Rajasthan is the land of golden deserts, impregnable forts, beautiful palaces, and an exuberant, colorful culture that has given rise to festivals like Teej and fairs like the Pushkar Fair. The ordinary Rajasthani is brave and valorous, a descendant of the brave Rajput warriors and valiant ladies who would rather burn in a Johar pyre than be captured by the enemy.
Rajasthan lies in western India, and shares an international border with Pakistan. The Thar Desert spreads over 68% of the state, earning Rajasthan the title of the Desert State. The inhospitable Thar however, has inspired many folk songs and poems through its rugged beauty and the tales of love, honor and tragedies that have been enacted on the shifting dunes.
The massive forts of Rajasthan, towering over the desert, are a must visit. They seem protect the opulent palaces inside them with the same quiet invincibility as they did centuries back, when the Rajput chieftains were constantly at war with each other or the Mughals. The forts of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Chittor (Chittaur) and Alwar are built on rocky outcrops that give them a bird's eye view over the surrounding rugged terrain. The Udaipur Fort, on the other hand, stands beside the beautiful Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace stands on an island of the lake, and is a popular spot for nature lovers and honeymooners.
The wildlife in Rajasthan includes tigers, leopards, wild boar, marsh crocodiles and many varieties of deer, including sambar, chital and black bucks. The Ranthambore National Park, brought under the Project Tiger Scheme in the early1970s, has around 30 tigers and many kinds of deer, boar and indigenous as well as migratory birds. The best place for bird watchers, however, is the Koladeo Ghana National Park, popularly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Its marshy terrain is home to many species of indigenous birds and a temporary winter home for many migratory birds like demoiselle cranes, pelicans, falcons and Siberian cranes.
The Rajasthani culture is exuberant, with many fairs, festivals and celebrations of births, and marriages throughout the year. The Pushkar Fair attracts participation from thousands of cattle traders and farmers from the region. The Desert Festival of Jaisalmer celebrates the life of the desert nomads of Rajasthan through songs and dances.