Rajasthan is a northern Indian state bordering Pakistan. Its palaces and forts are reminders of the many kingdoms that historically vied for the region. In its capital, Jaipur (the “Pink City”), are the 18th-century City Palace and Hawa Mahal, a former cloister for royal women, fronted by a 5-story pink-sandstone screen. Amer Fort, atop a nearby hill, was built by a Rajput prince in the early 1600s.
Other forts include massive Chittogarh, occupied from the 7th to 16th centuries. Mehrangarh Fort has imposing walls overlooking Jodhpur, the “Blue City” in the Thar Desert, which covers much of Rajasthan. Udaipur is home to the monumental granite-and-marble City Palace, on the banks of scenic Lake Pichola. Around Mount Abu are dozens of shrines and temples, notably 5 ornate, marble Dilwara Jain temples. Nature sanctuaries include Ranthambhore National Park, a reserve for Bengal tigers; Keoladeo National Park, renowned for its diverse migratory bird population; and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, home to leopards and wolves.
Shrine of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti
The Dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti is one of the important Muslim pilgrimages in Ajmer. It is situated at the midst of the Ajmer city and made on a foot hill. It is the tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti who came to Ajmer from Persia in 1192. He died in year 1236. His tomb later became an important pilgrimage site. It got significance during the regime of Mughals as many emperors added to the building. It is said that Mughal Emperor Akbar used to visit the shrine every year from Agra. There are two large iron degs or cauldrons at the entrance of the courtyard one of them was donated by Akbar in 1567 and other by Jahangir in 1631. It is used offering for the poor people. In the past it introduces skilled professionals wearing protective clothe who would dive into the hot cauldrons in order to distribute food. Pilgrims from around the world visit the shrine every year. On the seventh month of the year according to the lunar calendar the death anniversary of the saint is celebrated which runs for around six days. Large gathering and crowd could be observed during the anniversary.
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra is an exquisite piece of marvelous architecture high domes, pillars and beautiful arched screen which are mainly built from pieces of Jain and Hindu temples. Unlike the shrine of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti it is situated at the outskirts of the city. It is considered that it was constructed in year 1153 and it took two and a half day to complete. There is another fact which says that it was named after a festival that last for two and a half day. Earlier it was built as a Sanskrit college and later in 1198 Mohammed Gauri captured Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque. He covered it with seven arched walls and added Islamic calligraphy in the building. These ancient remains thus became famous as Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra. Visitors and specifically history and heritage lovers come to the place.
Pushkar Temples & Ghats
Pushkar is near Ajmer only at a distance of 30 minutes drive from the city. Pushkar is a famous pilgrimage for Hindus. The holy lake in Pushkar known as Pushkar Lake is considered the most spiritual lake after the Ganges River. The place boasts hundreds of temples and some are very ancient. There is a unique and the only Brahma temple in Pushkar. It is said that the Brahma, the creator of the universe, temple is very rare in India. There is an ancient spiritual story behind making of the Brahma temple. Another point of attraction of Pushkar is Pushkar fair which is organized in the month of October or November, according to the Hindu calendar. In fair thousands of people gather at the bank of holy Pushkar Lake with their livestock for buying and selling. Hundreds of stalls are established to grab attention of women. In the fair many tourists visit Pushkar from all the corners of the world. On visit to Pushkar other than the festival time you could also enjoy the sun set from this place.
Amber fort beholds historic significance for Jaipur and it is very popular tourist destination. The fort was built by Raja Man Singh. The huge structure of the fort is laid over a hill and its low land has several big gardens and a pond. The fort could be reached by various ways. You could enjoy an elephant ride, go through stairs or you can also take the cab up the hilltop. The fort has variety of structures to view. There are plenty of courtyards, Sheesh Mahal and a Temple. The Sheesh Mahahal or Mirror Palace has beautiful small pieces of convex mirror which are engrossed in the wall and ceiling. Lightening a candle spreads thousands flames as all the mirrors reflects the lights simultaneously.
After covering the Amber Fort the cab would head towards City Palace. City Palace is also a major attraction of Jaipur. It is a palace complex spread into huge area which includes different palaces of the historical era. It was built in 1732 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The main attractions of City Palace are Chandra Mahal, and Mubarak Mahal. The Chandra Mahal now has been converted into a museum and rest of the area is still used as residence of the royal family of Jaipur. The City Palace comprises many buildings, gardens and courtyards. The museum showcases a wide variety of clothes, furniture, armors and weapons.
It is situated at the crowded place in the walled city that is famous as Badi Chopar. Hawa Mahal is a beautiful monument and it is another epithet of Jaipur. It is most appealing place for photographers. As many splendid photographs of this place has revealed the real beauty of Pink City.
Albert Hall and Ramniwas Garden
Ram Niwas is a huge garden at the both sides of the road. The place has several attractions attached to it. At each side of the garden there is a zoo. The Jaipur Zoo is divided into two sections one is for animals and other is for birds. The centre of the attraction of the place is beautiful Albert Hall. This monument is example of the historical architecture and now it has been converted into a museum.
Mansagar Lake is situated at the Amber Road, Jaipur Delhi Highway no 8. A palace is situated in the midst of Mansagar Lake. That is why it is also known as Jal Mahal. The palace could be reached by wooden boats which are carved and decorated in special Rajput Style. The Government has developed some wetland areas around the periphery of the lake. Several migratory birds could also be spotted near the lake. You can see many bird watcher and bird lovers sitting besides the lakes sitting and watching the beauty for hours.
Samode is located 40 kilometers north of Jaipur city. Samode the heritage monuments include Samode Palace, Samode Haveli and Samode Garden. Samode Haveli is the nearest to Jaipur as it is only 6 kilometers away from the Jaipur railway station. These heritage structures were built by the Maha Rawal and Maha Saheb of Jaipur and Amber. All monuments hold rich history of several hundred years and showcase the fusion of Mughal and Rajasthani art. All monuments now are converted into heritage hotels and run under the flagship of Samode of their hereditary owners. If you are a regular visitor than the visiting sight would require to buy an entry ticket worth Rs 500/- that covers Samode Garden too.
Samode Palace is located in the Samode village and built at the foot of Aravali mountain range. The interiors of the palace represent the ancient architecture which is fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal art. The walls are decorated with floral motifs, luxurious carpets and ornamented pillars add beauty to the palace. The huge entrance gate made up of dark wood and ornamented with marble and glass. There also exists Hall of Mirror or specially called as Sheesh Mahal at the northern side of the palace. There is an old and abandoned fort above the palace from you can have the panoramic view of Samode. Samode fort was the former residence for the emperor. Samode is also famous for its handicraft items which include block printing, bangle making and miniature paintings. There is a small colony in the village where these artists live.
Samode Haveli is a monument facing north. The haveli has huge air passage and large dining room which are elegantly painted. The architecture of the Samode haveli showcase unique ambiance of historic importance against the contemporary locale. A special elephant ramp was constructed in 1940 on the occasion of the marriage ceremony of the Royal Family.
Samode Bagh is a Mughal style garden built in 16th century and it is spread in 20 acres of land. For visitors around 44 air conditioned tent houses have been made for stay. These tents are also decorated with Rajasthani and Mughal art and paintings. Tents are furnished with all modern facilities such as beautiful carpets, well furnished beds and furniture, lamps etc. The entire garden is covered with 4.6 meter high walls. A 200 feet long water channel is used for the water supply in the garden. The water channel is fed by wells and springs. A row of fountains along with the water channel adds beauty to the place. A 150 year old pavilion runs within the confines of the garden.
Ranthambore is the most exotic, adventurous historic place in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan around 180 kilometers away from Jaipur the capital of the state. The place holds significant historic importance. The Ranthambore Fort is part of the World Heritage Site. The fort describes the bravery and glory of the rulers of the Chauhan dynasty. Since the place was converted to a wild life sanctuary in 1957. The fort now lies within the Ranthambore National Park. Formerly it served as the hunting place for the kings of Jaipur before 1947, independence of India.
The ancient name of Ranthambore was Ranastambha or Ranastambhapura and was mostly associated and dominated by Jainism. Siddha Senasuri included this place in Jain holy places during 12th century.
The fort of Ranthambore was built in 944 by Nagils who were supposed to be considered as the descendants of Nag Vanshis. The fort was captured by different dynasties during various historical periods. It remained in the kingdom of Mewar Rana Hamir Singh (1326-1364), Rana Kumbha (1433-1468), Rana Udai Singh (1468-1473), Sultan Bahadur Shah (1532-1535), Mughal Emperor Akbar 1559. In 17th century it
remained to the emperors of Jaipur till the independence of India.
Ranthambore National Park is located at the intersection of Aravali and Vindhya mountain range. The park is spread approximately in 400 sq Km area adjoining 100 sq Km area of Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary. Ranthambore is famous as a major Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. After converting to a wildlife sanctuary, later in 1973 it was covered under Project Tiger. In 1981 it got the status of the National Park. Tourists visit Ranthambore to have the glimpse of royal animal the Bengal Tiger. The park caters a heaven to the photographer community. Be wildlife or nature lover Ranthambore offers equal scenic beauty to capture through camera. It is said that the tigers found at Ranthambore have become human friendly and even one can enjoy full hunt in front of human visitors. Through regular visit of vehicle and human in the area tigers have developed a habitat accordingly.
The other species of animals that could be spotted in the reserve include Leopards, Striped Hyenas, Sambar Deer, Chital, Nilgai, Common or Hanuman langurs, Macaques, Jackals, Jungle cats, Caracals, Sloth bears, Black bucks, Rufoustailed Hare, Indian Wild Boar, Chinkara, Common Palm Civets or Toddy cat, Common Yellow Bats, Desert Cats, Five striped Palm Squirrels, Indian False Vampires, Indian Flying Foxes, Indian Foxes, Indian Gerbilles, Indian Mole Rats, Indian Porcupines, Long eared Hedgehogs, Ratels, Small Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Civets and Common mongoose. The Ranthambore National Park remains open from October to June. During the monsoon the park remains closed as in rains it becomes difficult to travel across the jungle. The Safari is available in morning and noon for three hours duration approximately. You can enjoy the safari in a big 20 seats canter or a 6 seats open jeep.