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Travel Rajasthan Destinations

Rajasthan - Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer - With a magic of its own, this golden desert city lies near Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Rajasthan DancersRajasthan's remote western border, surrounded by undulating sand dunes. Standing 100 metres over the city, the Jaisalmer Fort, made of yellow sandstone, seems to rise out of the desert haze and is bathed in a golden glow when the sun soars into the sky. It houses an entire living area within its ramparts. Jaisalmer is famous for its exquisitely carved sandstone havelis, cobbled streets and ancient Jain temples. Its most popular festival, which attracts people from far and near, is the Desert Festival held in January or February. With camels silhouetted against the setting sun providing a backdrop, Rajasthan's finest musicians and dancers come out and enthral visitors on the sand dunes late into a moonlit night.

Bikaner, Jodhpur, Chittorgarh and many other cities of Rajasthan are worth a visit. Each has a fort, a palace, a carved victory tower, among other things, to offer. And the region abounds in stories of legendary rulers - their loves, intrigues and foibles.

But the Kami Mata Temple at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, is unique. The temple is famous for the legions of rats that are feted and worshipped here. The choicest of foods are prepared and served to them - often in silver salvers. Visitors tread warily to reach the inner recesses of the temple, for injury to a rat would not be tolerated by the local population.

An interesting shop at the entrance of the Junagarh fort at Bikaner, run by the Urmul Trust, sells high quality cotton and woollen handlooms - cushion covers, shawls, durries, carpets, clothes, ethnic furniture (stools, chairs, etc.) and knick-knacks made by the people from neighbouring villages. The heartening thing is that the proceeds go directly to the villagers for funding education and health programmes.

Jhalawar - A 19th century offshoot of Kota, its verdant landscape is unusual for a desert state. Its fort functions as a government office but the 9th century Gagron Fort close by is one of the most important citadels of Rajput history.

Jodhpur - The 16th century capital of the Rathore Rajputs, Jodhpur's history is evident in the hilltop eyrie, Mehrangarh, from where its destiny was written. Narrow paths wind up the steep path, leading to the innards of the fort. Once within, the architecture is less formidable, with delicate windows and painted chambers. From its ramparts one has a view of the 20th century art deco Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Kota - One of the few perennial rivers in Rajasthan, the Chambal is flanked by verdure and fertile plains. Located on its banks, Kota is a modern, industrialized city, but its antecedents are as romantic as any other Rajput kingdom. This is evident in its many palace, and the large fort with its fabulous paintings known for their hunting scenes.

kumbalgarh - Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha of Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh is Rajasthan's highest fort, and its most formidable. If its air is rife with medieval tales of intrigue and treachery, it is because its history is characterized by some of the pivotal points that characterized the Sisodia dynasty.Mount Abu Dilwara Jain Temples

Mount Abu - In the South-western corner of Rajasthan, close to the Gujarat border, is Mount Abu, the only hill station in the State. It is also an important pilgrim centre, particularly for the Jains. Lying about 5 kmsto the South east, the famous Dilwara Jain Temples are among the finest in the world. The intricate marble carvings and the sheer beauty of these temples, especially the Vimal Vashi (built in 1031) and Tejpal Temple (built in 1230), takes ones breath away. Mount Abu has excellent walks and the Nakki Lake, said to have been carved out by the Gods with their nails, is a favourite spot for boating. The best time to vistit Mount Abu is March to June and September to November.

Nagaur - Located between Bikaner and Jodhpur, yet largely bypassed, Nagaur serves as an important link in the state's martial history, and its fort has frescos in the Mughal and Rajput styles.

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