Welcome to Rajasthan - Culture ,Fairs and Festivals

 Welcome to Rajasthan

Here is the archetypal India land of maharajas and medieval fortresses, palaces and tigers and kaleidoscopic festivals. Rajasthan is truly the jewel in the crown of India.

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The Golden Triangle

The famous and popular Golden Triangle is a survey by travelers on Indian icons. The triangle usually begins in the daunting metropolis of Delhi, with its majestic Mughal heritage. Then he heads to Agra, where one of the most famous tombs in the world, the Taj Mahal, defines the city with its exquisite proportions. The triangle is completed in Jaipur, a pink-painted city with some of the most colorful bazaars in India. Jaipur is the capital and gateway to Rajasthan, and once you've slept in a palace, explored a medieval fort, or rocked a camel, you'll want to experience more.


Fortified Opulence

The most expensive attractions in Rajasthan are its magnificent forts and palaces. Mighty forts rise from the mountaintops, their battle-scarred walls still defying long-dead foes. The spiked gates that once held war elephants at bay open onto the twisted entrances to the inner palaces. The austere and practical give way to fantasy and opulence once safely inside. Carved marble and stone, fountains and stained glass decorate the business and leisure rooms. Across Rajasthan there are numerous forgotten forts and lovingly restored palaces, including the fairytale desert outpost of Jaisalmer, the honey-colored Amber Palace fort, and the towering Mehrangarh of Jodhpur, to name just a few.


Land of kings

Rajasthan is literally the land of kings. It is the home of knightly Rajputs, and its battle-scarred heritage is rooted in pride and tradition. The upper echelons of this medieval society built magnificent palaces and fortresses, many of which are now sumptuous hotels and impressive museums. In addition, amazing crafts and fine arts were developed and cultivated thanks to the patronage of the Maharajas. Village life is still steeped in tradition but, as in the rest of India, the pace of change is accelerating. Men in turbans still trade for decorated camels, they simply broadcast the successful deal home via smartphone.


Celebration of color

The intensity and spectrum of the color in Rajasthan is impossible to ignore. The rainbow of red firefighter turbans and emerald green and canary yellow saris is simply stunning. It's no wonder so many fashion designers find their inspiration and raw materials in this state. The lucky visitor might even see a flash of orange as he watches tigers in Ranthambhore National Park. Easier to capture with a camera are the bright hues of Rajasthan's many festivals - from gaily decorated camels in Pushkar, or painted elephants in Jaipur, to the rainbow blasts at Diwali and Holi, celebrated throughout the region.


Highlights in Rajasthan

Jaipur

The fascinating and historical Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is the gateway to the most extravagant state of India.

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The city's colorful streets ebb and flow with an intoxicating mix of old and new. Buses dodge camels, rickshaws calmly catch swarms of motorcycles, hawks on auto-rickshaws buzzing for walkers in no hurry. Amid this cacophony, the splendors of Jaipur's majestic past are islands of relative calm that evoke a different rhythm and another world.

In the heart of the city, the City Palace continues to house the former royal family; the Jantar Mantar, the royal observatory, maintains a heavenly aspect; and the Hawa Mahal honeycomb overlooks the bazaar below. And just out of sight, in the barren hills that surround the city, is the fairytale grandeur of Amber Fort, Jaipur's star attraction.


Welcome to Jaisalmer 

Jaisalmer Fort is a living urban center, with some 3,000 people residing within its walls. It has a honeycomb of narrow, winding streets lined with houses and temples, along with a plethora of craft shops, guesthouses, and restaurants. You enter the fort from the east, near Gopa Chowk, and go through four huge gates on the zigzag route to the upper section. The last gate opens onto the plaza that forms the center of the fort, Dashera Chowk.

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Founded in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisal and reinforced by later rulers, Jaisalmer Fort was the center of a series of battles between the Bhatis, the Mughals of Delhi, and the Rathores of Jodhpur. In recent years, the fort's fabric has faced growing conservation problems due to the unrestricted use of water caused, for the most part, by the high number of tourists.

Jaisalmer Fort is a breathtaking sight: a massive sand castle rising from the sandy plains like a mirage from a bygone age. No place better evokes the exotic camel train trade routes and the mystery of the desert. Ninety-nine bastions surround the fort's still-inhabited winding alleys. Inside are shops draped in bright embroidery, a royal palace, and numerous businesses looking for their tourist rupee. Despite the rampant commercialism, it's hard not to be enchanted by this desert citadel. Beneath the walls, particularly to the north, the narrow streets of the old city hide magnificent havelis (ornate traditional residences), all carved from the same honey-golden-colored sandstone as the fort, hence the designation of Jaisalmer as the Golden City.

A city that has almost returned from the dead in the last half century, Jaisalmer may be remote, but it is certainly not forgotten; in fact, it is one of the largest tourist destinations in Rajasthan.


Welcome to jodhpur

Mighty Mehrangarh, the muscular fort towering over the Blue City of Jodhpur, is a magnificent sight and an architectural masterpiece. Around the base of Mehrangarh, the old city, a jumble of Brahmin-blue cubes, stretches to the sixteenth-century city wall, 10 km long. The Blue City is really blue! Inside is a tangle of gleaming, winding medieval streets that never seem to lead where you expect, scented by incense, roses, and sewers, with shops and bazaars selling everything from trumpets and temple decorations to tobacco and saris.

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Modern Jodhpur stretches far beyond the city walls, but it is the immediacy and bustle of the ancient Blue City and the larger-than-life fort that captures the imagination of travelers. This busy area is also the main tourist area in Jodhpur. The areas of the old city further west, like Navchokiya, are just as atmospheric, with a lot less bustle.

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Rajasthan Folk dance
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Rajasthan Folk dance
Cultural tourism in Rajasthan



Ranthambhore National Park

This famous national park is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. It comprises 1,334 square kilometers of jungle scrub surrounded by rocky ridges, and at its center is the 10th century Ranthambhore Fort. Scattered around the fort are ancient temples and mosques, hunting lodges, crocodile-filled lakes and chhatris (cenotaphs) covered in creepers. The park was a hunting ground for Maharajas until 1970, curious 15 years after it became a sanctuary.

Seeing a tiger (around 60 to 67 in 2018) is partly a matter of luck; Allow time for two or three safaris to improve your chances. But remember there are many other wild animals to see, including more than 300 species of birds.

It is 10 km from Sawai Madhopur (the gateway town to Ranthambhore) to the first gate of the park, and another 3 km to the main gate and Ranthambhore fort.

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Amber Fort

This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. It is possible to visit the fort on the back of an elephant, but animal welfare groups have criticized the keeping of elephants in Amber because of reports of abuse and because transporting passengers can cause lasting injuries to the animals.


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Alternatively, you can trudge to the fort from the road in about 10 minutes, or take a 4WD to the top and return for ₹ 450 (valid for up to five passengers), including a one-hour wait time. For the night entry, the entry for foreigners falls at the Indian price.

However you arrive, you will enter the Amber Fort through Suraj Pol (Gate of the Sun), which leads to the Jaleb Chowk (Main Courtyard), where the returning armies would show their spoils of war to the population; women could see this area from veiled windows. of the palace. The ticket office is directly across the courtyard from the Suraj Pol. If arriving by car, you will enter through Chand Pol (Moon Gate) on the opposite side of Jaleb Chowk. Hiring a guide or taking an audio guide is highly recommended as there are very few signs and many dead ends.

From Jaleb Chowk, an imposing staircase leads to the main palace, but it is worth taking the steps on the right first, which lead to the small temple of Siladevi, with its beautiful silver doors with embossed work (relief relief).

Returning to the main staircase will take you to the second courtyard and the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), which has a double row of columns, each topped by an elephant-shaped capital and trellis. galleries above.

The Maharaja's apartments are located around the third courtyard, which is accessed by the fabulous Ganesh Pol, decorated with beautiful frescoed arches. The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is noted for its inlaid paneling and multi-patterned ceiling. The carved marble relief panels around the room are fascinatingly delicate and quirky, depicting cartoon-like insects and sinuous flowers. In front of the Jai Mandir is the Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure), with a sandalwood door inlaid with ivory and a channel that once carried cooling water through the room. From the Jai Mandir you can enjoy beautiful views from the palace walls over the picturesque Maota Lake below.

The zenana (secluded women's quarters) surrounds the fourth courtyard. The rooms were designed so that the Maharaja could embark on his nightly visits to the respective chambers of his wives and concubines without the others knowing, since the chambers are independent but open onto a common hallway.

Amber's sound and light show takes place under the fort in the complex near Maota Lake.


Udaipur


Udaipur has a romantic vibe unmatched in Rajasthan and possibly all of India, nestled alongside tranquil Lake Pichola, with the purple ridges of the Aravalli Range stretching out in all directions. Fantastic palaces, temples, havelis (ornate traditional residences) and countless narrow, crooked and timeless streets add a human counterpoint to the natural charms of the city. For the visitor, there is the serenity of lake boat rides, the bustle and color of the bazaars, a lively arts scene, the quaint old world feel of its heritage hotels, tantalizing shops, and a beautiful landscape to explore over. wheels, on foot or on horseback. .

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Udaipur's label of "the most romantic place on the continent of India" was first applied in 1829 by Colonel James Tod, the East India Company's first political agent in the region. Today, the romance is wearing off a bit as higher and higher hotels compete for the best view and traffic clogs old roads.


Pushkar Camel Fair


In the month of Kartika, the eighth lunar month of the Hindu calendar and one of the most sacred, the camel drivers of Thar fix their desert ships and begin the long trek to Pushkar in time for Kartik Purnima (Full Moon). Every year around 200,000 people converge here, bringing with them some 50,000 camels, horses and cattle.

The place becomes an extraordinary whirlpool of color, sound and movement, packed with musicians, mystics, tourists, merchants, animals, devotees and cameramen.

Trading begins a week before the official fair (a good time to get to see the serious business), but when the RTDC mela (fair) starts, the business takes a backseat and the strange sidelines (snake charmers, children swinging on poles) etc) push to center stage. Even the cultural program seems quirky, with contests for the best mustache and the most beautifully decorated camel. Visitors are encouraged to participate. See if you fancy taking part in the wedding parade in costume, or join a visitor versus local sports contest, like traditional Rajasthani wrestling.

Pushkar Camel Fair
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It's hard to believe, but this boiling dough is just a sideshow. Kartik Purnima is when Hindu pilgrims come to bathe in the holy waters of Pushkar. The religious event unfolds in conjunction with the camel fair in a wild and magical crescendo of incense, chants and processions until the day of suffocation, the last night of the fair, when thousands of devotees wash away their sins and float candles in the sacred lake.

Although fantastic, mystical and exceptional, it must be said that it is also crowded, noisy (people who sleep little should bring earplugs) and occasionally in bad taste. Those affected by dust and / or animal hair must bring the appropriate medication. It's a great epic though, and shouldn't be missed if you're anywhere within camel-spitting distance.

The fair usually takes place in November, but the dates change according to the lunar calendar.


Chittorgarh

A zigzag ascent of over 1km starts at Padal Pol and leads through six gateways to the main gate on the western side, the Ram Pol (the old back entrance). Inside Ram Pol there is a town still busy (turn right here to see the ticket office). The rest of the plateau is deserted except for the wonderful palaces, towers and temples that survive from the fort's heyday, along with a few recent temples. A circular road runs through the plateau.

A typical vehicular exploration of the fort takes two to three hours. Licensed guides who charge around ₹ 400 for up to four hours are available for walking or autorickshaw tours, usually at the box office. There is a sound and light show at dusk (Hindi / English ₹ 100/200); the English program is on Fridays.

Meera and Kumbha Shyam Temples

Both temples to the southeast of the Rana Kumbha Palace were built by Rana Kumbha in the ornate Indo-Aryan style, with tall, classical sikharas (spiers). The Meera Temple, the smaller of the two, is now associated with the mystical poet Meerabai, a 16th century royal Mewar who was poisoned by her brother-in-law but survived thanks to Krishna's blessings. The Kumbha Shyam Temple is dedicated to Vishnu and its carved panels illustrate the life of Mewar in the 15th century.

Victory tower

The glorious Tower of Victory, the symbol of Chittorgarh, was erected by Rana Kumbha in the 1440s, probably to commemorate a victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa. Dedicated to Vishnu, it rises 37m over nine exquisitely carved floors, and you can climb the 157 narrow stairs (the interior is also carved) to the eighth floor, from where there is a good view of the area.

Below the tower, to the southwest, is the Mahasati area, where there are many sati stones (ritual suicide of the widow on the funeral pyre of the husband): this was the royal cremation ground and was also where 13,000 women committed jauhar (suicide mass ritual by immolation) in 1535. The Samidheshwar temple, built in the 6th century and restored in 1427, is nearby. Among its intricate carvings, a Trimurti (three-faced) figure of Shiva stands out.

Gaumukh Reservoir

Walk past the Samidheshwar Temple and on the edge of the cliff there is a deep tank, the Gaumukh Reservoir, where you can feed the fish. The reservoir takes its name from a spring that feeds the tank of a gaumukh (cow's mouth) dug into the cliff.

Padmini Palace

Continuing south, you reach the Kalika Mata Temple, an 8th century sun temple damaged during the first sack of Chittorgarh and later converted into a temple for the goddess Kali in the 14th century. The Padmini Palace is located about 250 m further south, next to a small lake with a central pavilion. Akbar took away the bronze doors of this pavilion and now they can be seen in Agra Fort.

Suraj Pol and Tower of Fame

Suraj Pol, on the east side of the fort, was the main gate and offers fantastic views of the cultivated plains. Opposite is the Jain temple of Neelkanth Mahadev. A little further north, the 24-meter-high Tower of Fame, dating from 1301, is smaller than the Victory Tower. Built by a Jain merchant, the tower is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar (one of the 24 revered Jain masters) and is decorated with  figures of various other tirthankars, indicating that it is a monument to the Digambara (dressed in heaven) asked. A narrow staircase leads up the seven floors to the top. Next to it is a Jain temple from the 14th century.



Jantar Mantar

Next to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory started by Jai Singh II in 1728 that resembles a collection of strange giant sculptures. Built to measure the heavens, the name is derived from the Sanskrit yanta mantr, meaning 'instrument of calculation', and in 2010 it was added to India's list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Paying for a local guide is highly recommended if you want to learn how each fascinating instrument works.

Jai Singh liked astronomy even more than he liked war and urban planning. Before building the observatory, he sent academics abroad to study foreign constructions. He built five observatories in total, and this is the largest and best preserved (it was restored in 1901). Others are in Delhi, Varanasi and Ujjain. No trace remains of the fifth, the Mathura Observatory.

A valid compound ticket will also allow you to enter.



Northern Rajasthan (Shekhawati)  Dance

Northern Rajasthan (Shekhawati)

Much less visited than other parts of Rajasthan, the Shekhawati region is famous for its extraordinary painted havelis (traditional and ornate residences), highlighted by dazzling, often whimsical murals. These works of art are found in small towns connected by single-lane roads that cut through the desolate countryside north of Jaipur. Today it seems curious that so much attention and money was lavished on these secluded houses, but that they were once the home of wealthy merchants and merchants.

From the 14th century onward, the cities of Shekhawati were important trading posts on the caravan routes from the ports of Gujarati to the fertile and flourishing cities of the Ganges plain. The expansion of the British port cities of Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai) in the 19th century might have been the death sentence for Shekhawati, but merchants moved to these cities, prospered, and sent funds home to build and decorate their houses. extraordinary abodes.



Northern Rajasthan (Shekhawati)

Bundi

Bundi is a captivating city of narrow lanes of blue Brahmin houses with a temple on each corner. There are fascinating stepped wells, reflective lakes, and colorful bazaars. Dominating Bundi is a fantastic palace of faded parchment domes and loggias towering from the hills behind the city. Although it is an increasingly popular gathering place for travelers, Bundi attracts nothing like the crowds of tourists from places like Jaipur or Udaipur. Few places in Rajasthan retain so much of the magical atmosphere of centuries past.

Bundi came true in the 12th century when Mohammed of Ghori pushed a group of Chauhan nobles from Ajmer south. They seized the Bundi area from the Mina and Bhil tribes and made Bundi the capital of their kingdom, known as Hadoti. Bundi was generally loyal to the Mughals from the late 16th century, but maintained its independent status until it was incorporated into the state of Rajasthan after 1947.




8 Folk Dances From Rajasthan You Should Know About

Rajasthan, the royal state of India, is known for its rich cultural heritage. Folk dances play an important role, which are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also tell stories in a unique and captivating way. Here are eight folk dances from Rajasthan that you should know about.

Folk Dances From Rajasthan
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Ghoomar

Essentially Rajasthani, Ghoomar is probably the most popular folk dance in India. This form of dance was introduced by the Bhil tribe and later adopted by the royal communities of Rajasthan, including the Rajputs. It is performed by women at special events and festivals, such as the arrival of a newly married bride to her marital home, Holi and Teej.

The women wear traditional garb, which is ghagra (a long swirling skirt) and kanchli or choli (a blouse). To complete the ensemble, a veil is worn that covers the face. The beauty of this folk genre lies in its graceful movements that involve swinging the hands, clapping the palms, and spinning, while singing traditional songs. The coordinated movement between the women and their spinning attire, along with the upbeat rhythms and songs, leave viewers mesmerized.


Ghoomar , Folk dace of Rajasthan
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Kalbeliya

Considered by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage, Kalbeliya is made by the women of the homonymous tribe. The women dress in the traditional costume, which is angrakhi (a jacket-like garment), odhani (veil) and ghagra (long skirt) with black swirls, and they dance sensually and sinuously to the rhythm of the music played by the men with traditional instruments, such as the dholak. (two-headed hand drum), khanjari (percussion instrument), and pungi (a woodwind instrument). The dance movements are mostly snake-like, which is why it is also known as "snake charmer dance" or "sapera dance".

Bhavai

Bhavai is the ritual dance of Rajasthan, generally performed by women belonging to the Kalbelia, Jat, Meena, Bhil or Kumhar tribal communities of the state. The dance involves women balancing eight to nine bronze jugs or clay pots on their heads while dancing and turning with their feet on the perimeter of a bronze plate or on the top of a vase. The dance is accompanied by male performers who sing and play instruments, such as harmonium, sarangi, and dholak. Due to its high level of difficulty and complexity, it takes years for the performer to master the dance form.

Bhavai , Folk dace of Rajasthan
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Kachchhi Ghodi

Originally from the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, Kachchhi Ghodi is one of the most popular folk genres depicting the stories of the region's local bandits through dance and music. Traditionally, only men, dressed in dhoti-kurta and turban, and mounted on an elaborately decorated simulated horse, perform this dance, which is intended to be a symbol of chivalry and bravery. The rhythm of the dance is defined by flute music and drums, and dancers often poke fun at fights using swords to complement the rhythm. It is mainly performed during weddings or social events.

Gair

With attractive dance moves, traditional instruments and colorful costumes, Gair is predominantly performed by the Bhil community, mainly at festivals such as Janmastami (celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna) and Holi. Both men and women dance together, dressed in traditional garb. Men don a long robe-like skirt with a stick, sword and arrow in hand, while women wear ghagra choli.
The colorfully dressed dancers surround each other, moving clockwise and counterclockwise and swinging their arms in time to the powerful rhythms of the drum. The men hit their sticks when they spin, which adds a dramatic touch to the dance.

Chari

Chari is another ritual dance that belongs mainly to the Saini community of Ajmer and Gujjar of Kishangarh. Promulgated by women, it is generally performed on special occasions, such as the birth of a male child, marriage, or a party. It symbolizes joy and represents the ritual of collecting water in chari, which means pot. The women dress in traditional garb and dance while balancing a bronze chari on their heads, along with a lighted lamp. The dance is accompanied by the sounds of dholak, harmonium, and nagada (percussion instrument).

Kathputli dance

Kath means wood and putli means lifeless doll. Kathputli is an ancient form of puppet dance that was started by the Bhat tribal community of Rajasthan several thousand years ago. Characterized by brightly colored dolls (known as puppets), a performance by Kathputli tells stories from Indian folklore and mythology, along with prevailing social problems in the country. The puppets are controlled and maneuvered by the puppeteers through strings, which are attached to the puppets. The loud voices produced by the puppeteer give the Kathputli dance a distinctive flavor.


Chang

The centerpiece of Rajasthan's Holi festival, Chang, is a lively folk dance that originated in the Shekhawati region (Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, and Sikar). Also called Dhamal, the prominent feature of this dance form is the fast, rhythmic rhythms of the chang instrument (a type of tambourine), on which a group of men dance, sing, and revel. Another notable feature is that some men dress like women, wearing traditional garb and performing ghoomar, which certainly captivates the eyes of the beholder!

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