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The pink city of Jaipur is one of the most interesting cities in India with exuberant 18th and 19th century palaces and an exotic street life. Within the walls of the Old City life continues much as it has for the last few hundred years and you can watch craftsmen such as carpet weavers and silversmiths continuing the traditions of their ancestors.
Most towns and cities in Rajasthan grew around strategic forts. Jodhpur is dominated by the massive Meherangarh Fort and Jaisalmer by its golden sandstone fortress. Aside from their impressive stalwart ramparts, the forts of Bundi and Kota also feature palaces covered with delicate miniature frescoes.
Other cities such as Bikaner, Mandawa and Nawalgarh developed because of their important location on the camel trade from central Asia to the east. Nowadays the camel caravans have stopped but you can still ride camels on the golden sands of Osian where you will sleep in luxury tents under clear, starlit skies.
There are impressive forts and castles in Bambora, Neemrana, Roopangarh, opulent palaces in Deogarh, Dungarpur and Samode, and beautiful old mansions such as in Shahpura. Nowadays many of these stunning examples of the royal past of India have been converted into beautiful heritage hotels.
The abstemious Jain religion flourished in the arid deserts of Rajasthan and its wealthy followers gave away many of their riches for the construction of glorious temples in white marble in Ranakpur, Mount Abu, and Delwara.
Water bodies are considered sacred in most parts of India but in the porous sands of Rajasthan they take on a special significance as in the case of the desert oasis of Pushkar and the romantic lake city of Udaipur.
Once one of the most popular places for a shikaar (hunt) during the British Raj, Rajasthan's parks and sanctuaries now attract a large number of wildlife enthusiasts. Sawai Madhopur's Ranthambore National Park promises high chances of seeing a tiger. The fine bird sanctuary in Bharatpur holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other good places to stay for bird watcher's are Gajner Palace (near Bikaner) and Chhatra Sagar (near Nimaj).
The vast majority of people in Rajasthan still live in rural areas. It is therefore a rewarding experience to stay in a village as it offers the perfect opportunity to experience rural life, interact with local communities, learn about the arts, crafts, culture and heritage of Rajasthan.
The accommodation in these villages can be in the form of converted mansions and hunting lodges as in the case of Bhenswara, Bijaipur, Chandelao, Jojawar, Khempur, Narlai and Rohet, or beautifully renovated forts such as at Barli, Khejarla, Pachewar and Luni. Each place has its own unique attractions, history, and village economy.