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7 Reasons to Visit The Royal State of India: Rajasthan

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The beauty of Rajasthan is in the dunes, the energy in its vibrant folk songs, and the rich heritage in its forts and palaces. Some parts of Rajasthan seem lost in time, whereas certain areas capture the glitz and glamour of contemporary life to perfection.

There are many reasons to book the Rajasthan tour packages. The smooth sand dunes beneath the sparkling skies or wandering through the remains of a massive fort. Everything is unique in its own way. The joys of shopping for classic “jooti” or digging your mouth with “dal-baati” are as varied and intriguing as they seem. Here check out your reason to visit the Royal State of India, Rajasthan:

7Famous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks

Tiger sighting at Ramthambore

Rajasthan is home to wide variety of Indian species. The most famous sanctuary for wildlife worth visiting are Desert National Sanctuary in Jaisalmer and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. It allows visitors to enjoy walking safaris and horse riding. The National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota is very famous for Gharials. Also known as red crowned roof turtle.

If you are fond of national parks, then Ranthambore National Park should be your stop. It is an excellent spot to see wild tigers in their natural surroundings. Sariska National Park, Alwar, is another place worth visiting because of its large population of tigers. Discover wildlife in Rajasthan in the most authentic way.

6Fascinating Heritage Hotels

Scenes from Udaipur Lake Palace

Rajasthan has the most number of heritage hotels which provide you the chance to see the royal life in person and become familiar with the princely customs and traditions of this state. One of these historic hotels in the state is Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, which is often referred to as “Jewel of Jaipur.”

The sandstone is carved from golden yellow and adorned with luxury; The Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace located in Jodhpur provides a truly unforgettable experience. The only hotel that is unique and intriguing is the Lake Palace in Udaipur. Other famous heritage hotels include Fort Rajwada in Jaisalmer, Shiv Niwas Palace in Udaipur, and Khimsar Fort, Khimsar.

5Festivals and Dances

Cultural Activities at Pushkar Fair

The sheer number of fairs and festivals held in Rajasthan all through the year makes it one of the most renowned state for the culture of India. These celebrations of merrymaking are highlighted by lively dance and music performances. Turban-tying contests and races for camels, elephant polo, and other unique and exciting activities draw tourist crowds in huge numbers.

The most well-known dances from Rajasthan that have earned international recognition include the Ghoomar dance of Udaipur along with the Kalbeliya dance from Jaisalmer. The other famous cultural activities are Kathputli, Bhopa, Chang, Teratali, etc. The most popular fairs in the state are Marwar Festival, Pushkar Fair, Bikaner Camel Festival, Bundi Festival, and Mewar Fair.

4Desert Safari

Desert Safari Rides

An ideal place to experience the magic of desert safari is Jaisalmer, where you can also enjoy the annual Jaisalmer Desert Festival. Camping under the dazzling stars and calmness of desert when interrupted by the whispering breeze is an unforgettable experience! Another way to experience the vibrant and diverse Rajasthani folk culture is by participating in festivals like the Desert Festival, which is typically held from January to February each year.

3Vibrant Cities

Jaipur Pink City
Patrika Gate, Jaipur

Rajasthan is the most significant state in India as home to the most number of lively cities. Jaipur named as the “Pink City,” and the capital city of Rajasthan is well-known for its palaces and forts. Some of the famous ones are Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, etc.

Udaipur is also famous for its sparkling lakes, such as Lake Pichola, and wonders such as Taj Lake Palace, besides being a shopper’s paradise. Kota is known for its Jagmandir Palace, Kota Barrage as well as Chambal gardens in addition to its famous “Kota ki Kachori.” Then, Jaisalmer offers a rare opportunity to camp under the stars in nights accompanying the dunes of sand.

2Authentic Culture

Scrumptious Laal Maas

There is no doubt that Rajasthan is among the top states for culture in India. The residents are dressed in vibrant costumes known as “angarakha” and “Ghaghara.” The cuisine of the state include things such as buttermilk “khud khargosh” (rabbit meat), “dal baati churma,” “gatte ki sabzi,” “laal maas” and so on.

The primary occupation for the people from Rajasthan as well describes the culture of the state. The most commonly cultivated crops are wheat, bajra, pulses, etc. Not only this, Rajasthan also matches itself with the world. The modern side of the state, which is evident in the lavish malls, parks, and many more.

1Perfect Stop for Shopping

Shopping Streets of Rajasthan

The most desirable places to shop within India is Rajasthan. It is because shopping here is also about experiencing the historical aspect of the town. For handicrafts, ethnic handlooms, and artifacts, no place is more enchanting than Jaipur. The most popular locations include Johari Bazar and Bapu Bazar. Jodhpur is the ideal place to shop for things that range from antiques to jewellery. Clock Tower Market and Nai Sarak are two of the most popular alternatives.

Hathi Pol Bazar, famous for its Rajasthani miniature paintings. Bada Bazar in Udaipur displays an array of exotic goods. Another popular place to shop is Sadar Bazar in Pushkar, where you can find leatherware, puppets, textiles and many more.

Places become touristic for their reasons to visit and Rajasthan perfectly defines to be the same. So when are you planning your trip to the royal state of Rajasthan??

Happy Traveling!!

Rann Utsav – Cultural Fiesta of the White Salt Desert

Rann Utsav Cover Image

Behind the dry and arid region of the desert, stands a place with rich history of arts, culture and heritage. The eerie silence of the barren lands is enough to give you goosebumps, but add to beauty of the place. I never knew deserts can be beautiful until I visited the magnificent desert of Kutch. That’s the unique charm of the place, which makes you wonder about the miracles of nature. 

Rann Utsav Tent city front image

Rann of Kutch is around 50 km from Bhuj city, hence if you visit there you must experience stay at tent city in Rann Utsav. Been there, done that, here is an account of magical experience at Rann Utsav.

The Arrival

Image of People welcoming with music at Runn Utsav
A Musical Welcome

The tent city is located at Dhordo village, which is located around 50 km from Bhuj city. The pick-up facility is provided by the Rann Utsav team, arranging pick-ups from railway station and airport. After a good 1.5 hour ride, as you step down from the vehicle, you are welcomed on the sounds of the dhol accompanied by folk dance. The energy of the beats wears off your fatigue. Above all, it livens up the atmosphere.

Tent City Experience

After checking in the tent city, you are at your leisure to explore the place. Spread across an area of 5000 sq.meters, tent city houses 500 tents and cottages, 2 dining halls, a shopping area, some photo points and one activity area. But, the good part is the availability of golf carts to ferry you around the place. 

For the shopaholic souls, there’s a dedicated area to let out the inner shopping monster. There’s a plethora of items on sale, for instance, bandhni duppattas, hand-woven shawls, metal artefacts etc. You can also try your hand at various crafts like pottery and clay modelling at nominal charges and make your stay worth. The dining experience is one not to be missed. An excellent spread of Gujarati cuisine is on offer, not once or twice, but four times a day. Enough to leave you with foodgasm. 

Magical & Mystical White Rann

As the evening nears up, you grab your camera and head towards the mystical white rann to witness the beauty of the desert. A barren salt flat that extends over an area of 17000 sq. km and stretches across International Border to Pakistan. Once upon a time this area was a seashore. But owing to tectonic movements, a part of ocean dried up in the region leaving behind the huge flat salt plain. 

White Lands and Purple Skies
Lit under Moonlight

In an honest opinion, the place is worth all the hype. The white backdrop appears so beautiful that you just cannot take your eyes off them. And it becomes even more beautiful when the full moon shines at night. As long as your sight reach, everything is shining and sparkling under the beautifully lit moon. It is one experience you must have in your lifetime. It’s just like a fairy tale ending to an eventful day.

If the moonlit desert wasn’t enough to enthral you, a captivating sunrise definitely will complete the formalities. As you notice the changing shades of the skies from black to pink to orange to blue, from the horizon, emerges an orange ball with a Midas touch, turning everything to gold. 

Captivating Kalo Dungar

Still being hungover from the magnificent views of the white desert, after a sumptuous breakfast, you head towards Kalo Dungar. Standing at an elevation of 300 m above sea level, Kalo Dungar is the highest peak of Kutch and was used as a compass in olden days while travelling. 

Sunset at Kalo Dungar

It takes around one hour ride from Tent City to reach Kalo Dungar. The peak is situated around 500 m from the parking spot and you can either walk or enjoy the camel-back ride to the top. Once at the peak, you have a panoramic view of the desert and the back-waters of Khari River. On a clear day, you can even see Indo-Pak border through binoculars. 

There is an interesting legend associated with the place. Over 4 centuries ago, there lived a saint named Pachmai Peer on the hills. One day a pack of wild jackals appeared in his ashram and stood expectantly in front of him. Looking into their eyes, he realized that they were famished. All that he could offer them was a spartan meal of rice and dal. And offer he did, and the jackals went back with their tummies full. 

Jackal of Kalo Dungar

The ritual of feeding continued for months till one day when there was no food in the ashram.  Realizing that his guests will have to go back hungry, the Peer, in a gesture of unimaginable generosity, chopped off his hand and offered it to the jackals, saying ‘lo ang’, which meant ‘here, eat my hand’. The jackals, as on every other day, went back satiated. But from that day onwards, the inmates of the ashram have made sure that the jackals of Kalo Dungar are fed, not once but twice a day. And they haven’t missed it even once in the last 400 years.

Marvelous Mandvi

After witnessing the generosity of the saint, we return to base and have a lavish lunch at the Tent City. After an hour of leisure time, we set off for Mandvi Beach. If anyone asks me about my favourite beach destination of Gujarat, Mandvi beach wins hands down. 

The pristine blue waters of the sea are a treat to sore eyes. The huge windmills set at the shore add to the beauty of the shores. And the flocking sea-gulls become an icing on the cake. 

A couple of kilometre towards the north of the beach stands the magnanimous Vijay Vilas Palace. The central high dome on the pillars, the Bengal domes on the sides, the windows with coloured glass, carved stone ‘Jalis’, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisitely stone-carved elements, make the palace worth visiting.  

The palace is hosts a private beach and is home to the Royal Family of Kutch. A closer look and you can recognize the shooting spots from the movies Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan.  The topmost point offers an unobstructed view of the sun slowly setting into the Arabian Sea, ending a day full of events.

Cultural Events at Tent City

You return from Mandvi around and have a gourmet dinner ready for you, but the fun isn’t over yet. You move towards the activity area where you will get up close and personal with the colours and flavours of Gujarati folk performances. 

The stand-out performance of the night is the Siddi Dhamal. The Siddis are the descendants of the indigenous Bantu tribes of East Africa, who migrated to the subcontinent during the Colonial Era. Bringing the African touch of Zumba and Haka, Siddi Dhamal is one refreshing act performed on the beats of the Bongos. It is another experience that livens up your mood and incites the inner aboriginal in you.

As the music plays in long into the night, you enjoy every moment of it and reminisce the wonderful moments spent in the magical, mystical and beautiful desert of Kutch.  

Ziro Festival of Music- A heavenly abode for Music Lovers

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Your love for music can never be defined, if not visited Ziro Festival of Music. Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, being calm all through the year, boosts up by hosting an outdoor music festival every year. It is the whole new world of music in India. The most suitable event to fill up the thirst of your music. Thus, Ziro Festival of Music is the heavenly abode for Music Lovers.

Artists performing at Ziro Festival of Music

About Ziro Festival of Music

Founded in Arunachal Pradesh, it showcases the scenes of independent musicians in India. Bobby Hano and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty started celebrating music in Ziro Valley in 2012, which now turned out to be the greatest outdoor music festival in India. Spread over four days in the month of September-October, it is a delight to your musical soul. The festival is hosted by the Apatani tribal community residing there. It features the eminent musicians from all over the world with their wonders of creations of music. 

Gathering at the Festival

Formalities of Ziro Festival of Music

Ziro Music Festival has entry passes which are easily available on the site of the festival and other online booking sites. Also, you can directly buy them there en route but, only if you reach early enough.

Also, there are government entry permits required to visit Ziro Valley. These permits can be obtained from state offices in Delhi, Guwahati and Tezpur. Be prepared for all such stuff.

Campsites at Ziro Valley

About Ziro Valley

Ziro Valley is the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Arunachal Pradesh. A picturesque valley is not easy to reach. But all the efforts to Ziro Valley is a beauty in itself. There is no direct airport or railway station connecting to Ziro Valley. You need to take a road trip to Ziro Valley through the nearest railway station Naharlagun. Guwahati, nearest to Ziro, has easy air or train connections from all over the country. The journey to Ziro Valley is adventurous. It is a trip to remember for your lifetime. 

The options to stay in Ziro Valley during the festival are homestays or tents. You can also carry your own tents to the place. The stay options might get expensive during the festival.

Paddy fields of Ziro 

Apart from the booze of music, Ziro awaits for you with the local touch of experiences in its golden paddy fields. Guzzle up in music with the bamboo mug of rice beer and local delicacies of cuisine.

When you are filled with all the music, you might also look for other things to do here. Ziro is filled with numerous excitement to make it your best days. It is the perfect destination for the nature lovers. Trek to the Dong Village to take the most beautiful view of sunrise. It is the place to receive the first sun rays in India. Go for cycling trips in hilly regions. Learn fish farming with the locals. 

Stall at the Festival

When its the stargazing cold nights in Ziro with rains, its the warmth of music which holds you back. Live up the best moment at Ziro Valley with the Music Festival. Keep slaying in the musical breeze of Ziro Valley.

Also look for the places to visit for your exciting trips with your bachelor buddies.

Professional Travel Blogger and founder of The Ghumakkads. Bhawna Mohinani is graduate in Mass Communication & Postgraduate in Travel and Tourism Management.

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