Rajasthan Travel Guide
Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajai Pal Chauhan in the 7th century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of Chauhan power. When Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the cities history, converting it to an amalgam of various cultures and a blend of Hinduism and Islam.
Places to Visit
At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India’s most important Piligrimage centre for people from all faith. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, more popularly known as Khwaja Sharif.
One of Indian’s best public schools located in the south east of the city. It was founded in 1875 A.D. only for the princes. Each prince along with his entire retinue and an English tutor had his own house in the spacious college grounds covering 81 hectares. Now it is a public school open to all.
In the corner of the inner court of the Dargah, is a magnificent building in white marble with a long (30.5) and narrow court having low arcade and delicate carvings with trellis work. It is the most marvellous all the sanctums within the sanctuary of the Dargah.
A remarkable structure, this is a masterpiece of Indo Islamic architecture located on the outskirts of the city. Just beyond the Dargah. As the legend goes, its construction took two and a half days. (Adhai-Din) to complete. It was originally a Sanskrit college, built within a temple. In 1193 A.D. Mohammad Ghauri conquered Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque by adding a seven arched wall in front of the pillared hall in just two-and-a-half days (adhai-din) and hence the name. The district pillars and arched “screen with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.
A steep one and half hour climb beyond the Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra leads to the ruins of the Taragarh Fort, perched on a hill. One can have an excellent view of the city from here. The fort was the site of the military activity during the Mughal period later used as a sanatorium by the British.
Once the royal residence of Emperor Akbar, the museum houses a rich repository of the Mughal and Rajput armor and exquisite sculptures.
The Circuit House:
The former British Residency, overlooking the artificial lake, Ana sagar, has now been converted to the circuit House. The lake and the cenotaph and the shrine of the Hindu reformer Swami Dayanand, founder of the Arya Samaj movement in India,can be viewed from here.
150km from Jaipur and 170km from Delhi, Alwar is nestled between a cluster of small hills of the Aravali range. Perched on the most prominent of these hills is a massive ancient fort that whispers tales of the rich history of the city.
Once an ancient Rajput state, formerly known as Mewar, Alwar was nearest to the Imperial Delhi. The people of the state did not accept any external interference and daringly resisted against foreign invasions. In the 12th and 13th centuries they formed a group and raided Delhi. But finally Sultan Balban (1276-A.D.- 1287a.D.) suppressed them, bringing the area under the a Muslim rule. In 1771 A.D. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the clan of Jaipur’s rulers, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own. Apart from its long history, the city has a rich natural heritage with some beautiful lakes and picturesque valley thickly wooded in parts.
Some of the finest variety of birds and animals are spotted here. Alwar has one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan – Sariska, which is an excellent tiger country.
Places to Visit
An 18th century palaces harmoniously blending the Rajput and the Mughals styles of architecture while the ground floors have been converted into government offices and district courts the upper apartment is presently a museum.
This huge fort with its ramparts stretching 5 km from east to west, stands 304 meters above the city and 595 meters above the sea level, constructed before the rise of the Mughal empire .Babar had spent a night at this fort and took away the hidden treasures to gift to his son, Humayun. Akbar’s son, Jahangir had also stayed here for some time during his exile. The place where he stayed is called Salim Mahal. Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1775 A.D finally annexed the fort. It is a forbidding structure with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge towers encompassing it. The fort has several gates – Jai Pol, Suraj Pol, Laxman Pol,Chand Pol, Kishan Pol and Andheri Gate. Also there are remains of Jal Mahal, Nikumbh Mahal, Salim Sagar, Suraj Kund and many temples.
The museum has finest collection of Mughal and Rajput painting dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and some rare ancient manuscripts in Persian., Arabic, urdu and Sanskrit gulistan (the garden of rose) Waqiat-I-Babri (autobiography of the Mughal emperor Babar) and Bostan the garden of spring) are some of the notable once amongst the collection. It also has a copy of the great epic ‘Mahabarat’ painted by the artist of the Alwar school. A rich collection of the Indian armory is among other exhibits of the museum. Behind the city palace is an artificial lake built in 1815 A.D. by Maharaj Vinay Singh with few temples along its banks. A marvelous chhatri with unusual Bengali roof and arches, also known as the Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri is situated in this area.
Purjan Vihar (Compay Garden):
A picturesque garden laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 A,D. The garden has an enchanting setting called Shimla which was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh and the cool shades make it the idyllic visiting spot during summers.
mean max mean Min. Summer : 37.00C 24.00C Winter : 31.00C 11.00C
September – February
Summer Light tropical Winter Light woolen.
Rajasthan, Hindi, English.
Bharatpur – the Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan, was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733 AD, it was once an impregnable well fortified city, carved out of the region formerly known as Mewat. The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and Dholpur has played an important part in the history of Rajasthan.
The legends say that the place was named as Bharatpur after the name of Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, whose other brother Laxman was worshipped as the family deity of the Bharatpur rulers, Laxman’s name is engraved onthe state arms and the seals. The city and the fort have been believed to be founded by Rustam, a Jat of Sogariya clan. Maharaja Surajmal took over from Khemkaran, the son of Rustam and established the empire. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around the city.
The interesting aspect of the Bharatpur history is the domination of Jats in the region since 17th century, leader like Churaman and Badan Singh brought the Jats together to mould them into a force to reckon with. Suraj Mal has been the greatest ruler who made them a formidable force and played a very important role in the Indian history during 19th century.
Today Bharatpur is better known for the Keoladeo Natinal Park, a unique bird place, delight of ornithologists.
Places to Visit
Keoladedo National Park:
Aparadise for the avian world, and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, it was known as the best duck shooting resort in the British empire. But was declared a reserve for birds in 1956 and later upgraded to National Park.
UNESCO has listed it as a world heritage site. The geographical location is ideal as it is on the main North-South avian route of India. Although small in size, 29 sq km. Only, it boasts to house more than 375 species of beautiful birds, and more than 132 of them breed inside the Keoladeo Ghana National Park and nearly every year new ones are added to the list.
The sanctuary not only attracts birds from India but also from places like Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet Before monsoons hundreds of these exotic birds roost and nest building activities start on the babool and kadam trees of the park. Water coming through the Ajan Bandh starts filling the various ponds and lakes of the Park.
When assured of enough food, hundreds of large, medium and little cormorant, darter, purple and grey heron, various species of egret, painted, open-billed, white necked and black necket stork, white ibis, spoonbill, night heron and other birds get busy in courting and mating. The trees are overflooded with nest, one can observe a tree housing nests upto fifties and sixties in number belongign to different species of birds looking after theri loving young onces. The nests on the trees look like pearl necklaces.
Gracious Saras cranes, the tallest flight birds nest in exposed and open area, both partners share the duty of hatching, while changing incubaating duties, they come together, raise their neck and give out shrill trumpetic calls in unison and at the same time fan their feathers.
The newly born chicks are only 10cm. In size but grows upto one metre in height within a year. As the monsoons arrive birds from every part of the country start pouring into the park. Migratory water-fowls, including the pride of Keoladeo Siberian Cranes form the indispensable part of Park.
The water-fowls visit the park in millions during the month of October. Rosy starling marks the beginning of the arrival of migratory birds. The most noticeable water-fowl coming to the park are barheaded and greyleg geese.
The ducks spotted here are pintail, common teal, ruddy shelduck, mallard, widgeon, shoveler, commong shelduck, red crested pochard, gadwall etc. predatory birds like imperial eagle, steppe and tawny eage, spotted eargle, marsh harrier and laggar falcon are attracted towards the park completing the avian food chain of the ecosystem. Some of them like short toed eagle, lesser spotted eagle and shikra are the residents of Park. About 11 sq. km.
Area of the park is covered with water the remaining portion is rich with Kingfisher, Red Vented and white cheeked Bulbuls, Babblers, Quails, Partridges,Sunbirds, Sparrows, Parakeets and orioles which live in bushes and burrows. The year round activity of the winged beauties has made the park a pilgrimage for bird lovers and an ornithologists delight. The animal populace also show their presence although they are thoroughly dominated by feathers, wings and beaks. The animals include the Black Buck, Sambhar – the largest Indian Antelope, Spotted deer, and Nilgais.
Pythons can also be observed at some places lazing in the sun. Vehicles are only permitted upto Shanti Kutir inside the park. The Electra Van of forest department can be engaged in the sanctuary, although the best way to explore the park is on foot or bicycles which are available on hire. Cycle rickshaws can also be hired.
The royal fortified city with a timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the Desert State, the city is dotted with many sand dunes.
Bikaner retains the medieval splendor that pervades the city’s lifestyle More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of life here. Be it pulling heavy carts, transporting grains or working on wells. Camels are the prime helpers.
The well of Bikaner-an important source of water are another attraction of the city. These are built on high plinth with slender minareted towers on each of the Four Corners and can be noticed even from a distance.
Bikaner’s history date backs to 1488A.D. when a Rathore Prince. Rao Bikaji- a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur(1459A.D.) Rao Jodhaji, established his kingdom here. Rao Jodhaji had five sons but Rao Jodhaji had five sons but rao Bikaji was the most enterprising of them.
Bikaji chose a barren wilderness called “jangladesh” and transformed it to an impressive city, called Bikaji after the Founder’s Name. The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came from west/Central Asia, made it a Prime trade center in the times of the year.
Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates.
The magnificent forts and palaces created with delicacy in reddish-pink, sandstone, bear testimony to its historical and architectural legacy.
Undulating lanes, colorful bazaars and bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience.
Places to Visit
Bhandasar Jain Temple (5km):
Beautiful 16th century A.D. Jain temple dedicated to the 13rd Trirthankra.
Camel Research Farm (8km):
Spend a day with indispensable ship of the desert at their camel research and breeding centre-one of its kind in Asia.Timing 15.00hrs to 17.00hrs (Closed on Sundays and government holidays) Photography prohibited. The farm extends over 2000 acres of semiarid land is managed by the central Government. The camel crops of Bikaner were a famous fighting force during the Raj and are still an important part of the desert warfare and defence through the border security Force (BSF)
Devi Kund (8km):
Ayoyal crematorium with several ornamented cenotaphs or “chhatris’ built in the memory of the Bika dynasty rulers. Maharaja Suraj Singh chhatri is the most impressive of all creative entirely in white marble with spectacular Rajput painting on the ceiling
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary (32km):
The lush foliage of woods on the Jaisalmer road are a heaven to nilgai chinkara, black buck, wild coar and folk of imperial sand grouse. The Gajner palace a summer retreat of the king stands on the bank of the lake and has been converted into a hotel.
Shiv Bari Temple (6km):
Built by Doongar Singhji in the late 10th century. The temple in surrounding by an embattlement wall. It has beautiful painting and a bronze Nandi facing the Shiva Lingam.
Deshnok’s Karni Mata Temple (30km):
The famous 600 year old temple on the Jodhpur road dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple has huge intricately carved silver gates, which were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh The most interesting thing about the temple are the rats who scamper freely within the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. They are regarded as sacred and are fed by priests and devotees owing to the belief that they will be reincarnated as holy men.
A famous pilgrimage spot with a temple dedicated to Kapil Muni (saint) The temple is the venue for an annual fair held in the month of Kartik (oct-nov)when thousands of devotees gather in large number to take a sacred dip in the holy waters of the Kolayat lake on the full moon day. A cattle fair, especially for the trading of camels is a part of the festivals. The small oasis town is now an idyllic picnic spot.
The extensive remains of the pre-Harappan and harroan civilization found at this are of immense interest to archeology enthusiasts.
Chittaurgarh-The town of the brave, known for its massive fort atop a hill, which can be singled out for its glorious past.
The fort has checkered history, it has witnessed some of the bloodiest battles iln history, three great Sakas and some of the most heroic deeds of valor, which are still sung by the local musicians. The antiquity of Chittaurgarh is difficult to trace, but it is believed that Bhim the legendary figure of the Mahabharta, visited this place to learn the secrets of immortality and became the disciple of a sage, but his impatience to perform all the rites deprived him of his goal, and out of sheer anger he stamped on ground creating water reservoir, this reservoir is called as Bhim Lat. Later on, it came under the Mauryas or Muri Rajputs, there are different opinions as to when ilt came under the Mewar ruler, but it remained the capital of Mewar till 1568, when it was shifted to Udaipur.
It is believed that Bappa Rawal the legendary founder of the Sisodia clan, received Chittaur in the middle of 8th century, as a part of the dowry after marriage with the last Solanki princess, after that his descendants ruled Mewar which stretched from Gujarat to Ajmer, upto the 16th century.
Places to Visit
A standing sentinel to the courage and valor of Chittaurgarh, it stands tall over a 180 meter high hillock covering a massive area of 700 acres. The fort is belileved to have been built by the Maurya rulers in 7th century AD. The important monuments inside the fort are :
VIJAY STAMBH OR ‘VICTORY TOWER:
Built by Rana Kumbha in 1440 , to commemorate the victory over the combined forces of the kings of neighboring Malwa and Gujarat, this tower is 120ft. (36.5mts) high and has a girth of 30 ft. at the base, the nine storied high limestone structure is richly ornamented from top to bottom.
KIRTI STAMBH OR ‘TOWER OF FAME:
Built iln the 12th century, dedicated to Lord Sri Adinath Rishab deo, the first Jain Tirthankar. The 22 metre high structure ils rdeplete with figures from Jain pantheon. There are several other Jain temples iln Chittaurgarh.
RANA KUMBHA’S PALACE:
The largest monument of the fort, it is believed that Rani Padmini committed Jauhar, in once of these underground cellars. The palace is in ruins but generates historical as well as architectural interest. The original palace was believed to have been built by Rana Hamir after regaining the fort in the first siege. The Mewar power reached its acme during Rana Kumbha’s time, he was a great patron of art and architecture, which is amply reflected in the palace.
The palace of Rani Padmini who preferred death before dishonor, and committed Johar, along with her entire entourage before falling into the hands of Allauddin Khilji. It was here that Rana Ratan Singh allowed a glimpse of the legendary beauty to Allauddin Khilji. The Zanana Mahal overlooks the pond, Padmini stood over here and the reflection of her was shown in the water to Allauddin Khilji.
The temple is dedicated to the mystic poetess Meera, and a devotee of Lord Krishna. Meera was born in Kurki village near Merta to Ratan Singh Rathors, and was married to Bhojraj son of Rana Sanga of Mewar. Legends say that she consumed poison set by Vikramaditya but nothing happended to her due to the blessings of Lord Krishna. In front of the temple is the cenotaph (chhatri) of Meera Bai’s Guru Shri Rai Das of Banaras, inside the cenotaph is carved a figure of five human bodies with one head, depicting that all castes are equal and even outcasts can attain God.
KUMBHA SHYAM TEMPLE:
Thetemple dedicated to Varah (Boar), the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It was built in 1448 AD. By Rana Kumbha Mahasati cenotaphs The cremation site of the Ranas and their wives, the sites are marked with Chhatris.
KALIKA MATA TEMPLE:
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the symbol of power and valour. Situated towards the southern side of the fort, it was built by Rana Hamir. Originally it was built as a Sun Temple by Bappa Rawal in the 8th century, but ws destroyed during the first sack of Chittaur. Rana Hamir converted it into a Kali temple on regaining the fort in the 14th century. The house of Chunda is situated near the temple. There are several other temples, within the ramparts of the fort like that of the temple of Annapurana, Jain Temples etc.
JAIMAL AND PATTA’S PALACE:
Theruins of this palace remind once of the story of the gallant Rathores Jaimal and Sisodia Patta the two great warriors, who layed down their lives for the honour of Chittaurgarh.
The magnificent Fateh Prakash Mahal has been converted into a museum, which houses a rare and rich collectino of sculptures from the fort and the temples. (Friday Closed)
GAUMUKH(COW’S MOUTH RESERVOIR):
Situated near the Mahasati Chowk, the water from a spring flows through a stone structure carved in the form of a cow’s mouth into the reservoir.
MOHAR MAGRI (HILL OF GOLD COINS):
A small structure which was raised during the invasion of Chittaurgarh by Akbar in 1567, it gets the name Mohar Magri because it is believed that Emperor Akbar paid one mohar (gold coin) for each basketful of earth placed on the mound, as the work was very dangerous, brave soldiers guarding the the ramparts fromabvoe. The mound was raised to such a height that the Mughal cannons could be placed over it and fired inside the fort. The important places inside are, the temple of Tulja Bhawani (the tutelary goddess of the scribes), the Naulakha Bhandar or nine lakh treasury, Singar Chauri, depicting inscriptions dating back to 1448 AD. Sat -bis-Deori, the old Jain temple etc.
71,566 Area: 7sq.km.
SummerMax.33.8*c, Min.11.6*c winter Max. 28.3*c, Min. 11.6*c
Summer Light Cottons, Winter Woolens Best Season; Oct. To Mar.
Rajasthani, Hindi & Gujarati.
Jaipur is a bustling capital city and a business centre with all the trapping of modern metropolis but yet flavoured strongly with an age-old charm that never fails to surprise a traveller.
The old Jaipur painted in Pink can grip any visitor with admiration. Stunning backdrop of ancient forts Nahargarh, Amer, Jagarh and Moti Dungri are dramatic testimonials of the bygone era and a reminder of their lingering romance.
Settled in the rugged hills of the Aravallis, Jaipur is the pristine jewel in the desert sands of Rajasthan.
Jaipur is as remarkable for its marvellous architecture and town planning as it is for the lively spirit of the people who inhabit it. The city presents a unique synthesis of culture that has to be experienced in order to be appreciated.
With its origin buried deep into the pages of history, the city still exudes a magical old world charm; an aroma of chivalry and romance is evident, despit having evolved into a city that is the hub of modern commercial activity in the region. Tell-tale signs of the glorious past and regal splendour of the city lie strewn across with gay abandon.
The colourful and intricately carved monuments are adequately matched by the lively spirit of fanfare, festivity and celebration of the people. Even today, one can find weather beaten faces with huge coloufrul trurbans, fierce moustaches and lips that spontaneouslya crease into a heart warming smile.
A city like Jaipur, where modernity and tradition live hand-in-hand, is truly rare. Perhaps this is what makes it an attractive destination for tourists who flock to Jaipur , year after year .
Jaipur is named after its founder the warrior and astronomer sovereign Sawai Jai Singh II (ruled 1688 to 1744). The decision to move out of his hilltop capital Amer was also compelled by reasons of growing population and paucity of water.
Moreover in the early seventh century the power of the great Mughals was dwindling with its aging Monarch Aurangzeb and after several centuries of invasions the north was now quite and the wealth of the kingdom had become greater than before.
Seizing upon this opportune time Jai Singh planned his new capital in the planes. Jaipur is a corroborative effort of Sawai Jai Singh’s strong grounding in sciences and astrology and a Bengali architect Vidyadhar with a strong instinct for planning.
The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, lord Krishna- the head of Yadav clan foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill, His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156AD. When Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were fedual chief who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silks and spices that crossed the territory enroute Delhi-or Sind. These seems to be straight out of the “Tales of the Arabian Night ‘ still enchants.
The life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes strewn with magnificent palaces, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. the setting turn Jaisalmer into a beautiful golden brown is a spectacular sight.
The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival held in Jan/Feb. every year, when the city reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms. Folk dances, exciting competitions and contest, especially the turban raying contest.
Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivals colorful craft bazars are setup for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized with folk artistes performing against the spledid backdrop of the famous sam sand dunes on the full moon night. Surely a not-to-be-missed events.
Its like straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. The name Jaisalmer induces a dramatic picture of utter magic and brilliance of the desert. The hostile terrain not with standing the warmth and colour of people is simply over whelming. One of the main draws is the daunting 12th century Jaisalmer Fort. The beautiful havelis which were built by wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are yet another interesting aspect of the desert city.
And you can let your eyes caress the sloppy sand dunes while you ramble your way in a camel safari. The desert citadel is truly a golden fantasy in Thar Desert. Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156. On advice of a local hermit Eesaal he chose the Tricut Hills as his new abode abandoning his vulnerable old fort at Luderwa just 16 kilometres northwest. In Medieval times, its prosperity was due to its location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West. The Bhatti Rajput rulers lined their coffer with gains from traditional taxes on passing by caravans and sometimes through illicit gains by rustling cattle.
Over the years the remote location of Jaisalmer kept it almost untouched by outside influences. In the 13th century Ala-ud-din Khilji Emperor of Delhi besieged the fort for nine years in an effort to take back the treasure taken by the Bhatti Rajput from his imperial caravan train. When the fall of the fort was imminent the women of the fort committed Jauhar, an act of mass self-immolation, while men donned saffron robes and rode to their certain death.
Duda son of Jaitasimha, a Bhatti hero also perished in the battle. Dudas descendants continued to rule Jaisalmer. In 1541 they even fought Mughal Emperor Himayun. Though their relations with Mugshal was not always hostile. Sabala Simha won the patronage of Mughal Emperor Shaha Jahan for battle distinctions in Peshawar and the right to rule Jaisalmer. In the days of Raj, Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British.
Ages have gone by and the monuments of Jaisalmer have withstood the buffeting winds of the desert all through. Jaisalmer is a marvel of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions, together amounting to a memorable experience. The old city was completely encircled by wall but much of it is now pulled down sadly for want of building material in recent years.
The massive golden fort, which is the essence of Jaisalmer, is entered through First Gate. Is a burrow of narrow streets complete with Jain Temples and old palaces. The main market the Bhatia Market is right below the hill. The bank, offices and several shops are also located near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.
In 1459 AD, Rao Jodha, chief of Rathore clan of Rajputs, who claimed descent from Rama, the epic here of the Ramayana, laid the foundation of Jodhpur. A high stone wall protects the well-fortified city. The wall is nearly 10km in length and has eight gates facing various directions.
A valiant sentinel in the desert, on the eastern fringe of the Thar desert has the distinction of neither being a part of the Thar desert nor out of it. At best it is a doorway to the wonderland of sand dunes and shrubs, rocky terrain and thorny trees. The home of the Rathroes – the awesome princely state of Rajasthan. They conquered Marwar or Maroodesh, land of the sand after the fall of Delhi and Kannauj.
Within, stands an imposing fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125m above the surrounding plains. Invincible! And dauntless in its league with time! The city lies at the foot of the hills. The clear distinction between the old and the new city is visible from the ramparts of the fort.
On the other side of the city, facing the fort is the Umaid Bhawan Palace. One of the most spacious, sprawling and well-planned palaces in India. And from here, as you look at fort, a tantalizing view rises before your eyes at sunset.
The peculiar slant of the sunset lends the desert landscape an awe-inspiring glow and the people, a chivalry undaunted. This bustling desert city is the second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur and has landscape dominated by the massive Meherangarh Fort topping a sheer rocky ridge. The old city is fenced by 10 km long wall with eight Gates leading out of it. The new city is outside the walled city. Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rathore clan, founded the city in 1459 and it is named after him.
The Afghans drove the Rathores out of their original homeland Kaunaj and they fled to this region around Pali a short distance from present day Jodhpur. A manoeuvre lead to marriage between Rathore Siahaji and the sister of a local prince that helped the Rathores to establish and strengthen themselves in this region. In fact they flourished so well that managed to oust the Pratiharas of Mandore, just 9 km of present day Jodhpur.
By 1459 a need for more secured capital lead to the founding of Meherangarh Fort on its rocky perch and Jodhpur was thus founded by Rao Jodha. The Rathores enjoyed good relations with the Mughals and Maharaja Jaswant Singh (1678) supported Shah Jahan in the latter’s struggle for war of succession. Only problematic relationship they had was with Aurangzeb.
After Auranzeb’s death Maharaja Ajit Singh drove out Mughals from Ajmer and added it to Marwar. In the reign of Maharaja Umed Singh Jodhpur grew into a fine modern city. The quintessence of Jodhpur was its valour and equestrian skill. Polo has been the traditional sport of the Jodhpur nobility since medieval times.
Jodhpur has two railway stations, City and Rai ka Bagh both are outside the walled city. The bus stand is right outside the Rai ka Bagh Station. The High Court is a while from the bus stand after the Umed Gardens, after which is located the tourist reception centre and RTDC Hotel Ghoomer. Ahead is the main market and entry in to the wall from Sojati Gate. This area also has many hotels. Jodhpur is also military and air force station and has a large cantonment and airbase.
An amazing, juxtaposition of majestic medieval age and modern industrialization, mainly the Hydro Electric Plant on the Chambal River and the Nuclear Power Plant has a few traces of its past still left. The fort overlooking the river Chambal is the foremost tourist attraction. It also houses the museum with a rich collection of art and artefacts and some elaborately painted chambers.
Earlier it was a part of Bundi state, but later it grew to be a bigger state. What retains the past glory are the untouched wealth of impressive forts, opulent palaces and temples dating back over several centuries. These temples were conquered by the Hada chieftain Rao Deva. It was at the time of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir that Rao Ratan Singh gifted this territory to his son Madho Singh. The Kota state reflects in the form of a beautiful collection of Stone Idols (murties) in the Raj Mahal, embellished with gold stained glass work on the walls, the silver mirror work on ceilings and the marvelous wall paintings.
The south eastern region of Rajasthan known as Hadoti comprises of Bundi, Baran, Jahalwar and Kota is treasure of history dating back to several centuries. Prehistoric caves, paintings, formidable forts and the mighty chambal river hurtling from the Vindhyas are dotted in the region. When Jait Singh of Bundi defeated the Bhil chieftain Koteya in a battle, he raised the first battlement or the ‘Garh'(Fort) over his severed head.
The independent State of Kota became a reality in 1631 when Rao Madho Singh, the second son of Rao Ratan of Bundi was made the ruler, by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Soon Kota outgrew its parent state to become bigger in area, richer in revenure and more powerful. Maharao Bhim Singh played a pivotal role Kota’s history, having held a ‘Mansab’ of five thousand and being the first in his dynasty to have the title of Maharao.
Kota is situated on the banks of chambal river and is fastly emerging as an important industrial centre. It boasts of Asia’s largest fertilizer plant, precision instrument unit and atomic power station nearby.
537000 Area : 193.58 Sq. km
Altitude : 251.1 metres
Summer Mean Max . 43.3″C Mean Min 35.6″ C
Winter Mean Max 30.5″C Mean Min 11.6″C
Sept. to March
Hindi, Rajasthani & English.
Mount Abu City
Mount Abu, the only hill resort of Rajasthan, situated at the highest peak of the Aravali at an altitude of 1220 meters. This “Hill of Wisdom” and a true ” Olympus of Rajasthan” stands on an independent hillock, which is separated from the main Aravali ranges by a deep gorge.
When ascending the mountain, one can hardly fail to be impressed with the grandeur and the scenic beauty, the gigantic blocks of rocks, towering along the crest of the hill, are especially striking, in some cases so weather- worn, that they present most fanciful and weird shapes, while in others appear so slightly balanced as to be in danger of rolling down.
It is not only one of the prettiest hill stations in the country, but a major Rajput and Jain pilgrimage center. The legend goes that a ‘yagna’ was performed here and four Agnikula or fireborn Rajput clans the Chauhans, Parmaras, Pratiharas and Solankis were created out of fire. Till 11th century, Mount Abu was an important Vaishnav and Shiva pilgrimage center, but now it has gained importance as a Jain pilgrim center.
The hill boasts of rich vegetation and thick forest, it stands out as an oasis in the arid environs, it is pleasant climate picturesque setting invite thousands of tourists for pleasure trips and relaxation.
15500 Area: 25 sq. km.
Summer : Max. 33.3 degree centigrade Min 23.3 degree centigrade
Winter : Max. 23.3 degree centigrade Min. 11.6 degree centigrade
Rainfall : 153 to 177 cms.
Gujarati, Hindi, and English.
The City was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. When Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties.
Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims. It is a centre of culture and education, the British chose Ajmer for its prestigious Mayo College a school exclusively for Indian nobility.
Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (11 km.), the abode of Lord Brahma, lying to its west with a temple and a picturesque lake. The Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
Ajaipal Chauhan founded Ajmer in the seventh century. He constructed a hill fort “Ajaimeur” or the invincible hill. The Chauhans ruled Ajmer till the 12th century when Prithviraj Chauhan lost Mohammed Ghauri. Thereafter it became a part of the sultanate of Delhi.
Ajmer was also favourite residence for the great Mughals. One of the first contacts between the Mughal King Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe took place here in 1616. The Scindias took over the city in 1818 and then handed it over to the British and it became one of the only part of Rajasthan controlled directly by the East Indian Co.
The bus stand in Ajmer is located near the RTDC hotel Khadim. And the railway is further north and most of the hotels are west of the stations. Northeast is the main post office and most of the cities market is located behind and up to Agra Gate. Further north is a large artificial lake called the Anna Sagar.
11 km from Ajmer on the edge of the desert lies the tiny tranquil town of Pushkar along the bank of the picturesque pushkar lake an important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. The ‘Nag pahar’ or the snake mountain forms a natural boundary between Ajmer and Pushkar.
The lake has a mythological significance associated with it. According to myth, Lord Brahma was on his way to serch for a suitable place to perform a “Yagna’ (a fire sacrifice) while contemplating, a lotus fell from his hand on the warth and water sprouted from three palce. One of them was Pushkar where Lord brahma performed his yagna.
Surrounded by hills on three sides, pushkar abounds in temples. Of these the most famous is the Brahma temple- the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma in the country. The holy lake has 52 ghats and piligrim taking a ritual dip in the lake is a common sight. Although a serene town, Pushkar bustles with life during the joyous celebration held on Kartik Purnima.
Every year thousand of devotees throng the lake around the full moon day of Kartik Purnima in October-November to take a holy dip in the lake. A huge and co;lourful cattle fair-the pushkar fair, is also held during this time.
Dance music and colourful shops spring up during this fair. Also on sale are mouth-watering traditional delicacies. Colourfully attired village folk enhance the fun of the occasion. A host of cultural event against the backdrop of this pretty setting are also organised including attractive puppet shows. Cattle auction and camel races are also a part of the festivities.
The city of Udaipur is a lovely land around the Azure water lakes hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravails. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights sounds and experience-an inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writen. Its kaleidoscope of fairy tale palace lakes temples gardens and narrow lanes strew with stalls, carry the flavour of a heroic past. Epitomising for 1200 years.
The foundation of the city has an interesting legand associated with it. According to it, Maharana Udai Singh the founder was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditaing on a hill overlooking the lake pichhola. The hermit blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favourable located spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an the advise of the hermit and founded the city in 1959 A.D.
Overlooking the aquamarine xpanses of the lake Pichhola stands the splendid city palace-a marvel in granite and marbel. Of the original eleven gates of the Udaipur City, only five remain. The suraj pol or sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city.
Exquisite lake palaces of Udaipur shimmering like jewels on lake Pichhola are overwhelming in splendour. Several palaces of interest around Udaipur, including the majestic Chittaurgarh the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh, beautiful jain temples of Ranakpur, Eklingli and Nathdwara and the cool retreat of Mr.Abu make the visit to udaipur a memorable one.
Udaipur is known as the Venice of the east. It is also called the city of lakes. The Lake Palace on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Pichola Lakes is the finest example of its architectural and cultural explosion. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake compliments the palace along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, craft and its famed miniature paintings.The Shilp Gram festival is a center of attraction during the season.
Maharana Udai Singh II founded Udaipur in 1568 after his citadel Chittorgarh was sacked by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The legends says that Udai Singh was guided by a holy man meditating on the hill near Pichola Lake to establish his capital on this very spot. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes this place was less vulnerable than Chittorgarh.
Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap who valiantly defended Udaipur from subsequent Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon and gallantly fought the Mughal at the Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles until the British intervention in the nineteenth when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon independence Udaipur merged in the union of India.