The land of Kings as known, Rajasthan has a great history! Being the largest state by area is mostly covered by desert. Yes, most of the part is covered by desert, but the other parts of the state have forests that are flourishing with distinct species of plants, insects, and animals too. Well built palaces which can store ample of water and food. History of great warriors who fought against Afghans, the Mughals and the Britishers. They called Rajasthan as ‘Rajputana’ earlier. Protecting their culture and their people from the external powers has been their aim of life since long as 5000 years. Interestingly, Rajasthan also shares borders with Pakistan. Not only the people of Rajasthan were great warriors, they also surprise us with their architectural and scientific wonders like Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar.
Let us have a tour here around the places to visit in Rajasthan:
Known for the historical marvels, we should start our journey with forts. Rajasthan is covered with numerous forts having a quite peculiar background. Choosing a few most incredibly wonderful forts is a tough task!
Rated as the most famous tourist place in Rajasthan, Chittor Fort is truly amazing! Built on a hill of Chittorgarh, it is present on a height of 590 feet above sea level covering 691 acres of area. The fort has 7 gates, Ram Pol being the main gate, 2 stambha or towers viz Vijay Stambh and Kirti Stambh, 3 major palaces, Rana Kumbha Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace and Padmini’s Palace and a water reservoir called as Gaumukh Reservoir. Along with these, Mirabai temple is very famous.
Rudyard Kipling stated, “A palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the morning Sun” for this destination in Rajasthan. Constructed by red sandstone on a cliff in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort is filled with magnificent colors. It is perfectly placed at 400 feet above sea level. A road inside that leads directly into the city. This huge fort was built by Rao Jodha back in 1460.
Considering the tourist places in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer fort holds a very great importance. As the name is derived from the king Rawal Jaisal and Meru meaning the God in the Himalayas. The Golden Fort glimmers with the golden color by the sun rays in between of the Thar Desert. The fort stands prominently at a height of 250 meters above sea level with a length of 460 meters and as wide as 230 meters. UNESCO has listed this fort as its World Heritage Site.
The UNESCO has given this fort a place in the list of the World Heritage Site. It remains unknown about who built this marvelous piece of beauty. Kumbhalgarh fort is seated elegantly at the height of 1180 m above sea level at the tail of the Aravalli ranges. 15 km long ramparts made it impermeable for invaders who wanted to conquer. It is next to the great wall of China. Amusingly, inside the fort are 360 various temples! This fort follows the zig-zag, ups and downs path of the Aravalli ranges. Starting from temples, Kumbha Palace, Badal Mahal to the birthplace of Maharana Pratap Jhalia la Malia there is much more to see. This magnificent tourist place in Rajasthan is still away from everyone's sight!
Bhangarh Fort (The Haunted Fort)
This fort is been listed as the number one haunted places in India. Following this Bhangarh Fort is one of the places to visit in Rajasthan. Built by Bhagwant Das for his son Madho Singh in the 15th Century, the fort has varying stories about the fort being haunted. One being that when Bhagwant Das wanted to build the fort, Baba Balau Nath the guru of the area gave the permission with a condition that the shadow of the fort should never fall on his house and if such thing occurs, the whole city will get destroyed. Apparently, when the fort was built, the shadow of the fort fell on his house and the whole city got destroyed. Another story about this fort is that a wizard fell in love with the princess Ratnavati. One fine day, she went to the market to buy some scent. Seeing an opportunity here, the wizard offered her a bowl of scent which was spelled. Ratnavati felt something fishy and spilled the bowl over a stone. This stone rolled and crushed this wizard. Before dying, he cursed that the city will be destroyed and all the people will die.
It is said that people hear noises from the fort at the night hence the fort is closed after 5 pm. Tourist finds this place very fascinating and never miss this place. Surprisingly, the house of the Guru is still standing in a good condition.
THE GREAT INDIAN DESERT
The Royal Rajasthan is 60% covered by the Thar desert. Thar desert expands to the south in Gujarat, west in Pakistan and up north in Haryana and Punjab. The temperature extremely varies between day and night. In the daytime, the temperature rises up to 50-degree Celsius while at the nighttime it drops below 20-degree Celsius. The desert triangle is the name given to the three cities covered by the Thar Desert which is why this is one of the places to visit in Rajasthan. The interesting part of this is the Desert National Park which hides fossils of animals from millions of years ago including dinosaurs fossils. There is much more to this national park, near to extinct wild species like the Great Indian Bustard and the Indian Wild Ass Blackbuck.
The only type of plant vegetation that is found is the thorny plants as these plants store a lot of water inside them for a long time. The most important thing to do here is going on a ride on a camel. Camel rides in Rajasthan are not only famous in India, but it is also famous worldwide making it best Rajasthan’s tourist destination.
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK: The Wildlife of Rajasthan
Located at the southeastern part of Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park attracts the must-visit tourists place in Rajasthan. The tiger reserve makes this national park the most popular place all over India. One can enjoy the jungle safari from October to March. Along with tigers, there are leopards, nilgai, wild boar, sambar and tons of distinct species of birds and reptiles. The best place to spot the tigers is in the Padam Talao, a lake in the park which also has the second largest Banyan tree in India! The authorities of the national park should be appreciated as the number of tigers significantly increased in 2008 to 44 tigers, which was 26 in the year 2004. They have set the best example for the conservation of wildlife.
HILL STATION: MOUNT ABU
In the whole of Rajasthan, Mount Abu is the only hill station that offers coolness. ‘Oasis of Desert’ as it is called, it is the home for lakes and rivers also for the waterfalls and the evergreen Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary. This mountain has two beliefs for its origin, people say that the sage Vashisth retired at the south at the Mount Abu due to differences with sage Vishvamitra. Another belief is that a serpent named ‘Arbuda’ saved the life of Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva on this very mountain. The highest peak of this mountain is Guru Shikhar with a height of 1772 meters. It also has a fort named Achalgarh which is amusingly wonderful! The list doesn’t stop here, it also includes many Hindu and Jain temples, a 290 km square wildlife sanctuary and a lake named Nakki lake. One can hire a bike here to roam around this beautiful hill station.
SIGHTSEEING IN RAJASTHAN:
City Palace - Jaipur
One of the beautiful Palaces in Rajasthan, City Palace is an amazing piece of architecture. With Mubarak Mahal, the Armoury, Diwan-i-Am and many more spots the City Palace is a tour in itself.
Birla Mandir - Jaipur
Built by the Birla family when the Maharaja gave them the token for it. The mandir has Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi along with other gods and goddesses. It is the beautiful place with greenery surrounding it.
Sheesh Mahal - Jaipur
This palace is made with a special type of imported glass. It is an incredible mixture of Islamic and Rajputana architecture!
Jal Mahal - Jaipur
Jal Mahal stands elegantly in between the lake Man Sagar. A five-storeyed building built by the red bricks. It is an amazing place surrounded by hills all around.
Hawa Mahal - Jaipur
King Sawai Pratap built this palace for all the ladies to watch the festivals. A five-storeyed palace built by red and pink bricks in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna.
Chand Baori - Dausa
A dedicated place to Hashat Mata, the Goddess of Happiness and Joy. It is an 8 storeyed step well with 3500 steps making it the largest and deepest well in India.
Pushkar Lake - Pushkar
Pushkar lake is one of the most beautiful Hindu pilgrimage places. There are various beliefs on the mythological theories. The Pushkar fair is very famous with different activities like tug of war.
Ajmer Sharif Dargah
It is said that all the prayers here are granted when one prays for something with a pure heart, devoted to the Sufi Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Rajasthan. This dargah has various monuments inside, Nizam Gate, Buland Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Aulia Masjid, Dargah Shrine, Mehfil Khana and more. People believe that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is descendant of Muhammad and he came here on his directions.
Karni Mata Temple (Rat Temple)
This temple located near Bikaner in Rajasthan. The temple has like millions of rats and these rats are worshiped as the family of Goddess Karni Mata. This temple has a very interesting story. It is believed that one of the sons of goddess Karni Mata drowned and she asked Yama (the god of death) to bring him back to life. Apparently, Yama could not do that. As Karni Mata was an incarnation of goddess Durga, she decided that none of her family members die and they would turn into rats. So, it is believed that all the rats over there are the heir of goddess Karni Mata.
Udaipur is known for its luxury hotels. Most of the palaces have turned into luxury hotels in Udaipur. One can enjoy the royalness in these wonderfully managed palaces. One can experience the life of the kings and the queens here along with the royal services they offer. Here are few recommendations; Taj Lake Palace, The Leela Palace Udaipur, The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace Udaipur, etc.
What else can be done in Rajasthan? Food! Dal Bati Churma is what comes to one's mind when we say Rajasthani food. There are many more dishes which are mouthwatering like Gatte ki sabzi, Laal Maas, Ghevar, Gujia, Rajasthani Kadhi and the list goes on!
Rajasthan is truly a box filled up with history and royal culture. It is a place which is a must visit. The best way to enjoy each destination is to give each city at least 2-3 days of time. Once you visit the magnificent state, you would want to come over again and again.
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