Incredible India: Rajasthan The Land of Maharajahs

by pateluday

Rajasthan situated in Western India is also known as the land of Maharajahs. Its colorful desert-scape is enlivened by valiant warriors and their magnificent abodes.

Rajasthan is one of the largest states in India comprising of sandy desert and sparse vegetation. This vast arid landscape, an array of colors is the hallmark of the lively communities entwined in esoteric customs, intriguing rituals, and a thriving culture.

The life in the desert is painted to create a maddening melange that entices one and all. The opulence of palaces, Havelis, and magnificent forts are a testimony of a rich past. The walls are etched with the epic sagas of valiant Rajput kings and their crusades against the marauding Moguls. The blood-tainted walls narrate the gory past of numerous conquests and defeats.

The travails of the gory past and the horrid events of Sati did not hamper the creation of the magnificent monuments and emergence of princely opulence that is an indelible mark of the Maharajah lifestyle. Travel in the state is a live experience of rich heritage wealth that dazzles the visitors.

City Palace of Rajasthan

City Palace
City Palace
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People of Rajasthan

Rajasthani

Folk SingerRajasthan is the land of Rajwaris or royal people. The state comprises many communities, prominent amongst them are the Brahmins, Rajputs, Gurjar. Ahir, Meena, Marwaris, and the Jhats. The races are martial but another prominent business community the Marwaris have made a mark in India's economy. Most of the leading business houses are Marwaris from Marwar Region.

The warrior classes have exhibited valor during the Mughal invasion and now they serve the Indian Army. The Rajputs, Jhats, and other fighting communities were constantly engaged in wars during the past.    

Dress: Women wear colorful Ghagra and Choli while the elite garb is sari and Salwar Kameez. Traditionally embroidered, filigree with bizarre patterns is the hallmark of desert people.    

Hindu Goddess

Idol
Goddess
Goddess
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Vibrant Culture

Rajasthani Lifestyle

Holi Festival The people of Rajasthan have developed a vibrant culture that dates back centuries. The esoteric Hindu rites and rituals, colorful fairs, and festivals are intrinsic to the communities. The development of traditional folk music, fine arts like paintings, and performing arts have enriched the state.   

Numerous fairs are organized all over the state which are attended by thousands and are hubs of activities that entertain and engage the tourists. The communities of this State are highly active socially and freedom instincts are all-powerful albeit some old norms still prevail in the interiors but nevertheless they do not mar the travel experience at all.

The colorful drapes of women reflect the painted dwellings and contrast with the monotonous desert landscapes. The nomads and rural folks are fond of their livestock which forms an extended family, something amazing about rural India. 

Haveli

Elegant Home
Decorated Rajasthan Haveli
Decorated Rajasthan Haveli
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Architecture

Monuments

The architecture of Hindu temples is unique and exhibits fine carvings, sometimes embedded with precious stones.  The magnificent carvings that decorate the forts and palaces stun the visitors with their artistic grandeur. Paradoxically the massive structure is aesthetically endorsed with fine and miniature emblems of carvings, paintings, and objects of art that decorate, color, and enhance the presentation of every corner.  City Palace Interiors Jaipur

Some of the popular architectural wonders  are:

  • Hawa Mahal at Jaipur
  • Fort at Mehrangarh at Jodhpur
  • City Palace Jaipur
  • Jantar Mantar Jaipur
  • Ranakpur Jain Temple
  • Mount Abu Jain Temples
  • Ummaid Bhavan Palace Jodhpur
  • Karni Mata Temple
  • Lake Palace Udaipur
  • Amber Fort Jaipur
  • Jaisalmer Fort

These are a few of a large number of forts and palaces in the state of Rajasthan. The state also has equally impressive Havelis and temples that exhibit exquisite carvings, stonework, statues, murals, and other ensembles of the Royal lifestyle.    

The impressive construction is another aspect of these mega monuments created by master builders. The large chambers, the magnificent domes, passageways, courtyards, and the palatial living quarters all carry a unique touch and style.   

Mehrangarh Fort

Fort is Rajasthan
Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort
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Udaipur Palace

Udaipur Palace
Udaipur Palace
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Wildlife Safaris & Birding

Jungle Adventure

Rajasthan has three wonderful places for wildlife watching and birding. These are Ranthambhore and Sariska Tiger Reserves and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The former two are the best destinations for sighting big cats in the wild. Bharatpur is a world-famous birding destination, especially for migratory waterfowls. A river sanctuary known as Chambal also offers the sighting of birds and reptiles like Gangetic Dolphin, Gharial, and the marsh crocodile. This is situated at Dholepur an erstwhile princely state. 

Besides the three there are many smaller wildlife sanctuaries within the state.  Most of the tourism takes place in Ranthambhore and Bharatpur. Besides the tiger, the reserves offer sightings of many other mammals, reptiles, and avian species.Tigress with cubsIndian Silver Bill Collard Scops Owl

Bengal Tiger

Indian Tiger
Bengal Tiger on Kill
Bengal Tiger on Kill
Dharmagiri

Rajasthani & Marwari Cuisine

Food

Local CookingRenowned all over the World Rajasthani Food has evolved for ages. The innovative styles have been developed in the Darbari Kitchens.  Food was a major court prerogative nurtured by the Royal Chefs and Families.  

The commoners also developed their own style subject to what was available. Both the class created gastronomic masterpieces that attract thousands of connoisseurs from all over the World. Hot and spicy with a liberal addition of clarified butter, both vegetarian and nonvegetarian varieties evolved in the state. Since tomato was not introduced in India during the earlier time the cuisine is based on a spice called kachri quite popular among the locals and the royals as well.

Marwari Cuisine developed with a distinct flavor and style of its own. The foods are by all means rich in fat and sweet but nevertheless extremely palatable. Marwari Cuisine is purely vegetarian.       

Rajasthani Cuisine

Thali
Rajasthani Food
Rajasthani Food
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Tourism im Rajasthan

Tours & Travels

The most popular option is the Golden Triangle Tour which comprises a visit to Jaipur, Agra, and Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. The variants may add other destinations in the itinerary.

Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer are much visited places besides others in the desert kingdom. The heritage property experience is the greatest recreation for a traveler the forts, palaces, and Havelis enchant and enthrall by their magnificence.

The list of destinations is long hence every nook or corner of the state offers interesting features to admire. Rajasthan is pure entertainment a magical retreat in the desert and forests...what more can you hope for.    

Desert safaris on camels and horses, camping, adventure, trekking, and attending esoteric fairs and festivals are activities that the travelers enjoy the most. The safaris are also ideal for wildlife watching and birding in remote regions.

The Pushkar Fair is the largest cattle fair in India that is organized at the lake with the same name. The fair is a hub of activities, trade, entertainment, and religion and offers many recreational events to be enjoyed.  Many other festivals across the state enliven a visitor's experience. Some of the popular festivals are Ganagaur, Nagaur, Desert Festival, Teej, and Chandrabaggha to name a few.  

The state offers accommodations in luxurious palaces, forts, Havelis besides the traditional hotels. The palace hotels offer the ambiance of the Maharajah lifestyle which is unique to Rajasthan.

Traveling across the state offers the experience of diverse communities, lifestyles, rites, and rituals. To food lovers, travel offers the chance to relish a vast variety of local foods that differ from region to region. 

Rajasthani Folk

Rajput Warrior in Turban
Rajput Warrior in Turban
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How to Tour Rajasthan?

Rajasthan State Travel

Rajasthan is well connected with the state capital New Delhi by air, bus, and rail. Depending upon the mode of travel one can reach many destinations. Air services are limited to major towns while buses ply everywhere. The state has an excellent network of road network that makes even remote places accessible by taxi, car, or luxury buses.  

You can travel independently if you have made prior arrangements. In such case, you should book accommodation which will be available in big towns on the way. Carefully find out the places you are going to stay so that they come out to be your liking. The other way is to tour in a group. There are numerous package tours available at affordable rates. If you have a specific choice then tailor-made itineraries are provided by many tour operators in India.  You should book Rajasthan package tour for group travel. This way you will avoid all hassles of making travel arrangements.

You should visit the web for greater information as well as discuss with friends and relatives who have been to Rajasthan. Small destinations may not have proper banking facilities or sizable markets hence be prepared. 

Map of Rajasthan

Rajasthani Poster

Lamp in a Little Shrine Outside Traditional House, Varanasi, India
Elephant Festival, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Selling Color Powder at Market, Pushkar, Rajasthan, India
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Updated: 07/14/2021, pateluday
 
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pateluday on 04/18/2021

Let me begin by telling you that Hinduism is a colorful religion, and Hindu civilization is vibrant with very little bindings. Most of the cultural orthodoxy had creeped in during the brutal invasions and rule this includes the purdah system a small viel among the Hindus still visible in rural surrounds.

The religious and social practices border on being irrational at times, and that is what we believe in because it accords lot of freedom and creates a less stressful existence. We are not organized in practice nor it is structured...it is each to himself or herself. If the intent is honest for example say in belief than all is right way. Pray looking at east or west north or south or pray looking at the Sun for that matter.

From the times of Veda origin of most of the things are Hindu but later some Arab or Persian influenced creeped in, this was followed by European influence mostly British...but the core of all things modified remains Indian. Sari is Indian and so is salwar kameez the difference is regional.

Most people in Pakistan and Bangladesh do not prefer to wear Sari because of Hindu influence and think that salwar kameej suits better but outside influence came much later somewhere post 7th AD whence first Arab attacks started. Before that some influence was seen in trading towns near the sea where overseas traders used to visit and some did settle. There is nothing elite with these dresses people of all social strataa wear them.

The idol seems to be that of Durga or Kali both are same the consort of Lord Shiva, aand she is represented often in black which does not signify color of skin but rather expresses the state of ire of extreme anger. Saraswati is Goddess of learning she is always accompanied with a Veena or a Sitar..

Popsicles are cakes of paints in powdered form often called Gulal.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/17/2021

pateluday, Thank you for all the practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
It's intriguing where you mention that the elite wear the salwar kameej and the sari. Is the choice an indication of religion? I tend to think of the former with Hindu culture and the latter with Pakistani Muslims. Also, I wonder about the non-elite wearing of ghagra choli, which look somewhat like sari skirts and tops, but more covered up for the latter and actually shorter for the former.

Under your subheading Hindu goddess idol, who might that statue be of? The eyes seem a bit unsettling, like Kali's, whom I otherwise wouldn't have predicted because I think of her as the black goddess and Saraswati as the white.

And under your subheadings Vibrant Culture Rajasthani Lifestyle and Wildlife Safaris & Birding Jungle Adventure, what might the colorful items (edible [making me think of popsicles] or functional [making me think of candles or perhaps some kind of paint powder for decorating the Ganesh elephant further down in your article]) below the former and the animals to the left and below the tiger in the latter be?

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