Rajasthan Essentials

Rajasthan means the “Land of the Rajas (Kings)” and the name couldn’t hold more true. It is indeed a fabulous realm of maharajas (kings) and their majestic forts and lavish palaces. While its bustling cities throb with the ever-increasing crowds and chaos of emerging India, the treasures of the past provide a stark reminder of the glory days gone by.

The state of Rajasthan exceeds even the most far-fetched fantasies of what India might be: women dazzle in swathes of brilliant bright fabrics, luxuriously mustachioed men drive camels over dunes, tigers and leopards prowl through ancient forests, and princely forts and palaces loom up from the crushingly hot sweep of the Thar Desert.

Although it is synonymous with desert dunes, Rajasthan has landscape beyond the Thar. The state holds some of the world’s oldest mountains, has green, rolling hills, and dense jungle that hides Rathambhore’s famous tigers, along with monkeys, leopards, deer and hyenas.

Rajasthan tourism is one of the main engines of the state’s economy, and some of the local colour can seem correspondingly stage-managed. Yet the state remains a sumptuous feast for the senses with many corners almost entirely untouched by tourist development.

The romantic remnants of a rich and glorious past have earned Rajasthan a place on most travellers’ wish lists. Yet there is much more to this iconic region of the Indian subcontinent. It is a land of desert dunes and jungle, camel trains and tigers, glittering jewels, vivid colours and a vibrant culture. There are enough festivals here to fill a calendar and an artist’s palette, and the shopping and cuisine are nothing short of spectacular. In short, Rajasthan just about has it all. It is the must-see state of India, brimming with varied, startling and incredible attractions.

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