Searching Divinity in the Desert Land of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, one of the picturesque and enigmatic destinations of India, is visited by thousands of tourists from within the country and beyond, each year. Sometimes referred to as the Land of Royals owing to it being ruled by Rajput rulers in the past, this place boasts of grand palaces, majestic forts, serene man-made lakes and bustling traditional markets. Another facet of it that draws hordes of international tourists is its vibrant festivals and fairs, such as Puskar Fair, Bikaner Camel Festival, Desert Festival, Gangaur Festival and Elephant Festival. Such is the celebrations during these events that each year, the number of people attending it increase manifold.

Divine Desert Land

This destination also finds its name in the list of places in India that boast of numerous religious sites. These holy shrines receive a huge influx of tourists and devotees all through the year. During important Hindu festivals, most temples in the region buzz with chants of the priests and people indulge in worshipping singing melodic hymns. The prominent sacred sites of this destination include temples of Lord Brahma, Goddess Karni Mata, Sri Ramdevji, Rishabhdevji, Lord Mahavir and Govind Devji. Temples that are famously known for their architecture include Dilwara Jain, Ossian and Birla Mandir. Another important holy site, which attracts devotees from far and near, is Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.

Dilwara Temples

Located in the only hill station of the state of Rajasthan – Mount Abu, these temples were constructed between 11th and 13th centuries. Devoted to Jain Thirthankars (saints), these shrines depict the mastery of Jain architecture. The carved decorations on pillars, doorways, ceilings and panels are mesmerising and so is the depiction of the life of Lord Krishna on the walls. A point to remember while visiting this shrine is that photography is strictly prohibited over here. The ideal time to visit this place is from February and June, and September to December

Govind Devji Temple

Built in the 18th century and dedicated to Lord Krishna, this shrine is situated in the Pink City of Jaipur. Located inside the famous City Palace, it has a delightful amalgamation of Indian and European architecture. The idol that lies in the main sanctum was brought from Vrindavan. The best time to come to this holy place is during the festivities of Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.

Birla Mandir

Constructed in the year 1988, Birla Mandir is devoted to Lord Laxmi Narayan. It is positioned at the foot of the Moti Doongri Fort and houses the idol of Lord Laxmi Narayana and his companion, Goddess Laxmi. The highlight of this temple is its inner halls and outer walls that display great images of revered deities from different religion. October to March is considered to be the ideal time to come to this place.

Brahma Temple

Dedicated to Lord Brahma, who is considered to be the creator of the universe in Hindu mythology, this holy site is situated in the sacred town of Pushkar. There are many beliefs and folklores about this temple that makes it one of the most important pilgrimages for Hindus in India. This 14th century, white marble structure lies beyond Anasagar Lake. The perfect time to visit this place is in the months of October-November, when the whole town can be seen involved in the Puskar Fair.

Karni Mata Temple

Situated in Bikaner, this shrine is devoted to Karni Mata, who is a manifestation of Goddess Durga. Constructed in the early part of the 20th century, it is made entirely of marble. Its architecture is simply splendid, featuring gold and silver domes, and an intricately-carved entrance gate. A unique aspect of this holy site is that in the premises, hundreds of rats can be seen that are respected by devotees. The winter months are the ideal time to visit this revered shrine.

 

Ajmer Sharif

Ajmer Sharif, also known as Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, is a holy pilgrimage for people who follow Islam. Dedicated to Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, who was a revered saint, this mosque receives devotees from across the globe every year. This structure is a fine example of the famous Mughal architecture. The best period to pay a visit to this place is from November to March, especially during the annual anniversary of the saint.

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6 Majestic Rajasthan Forts – UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Rajasthan has been the state of opulent princely states whose rulers have built majestic forts in order to ward off the attacks from the enemies. These forts have covered areas extending upto 20 kilometers in circumference and have been built in varied geographical typologies ranging from deserts to lakes, forests and hills. The influence of the Mughal and the Sultanate periods is clearly visible on the architecture of these fortresses. These forts are one of the many attractions for the tourists interested in undertaking the Rajasthan tours to witness their stately architecture and royal splendor. Here is a brief mention of these six UNESCO World Heritage forts of Rajasthan.

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort: This fort of Chittorgarh is a pride of Rajputs of Rajasthan. The number and variety of architectural remains found here give it a distinctive monumentality and scale, which remains unmatched by any other fort. It also has the distinction of being the largest fort in India. The legendary fort was beseized three times but the Rajput warriors never gave up and the women folk preferred performing ‘Jauhar’ (mass suicide) rather than being won over by the enemies. These three attacks were by Alauddin Khilji in 1303, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535 and Akbar in 1565. Vijay Stambh and Kirti Stambh are also tourist attractions of this fort.

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort: This is a fort which is remarkable for retaining its architectural coherence because it was built in a single phase by Rana Kumbha in 15th century.  You might find it interesting to note that the 36 kilometer long fortification wall of this fort is considered to be the second largest wall after the Great Wall of China. It is also famous for its Palace of Clouds, or Badal Mahal.

Ranthambore Fort

Ranthambore Fort

Ranthambore Fort: For the tourists, Ranthambore is famous for its wildlife and the Tiger Reserve. Ranthambore Fort is another destination which is the primary focus of the tourists. The Fort is unique in being a forest hill fort and in being home to the remains of Palace of Hammir.

Gagron Fort

Gagron Fort

Gagron Fort: There is no perfect example than that of the Gagron Fort which is a river protected fort. Besides seeking protection from the river, the Fort enjoys strategic location by being situated in the pass and, thereby, it controlled the trade routes during those times.

Amber Palace

Amber Palace

Amber Palace: Amber Palace was built during an important phase of the Mughal-Rajput synergy and this is clearly reflected in its court style of architecture of buildings and gardens. Raja jai Sigh I played an instrumental role in its development.

Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort: This is a classic example of developing a fort in hot desert regions where the sand dunes rule for vast expanses. Quite a few Jain temples and the still inhabited township within its precincts lend vibrancy and sacredness to this fort.

India holidays packages to this princely state are not complete without including one or more these majestic forts in their itineraries. These are examples of a tradition of fort planning, defensive architecture, valour, royal splendor, folklore and sacredness. These are symbols of resilience and Rajput pride that history has left for us to explore and admire.