Winter Experience in the Land of Maharajas

Rajasthan conjures up images of imposing fortresses, magnificent havelis, and flamboyant attires. Its glorious past is a colorful tapestry of valorous deeds and epic tales. Since times immemorial, people have flocked to Rajasthan to experience its regal charm, vibrant culture, and famed hospitality. Winters are the best time to visit this princely state and even though the nights get particularly chilly, you will find plenty of activities to engage in, despite the plummeting temperature.

The desert safari in Khuri, Jaisalmer, offers you the chance to traverse through the mighty Thar and witness its shape-shifting sand dunes. This camel back safari will take you to abandoned havelis, ancient temples, and crumbling ruins of once arrogant palaces. While travelling the desert might sound monotonous, your senses will be overwhelmed once you are exposed to the vibrant lifestyle of the locals. Also, the Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fully preserved fortified cities in the world and is a World Heritage site. Built in the 12th century, many a wars have been won and lost within its colossal yellow sandstone walls. The fortress is popularly known as Sonar Quila (Golden Fort) due to the distinctive color of the sandstone used to build it.

The Pushkar Mela, a five-day annual extravaganza held in the month of October/ November in Pushkar, Ajmer is the world’s largest livestock fair. In addition to the buying and selling of farm animals, a number of eccentric events, like puppet shows, matka phod, and longest moustache competition, are organized, making it one of India’s most highly rated travel experiences. A resident group of Manganiyar musicians play traditional music in the mornings, while a number of semi-nomadic communities entertain tourists through their time-honored song and dance routines during the evenings. Interestingly, the most famous Brahma temple in the world, the Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, is located in Pushkar. Even in an overtly religious country like India, few places can boast of a temple dedicated to Brahma.

Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, has plenty to offer to the visitors. It forms a part of the famed Golden Triangle tourist circuit and boasts of attractions like Hawa Mahal, Jaigarh Fort, and Jaipur Zoo. In fact, the Jantar Mantar observatory and the Amer Fort have been declared World Heritage sites. You can opt for an elephant ride at the Amer Fort and enter it in regal style. For those with a literary inclination, a visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival, held in the month of January is a must. Organized annually since 2006, it is the world’s largest free literary festival and has hosted luminaries like Hari Kunzru, William Dalrymple, Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, J.M. Coetzee, and Orhan Pamuk. Even Bollywood celebrities like Prasoon Joshi, Javed Akhtar, and Gulzar have graced the event with their enthusiastic participation.

Finally, if you are travelling to the land of kings, travel in style on the ‘Palace on Wheels’, the most luxurious tourist train in the subcontinent, where each saloon reflects the cultural ethos of the state and is equipped with modern-day amenities.

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