the nearby major cities such as Delhi and Agra.