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Rajasthan: Places to Visit - I

Amber Fort, Rajasthan

Ajmer

Darga Sherif, Ajmer

Ajmer has been a great centre of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims. The city is a rich blend of Hindu and Islamic heritage. The sacred lake of Pushkar and the temple of Brahma have been a sacred place of pilgrimage, for Hindus. During the month of Kartik(Oct./Nov.),devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.

The great Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din-Chisti of Persia, was buried here, and his Dargah is revered by followers of Islam, as well as Hinduism. It was a key centre of Chauhan power, along with the twin capital of Delhi. However, with Prithviraj Chauhan's defeat at the hands of Sultan Mohammed Ghori (1193), Ajmer was rendered vulnerable to many an invasion and gory battles.

Ajmer is connected to Delhi, Agra, Ahmedabad, Abu, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur, by main highways. Regular train services connect Ajmer with important cities. The nearest airport is Jaipur(132km)

The Dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din-Chisti

The tomb of saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din-Chisti, popularly known as Dargah Sharief, is in the heart of the city. It is a pilgrimage and spiritual centre, where followers of every creed and faith, Muslims and non - Muslims visit and pay homage throughout the year.

Shah Jahan's Mosque

This mosque is the most beautiful of all the structures, in the Dargah precinct. It is made of white marble, delicately carved with trellis-work.

Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra

Beyond the Dargah, among narrow and crowded lanes, is a remarkable, early Islamic structure, the Adhai - din - ka - Jhonpra. Mohammed Ghori, with the remains of several neighbouring temples, hurriedly put together, a mosque within two and a half days (Adhai Din). Pillars, from at least thirty temples, must have gone into the making of this elegant monument, a superb example of Indo-Islamic architecture.

The Museum

Emperor Akbar's royal residence, now converted to a museum, houses an excellent collection of Mughal and Rajput armour and some fine sculpture.

Alwar

Located 150Km from Jaipur and 170Km From Delhi, Alwar is nested between clusters of small hills of the Aravalli range. Formerly known as Mewat, Alwar was an ancient Rajput state. The people of the state daringly fought against foreign invasions. In the 12th and 13th centuries, they formed a group and raided Delhi. But Sultan Bulban defeated them and brought Alwar under the rule of the Sultanate. In 1771 A.D. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput belonging to the clan of Jaipur's rulers, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own. Alwar has a rich natural heritage with beautiful lakes and picturesque valleys thickly wooded in parts.

Delhi (163km) is the nearest airport to Alwar. Alwar is connected to prominent locations in and around the state by rail. Express trains like Shatabdi express, Superfast express and Intercity express connects Alwar to Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Jodhpur and Ajmer. Alwar is connected to other parts of the state and Delhi with good roads.

The Fort (Bala Quila )

Bala Quila, Alwar

This formidable fort stands 304m above the city with its 6.6km ramparts. It is one of the few forts built before the rise of Mughals. Babar, the founder of Mughal Empire had spent a night at this fort and so did his great grand son Jahangir during his stay in exile. The place where he stayed is called Salim Mahal. Maharaja Pratap Singh finally annexed the fort in 1775 A.D. It is a forbidding structure with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry, along with 8 huge towers encompassing it. The fort, now houses a radio station and police permission is required for visiting the inside.

City Palace or Vinay Vilas Mahal

This 18th century city palace complex, blending the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture, sprawls below the fort. Government offices occupy most of the palace structures. The upper part is converted into a Government museum. The museum has a rare collection of ancient Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Sanskrit manuscripts. The exhibits include stunning weaponry, royal ivory slippers, 18th~19th century Mughal and Rajput painting and ancient musical instruments.

Siliserh (13 km)

It is an ideal picnic spot with enchanting landscape of wooded hills and beautiful chhatris on the embankment of the 10.5 sq. km placid lake. Maharaja Vinay Singh built this royal palace and hunting lodge, in 1845 AD, for his queen Shila. Now converted as the Hotel Lake Palace, it offers boating and sailing facilities.

Jai Samand Lake (6 km)

A beautiful artificial lake constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1910 A.D. is a popular spot for outing and picnics. During monsoons, sprawling greenery all around makes it a visual treat.

Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary

Sariska National Park

Located 35km from Alwar in the picturesque valley of the Aravalis, established in 1955, this 765.80 sq. km. thickly wooded reserve is a sanctuary under the Project Tiger. The wildlife includes tiger, nilgai, sambhar, cheetal, four horned antelope and wild boar.More....

Sariska Palace

Maharaja Jai Singh built this marvellous palace in the honour of the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to the sanctuary. Presently, it has been converted into a hotel Sariska Palace.

Bharatpur

Located 57km from Agra, Bharatpur is the eastern gateway to Rajasthan. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a strong hold oh Jats. The Jats withstood the Mughal attacks in more than one occasion and the British in 1805 and 1825. Bharatpur is popular for its world-renowned bird sanctuary.

The nearest airport is Agra 56km from Bharatpur. Regular rail services connect Bharatpur with several cities on Delhi-Mumbai trunk route, Jaipur and Agra. A network of bus services links Bharatprur with several cities within and outside the State.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park

Bharatpur National Park

57km from Agra, this bird sanctuary is situated on the Delhi-Jaipur Highway. Bharatpur is known as one of the finest water bird sanctuaries in the world. It is spread over 40sq.km of swampy and light wooded terrain. The major attraction is the migrating Siberian Cranes in the winter months. Accommodation is available at the forest lodge within the sanctuary or at several hotels and motels. More...



Lohagarh Fort

The massive iron structure was built in the early 18th century. The fort was conceived and designed by Maharaja Suraj Mal, the founder of Bharatpur. With its impregnable defences it withstood a number of British attacks. Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj are two imposing towers those were built by Maharaja Suraj Mal to commemorate his victories over the Mughals and British respectively. The coronation ceremony of the Jat rulers of Bharatpur was also held at the Jawahar Burj.

Government Museum

The fort has three palaces within its precincts - Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas. A rich collection of artefacts, exquisitely carved sculptures and ancient inscriptions are exhibited in the Government Museum located in the in the central part of the palace.

Deeg (32 km)

Once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it served as the second capital of the region. This interesting town is strewn with massive fortifications, stunningly beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces and a colourful bazaar.

Bikaner

A region coveted by several Rajput clans, Bikaner is known as the land of the finest riding camels. The royal walled city of Bikaner, the northern most point on the triangle of desert cities, was founded in 1488 AD., by Rao Bikaji, a descendant of Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur. It was, once, an important trade centre. The old city is surrounded by 7km long imposing walls and has five entrance gates. The fort and palace, made of reddish-pink sandstone, lie outside the city walls. Bikaner also has several Jain temples and monasteries outside the fort.

The nearest airport is Jodhpur (243 km). Bikaner is well connected with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur by rail. Regular bus services link Bikaner to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer and Kolayat.

Junagarh Fort

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner Raja Raj Singh built the fort between 1588 and 1593. The fort has a 96 metre -long wall with 37 bastions and two entrances. The Suraj Pol, or Sun Gate, is the main entrance to the fort. The distinctive feature of this fort and its palaces is the unparalleled quality of the stone carving. The Chandra Mahal or Moon Palace, the Phool Mahal or Flower Palace (both decorated with mirrors and carved panels) and the Karan Mahal, which was built to commemorate a grand victory over Aurangzeb are a must visit.

Lalgarh Palace

About 3 km north of the city centre, is the Lalgarh Palace or Red Fort, built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, the palace is an architectural masterpiece in red sandstone. It has exquisite latticework and filigree work.The Bikaner royal family still resides in part of the palace. The rest of the palace has been turned into a luxury hotel, and a museum called the Shri Sadul Museum. The museum houses an immense range of photographs The museum covers the entire first floor of the palace and houses well preserved old photographs and trophies of wildlife and an incredible collection of the former maharaja's personal possessions.

Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum

This is one of the best Rajasthan museums. The museum has a rich collection of terra-cotta ware, weapons, coins and miniature paintings of Bikaner school. The exhibits belong to Harappan civilization, Gupta and Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time.

Bhandeshwar Jain Temples

Beautiful 16th century Jain temples, dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar Parshvanathji. Other important shrines of Bikaner include the Lakshminathji, Ratan Biharji, Shiv Bari and Nagnechiji temple. The Bhaironji temple at Kodamesar, about 40 kms from Bikaner is another popular site.

Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke

This 600 year old temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a famous mystic of her times, believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. Legend has it, that she foretold the victory of Rao Bika. Here, rats are considered holy, and must be looked after.