Rajasthan is the best-selling state of India when it comes to inbound tourist market. A dyed-in-the-wool tourist destination in the world, Rajasthan, offers not only the myriad attractions and luxurious most amenities but also a hospitality which comes naturally to this land of royal and rustic heritage.
People and Hospitality: Warm People and Hospitality is a usual Indian phenomenon [read Conde Nast Ratings of Indian Hospitality] but what makes Rajasthan's warmth unmatched is its consistency complemented by an above average amount of destination knowledge - at and across every element and level of a tour, from consultation till departure. Here, a tourist can expect his/her driver to be skilled not only behind the wheels but also well versed in the great Rajasthani heritage of art, crafts, architecture, folks, cuisines et al. Drivers, the men who make or break the experience, have, thankfully, been making the moods and memories sweet for Ashoka Holidays’ guests from around the world in the last 15 years of tailor-making of tours across India. Simply put, Babu, Chain, Gopi and Hanuman are Ashoka Holidays’ drivers’ names that lay peppered across our guests-testimonials for good reasons.A first timer coming to Rajasthan for only its deserts and camel is certainly underestimating this largest Indian state in terms of size and perhaps the richest when it comes to a living culture and heritage. Rajasthan’s range and diversity of touristic attractions is stuffed in and around its interesting Geography dominated by the Great Indian Thar Desert and the Aravali range.
Very much like its huge platter, the Rajasthani Thali, brimming with delicacies overwhelms even a renowned foodie. One needs an unending appetite to explore Rajasthan fully. Its inclusion in the Taste Of India, A Gourmet Tour In India isn't any surprise then.
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Rajasthan, objectively put, offers:
• Fairs and Festivals [read fairs and fests of Rajasthan]: Out of the 9 festivals that ashokaholidays have on their website to sell 5 are from Rajasthan. This gives a good idea of the attraction most wanted the world over. Out of the many fairs and festival the few well-known are Pushkar Camel fair, Jaisalmer Desert festival, Bikaner Camel Festival, Elephant Festival.
• Wildlife Heritage – Rajasthan is not all desert. World’s most popular Tiger territory, the Ranthambore National park, is a major tourist draw here; the wetland of Bharatpur or Keoladeo Ghana National park is a bird’s paradise and rightly recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
• Architecture: The loose sand of Rajasthan, interestingly, is the place from where rises the Indian sub-continent’s many a rugged time-tested awe-inspiring forts and palaces. Ahead of the forts, dominating the skyscapes, there are Havelis with frescoes, heavenly Palaces and god-carved Temples. Watch out for the forts of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Chittorgarh and Kumbhalgarh; Palaces of Jaipur and Udaipur; Havelis of Shekhawati and Jaisalmer; Temples at Ranakpur, Mount Abu (Dilwara) and Osiyan
• Multi-cuisine kitchen: An overwhelming array of cuisine with pure ghee overflowing and served with warmth that you’ll end up ‘overfed’. Dal bati, misi roti etc are frequents. For non-veg taste buds there are yummy Sulas (chicken, pheasant, mutton, or fish) as the drooling tongues of many a eaters say whom this pure-veg writer accompanied till various eateries. [also read Gourmet Tour in India]
• Folk Music, Songs, Dances and Folklores: No dance festival in India is complete without a presentation from Rajasthan. The folk artistes set free can rock anyone! A visit to any festival or fair of Rajasthan can get one a glimpse of whirling kalbeliya dance (snake dance), ghoomar, chari, gair dance etc.
• Colorful Arts and crafts: You’re at the best place and article if you were looking for world famous gems and jewelries and enameling (minakari) and lapidary (kundankari) technique; Miniature Rajasthani Paintings; Tie-and Dye (bandhani); leather work; blue pottery; stone and sculpture work and so on. The list is endless. Shoppers know it. Jaipur, the State Capital, see a lot of tourists only on a shopping spree with a wish to buy whole of Rajasthan.
There is more than one way to see a thing. So is the case with Rajasthan. Explore Rajasthan with any or all of these amazing experiences:
• Overland Safari: Rajasthan can boasts of the best road connectivity in any touristic state in India. It is an average 5-6 hrs of drives from one destination to the next. And the experience gets amazing when one cuts across the rural Rajasthan alongside its highways. See the sandscapes en route Jaisalmer to Bikaner or Jaisalmer to Jodhpur. Village life gets more pronounced from Bikaner to Mandawa and it gets refreshingly green around kumbhalgarh-Udaipur-Ranakpur circuit. And with a hospitable driver at your service the overland drives of Rajasthan are a smooth sailing. Only hiccups come with numerous photo opportunities, herd of sheep or cattle crossing the road and curious village kids waving hi and bye!
• Luxury Trains [read india-luxury-trains]: out of six luxurious most trains of India two crisscrosses the vast desolate and lively expanse of Rajasthan. One is Palace-On-Wheels which is India’s oldest luxury train and rated amongst top five luxury trains of the world and the second one is Royal Rajasthan On Wheels which is the latest in the fleet added during January 2009
• Desert Safari: Experiencing desert on a camel expedition in a moonlit night is an experience of a lifetime. You need no more words on this. Come join the caravan at Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer!
• Ballooning and Zipping: Bored of overland exploration. Try going foot-free. First option, go aloft in a hot-air-balloon and have a bird’s eye view of Jaipur, Neemrana, Pushkar, Udaipur and Ranthambore. Second option is much more thrilling. Go zipping turtle between battlements, hill forts and ridge tops located at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and Neemrana Fort Palace near Delhi.
Jaipur, the capital of the Land of Maharajahs, Rajasthan, forms the venue for Knotty Indian Affair, a Wedding Tour in India.
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