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Royal Rajasthan
Royal Rajasthan

The land of sand, Rajasthan is the largest state of India with an area of 342,239 km² and is located in the north-west region. Sharing its western border with Pakistan, the majority of the state is covered by the vast Desert of Thar. One of the oldest folded mountain range in the world - the Aravalis (1722 m) runs across the state from Mount Abu. Rippling sand dunes, grand palaces and majestic forts, traditional folk songs and dances, arts and crafts, wildlife and camel rides & elephant rides are the interesting elements of Rajasthan. Earlier known as “the land of warrior kings”, the state has a flourishing tourism industry today because of its historical monuments, colourful traditions and customs.

The region evolved with the Harappan civilization and was later inhabited by the Pre-Aryan people of the Push Karara Nanya (today's Pushkar). It witnessed the rule of the Magadha, Kushanas, Guptas, Mauryan, Pratiharas, Chauhans, Gahlots, Rajput, Mughals, Marathas and the British.

The state economy depends on agriculture. The locals are generally involved in such work as extraction of salt, copper, zinc, gypsum, lignite, mica and cultivation of pulses, groundnut, barley, gram, oilseeds, cotton and tobacco. Rajasthan is the major producer of marble, cement, caustic soda and sandstone. The plains along the banks of Banas & Chambal rivers, and Sutlej-Indus river valley are fertile and conducive for the growth of wheat, maize and sugarcane. The forest is inhabited by wildlife such as tigers, panthers, wild boar, blue bull and deer.

The Rajasthani language consists of five major dialects- Marwari, Dhundhari, Mewari, Mewati and Hadauti. Out of these five, the Marwari-speaking population comprises the biggest group. Marwari people are considered shrewd businessmen.

Rajasthan offers a continuous cycle of more than 40 colourful fairs and festivals throughout the year. Craft items, folk dances, music, drama and animal races are major attractions of these celebrations. Teej (mehendi festival), Elephant festival, Gangaur festival (in veneration of goddess Gauri), Pushkar fair, Sheetla Mata fair (in  honour of the goddess of small-pox), Urs (Death anniversary of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti), Brij festival and Adivasi fair (Tribal fair) are some of the fairs known worldwide. October to March is the best time to visit Rajasthan.

The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, temples of Bikaner and desert forts of Jaisalmer & Jodhpur are the most enchanting tourist places. Several old and neglected palaces now have been converted into heritage hotels.
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