Places to visit in Rajasthan

The glorious land of Maharajas and Rajput warriors, colour-charged cities and sun- kissed deserts, Rajasthan, is one of the hottest tourist destinations in India. Rajasthan is famous for its magnificent forts, palaces, the desert, camel markets and exquisitely carved temples. The major cities are Ajmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Udaipur.

The state is situated in the northwest frontier of India on the border of Pakistan. Jaipur, also popularly known as Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan and is the former capital of the princely state of Jaipur. The Thar Desert on the West of Rajasthan is thinly inhabited by pastoral nomads. The east of Rajasthan is part of the Deccan where agriculture is the main source of livelihood.

HP History

Rajasthan was inhabited by the Rajputs in the 8th century. Their downfall saw the emergence of new dynasties like the Jats, Nath, Ahirs, Gujars, Bhils and Meenas, who established their supremacy in different parts of Rajasthan. It is noteworthy that these clans largely influenced the culture of Rajasthan. The 12th century heralded the rule of the Muslims.

Mughal supremacy reached its peak during the reign of Emperor Akbar, who created a unified province. The downfall ofthe Mughal power after 1707 saw the emergence of the Marathas and Pindaris.

From 1817-18, almost all the princely states of Rajputana, as the state was then called, signed treaties with the British, who managed to control their affairs until India’s independence. The erstwhile Rajputana comprised 19 princely states. The British administered territory of Ajmer-Merwara became the state of Rajasthan after a lengthy process of unification.

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f§j§| Geography

The state shares its north-western and western boundary with Pakistan which extends about 1,070 km and touches the major districts of Barmer, Bikaner, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer. On the Indian


side there is a border with Punjab and Haryana in the north, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the east and Gujarat in the south. The southern part of the state is located about 225 km from the Gulf of Kutch and about 400 km from the Arabian sea.

The Aravalli Range runs across the state from the southwest peak Guru Shikhar (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 meters in height, to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into two regions viz. northwest and southeast. The Great Indian Thar desert is a part of this state.

Major rivers: Chambal is the only river that flows throughout the year. Banas, the only river which has its entire course in Rajasthan, is one of its main tributaries. Other important rivers are the Banganga, Gambhiri, Luni, Mahi, Sabarmati and Ghaghar.

Climate Rajasthan’s climate is warm and dry, with peak summer temperatures in the west soaring up to 49°C. In June, the mid-west (arid zone) has an average maximum temperature of 45°C. January is the coldest month ofthe year, with temperatures as low as minus2°C.

The annual rainfall west of the Aravallis ranges from 100 mm in the Jaisalmer region to 400 mm in Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Pali. On the eastern side, rainfall ranges from 550 mm in Ajmer to 1020 mm in Jhalawar. Mount Abu in the southwest gets the highest rainfall. Flora and Fauna: The forests of Rajasthan cover 32,638.74 sq. km which is 9.54 pc ofthe total area. The flora of Rajasthan includes the semi-green forests of Mount Abu, dry grasslands of the desert, the dry deciduous thorn forests ofthe Aravallis and the wetlands of Bharatpur. The wildlife found in the state includes tiger, black buck, chinkara, desert fox, the endangered caracal, gharial, monitor lizard, wild boars, porcupine and the great Indian bustard.

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The Camel Festival, organised by the Department of Tourism in the month of January, is a lively and colourful event in

Bikaner. This festival marks the gratitude of the locals to the desert leviathans for pulling heavy carts, transporting grain and working the wells.

The Brij Festival, held in honour of Lord Krishna, takes place a few days before Holi, (the festival of colours) in March. Villagers celebrate this festival singing and performing the Raslila dance (dance depicting the immortal love of Radha and Krishna) wearing multihued clothes.

The Elephant Festival is a spectacular event usually held in March and is unique to Jaipur. Elephants do a catwalk before an enthralled audience. The elephants also run races, play polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi.

The Summer Festival is celebrated in the hill station of Rajasthan in June. The pleasant climate of Mount Abu makes it an ideal location for the festival. The three-day festival is a feast of folk and classical music and a window to the tribal life and culture of Rajasthan.

The Gangaur Festival is the colourful and




most important local festival of Rajasthan. It is the celebration (July-August) of monsoon, harvest and marital fidelity in Jaipur.

Teej Festival signifies the beginning of Sawan (the monsoon) and is celebrated for two days in the Hindu month of Shravan (July-August). The festival also glorifies the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The Marwar Festival is held in commemoration of the heroes of Rajasthan. The festival is held in the month of Ashwin (Sept-Oct) in Jodhpur, for two days during the full moon of Sharad Poornima.

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Dussehra is celebrated in Kota in September- October. Although this festival is celebrated all over the country, the Dussehra at Kota is a unique event. Effigies of the demons Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad, towering above 75 feet filled with crackers are burnt on Dussehra day to symbolise the victory of good over evil.

H Tourism Spots

Museums: The Ajmer Museum, the Fateh

Prakash Palace museum, the Fort Museum of

Junagarh Fort and the Ganga Golden Jubilee


Wildlife/Bird Sanctuaries: Sariska Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore National Park, Mount Abu Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur Jaisamand Sanctuary, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, Desert National Sanctuary, Darrah Sanctuary and the Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary.

■ Hill Station: Mount Abu Pilgrim Centres: Amber’s Kali Temple, Bhandeswari Jain Temple, Bijolia Temples, Birla Temple, Brahma Temple, Dargah Sharif, Deshnok Temple, Devi Kund, Dilwara Temples, Gomukh Temple, Govind DevJi Jagdish Mandir, Nathdwara Jain Temple, Kaila Devi Menal, Lodurva Temple, Moti Dungri Temple, Nasiyan Temple, Osian Parsvanath Temple, Rangji Temple, Rishabdeo Temple, Saraswati Temple, Savitri Temple, Shiv Bari Temple, Shiva Temples, Shri Mahavirji Temple,Tarkin ki Dargah.

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