Rajasthan India - Holiday Guide to Rajasthan Tourism, Travel & Holidays
Often referred to as the Land of the Kings or Land of Princes, Rajasthan is a western Indian realm full of remnants of its rich past. Dispersed amongst its vast deserts and jungle land lies a population that reflects the diversity of the land. Although the Rajasthan state largely covers the Great Indian Desert, there are areas of lush jungle as well as the Aravalli range that adds variety to the landscape. It is also the largest area occupied by a state in the Republic of India covering over 10% of the landmass of the sub-continent, hence there it is no wonder that the states population is well over 50million. With a culture full of dance, music and art coupled with the states several historical monuments including forts and palaces, Rajasthan tourism is a very prosperous industry.
For over 1,000 years the Rajputs controlled the state before becoming subordinates of the mighty Mughal Empire. However when the Mughal Empire ceased in power, the Rajputs slowly claimed back their independence, that is until the British came. To maintain their independence, Rajasthan allied with the British, although not without constraints. Finally India gained its independence in 1947 freeing it from the manacles of British colonialism to become the New India. Since independence, Rajasthan has struggled to regain its previous outlook and consequently remains poor, far from the riches of its past, and is slowly clawing back with small increases in their low literacy and life expectancy each year.
Before the establishment of the Rajputs, the tribal people inhabited the region. The two main tribes of Rajasthan are the Bhils and the Minas, although there are several smaller tribal groups still living in the area. A national average of tribes in areas is around 8% whereas the percentage living in Rajasthan is up around 12%. Fortunately they get on well and have a peaceful relationship with the other communities who now call Rajasthan home.
Rajasthan incorporates a wide spectrum of culture with its enviable heritage, colourful festivals, remarkable folk music and intricate crafts. Festivals and fairs are an important part of life for Rajasthanis and light up the desert with every celebration. With so many celebrations, tourists on a Rajasthan holiday can gain an intriguing insight into the culture year-round. Similarly, folk dance and music also make up a large part of the Rajasthan tradition with compelling lyrics and vibrant dances. The intricate crafts found here are the result of a historical practice of embellishing palaces and courts with craft creations. Now, arts and crafts can be found in the many bazaars around the Rajasthan city, laden with hand block printing, gems, leather crafts and much more.
Rajasthani cuisine differs with each community having their own distinctive style. The cuisine is tailored to their environment as unlike most states that use rice as a staple food, rice is deemed a delicacy as it is not grown here. In its place are ingredients such as dried beans and mango seeds with flavours from mango powder, spices and red chillies. Although most of the population of Rajasthan are strictly vegetarians, versions of the exotic delicacy shikar (game meat) can be found, many cooking kebab creations. A popular vegetarian dish is khatta which is made with the mix of buttermilk, chickpea flour, mustard seeds and garlic. Marwari cuisine is also widely created; daal bati and churma are a few favourites.
So to experience this land full of adventure, from extreme to extreme, the desert to the jungle, camel trains to tigers, make sure you plan your Rajasthani trip for the winter months when you can enjoy the pleasant climate as summer can be unforgiving with temperatures topping 45 oC. Generally it is good to miss the monsoon season which lasts through July and August. Its capital Jaipur is a must on your Rajasthan tour though there are many areas in the state that are worth exploring so make sure you leave plenty of time to travel around.