Rajasthan is a northern Indian state bordering Pakistan. Its palaces and forts are reminders of the many kingdoms that historically vied for the region. In its capital, Jaipur (the “Pink City”), are the 18th-century City Palace and Hawa Mahal, a former cloister for royal women, fronted by a 5-story pink-sandstone screen. Amer Fort, atop a nearby hill, was built by a Rajput prince in the early 1600s. A colorful melange of stunning palaces, massive forts, delectable cuisines, diverse cultures and warm people, Rajasthan can be proudly termed as ‘India’s glory.’ Whether wanderers interested in adventures or a quiet sojourn, Rajasthan is a travelers’ destination. Besides the miscellany of the old and the new, Rajasthan has many aspects worth knowing.
1. The Land of Kings
The word ‘Rajasthan,’ when divided into half, the literal meaning comes as Land of Kings (Raj – Kings, Sthan – Place/Land). The Land of Kings is synonymous with royalty, heroism, and honor.
2. The Largest State in India
Rajasthan is a state in northern India. The state covers an area of 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population.
3. Different Coloured Cities
Jaipur – the Pink City , Jodhpur – the Blue City , Bikaner – the Red City or Walled City , Udaipur – the Lake city or City of Lake , Jaisalmer – the Golden City , Bundi – Also Know as Blue City
4. India’s Oldest Mountain Range
The Aravalli Range is a range of mountains running approximately 692 km (430 mi) in a southwest direction, starting in North India from Delhi and passing through southern Haryana through to Western India across the states of Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat. Aravalli, a composite Sanskrit word from “ara” and “vali”, literally means the “line of peaks”.
5. World’s Earliest Ploughing Field
Kalibangan’s excavation report was published in its entirety in 2003 by the Archaeological Survey of India, 34 years after the completion of excavations. The report concluded that Kalibangan was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibangan is distinguished by its unique fire altars and “world’s earliest attested ploughed field”.
6. The Only Hill Station
Mount Abu is a popular and only hill station in the Aravalli Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan state in western India, near the border with Gujarat. The mountain forms a distinct rocky plateau 22 km long by 9 km wide. The highest peak on the mountain is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 m (5,650 ft) above sea level. It is referred to as ‘an oasis in the desert’ as its heights are home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests.
7. World’s Most Beautiful Jain Pilgrimage Site
The Dilwara Temples are located about 2½ kilometres from Mount Abu, Rajasthan’s only hill station. These Jain temples were built by Vimal Shah and designed by Vastupala-Tejpal, Jain ministers of Dholka , between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are famous for their use of marble and intricate marble carvings. The five marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. Dilwara temples are believed to be the most beautiful example of architectural perfection. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars and panels is simply marvellous.
8. India’s Largest Districts
Besides Rajasthan being the largest state of India, Jaisalmer is known to be the third largest district of India with an area of 39313 Sq. Km. The other three districts namely, Bikaner (28466 Sq. Km), Barmer (28393 Sq. Km) and Jodhpur (22901 Sq. Km) are the fourth, fifth and sixth largest districts of India respectively.
9. India’s Largest Desert
The Thar Desert or the Great Indian Desert is India’s largest and world’s 18th largest desert. More than 60% of the desert lies in Rajasthan.
10. India’s Only Saline River
Luni (also known as Lonari, Lavanavari, Lavanavati, Salt river) is a river in Rajasthan. It originates in the Pushkar valley of the Aravalli Range, near Ajmer, passes through the southeastern portion of the Thar Desert, and ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, after travelling a distance of 495 km. It is first known as Sagarmati, then after passing Govindgarh, it meets its tributary Saraswati, which originates from Pushkar Lake, and from then on it gets its name Luni.
11. Temple of Rats
Karni Mata Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan, India. It is also known as the Temple of Rats. The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats that live, and are revered, in the temple. These holy rats are called kabbas, and many people travel great distances to pay their respects. The temple draws visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world.
12. The Great Wall of India
Kumbhalgarh fort (“Kumbhal fort”) is a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills, in the Rajsamand district near Udaipur of Rajasthan state in western India. It is a World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. With the walls of the fort extending over 38 km, it is claimed to be the second-longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China; the fort is among the largest wall complex in the world, and the second largest fort in India after Chittor Fort.
13. Town That Vanished in a Single Night
Located about 18 km from the city of Jaisalmer, a village named Kuldhara has an enigmatic story. It is believed that the town was abandoned by its villagers in the 1800s. It was like the entire town vanished in the course of a single night. Even to this date, no one knows where all of them went.
14. A Royal Journey
The best way to experience the royal land of Rajasthan is with the Palace on Wheels, which is one of the world’s most exciting rail journeys. In 2017, it was renamed as the Heritage Palace on Wheels.
15. Haunted Fort of Bhangarh
Bhangarh Fort is considered one of the most haunted places in India. Even the official administrative machinery doesn’t consider the place normal, and it has been prohibited to enter the fort from sunset to sunrise.