Rajasthan is a state in Western India. It is the largest state by area sharing an international border with Pakistan. The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur. Geographicaly the region comprises the Thar Desert also known as the Great Indian Desert and Aravalli Ranges. Rajasthan has only one hill station Mount Abu.
Rajasthan is renowned for its historical forts (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bundi, Bikaner), magnificent palaces (Jaipur, Udaipur), intricately carved Jain and Hindu temples (Ranakpur, Jaisalmer), decorated havelis (traditional ornately decorated residences), desert dunes, gardens, lakes (Ajmer, Pushkar, Udaipur), vibrant culture, National Parks and Tiger Reserves (Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve). The state is home to colorful cities including the Pink City (Jaipur), Blue City (Jodhpur), Golden City (Jaisalmer) and White City (Udaipur). Rajasthan ranks among the most popular destinations in India.
Major tourist sites in the state include: City Palace (Jaipur), Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds (Jaipur), City Palace (Udaipur), Lake Palace (Udaipur), Rathambhore National Park, Jaisalmer Fort, Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur), Amber Fort (Jaipur), etc.
Rajasthan is the region of Rajputs (the warrior clan) eligibly originating from the sun, moon and fire. Rajput kingdoms have left rich architectural, cultural heritage and traditions that reflect their rule for more than 1000 years.
There are three UNESCO World Heritage sites in the state: the Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amber Fort, Jaisalmer Fort), monument of 19 architectural astronomical instruments the Jantar Mantar (Jaipur) and Keoladeo National Park.
Rajasthan is known for its traditional colourful art, folk music and dances. The Ghoomar and Kalbeliya dance forms, the Kathputli (string puppet theatre), folk songs and ballads relating heroic deeds and love stories are the vital part of Rajasthani culture.
Traditional handicrafts of the region include miniature paintings, blue-glazed pottery, colourful papier-mache puppets, silver jewellery, jootis (traditional shoes), carpets, block prints, tie and dye prints, Zari embroidery (using gold or silver thread), wooden furniture, camel leather bags and the special type of embroidery using small pieces of mirrored glass onto fabric in the form of wall hangings, cushion covers, bags, etc.
Rajasthani cuisine is well known for its spicy curries and sweets. The dishes in Rajasthan are quite often prepared in milk, ghee, and buttermilk. Different from other places in Rajasthan sweat-meets are served before the main dish, therefore it is not called a dessert. The specialties include: Dal Batti Churma (lentil curry with a roundel of stuffed flour and a sweet dish made of sugar and ghee), Mirchi Bada (spicy snack consisting of chilli and potato stuffing), Besan Ki Chakki (a traditional Rajasthani sweet made of gram flour), Gatta (gram-flour dumplings cooked in a yoghurt sauce), Mawa Kachori (a pastry filled with sweet dried fruits), Ghewar (deep-fried sweet dish), Makhania Lasi (saffron flavoured yogurt drink), Moong Dal ka Halwa (sweet dish of lentils sweetened with milk and sugar), etc.
The region celebrates many festivals. It is internationally known for Rajasthan's desert festival held once a year during winter with fairs, snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers, dressed in brilliantly hued costumes. Other popular festivals in the state include: Elephant Festival (March); Gangaur – a religious state wide festival honouring Shiva and Parvati’s love (March/April); Mewar Festival – a religious festival similar to Gangaur celebrated in Udaipur (March/April); Teej - a festival celebrating Shiva and Parvati’s marriage (August); Dussehra Mela – a festival celebrating Rama’s victory over demon king Ravana (October); Marwar Festival – dance and music festival (October); Pushkar Camel Fair (October/November).
The official language of the state is Rajasthani, Hindi is also widely spoken. Jainism, Hinduism, Islam are dominant religions.
Rajasthan state experiences hot and dry climate. The average temperature in summers (April to June) is around 32° C (89.6° F) to 45° C (113° F) and in winters (December to March) 10° C (50° F) to 27° C (80.6° F). The monsoon season is from July to September. From October to November is the post monsoon season with the average temperature ranging from 18° C (64.4° F) to 38° C (100.4° F).
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