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By: Mahendra Singh
Desert Safari: Walk through the yellow sands glowing under the sunlight, far away from the boisterous city life. The only sound you may hear is the sound of the shifting sand dunes, dancing to the tunes of the wind. As the sun slowly disappears, easing the temperature and making way for a calm evening, the view is breathtaking. Taking a camel ride, walking through the deserts, enjoying some local cuisine as well as some traditional dance performances far away from your daily routine, doesn’t it sound like a perfect vacation?

Forts and Palaces: Rajasthan is home to the maximum number of forts and palaces in India The well preserved forts and palaces, speaking out loud about their glorious past. From Lake Palace to Amber Palace, Hawa Mahal to Jai Mahal, the hundred feet Mehangarh Fort in Jodhpur, One could also admire the intricate details in the “jharokas” of Patwon ki Haveli in Jaisalmer, the artwork, architecture, concept and paintings are of sheer brilliance. With a slight imagination, one can travel back in time and get a glimpse of the way of living back then.

Culture: Undoubtedly, Rajasthan is one of the top cultural States in India. The people here are adorned in brightly colored costumes called “angarakha” and “Ghaghara”. Cuisine of the state involves foodstuff like buttermilk, “khud khargosh” (rabbit meat), “dal baati churma”, “gatte ki sabzi”, etc.
Farming is the main occupation followed by the people of Rajasthan and the most widely grown crops are wheat, bajra, pulses etc. However, just like anywhere else, there is a modern side of Rajasthan too which is reflected in the swanky malls, parks etc.

Rajasthani cuisine: The typical geographical and climatic conditions prevailing in Rajasthan have shaped the nature of their cuisine too. The scarcity of water, combined with the dry climate, has given rise to unique cooking styles. The use of dairy products is rather extensive, while beans, dried lentils and legumes like jowar, bajra and gram flour are the essential ingredients. Ghee is used generously in all the dishes. Apart from vegetarian dishes, lip-smacking non-vegetarian dishes are also a favourite here. These include “laal maas”, jungle maas, safed maas and khargosh.

Heritage Hotels: Rajasthan is home to several heritage hotels that allow one to experience the royal lifestyle first hand, besides getting acquainted with the princely traditions and culture of this state. One such heritage hotels are Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, which is also known as the “Jewel of Jaipur.”

Carved of golden-yellow sandstone and dressed in opulence, Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur delivers a truly exotic experience. No other hotel is as unique and fascinating as the Lake Palace in Udaipur. Some other famous heritage hotels are Fort Rajwada in Jaisalmer, Shiv Niwas Palace in Udaipur and Khimsar Fort, Khimsar.

Festivals: The number of festivals and fairs held in Rajasthan throughout the year making it one of the top cultural cities in India. These are occasions for merrymaking and are marked by colourful music and dance performances. Turban tying competitions, camel races, elephant polo and other such lively and incredible performances attract tourists in large numbers.

Some of the popular dances of Rajasthan which have gained international recognition are the Ghoomar dance from Udaipur and the Kalbeliya dance from Jaisalmer. Some of the other famous dances are Kathputli, Bhopa, Chang, Teratali etc. The most popular fairs held in the state are Marwar Festival, Pushkar Fair, Bikaner Camel Festival, Bundi Festival and Mewar Fair, among others.

Wildlife: Rajasthan is home to a great number of wildlife in India. Some of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries worth checking out are Desert National Sanctuary, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, where visitors can enjoy foot tracking and horse safaris, and National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota.

When it comes to national parks, one must visit the Ranthambore National Park, a great place for observing tigers in their natural habitat. Sariska National Park, Alwar, is another park worth visiting due to its significant tiger population.

Shopping: One of the best places for shopping in India is Rajasthan. This is because shopping here is another way of discovering the cultural side of the city. For ethnic handlooms, handicrafts and artefacts, no city is better than Jaipur. Some of the best places are Johari Bazar and Bapu Bazar. Jodhpur is the best place to head to for items ranging from antiques to accessories. Clock Tower Market and Nai Sarak are the best options.

Hathi Pol Bazar, famous for Rajasthani miniature paintings and Bada Bazar in Udaipur displays a wide range of exotic items. Another exciting place for shopping is Sadar Bazar in Pushkar, where one can get items like puppets, leatherwear, textiles, and a lot more.

Cities: Rajasthan, being the largest state of India, contains a large number of cities which can be best explored using a Rajasthan travel guide. Jaipur, the “Pink City,” and also the capital of Rajasthan, is famous for its forts and palaces, most notably Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal etc.

Then there is Udaipur, with its glistening lakes like Lake Pichola, and wonders like Taj Lake Palace, besides being a haven for shoppers. Kota is famous for its Jagmandir Palace, Kota Barrage, Chambal gardens etc, besides its delicious “Kota ki Kachori.” Similarly, Jaisalmer offers a rare experience of camping under the night skies among the sand dunes.

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