Rajasthan, the land of the maharajas
A trip to India cannot be complete without a visit, even a rather thorough one, of the wonderful state of Rajasthan. Characterized by majestic palaces, artificial lakes, gardens and houses with richly decorated walls, Rajasthan, or "Land of the Kings", was the land of the great Indian maharajas and its cities still bear the visible traces of this glorious past.
From Jaipur, its main center, dubbed "pink city" for the color of its architecture, to Jaisalmer, in the Thar desert, known as "golden city" for its yellow sandstone buildings. And then comes Jodhpur, the "blue city" because its houses are painted in this color, and Udaipur famous for its palaces and for Lake Pichola. If you are planning a trip to India, consider dedicating part of your itinerary to Rajasthan. We present you its most beautiful cities.
The most beautiful cities in Rajasthan
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan: here you can still admire the great buildings commissioned by the royal family who founded it and who governed the entire region. Nicknamed "pink city" because of the color of its architecture, it is composed of a network of streets dominated by the Palace of Jaipur, or Jaipur City Palace, still used as a royal residence. The main attraction of Jaipur is however the Palace of the Winds or Hawa Mahal, which resembles a giant and elaborate beehive, with its windows from which the court women watched the comings and goings in the street below without being seen.
The Jantar Mantar is instead an astronomical observatory dating back to the eighteenth century, while leaving the city you can visit Amer Fort, to be reached also on the back of an elephant.
Jaisalmer is the capital of the homonymous district and is known as "golden city" because of the color of its buildings, built in yellow sandstone. In Jaisalmer you can admire the haveli, ancient houses with richly decorated walls, Gadisar lake with its splendid monuments, which was once the city's water reserve, and the golden fort.
Udaipur, once the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, was founded by the Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559 and is characterized by a series of artificial lakes from which majestic palaces emerge. Among these, the most striking is the Lake Palace in white marble on an island in Lake Pichola, today a hotel. On the same lake there is also the City Palace, an architectural complex composed of 11 buildings with marvelous gardens and mosaics depicting peacocks.
Interesting is also the visit to Jagmandir palace, the former summer residence of the Maharna, and the Monsoon Palace, located on a hill, which offers breathtaking views of the whole region.
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan and is visited by tourists from all over the world for its large number of buildings. First of all, the Mehrangarh fort, which stands on a 130-meter-high cliff, but also the Jaswant Thada, a white marble building that celebrates nineteenth-century India rulers. Jodhpur has two nicknames: on the one hand, it is the "blue city", because of the color of its buildings painted with this shade, on the other hand it is also known as "Sun city", because it is said that the weather is always sunny, a condition also favored by its location in the Thar desert.
Bikaner and Mandawa: the haveli
Haveli is an Arabic term that initially indicated a private space and that over time has come to indicate the large and richly decorated traditional houses spread in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Regarding Rajasthan, where they are very widespread, between 1830 and 1930 the Marwari built many palaces inspired by the Mughal style in Shekhawati and Marwar, having them painted with very elegant and elaborate frescoes, so that they could act as status symbols for the most affluent and numerous families. The haveli were characterized by a large entrance gate, and two courtyards, one outside for men and one inside for women. Today, because of their frescoes and decorations, they have become tourist attractions, or even hotels.
The most beautiful can be found in the cities of Bikaner and Mandawa, but also within Jaisalmer fort. Once these were the homes of the wealthy merchants of the golden city and served to show off the wealth of the owners.
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