Rajasthan The Land of Kings
Rajasthan, known formerly by the name Rajputana or the land of the kings, is the largest state in the republic of India. It covers an area of 342,239 sq kilometers which is 10.4% of India. However, despite its large size, mot of it is covered by the Great Indian Desert, Thar.
The Thar Desert runs parallel to the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Being located at the forefront of Indian civilization, the state of Rajasthan has seen the age of kings thus, explaining the moniker ‘the land of kings’. Rajasthan houses an amazing display of arts and architecture, courtesy of it being a princely state. Each individual kingdom of Rajasthan has a distinctive style of architecture and arts making it one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. In this article we shall list out the 10 popular places to visit in Rajasthan.
1. The capital of the state, Jaipur is also the largest city in the princely state of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1727, by the Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Sawai Jaisingh II, who was the ruler of Amber. Also known by the nickname ‘Pink City of India’ which is due to the distinctive saffron or pink color of the buildings. The planning of the city was done according to the Vedic Vastu Shastra (Indian architecture). The well planned streets and detailed and artistic architecture make it one of the top preferred tourist locations.
2. While in a few texts, it has been termed as the Venice of the East, the City of Udaipur is known by its common moniker, the city of lakes. The city was the capital of the Sisodiya Rajputs of Mewar and is famous for its palaces that exemplify the finesse of Rajputana Style architecture. Udaipur was founded in 1553 by the Sisodiya Rajput Ruler Maharana Udai Singh II. The Mewar Rajputs founded the city to relocate their capital from Chittor to a more secure location. Today, most of the palaces have been converted into hotels, thus attracting a huge no. of tourist crowd to this city.
3. The second largest City of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is also the second most populated city of Rajasthan after Jaipur. The city was founded in 1459 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler, Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar. The city was founded as Marwar’s new capital after the fall of the former capital of Mandore. Jodhpur is also called the Sun City as it enjoys a bright sunny weather all year round. Strategically, it is considered to be the most important city of western Rajasthan as it lies only at a distance of 250 kilometers from the Indo-Pakistan border.
4. The aptly named “golden city”, which comes from its view during the day, the city of Jaisalmer lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city was founded by The Bhati Rajput ruler Maharawal Jaisal Singh in 1156 A.D. The city gets its name from the golden sands of the Thar Desert and the same golden colored sandstone used in the city’s architecture. The city is a famous tourist spot due to its magnificent architecture and the various arts and crafts which are unique to this region. The city thrives on tourism, and can be called a home away from home for a huge no. of tourists from all around the world.
5. The city of Bikaner was founded in 1488 by the Rathore Rajput Ruler Rao Bika. Rao Bika was the son of the Rathore Ruler Rao Jodha who founded Jodhpur. The land was usurped from the rivaling Jat rulers of that time. However, no matter how many wars the ancient city has seen in the past, today Bikaner is another prime tourist destination and is famous for its sweets and snacks. The place is known for its forts and food.
6. Lying in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, the holy City of Pushkar is often described as the king of pilgrimage sites in India. The town is located at the shores of the Pushkar Lake, which was created by the tears of Lord Shiva. The town is one of the oldest cities of India and the date of its origin is unknown and is often associated with the Hindu mythology. The town is famous for its temples and various Ghats which are frequented by hundreds of visitors during the annual bath. The water of the lake is considered sacred and thus is responsible for the town’s repute as a pilgrimage spot.
7. Sawai Madhopur was built by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh of The Kachwaha Rajputs and was founded in 1763. While the town itself doesn’t have any notable tourist attractions, just two attractions have made this city a must visit place in Rajasthan. They are the Ranthambore Fort and the Ranthambore National Park. Both of the two places are a must visit and will take up around 2-3 days for one to explore properly. The Ranthambore forests were the hunting grounds for the Kachwaha Rajputs of Jaipur till the time India received its independence. After independence it was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary and it rose to being a tiger reserve in 1973 and got its national park status in 1980.
8. The ancient city of Chittorgarh also known as Chittor, was said to have been founded by the Maurya Dynasty. However its significance rose when the Ruler of the Sisodiya Rajput Clan of Mewar captured the city in 734 A.D. and made it the capital of Mewar. The place is known to be the birthplace of many great warriors and historical figures like the Great Maharana Pratap and the Hindu saint, Meera Bai. The city being an ancient place contains many different palaces, temples and forts which display some of the most advanced architectural designs and artistic mastery.
9. The place takes pride of it being the only hill station in the desert state of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is situated in the Aravalli mountain range and is a part of the Sirohi District of Rajasthan. The place apart from being a retreat for the people of Rajasthan and Gujarat from the scorching sun but has a lot of historical and religious significance. Mount Abu was known as the Arbuda Mountain, which has been mentioned in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata and is known for to be the place where the Great Sage Vashishta retired. The hill station houses many ancient sites and temples which are frequented by many pilgrims from across India along with many forts and lakes.
10. The City of Alwar Founded by the Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Pratap Singh in 1770. The town’s name was Ulwar during those days and was changed to Alwar to bring it to the top in the alphabetically arranged list of the Princely states of Rajputana. The town is significant for its various military participations in various battles and was the first state of Rajputana to sign a treaty with the British East India Company. The city being one of the princely states of the Rajputana has tones of tourist attractions. The forts, temples and the immense abundance of natural Fauna has brought this place in this list. The Haunted Bhangarh Fort, The Karni Mata Temple, the Historic site of Pandupole, and the Sariska Tiger Reserve are just a few of the many attraction this city houses. Rajasthan, the land of kings and forts, with its rich cultural history will have a different flavor with every single place you visit. The aforementioned places unfold just a handful of the many secrets this ancient kingdom hides.
– Ankur Bagai