Jaisalmer is a diadem of gold and sand set gracefully down in the arid wastes of the Thar desert. The beauty of this honey-coloured city is matched only by the luminous desert all around it, where camel caravans laden with precious goods once tramped across the dunes.

Gateway to the Thar Desert, the hamlet of Osian, 70 km from Jodhpur, takes us back in time to the days when camel trains trudged endlessly along silk road, loaded with precious items.

Gangaur is a colourful women’s festival that is mainly celebrated in Rajasthan. It starts in spring and lasts up to 16 days in some part of Rajasthan. It is the celebration of marital happiness. In Udaipur it coincides with the Merwar Festival.

Once a year, at Kartik Purnima, the full moon in the October-November lunar month, there are festivities in honour of the god Brahma. Thousands of pilgrims come to make offerings at the sacred lake in Pushkar and to pray at Jagatpita temple. This is also the occasion for one of the biggest livestock fairs in …

India has an unrivalled heritage influenced by a history that is several millennia old; the palaces are part of this cultural wealth. The palaces of Rajasthan (North West India), with their idyllic romantic setting, are the most famous; there are, however, several other ‘palatial treasures’ scattered here and there throughout the Indian continent … Here is my personal selection …

The story of Chittorgarh (or Chittor) fort is steeped in heroism and the pride of the Rajputs. It stands as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. This “city of strength and devotion” as it is sometimes called fits that description well : Chittor has known many battles but the echo of the poetess Meerabai’s songs …

Overlooked by its imposing fort (called “the magnificent”), the blue city makes the most of its heritage with a number of top rank cultural festivals. The stunning landscapes of the Thar desert all around and the busy streets of the colourful old town will bring you back to Jodhpur again and again.

Organised tours often bypass the Shekhawati region in northwest Rajasthan, yet in the 18th and 19th centuries it was one of Rajasthan’s richest regions. Wealthy Marwari merchants built huge mansions there, decorated inside and out with sumptuous frescoes in which Hindu mythology mingles with scenes from daily life. These masterpieces have earned the region a …

Rajasthan state is in northwest India, on the Pakistan border. This is the India of picture postcards, very popular with tourists and wonderfully colourful, from the pink of Jaipur to the blue of Jodhpur and the gold of Jaisalmer. Bounded by the Thar Desert in the northwest and crossed by the Aravalli hills, this “land of …

The city of the supreme god Brahma, spread out around its sacred lake, exudes the heady scent of spirituality that emanates from all leading pilgrimage centres. In October the peaceful town comes alive as pilgrims and camel drivers gather in their thousands for the Pushkar Fair.

Bikaner is a place apart. It is not yet touristy but it holds some wonderful surprises. The magnificent fort should make the one in Jodhpur green with envy and the old town is like an oriental tale that envelops you in a whirlwind of colours and fragrances.

Designed according to Vedic concepts, Jaipur, the buzzing capital of Rajasthan is one of the most visited cities in India. Well, the pink city knows how to charm the traveler: colourful festivals, majestic historic buildings and rich craftsmanship. From the “palace of winds” to the “water palace”, the pink city has no close rival except …

Baneshwar Fair is a huge folk fair held in Dungarpur district in Rajasthan. The 5-day event, which is sometimes called the “tribal Kumbh Mela”, takes place in January or February on a small delta where the Soma and Mahi rivers meet. It is primarily a religious festival, but it is also the annual get-together for …

 “I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” (A. St Exupéry,The little Prince). The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large, arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that …

The town of Nagaur, halfway between Jodhpur and Bikaner, is clustered around the Ahhichatragarh, a massive fortress that has seen many a battle in its time but is now devoted to culture.

Mount Abu is a the only hill station in Rajasthan tucked away in the Aravalli hills, near the border with Gujarat. It is a green oasis in the dusty desert landscape, with rivers, lakes, waterfalls, conifer forests and abundant wildlife. Not only is it blessed with lush landscapes, it also boasts numerous fascinating temples with age-old legends.

On the road between Udaipur and Jodhpur, tucked away in a magnificent valley in the Avaralli hills, there stands a gem of architectural virtuosity: the Jain temple of Ranakpur, one of the largest Jain temples in India.The building is so richly and densely decorated that the gaze pans in amazement across the omnipresent intricate carvings.

On the road to Jodhpur, 80km from Udaipur, an imposing construction stands on a hilltop 1100m above sea level. This is Kumbhalgarh fort, a World Heritage site. Its boundary wall, extending over 36km, is the second-longest continuous wall in the world after China’s Great Wall, and also the second largest fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh.

Bundi is one of those small Indian towns that have particular charm. It is an ancient city, dressed in blue like Jodhpur. Its many bazaars are an invitation to idle strolling and, like any town on a human scale, Bundi makes it easy to meet people. The royal palace stands majestically above the town, reminding us …

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