Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Rajasthan
Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Rajasthan
Cox & Kings reviews Rajasthan and tells you about destinations to visit, places to eat, where to stay and things to do!
Article Credit: Reshma Rohra
Population: 73.53 million (2015)
Religious Groups: Hindus 88.48%, Muslims 9.06%, Sikhs 1.27%, Jains 0.90%, Christians 0.14%, Buddhists 0.01%, others 0.006%, Atheists 0.001%
Languages: Hindi (official) 91% [This includes Rajasthani dialects, like Bagri, Shekhawati, Marwari, Dhundhari, Mewari, Mewati, Ahirwati and Harauti], Bhili 5%, Punjabi 2%, Urdu 1%, others 1%
Time Zone: IST (UTC+5:30)
Currency: Indian Rupees
Geography And Location
Nestled in the west of India, Rajasthan is located on the border area adjacent to the Sutlej-Indus river valley, along the Pakistani provinces of Sindh and Punjab. Within the country, it is surrounded by Punjab on the north, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana on the northeast, and Madhya Pradesh and Gujurat on the south. Rajasthan is the largest state of India and it encompasses the major part of the massive Thar Desert.
The Weather In Rajasthan
Being the desert state, Rajasthan faces extreme winter conditions between October and February and severe summer from March to September. It faces scanty rainfall with a humid weather during July to September. In spite of this, the weather conditions are favourable enough to have tourist activity going all round the year. You can visit different parts of Rajasthan during each season.
The History Of Rajasthan
The history of Rajasthan is one of the greatest in the world. This land of royals has witnessed a myriad significant events and numerous different rulers and empires. It is, however, known as the motherland of the Rajput clan. For over 1000 years, Rajasthan was under the control of the Rajputana legacy. After the advent of the Mughal Empire, it became difficult for these kings to retain their supremacy. To combat their powerful opponent, they signed temporary treaties and pacts. But when it seemed like their honour was at stake, they fought for it. Eventually, the Mughal rule collapsed. But, the Rajputs had an even formidable enemy coming towards them. The British had conquered the whole of India, with no exception. The royals of Rajasthan had no choice but to enter into an alliance with them in order to defend their status. The Rajputana rule had weakened with time and ultimately saw its decline as India achieved independence.
Despite being an arid desert region, Rajasthan is one of the most vibrant places on earth. The culture here is such that bright colours are an integral part of it. Go to any city in Rajasthan, and you will gain no less than a kaleidoscopic experience. The grand palaces and gallant forts scattered throughout the state are the manifestations of a magnificent kingdom that prevailed once upon a time. Today, most of these monuments have turned into museums that safely stock the evidences of yesterday. Apart from this, Rajasthan is blessed with a beautiful golden landscape. It is indeed easy to lose yourself amidst the splendour of this desert state.
The tastes and flavours of Rajasthan bear a strong connection with its climatic conditions. Due to lack of water in this area, people used to cook food that involves lesser use of water and can remain edible for more than a couple of days. Leafy, green vegetables were never a popular part of the diet. Dry snacks like Pyaaj Kachori, Methi Bajra Poori, Kalmi Vada, Bikaneri Bhujiya, etc. are consumed regularly here.
Rajasthanis love spicy food. So ready yourself for some hot culinary delights. Some of the favourites here are Dal Baati Churma, Lal Maas, Besan Gatte Ki Sabzi, Kadhi, Ker Sangri Ki Sabzi, Sev Tamatar and Gatte ki Khichidi. Rajasthani cuisine offers a wide range of sumptuous meals as the kings loved to eat. And the royal chefs loved to please them with their mouth-watering preparations.
Every meal is incomplete without a dessert in Rajasthan. The rich, ghee-clad bonbons prepared here can make anyone go weak on their knees. The delectable flavours and enticing aroma make you keep coming back for more. Ones that you must try here are Balushahi, Mawa Kachori, Ghevar, Dil Khushaal and Churma Ladoo.
Diverse communities and tribes inhabit here. While there is much dissimilarity between the lifestyles of these groups, they share certain things in common. All of them are highly cultured and close to their roots. They are hospitable and respectful. They are all immensely religious and have undying faith in their deities.
Caste system is not very prevalent in present times. However, it would be wrong to say that it does not exist at all. Many fragments of the society still recognize the classification between Rajputs, Brahmins, Mahajans, Jats, Gujars and several other small tribes. This is because urbanization has not fully developed in Rajasthan. The state is predominantly rural, which is also why many tourists flock here to capture the essence of rustic India.
Art and craft form a significant part of the daily life. Be it villages or cities; paintings, embroidered and printed textiles, handicraft items, puppets and so on are put on display for the purpose of selling everywhere in Rajasthan. Furthermore, folk music and dance are passionately practiced and performed here.
Getting To & Around Rajasthan
Since Rajasthan is so popular with the tourists, reaching here is as easy as it can get. Whether airways, rail routes or roadways, transportation is conveniently available for getting into any part of Rajasthan. The rural roads might not be in a favourable condition but there exists a very strong intra-state bus network. Jeeps, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are some of the other modes of road transport commonly used here. You can also hire a private vehicle to traverse in and around the state.
Where To Stay In Rajasthan
Rajasthan is flooded with countless accommodation options. There are 5-star properties, 3-star hotels, budget hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfast hotels and even apartments and hostels available for you depending on your budget. Also, some palaces offer royal accommodation, obviously with an exorbitant price. Rest assured that you will be receiving the best of hospitality and service no matter where you choose to live. After all, Rajasthan is known for its cordiality.
Where To Go And What To Do In Rajasthan
Lake Pichola, Udaipur
In the dry region of Rajasthan, Lake Pichola is no less than a retreat. This large and artificially created lake is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Udaipur. No one leaves this city without having a tryst with Lake Pichola. The remarkable City Palace rests on the eastern bank of the lake and offers a spectacular view of the same. There are four islands on Lake Pichola; Jag Mandir, Jag Niwas, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas. Each of them houses ancient structures. Take a tranquil boat ride with your loved ones and explore the historic marvels.
Dilwara Temples, Mount Abu
If you love to lose yourself in the grandeur of fine architecture and intricate stone carvings, then Dilwara Temples is the place for you. Nestled in the lush environs of Mount Abu, the temple complex features concentrated marble work. It comprises five uniquely built shrines of the Jain Tirthankaras; Lord Adinath, Lord Rishabhdev, Lord Parshvanath, Lord Mahavir Swami and Lord Nemi Nathji. Legend has it that the craftsmen were proportionately rewarded in exchange of the accumulated dust. This was in order to motivate them to carve more intensely. So, you can only imagine the depth of detailing that exists here.
Ranthambore National Reserve, Sawai Madhopur
(Wild tigers are easily spotted in Ranthambore National Reserve)
The hunting ground of the kings once upon a time, Ranthambore National Reserve is today the largest national park in Northern India. Wild tigers, hyenas, sambhars, langurs, sloth bears, many other animals, various reptiles and numerous species of birds reside here. There is an old Ranthambore fort, a lake and several mosques and temples inside the premises. Jungle safaris are scheduled in the morning, afternoon and evening. However, the most thrilling one is the night safari. The beautiful creatures and surroundings here will make you fall in love with wilderness.
Desert Safari, Jaisalmer
The golden city of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is surely known for its forts and palaces but what makes it extraordinary is the stretch of Thar Desert it fosters. To experience the breath-taking desert safari plan your trip between November and March. Enjoy the folk dances, songs and delectable Rajasthani cuisine in the midst of mystical sand dunes. Also, witness the romance between the star-lit sky and enormous desert in the night while you camp here. Choose to go with your friends or solo, this journey is sure to be an amusing one.
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Sitting on a hill in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh is one of the largest forts in India. The royal family of Jodhpur is the caretaker of this mighty fort. Apart from the great ancient stories, this fort also preserves a museum of paintings, old textiles, manuscripts, war weapons and a lot more. However, the highlight here is the fantabulous cityscape one gets to witness. Savour the beauty of Jodhpur and relish the magnificence of its history.
Hot Air Balloon Ride, Jaipur
Explore the skies of Rajasthan. Watch the pink city breathe as you glide through the clouds. Go for a romantic sky ride on the hot air balloon with your beloved. Feel on top of the world and experience a different side of the desert state.
A Rajasthan holiday on your mind? Click here to view some exciting packages…