Formerly known as the Land of the Kings, Rajasthan is a beautiful example of India’s age-old opulence and grandeur, traces of which still linger in the air of this state. One of the most colourful and vibrant states in the country, with a heady blend of culture, history, music, cuisine and people welcoming you with smiling faces, falling in love with Rajasthan doesn’t take much time. Rajasthan has more history than the entire country put together – it is the realm of erstwhile Maharajas and their lavish palaces and majestic forts. Rajasthan is steeped in a past filled to the brim with honour, chivalry and heroism. Golden-sand deserts, traditional handicrafts, an authentic cuisine and awe-inspiring palaces all contribute to making Rajasthan an ideal vacation spot.
Rajasthan abounds in forts which offer sweeping views of the panoramic landscape, and the two most important forts in Rajasthan are the Amber Fort in Jaipur and the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. The Amber Fort, also commonly known as the Amer Fort is a picture-perfect amalgamation of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The ancient stronghold of the Kacchawa Clan, the Amber Fort is a spectacular creation built out of white marble and red sandstone. The Maota Lake surrounding the fort offers crystal clear reflections of the entire fort and adds to the charm of this age-old monument. Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India, and towers above the entire city. Situated atop a steep cliff, the fort is still in pretty good shape and houses a museum which displays various artefacts and objects belonging to the ancient royal family. Another famous Rajasthani fort is the Jaisalmer Fort, commonly known as Sonar Quila. Entirely made out of sandstone, the fort literally gleams from a distance, lending it its name of Sonar Quila (meaning Golden Fort).
Rajasthan also has a significant number of palaces that are of historical significance, the famous ones being the Umaid Bhawan Palace and the Jaipur City Palace. Both of these palaces dating back to the royal times, and you can actually see the furniture and other objects used by the royal families on view in these palaces.
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.