Traveling in Rajasthan - A Guide to Foreign Tourists
India has always been a mystic land for outsiders for its diverse culture, religions, monuments & climate. And Rajasthan adds much to the diaspora being more colorful than any other state. The tourist should have little backgrounding of the factors that make Rajasthan a colorful land.
Rajasthan is the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area (342,239 km²). It borders Pakistan to the west. The Aravalli Range is the major geographical feature of Rajasthan and runs from southwest to northeast for 850 km. Mount Abu, at the southwestern end of the range, is a prominent peak of the Aravalli. Aravalli divides Rajasthan into 60% in the northwest and 40% in the southeast. The northwest region is sandy and unproductive but improves gradually from desert land in the west to comparatively fertile land towards the east.
Rajasthan has a colorful history making it one of the most popular tourist destinations. The state includes most of the erstwhile land of Rajputs called Rajputana. "Rajput" means 'son of a king'. Those royal families rose to prominence in the 6th century. The Rajputs were the defendants to the Muslim incursions into India, though gradually became subservient to the Mughals (Delhi Sultanate). Rajputana came under the Marathas after General Sindhia captured Ajmer. The Rajput kings had to conclude treaties with the British in the early 19th century for local autonomy and protection from the Marathas. However, before treaties, the former independent kingdoms had created a rich cultural and architectural heritage through numerous marvelous forts and palaces, which show the Muslim and Jain influences.
In this part of India, religion has played some role to add to the diversity. Hinduism accounting for 90% of the population in the state. And it created some local heroes, for whom later many monuments were erected. The prominent among them are Ramdeoji, Pabuji, Mehaji, Gogaji, Tejaji, and Harbhuji. The religion also contributed to the numerous fairs and festivals that give a jest to the strangers on a vacation.
Dance and Music
Every region of Rajasthan has the dialect of dance and music of its own. The Udaipur Ghoomar dance and Jaisalmer Kalbeliya dance have international recognition. These and many other folk music plays a vital role in Rajasthani culture. The state has also produced many ustads (maestros) of Hindustani music and dance. Ballads, war songs, lullabies are very common. Even the illiterate people know it. Dholak, Sitar, and Sarangi are the major musical instruments in this land.
The tie and die prints, block prints, Sanganer prints, Bagaru prints, Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. They also reflect the colorful folk art in the traditional prints. Wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, potteries are some of the things that make Rajasthan a shoppers' paradise.
On the one side the rich folk art and on the other the majestic forts intricately carved temples and decorated palaces. Jantar Mantar, Chittorgarh Fort, Dilwara Temples, Lake Palace Hotel, City Palaces, Jaisalmer Havelis are true architectural heritage. They give the state its grandeur.
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