The state of Rajasthan seems to be like something straight out of 'A Thousand and One Nights'. A land of princes, Rajasthan is a real gem filled with harmoniously colourful palaces, maharajahs, temples and villas. The blues of Jodhpur, the golden yellow and red-brown buildings of Jaisalmer, and the white of an impressive palace in Jalore together create the harmonious kaleidoscope of colours, scents and architecture that is Rajasthan.
Many different cultures have trodden over this sacred ground, mixing Eastern traditions from the time of the British colonies with the spiritual Hindu arts. The Rajputs, Muslims and Moguls have all contributed to turning Rajasthan into an open-air history lesson.
Rajasthan has a rich architectural heritage and artistic traditions that are a thousand years old, like mandana (painting on the ground) and thapa (wall paintings) created by the women of the villages during the great festivals celebrating Hindu myths. Folk music is a central element in the culture of this region, with the songs evoking epic tales, love stories and other more religious ones. Rajasthan is also known for its textiles and very colourful fabrics.
Rajasthan is full of some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. It displays influences of Rajput and Mogul architecture as well as traces from the aristocratic British Raj period. You absolutely must visit the World Heritage Sites here that bear testimony to the grandeur and majesty of India. The most important ones include the Taj Mahal, Kajuraho, the Amber Fortress and the Jain Temples of Mount Abu, but there are many more. Forts and palaces like the Red Fort of Delhi and the City Palace of Jaipur remain emblematic of the Rajput kings who built these very impressive monuments. India's cities all followed the custom of being surrounded by ramparts and a fort with a palace in the middle. Don't just look at these superb buildings from the outside, though, because inside they are full of stunning decors, paintings and sculptures that will make your mouth drop.
The sumptuous palaces are equally part and parcel of Rajasthan's lovely sceneries. The extravagant lifestyle of the Maharajahs compelled several palace owners of the area to convert part or all of their palaces into luxury hotels and museums. It is thus an opportunity for tourists to taste the true pageantry of the royal citadels.