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Best Places To visit in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, in North India, is one of the most authentic regions with its magnificent & luxurious Maharaja palaces, its superb fortresses, its elegant "Havelis", and its proud Rajput lords. A mosaic of landscapes awaits you, from the mildness of the wooded and green Aravelli Mountains to the intense aridity of the Thar Desert, its dunes and small villages emerging from the desert.
Do not miss the must-see cities and large towns such as Jaipur, the gateway and capital of Rajasthan; Jodhpur and its blue roofs; Jaisalmer, a citadel, placed like an architectural dream in the middle of the arid desert; and Udaipur the small ''Venice of the East", built around Lake Pichola will enchant you.
Not to forget the visit of a mystical place in Uttar Pradesh: Agra with the fabulous Taj Mahal.
Contrary to the other Indian cities, Jaipur is very young. When Maharaja Jai Singh II decided to build it in the 18th century, he called upon the best craftsmen of the city to create a city dedicated to their arts. Located between the Thar Desert and the Ganges basin, the city which is known as the «pink city» is the capital of Rajasthan today.
With its meticulous architecture, its reputed textiles and its excellence in the decorative arts, Jaipur is endowed with an extremely rich cultural heritage.
Among the most beautiful locales of the city, it is possible to visit the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, Jantar Mantar or the City Palace. A few kilometres away from the city, the Amber Fort is an exceptional site, a jewel of Indo-Muslim architecture.
Yet another place that should not be missed, the famous cinema theatre, Raj Mandir, immense and luxuriously kitsch, perfect for a Bollywoodian initiation!
Founded in the 15th century, Jodhpur is the second major city of Rajasthan today owing to the number of its inhabitants. In order to signify that a Brahmin lives in a house, the house is traditionally painted blue. This explains the nickname «the blue city» that Jodhpur has acquired over the centuries.
The Mehranganh Fort was built at an elevated location of the city and offers an unforgettable panoramic view of the old city. This magnificent fort also houses a beautifully decorated palace. In the lanes of the old city, the Sadar Bazar allows the inhabitants and visitors to buy all the crafts products of Rajasthan.
A few kilometres away from the hustle and bustle of the city we can find a most amazing museum. The Arna-Jharna museum has made the choice of exhibiting the contemporary culture of Rajasthan, leaving aside ethnic creations. This desert museum has thus chosen to focus on the broom, its story, its role in the local economy, the beliefs that go with it…Truly a museum that is out of the ordinary!
At the doors of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is an ancient caravan city which had for a long time been a strategic place in trade between India, the East and the West. Its war filled past explains the 5 kms of walls which protect the golden city, its majestic havelis (traditional residences of the rich merchants of Rajasthan) and its Jain temples.
Jaisalmer is the ideal city to go to for an expedition in the Thar Desert and for spending the night in a bivouac in the midst of the dunes.
It was a sadhu who advised Rana Udai Singh to build his new city at the present location of Udaipur. Surrounded by several lakes and protected by the mountains, Udaipur is a main city today in the Southern part of Rajasthan.
With its narrow lanes and its white washed houses, Udaipur has remained an authentic and astonishing city over the centuries. Its sumptuous palaces built around the lake, and even in the middle of Lake Pichola such as Jag Niwas, have given Udaipur the nickname, the Venice of the East. The Rana’s Palace looms ahead majestically on the banks of the lake and contributes to the peaceful atmosphere of the city.
A few kilometres away from the city, an impressive site housing 250 royal cenotaphs is worth a visit.
Rajasthan’s geography is indeed astonishing. The lush green landscapes of the Aravelli Mountains are so different from the desert representations of Rajasthan that they enthrall all the travelers. Located at the extreme southern part of the Thar Desert, the Aravelli Mountains demarcate the change in climate of the region and are home to a number of Jain temples.
Located on the caravan route in the olden days, rich merchants have built magnificent, lavishly decorated Havelis here. The arrival of the British and the development of the means of railway communications have gradually made Shekhawati an abandoned land though a well preserved one. Located between Bikaner, Jaipur and Delhi, this region is ideal for discovering the way of life of the locals and their traditions, and for an authentic experience at the very heart of rural life.
Located between the Indus and the Aravelli Mountains, the Thar Desert is a natural frontier in the Eastern part of India. Even though there is limited flora, antelopes, lynx and other desert foxes live side by side with the caravans of nomads and their dromedaries. The Thar Desert is an ideal destination for staying in bivouacs in the dunes and enjoy the experience of nomadic life.
It was way back in 1631 that the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan decided to build the monument that will become Agra’s crowning glory: the Taj Mahal. A lavish palace made of white marble to make the love that he feels for his wife Mumtaz Mahal eternal. Almost 5 centuries later, this world famous monument is still as captivating as ever and attracts visitors from all around the world.
But Agra is also charming heritage city to visit for its lanes and bylanes and its Red Fort, which also figures on the World Heritage List of Unesco.
A few kilometres away from Agra, the village of Fatehpur Sikri and Bharatpur are also worthy of a visit.