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Rajasthan, The Desert Fortress

by on July 2, 2007

Rajasthan is a vibrant, exotic state where tradition and royal glory meet in a riot of colors against the vast backdrop of sand and desert. It has an unusual diversity in its entire forms- people, customs, culture, costumes, music, manners, dialects, cuisine and physiography. The land is endowed with invincible forts, magnificent palace havelis, rich culture and heritage, beauty and natural resources. It is a land rich in music, Dance, Art & Craft and Adventure, a land that never ceases to intrigue & enchant.

In the west, Rajasthan is relatively dry and infertile; this area includes some of the Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert. In the southwestern part of the state, the land is wetter, hilly, and more fertile. The climate varies throughout Rajasthan. On average winter temperatures range from 8° to 28° C (46° to 82° F) and summer temperatures range from 25° to 46° C (77° to 115° F).
The magic of Rajasthan is unequalled in the world for its heritage, culture, safaris, sand dunes and lush green forests with its wildlife. The Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace Hotel, Jain temples, Lohagarh Fort, Keoladeo National Park, Hawa Mahal, Pichhola Lake, City Palace and Jaisalmer Havelis provide a plethora of entertainment and information to the inquisitive traveler.

Like its heritage, Rajasthan is culturally rich and has an extensive art and culture tradition, which reflects the Indian way life. The erstwhile rulers and patrons promoted the dance, music and art forms ardently and to this day, you will find colourfully clad men, women and children sing blissfully to the tunes of the ‘sarangi’ (musical instrument with strings). The music renders uncomplicated innocence and the songs depict day-to-day relationships and household chores. The Rajasthani folk dance is unparallel in form and technique. What is interesting is the interweaving of bravery, culture, tradition, romance, treachery, ethos, drama in these dances.

Rajasthan is also proud of its rich and varied folk culture espoused from villages. The fascinating & mesmerizing culture is a proliferation of the Rajput lifestyle followed since ages.

This ‘Pink City’ also offers some very exciting outdoor activities for the thirsty traveler. With a varied topography like desert, lakes and jungle, all encompassed in one shell, travelers can take a safari ride on horses, camels, elephants or even jeeps with the Aravalis – India’s oldest mountain range in the backdrop, enjoy a starlit dinner next to the sloppy sand dunes or trail a tiger or just watch birds on wetland. Alternatively, wildlife enthusiasts can go to Ranthambore to spot tigers.

Rajasthan owes its culinary excellence to the Rajput rulers. During their rule, the preparation of food was a very complex matter and was raised to the levels of an art form. Rajasthani cooking was inclined to the war-like lifestyle of medieval Rajasthan and the availability of ingredients of the region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred, more out of necessity than choice. Thus the ‘Khansamas’ (the royal cooks) worked in the stately palaces and kept their most enigmatic recipes to themselves. Some recipes were passed on to their descendants and the rest were passed on as skills to the chefs of semi states and the branded hotel companies. Today, the royal kitchens of Rajasthan have attained international recognition with their lip smacking dishes like ‘dal bati chuirma’, ‘sangri ki subzi’ and ‘kaer ka achar’.

A resplendent tradition and culture with an even resplendent lifestyle, the colourful Rajasthan is a heaven for travelers offering diverse cuisines, music and soul endearing folklore.

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