Rajasthan

Jodhpur

Jodhpur (the city of the Sun God) was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, A Rathore chief. This 500 year old settlement was the head quarters of the Rathore Rajputs.

Enclosing the impressive forts, palaces and temples is a high stone wall with seven gates.

The Meherangarh Fort

is an impressive fort which stands on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125 mts high. It was built by Rao Jodha when he shifted his capital here from nearby Mandore. The marble coronation seat can be seen in a courtyard. There are arched passageways from courtyard to courtyard and carvings on the sandstone windows with heavy lattice work. The walls and doors are decorated with intricate paintings and inlay work. Wooden craftsmanship can be seen at the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Man Mahal (Palace of Honour) and Sileh Khana.

The Meherangarh Fort Museum is one of the best with a valuable collection of royal swings, howdahs, weapons, including swords of Akbar, Timur, musical instruments & miniatures. Also on display are the campaign tent of the Maharaja Abhai Singh & the Jodhpur Gaddi, the 300 year old golden throne of the Jodhpur royalty.

Jaswant Thada

was built in 1899 in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, out of thin sheets of marble which allow the sunlight to filter in..

Umaid Bhavan

The Umaid Bhavan Palace, also known as Chittar Palace, on account of the type of sandstone used in the construction is a wonderful, awe-inspiring structure. A portion of this palace now houses a hotel and a museum.

Mandore

located 9 kms north of Jodhpur is the ancient capital of Marwar. The cenotaphs built in sandstone in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh and Maharaja Ajit Singh are located here. Near the cenotaphs are the sunken gardens. The Hall of heroes depicts several deities. There are 16 figures carved out of a single rock.

Osian

The Osian village is located 65 kms from Jodhpur. This is the site of the ruins of around 15 Hindu and Jain temples. The Surya temple constructed in the 8th century has a conical roof & finely carved pillars.

Khimsar

is the place where Aurangazeb stayed when he attacked Jodhpur. The Royal Castle now functions as a Welcom Group Hotel.

Harihara Temples

There are several temples dedicated to Lord Siva & Lord Vishnu in two sites, belonging to the 8th - 9th century. There are carvings in these temples in the Pratihara style. The deities of Siva, Vishnu, Navagrahams, Naga (the double spiral, cosmic serpent) & other Gods are installed in the temples.

Mahishasuramardini Temple

is dedicated to Pipla Devi. There is an assembly Hall with 30 pillars.

Sachiya Mata Temple
belongs to the 12th century. There is a main shrine, an ambulatory, a hall with a dome ceiling resting on carved pillars.

Udaipur

Udaipur, a serene and beautiful city, set in the Aravalli ranges is surrounded by mountains and hills. It is described as the "City of Dawn", "The Lake City". It is a romantic city with its three lakes, a fresh and placid spot amidst the desert bound cities with their forts ruined by successive wars.

Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1576, after Chittorgarh was destoryed by the Moghuls in the third attack on Chittor. The new city was founded in the banks of the lake Pichola, which is dotted with islands. The other two lakes are Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar. Originally there were eleven gates, of which five remain.

Maharana's Palace & Museum

Overlooking the lake Pichola is the City Palace, completely white and majestic. It is one of the largest in Rajasthan and the main entrance is a triple arched gate called the Tripolia. Within the palace there are beautiful locations with courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, Chini Chitrasala, the Sheesh Mahal with inlaid mirror work, Krishna Vilas with miniature paintings, Bari Mahal Dilkush mahal, Moti mahal, Bhim Vilas palace with its wall paintings of Krishna and the Museum. Mosaics of peacocks and paintings adorn the walls. Princess Krishna Kumari drank poison in order to avert the battle between two rival suitors at the Krishna Vilas.
Two views of the Maharana's Palace beside the lake

Island Palaces

The lake Pichola is dotted with islands. On two of the islands stand two palaces Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas, built by Jagat Singh II. The Jag Mandir is a yellow standstone palace with a marble dome, a mosaic of black and white marble tiles on the floor. Prince Khurram & Shah Jehan at a later period took refuge in this palace. In the evenings parakeets in huge numbers can be seen flying back to their nest. The Jag Nivas, which was the summer residence of the royalty now houses a luxury hotel.

Fateh Sagar Lake

This lake is located north of Lake Pichola and is linked to it by a canal. It was originally constructed by Maharana Jai Singh in 1678 and was later reconstructed after its destruction by floods by Maharajah Fateh Singh. Tourists can enjoy motor boat rides and also visit the island garden situated in the midst of lake called the Nehru Park.


Saheliyon-ki-Bari

Situated near the Fateh Sagar Lake, these gardens known as the Gardens of the Maidens of Honour was built by Maharana Sangram Singh. There are four pools with several fountains with elephant trunks for spouts surrounded by a lawn, flowers, shady trees and lotus pools.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari

Pratap Memorial is a memorial of Maharana Pratap of Mewar overlooking the Fateh Sagar. It stands atop the Moti Magri (pearl hill). Homage is paid to Pratap Singh and his faithful charger Chetak.

Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal - Museum

This museum houses a rich collection folk art, dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, musical instruments, paintings, etc.

Ahar

is the ancient capital of the Sisodias. It is located 3 kms east of Udaipur. There are numerous chhatris of white marble, memorials to the royalty. There is an archealogical museum which stores a collection of very old - atleast four thousand years old earthen pots and remains.

Gulab Bagh

This is the rose garden planned by Maharana Sajjan Singh. There is also a library where there is a great collection of old books. A toy train, Aravalli Express takes tourists round the garden.

The Sajjan Garh

palace fort is in the summit of a peak and there is a spectacular view of the lakes and city from here.

Jagdish Temple

is constructed in the Indo-Aryan style and is located about 1 km from the City Palace. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built in 1651 AD by Maharana Jagat Singh I. There are relief carvings of animals like the alligator, elephants and of celestical musicians. There are stone elephants on either side of the sttep staircase.

Alwar

Alwar, one of the princely states was founded in 1776. It lies 170 kms from Dlehi, 150 kms from Jaipur on the Aravalli hills. The town is full of palaces. The most elegant is the city palace, Vinay Vilas built in the 1840s. This palace is a blend of Hindu & Muslim influences. A portion of this palace now houses a museum. The Sheesh Mahal or the Mirror Room boasts of a Rajput miniatures on the wall.

The Salim Mosque and Salim Mahal, where Akbar's son spent some years lie on the hill. Near the palace is Siliserh Lake, Jaisamand Lake. The Siliserh lake used to serve as the town's source of water. Now, the lake is teeming with fish and water birds. Wild ducks streak across the clear water of the lake in winter. The palace on the lake bed is a more modern building and provides a wonderful view over the surrounding beauty.

The Saiska National Park is a thickly wooded reserve surrounded by hills and is inhabited by a great variety of wild life. It is now a protected area under "Project Tiger". Other animals found here are the cheetal, sambhar, porcupine and wild boar.

Bairath, which lies between Jaipur & Alwar is a location which has significance from the Mahabaratha times. This was then called Virata Nagar, which was the capital of Abhimanyu's (Arjuna's son) father-in-law.

Ajmer

Ajmer was founded by Raja Ajaipal Chauhan in the 7th century AD. It was under the rule of the Chauhans until it was lost by Prithviraj Chauhan to Mohammed Ghori. But later, Rana Kumbha of Mewar and Raja Maldeo of Marwar reestablished Rajput rule here. It is situated about 130 kms South West of Jaipur, at the foot of a hill.

Hinduism and Islam co-exist here with the Pushkar temples, lake & the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.

Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti
is the tomb of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (1142-1236 AD). Muslim devotees visit during the Urs Mela of the saint, lasting 6 days. The devotees sing Qawwals in praise of the saint's virtues and offer an embroidered cloth called chadars at his grave. This shrine was visited by Akbar, Shah Jehan, Jehangir. Emperor Akbar is said to have worshipped here seeking the saint's blesiing for a son.
Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti' shrine

Nasiyan

This is a red Digambara (Jain) temple built in the late 19th century. In a double storeyed hall, there is a splendid display of wooden gilt representations, glass engravings & paintings describing the Jain faith about the creation of the world.
Nasiyan - Jain Temple

Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhonpara

is a mosque built by Mohammed Ghori in 1193 AD in just two and a half days, considered to be built on the ruins of a college and temples.

Lake Ana Sagar

is a placid artificial lake built in the 12th century by Anaji Chauhan and the embankment was further beautified by the Moghul Emperors Jehangit and Shah Jehan.

Brahma Temple

It is believed that Lord Brahma was looking for a suitable place for performing a vedic yagna. A lotus from his hand fell on the earth and water is said to have sprouted in the spot, which was Pushkar. This was the holy spot chosen by Lord Brahma for his yagna.
Holy dip in the Pushkar Lake

Camel Mela

On the full moon day in November (Karthika Pournami), hindu pilgrims gather here to take a holy dip in the sacred waters of the Pushkar lake and thank the weather Gods. The Pushkar Fair is another great attraction, when every item is available for purchase for the villagers. There is joyful singing and dancing. The camel mela one of the most interesting features of the Pushkar mela extends for a fortnight (begins at the new moon after Diwali, extending upto the Karthika Pournami). The location will be filled with camels, horses and cattle and there will be a grand cattle auction on Karthika Pournami. Beautiful decorative pieces for the animals are sold at the fair. The camel race, tug of wars and camel rides are also very interesting.

Jaipur

Jaipur (the pink city), the capital of Rajasthan is a walled city with 7 gates. It is surrounded by rugged hills with forts and palaces as adornment. The city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699-1744). He felt the need to shift his capital from Amber. The city of Jaipur was planned according to Shilpa Sastra and was built by a Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya. The city is laid out with 6 rectangular sections with broad roads and spacious bazaars. In 1863 AD, numerous pink sandstone forts arose to welcome Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria.

City Palace

The city palace, a former royal residence is built in traditional Rajasthani and Moghul styles, with ornate gtes, arches, balconies and courtyards. The ground and first floors of the seven storey Chandra Mahal houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum with its rich collection of ornaments, arms, royal costumes, carpets, miniature paintings of both Rajasthani & Moghul styles, illustrated Persian and Arabic manuscripts, chariots, carraiges, royal howdahs (elephant seats) and other art objects. Adjoinging the palace is the beautiful Jal Niwas Gardens.

Hawa Mahal

The Hawa Mahal is also known as the Palace of Winds. This elaborate five-storyed pyramidal building with overhanging latticed balconies was built in 1799 by Maharaja Pratap Singh so that the royal ladies could witness processions and activities in the market place.

Jantar - Mantar

The Jantar-Mantar is an astronomical observatory that was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Sing in the 18th century. This king with his enormous interest in astronomy had instruments laid in concrete which were used to study the constellation & stars. The enormous sun dials are found to beaccurate to date. The Samrat Yantra (King of Dials) is absolutely accurate & precise. Later he built such observatories in other cities - Delhi, Varanasi, Ujjain, Mathura.

Bharatpur

Bharatpur was founded in the 18th century by Raja Suraj Mal. This fort was built to withstand heavy attacks and to protect the loyal Jats. The fort is encircled by two huge moats. Suraj Mal once marched into Delhi & carried away the gates of Agra Fort in order to strenghtn his fort. It is known as "Lohagarh (Iron Fort) for even cannonballs were unable to pierce the impregnable walls of the fort. Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas are some of the monuments of importance within the fort.

The palace which is a blend of Rajput and Moghul styles houses a museum in the centre wing, where numerous artefacts can be seen some dating back to the 2nd century AD. There are two victory towers within the fort - Jawahar Burj (as a mark of victory over the Moghuls) and Fateh Burj (celebrating the victory over the British).

The Keoladeo Ghana National Park lies about 5 kms south-east of Bharatpur. (about 176 kms away from Delhi, and 50 km west of Agra). It is a vast expanse covering 29 sq kms. It was originally created by the Maharaja of Bharatpur for private hunting. It is a low lying marsh and serves as a sanctuary for a wide variety of birds, around 300 species out of which around 120 species breed here. The thory babul trees with their tops above the water hold the nests of the visiting migratory birds. This sanctuary serves as the winter home for migrants from Central Asia and Siberia, including the Siberain Crane ( travels 6,400 kms from their breeding grounds, in Siberia), an endangered species.
Some of the other rare birds are greylag geese, the bareheaded goose from China and winged beauties from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Tibet. The native birds include pelican, ibis, egret, painted stork and darter. Other animals found here are the blue bull, spotted deer, python, porcupine, nilgai, hyena, sambhar and wild boar.

Though the sanctuary is open throughtout the year, the season time is between October & February. The breeding season is between August and October.

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