Cities of Rajasthan

 

Rajasthan Travel Guide

 
 

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Tourist Destination In Rajasthan

So rich is the history of the land that every roadside village has its own tales of valour and sacrifice for the telling. However, for most visitors, lengthy forays would be difficult, though camel safaris sometimes offer them the opportunity to interact with people who may have never stepped out of their villages- or seen rainfall. A quick reference to the principal settlements is provided alphabetically below.
 
AJMER
A 7th century Chauhan stronghold, Ajmer is a pilgrimage centre for Muslims though people from all religious backgrounds come to pray at its dargah. The British developed Ajmer as an educational centre, and Mayo College, once an exclusive school for boys from royal families, is now among the country's best private schools.

ALWAR
Once known as Mewat, the Rajput kingdom came under Muslim domination during the 13th-18th centuries with intermittent attempts to win it back which, Kachchawaha price succeeded in doing in 1771. Alwar has some beautiful lakeside palaces, not all open to the public.

BARMER
A 13th century fortified town, Barmer is in the heart of the desert and is known for the quality of its wood and stone carvings. Earlier fortifications reveal the far limits where the Rajputs raised defense out-posts.

BANSWARA
Ribbed with streams and covered with dense forests, Banswara lies off the conventional tourist circuit. Artificial lakes and dams, and the ruins of ancient temples make this an exciting place to discover.

BHARATPUR
The only Jat kingdom in the state, the rock-hard mud fortifications of its fort proved invincible even under repeated siege. The fort houses early remnants of artifacts and sculpture, while the modern palace outside is a sprawling structure. However, Bharatpur is better known as a bird sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana National Park).

BIKANER
Founded by one of the scions of the house of Jodhpur, Bikaner's 15th century history combines adventure with enterprise. In later centuries, as an ally of the Mughals and the British, it was able to develop as a modern state, though its architectural attractions remain splendidly Rajput. One of the principal outposts of the desert, its is also a major centre for camel breeding.

BUNDI
Nestled in a fold of the Aravalli hills, Bundi bristles with medieval enchantment. Its fortifications house palaces and apartments, artificial lakes and water-side pavilions. Ruled by the Hada Rajputs, Bundi is renowned for its Rasleela frescos.

CHITTAURGARH
The former capital of the Sisodia rulers of Udaipur, Chittaur perches atop the scraggy spine of the Aravallis. Sacked by Allaudin Khilji in the 14th century, by the sultans of Gujarat in the 16th century, and finally by the Mughal emperor Akbar's forces, it was abandoned by its rulers who vowed never to return unless they could avenge their defeat. The few remaining palaces and towers are part of its stirring history.

DEEG
The summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it is known for its Jat architecture and for the coloured fountains and pleasure pavilions that are contained within a fortified environment.

DUNGARPUR
A Bhil stronghold in the foothills of the Aravallis, this fertile region was created into a state in the 13th century. Since the natural protection afforded it isolation, a highly decorative style of architecture developed.

JAIPUR
The Capital of the modern state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a modern city built according to the specifications laid down in ancient architectural texts. Known as the pink city on account of the flush colour of its sandstone palaces, it is a major centre for handicrafts. Its former capital, Amber, consists of fortifications with an interesting rang of highly decorated public and private apartments.

JAISALMER
The westernmost citadel of the desert, Jaisalmer has an ancient history linked with its development as a trading centre. Parts of its 'golden' fort continue to be inhabited, and its cobbled streets lead through a journey of medieval enchantment. Jaisalmer is celebrated for the exquisite stone-carved havelis or mansion of the merchants who held the reins of its destiny.

JHALAWAR
A 19th century offshoot of Kota, its verdant land-scape is unusual for a desert state. Its fort functions as a government office but the 9th century Gagron Fort close by is one of the most important citadels of Rajput history.

JODHPUR
The 16th century capital of the Rathore Rajputs, Jodhpur's history is evident in the hilltop eyrie, Mehrangarh, from where its destiny was written. Narrow paths wind up the steep path, leading to the innards of the fort. Once within, the architecture is less formidable, with delicate windows and painted chambers. From its ramparts one has a view of the 20th century artdeco Umaid Bhawan Palace.

KOTA
One of few perennial rivers in Rajasthan, the Chambal is flanked by verdure and fertile plains, Located on its antecedents are as romantic as any other Rajput kindom. This is evident in its many palaces, and the large fort with its fabulous paintings known for their hunting scenes.

KUMBHALGARH
Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha of Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh is Rajasthan's highest fort, and its most formidable. If its air is rife with medieval tales of intrigue and treachery, it is because its history is characterised by some of the pivotal points that characterised the Sisdia dynasty.

MOUNT ABU
A summer retreat in the Aravallis with a large lake and several temples, it also doubles as a pilgrimage centre with its 11th-13th century Dilwara Jain temples known for the quality of their sculpturing.

NAGAUR
Located between Bikaner and Jodhpur, yet largely bypassed, Nagaur serves as an important link in the state's martial history, and its fort has frescos in the Mughal and Rajput styles.

PUSHKAR
A pilgrimage centre with the only temple in India dedicated to Brahma, the Creator, Pushkar is the venue of an annual camel fair.

RANAKPUR
A 15th century group of temples raised by Jain merchants, these are characterised by the fine quality of their carving.

RANTHAMBHOR
The fort of Ranthambhor has been abandoned to nature for in this national park, the tiger has right of stay. One of the country's finest tiger reserves, its topography of low hills and large lakes provides a tranquil idyll.

SARISKA
A tiger reserve, Sariska is densely wooded, making sightings difficult, though the picturesque park is also home to deer, langurs and avifauna.

SHEKHAWATI
A region of small towns, Shekhawati is primarly known for its havelis or mansions richly ornamented with frescos that, over time, ranged from the sacred to the secular, and from the sublime to the ridiculous.

UDAIPUR
A lake city, and the capital of the Ranas of Mewar, founded in the 16th century, Udaipur is known for its fairytale palaces that nestle along the banks of a lake, or completely cover islands in its midst. The Sisodia rulers of Chittaurgarh who ruled here obviously had more leisure to exercise their taste than at Chittaur where much of their time was spent at war.
 
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