The Thar Desert envelopes almost all of Rajasthan, the land of royalty and valour, in north-west India. This region is once believed to have been the cradle of civilisations, with the ancient cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa said to have flourished here over 5000 years ago. In more recent times, the many royal dynasties of the martial Rajputs have flourished and given the region some splendid architecture, with impregnable fortresses, delightful palaces and cities, each with its own individual flavour and character.
The city of Bikaner was established by Rao Bika, who belonged to the royal house of Jodhpur. The kings of Bikaner established a good relationship with the ruling dynasties of Delhi by entering into strategic alliances with them, and as a result gained significant wealth, power and titles, making it a town of significant importance. The ruling dynasty of Bikaner also promoted schemes of state welfare, building a large rail network across Rajasthan, opening schools and canals that enabled farming despite the town’s desert location. The Junagarh Fort and the several museums in Bikaner, including one with a collection of World War One airplanes are definitely the top attractions of the town and Cox & Kings recommends a stay of 2 nights here. Other attractions include the old havelis with beautiful carvings in the old section of the walled city.Read More
Located along the Jaisalmer-Bikaner highway, near Phalodi lies Khichan. Khichan is famous for the large number of migratory birds that arrive here every year just after the Indian monsoon, including the demoiselle crane, all the way from Mongolia and Eurasia, making the town suddenly come alive, a sharp contrast to its normally somnolent character. Easily reachable from Jodhpur, Khichan is the result of extensive efforts in conservation made by groups of people with little or no help from any external resources or agencies. Originally only few birds migrated here but the villagers created feeding grounds for them, thus providing them sustenance as well as protection, and keeping their own farmlands safe from the flocks flying in.Read More
The city of Nagaur started life as a mud fort in the fourth century. Strategically located between the cities of Bikaner and Jodhpur, Nagaur was of significant importance to the dynasties of Delhi and the Ahhichatragarh Fort was a bulwark in the defence of the region against marauding Arab armies. A silent sentinel to the vicissitudes of time, the fort has now been converted into a palace hotel. Other attractions at Nagaur are the glass Jain Temples Saiji ka Tanka, the burial spot of Shri Saiji Maharaj, a renowned Sufi saint, and the Tarkeen Dargah, another Sufi shrine. Each year in February the town also holds the second largest camel fair of Rajasthan, and the Nagaur Sufi Music Festival, also held in February is becoming immensely popular.Read More
The Blue City, Jodhpur, is strategically located on what was once the Silk Road, and gained immense wealth and power in historical times as trade and traffic flourished. The main attraction of the town is the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort with its complex of exquisite palaces in red sandstone, and the blue painted homes of Brahmins that give this town its name, the Blue City. The clock tower in the city is the hub of all commercial activity, with shops all around and the hustle bustle of colourful bazaars where one can buy traditional Rajasthani attire, footwear and even swords!Read More
Founded in the 12th century, the desert city of Jaisalmer on the western edge of Rajasthan has as its most predominating feature, the exquisite Golden Fort. Still occupied by many of the town’s inhabitants, a walk through this stunning fortress brings to life the many aspects of life in a typical Rajasthan town. Even today there is a medieval feel to the city, with its narrow streets, high golden walls and its exceptional buildings. Camel safaris lead out from the fort, taking visitors to the millet fields and tribal villages that lie around the city and to the shifting sand dunes.Read More
Enjoy a private champagne tour of the Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur at sunset. Karni Singh Jasol, the curator of Mehrangarh Museum will take you through this incredible fortress with its ornamented palaces, latticed windows and exquisite carved panels. Walk through the Mehrangarh Museum, which boasts a stunning collection of Mughal art and stride along the ramparts of this citadel with magnificent views of the Blue City.Read More
Located out in the open desert, away from the tourist trail, lie the villages of Osian, Khimsar and Manvar, between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. With their own sand dunes, these places are perfect locations to enjoy a desert camp of solitude and quiet. Simply furnished mobile tents are ideal for spending a romantic overnight stay, and enjoying a desert sunrise or sunset. Camel safaris take guests out from the camp to local villages to meet the tribes of the region. The tranquil locations and impeccable service are more than adequate recompense for the lack of creature comforts.Read More