When the native tribes of Rajasthan sing “Padharo Mhare Des”, the guests feel honoured to be welcomed to the land known for its chivalry and etiquette and more than that, for its hospitality. From the time of the Maharajas, guests were held in high respect and even the enemies were treated with humbleness. What better greeting could a visitor want to hear that the enthralling tune of ‘Padharo Mhare Des”!
They call it the “land of royal Rajputs”! But is it just that? I believe not. There is so much more about this land of astonishing colours and elements where every facet is designed so very uniquely. Echoes of the history can be heard in its exquisite forts, monuments and palaces that are designed with absolute architectural splendour. All the festivals in the state are celebrated with great vibrancy and grandeur that showcase folk dances and songs about tragedy, romance and courage of the great kings. The state boasts of it brilliant art and paintings that take your heart at once. The state is extremely popular for its rich culture and tradition. It’s the land of romantic forts and magnificent palaces, where resonate in the air, the tales of valour and sacrifice. It’s the state I have always been in love it. Whether it’s travelling during a desert safari or visiting a holy temple, Rajasthan is the perfect tourist destination for everyone.
The legends say that Lord Bhrahma dropped a Lotus flower to Earth and Pushkar floated to surface. It is a small Hindu pilgrimage town with one of the world’s only Bhrahma temples. A mystic lake lies in the centre of the town that is aligned by rows of Ghats. The sky is usually dull grey and hundreds of temples and domes sit under it. You may find a lot of hippies and backpackers in Pushkar all through the year. People come here to get in touch with their spiritual self or just to enjoy the peace and calmness that persist in the environment here. The town really comes alive during the Pushkar Mela in November during which the main attraction is the Camel Fair. It is fascinating to see a tradition as old as hundreds of years still continuing in today’s world.
Walk through the galleries of the Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur and you will know what it is to stand in one of the largest forts of the world. Jodhpur is popularly known as the “Sun City”. The skyline of the city is dominated by the view of the eccentric Mehrangarh fort. The magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace, the graceful cenotaph of Jaswant Thada and the beautiful Madore Garden are the pride of Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer is a city that seems to have come out right from an Arabian Nights fable. A city that rises magically from the sand dunes of the state. The majestic Jaisalmer fort is perched high on a pedestal that overlooks the city. When you enter the fort, it looks alive and spellbinding. Consisting of 5 temples, various temples, and some amazingly exquisite mansions, a stroll through the huge fort will charm you beyond imagination.
Udaipur. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. The beauty of the city will leave you awestruck. It is an enchanting place with huge havelis, intricate palaces which overlook glistening lakes and when the sun rays hit the waters which reflect it toward the forts, the beauty of the city grows manifold. The way Udaipur has been constructed is exquisite as the architecture portrays both the Rajput and the Mughal lineage. Also, the narrow lanes of the old Udaipur city are worth exploring. The city is often referred to as the “Venice of the East”. The Jag Mandir, the Palace Museum, the Sahelio ki Bari stand as witness to the hoary past of the city. Take a boat ride in the Pichola Lake, and it would become an experience of a lifetime.
Let’s come to the capital now. Jaipur. The city closest to my heart! It’s huge, it’s loud, it’s crowded and it’s full of vigour. Jaipur is part of the Golden Triangle tourist circuit in India and lures tourists from all round the globe. A visit to the city will make you experience the glory of the monarchy that once ruled the city. The city has some of the most amazing heritage hotels that have been converted to 5 Star hotels from old havelis, giving the visitors a grand feel during their stay. Visit the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal and Jaigrah fort, all of which are designed to showcase tremendous technological capabilities even the olden days. The Bapu Bazar is the main market place and one may experience the best of shopping here. The beautiful lehengas, bandhini, ethnic clothes, handicrafts, mojris will all make you come back with hands full of shopping bags.
Rajasthan therefore, is not only the “land of the Rajputs”, it is the land of sand dunes, the land of heritage, the land of culture, the land of camel safaris, the land of wildlife, the land where the Maharajas fought bravely to protect it from the Mughal rule, the land where valour and courage runs in the blood of its people. A land of colours. A land of festivities.
It is the land where even today, guests are treated as Gods. A land where ATHITHI DEVO BHAVA is not just preached, but practised too!