Land that has regality in its very name – Rajasthan is dotted with royal landmarks further enriched by the distinct yet integrated Hindu, Jain and Islamic influences.
Enter the Pink City of India – Jaipur. Named after its founder Maharaj Jai Singh II in the 18th century. An architectural marvel, the planning of the city in accordance with the principles of Vastu Shastra, was far ahead of its time. The Hawa Mahal complex in the Palace and the Nahargarh Fort amply bear this out.
Move on to the Sun City – Jodhpur – founded in the mid-15th century by Rao Jodha. The Mehrangarh Fort exhibits the architecture of various periods since it took several centuries to be built. Human ingenuity is evidenced in the construction of the Balsamand Lake in 1159 AD and Kailana Lake in 1872, the latter a boon for bird watchers. Do not miss one of the largest private residences in the world – the Umaid Bhawan Palace.
As with other cities, the City of Lakes – Udaipur is also named after its founder Maharana Udai Singh. Look for the three peacocks in Mor Chowk representing the three seasons – summer, winter and monsoon in the grand City Palace complex. Do not miss the Sheesh Mahal in the complex built by Maharana Pratap for his wife.
Jaisalmer – the Golden City – also takes its name from its founder Maharaja Jaisal Singh. Declared as a World Heritage Site, the Golden Fortress with 99 bastions looms over the horizon. The three day annual Desert Festival held here in February showcases ancient folk arts and traditions.
Move on to The Invincible Hill or Ajaimeru – the city of Ajmer founded by Raja Ajaipal Chauhan in the 7th century. Guarded by the Taragarh Fort, Ajmer is renowned as the place of Dargah Sharif that draws devotees across all religions. The Ana Sagar Lake, Nasiyan temple and Nareli Jain Temple are other attractions.
So … just soak in the grand architecture, partake in the royal ambience, delight in the local traditions and let divine grace permeate your being.