Rajasthan is a truly astonishing place, especially when it comes to history and architectural gems. Take Hawa Mahal for instance, Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, boasting an incredible salmon pink façade that towers a staggering five storeys tall. Constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it facilitated elegant ladies of the household as they watched processions of the city. Durbar Hall in Udaipur’s City Palace is another brilliant example of Rajasthan’s rich past; it is one of India’s most impressive reception halls, showcasing the country’s biggest chandeliers. Meanwhile, in Jodhpur, lies the magnificent Jaswant Thada, a beautiful white marble memorial for Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, built in 1899. It boasts quirky domes, striking carved-marble lattice screens and portraits of Rathore rulers dating back to the 13th century.
Rajasthan is home to some of the world’s most outstanding palaces, including the City Palace in Jaipur’s old city, made up of pretty courtyards, gardens and buildings. The palace’s outer walls were built by Jai Singh II but, as the palace has adapted over the centuries, the inside is an eclectic mix of styles, adding to its charm and character. Afterwards, be sure to discover the City Palace in Udaipur. With its facade overcome with balconies and towers, its grandiose stature looms over Lake Pichola. The City Palace’s construction began in 1599 by Maharana Udai Singh II (the city’s founder) and is the largest palace in Rajasthan.
Alongside its fascinating history and striking palaces, Rajasthan also boasts magnificent lakes and mountain scenery. A particular highlight is Lake Pichola in Udaipur, which reflects the marvellous mountains like a mirror on the water’s surface. Boat trips are regular and offer a brilliant vantage point over the city, perfect for budding photographers. Just one kilometre north of Pichola is the stunning Fateh Sagar, an artificial lake that was dammed in 1678 by Maharana Jai Singh, and reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh in 1888. This tranquil lake is encompassed by the picturesque Aravalli Hills and is a glorious place for a day trip.
Rajasthan, or the ‘Land of Kings’, boasts an extraordinarily rich history; its medieval society witnessed many battles and, to protect it against ravaging armies, built many forts throughout the region. Today, some of these forts still stand, offering a brilliant insight into Rajasthan’s fascinating past. Amber Fort in Jaipur is an extensive palace complex built from vibrant yellow and pink sandstone, complete with glorious marble features. Alternatively, visit Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, one of the most magnificent forts in India. Carved from the very rock it sits on, this alluring structure rises 120m above Jodhpur’s skyline.
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London Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai, with onward connecting flights to Goa, Cochin, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Kerala.
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