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Rajasthan has long been synonymous with camels, sand dunes and colourfully dressed people. A lot of people are pleasantly surprised when they visit the state and find so much greenery the lush green hills and deep valley, the lake palaces and gardens. If you are wondering just where the desert lies, welcome to Marwar. This is your desert land. Come and see as much sand as you want, ride camels and be fascinated by the colourful costumes of the inhabitants. Jodhpur can be your starting point popularly called the sun city, Jodhpur gives the impression of being a rugged no nonsense city that has little time for the decorative and the pretty. Take a Look at Mehrangrah Fort.

One of the most impressive and formidable structure that looks down from a height of 125m. The solid walls with tiny openings appear so daunting that it is easy to imagine the dread with which the enemies must have viewed it. That is how the fort appears from the outside. but when you're inside its as if you've entered into a different world altogether. Magnificent palaces with marvelloulsy carved panels and latticed windows like the Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and the Daulat Khana. Spend a lot of time in the museum, one of the best in Rajasthan, and see the fabulous collection of Jodhpur royalty Palanquins, funiture, miniature paintings, musical insturments and
costumes.Barmer is famous for its carved wooden furniture and hand block printing industry. This area is best visited to gain an insight into the desert life and admire the decorative skills of the simple village folk. Undaunted by the harsh, unfriendly climate. The villagers have some of the most beautiful mud huts that are decorated with delicate folk motifs. The neat huts

Mehrangarh Fort

are a wonderufl backdrop for the colourtully dressed men and women.Try and visit Barmer when it is festival time, the Tilwara cattle fair is a good time to be here. Don't make the mistake of thinking that if you've visited one desert city you've seen them all. Desert cities are not all alike. A visit to Jaisalmer will make you realise just how different each desert city can be. No matter what you may have heard about this golden city, nothing can quite prepare you for the sheer magic and poetry of this brilliant city. infact, at what ever time of the day you look at the Sonar Kila or Golden fort it looks like a fairy tale creation.

Junagarh Fort

History recorded the fact that the Bhati Rajputs of Jaisalmer lived of the forced levis on the great caravans that crossed there area enroute to Delhi or central India.Caravans, laden with precious cargo of spices and silk brought wealth to this town. In the past getting to Jaislmer was not easy. Its remote


location kept it safe from external influences, very few invading armies had the courage to cross the harsh desert to attack Jaislmer. Even during the British Raj Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Agreement with the British.The remote citadel is today famous for its carved havelies, its narrow streets and its well preserved Jain temples. The small market located just outside the fort is the main hub of activity, you can pick up a large varity of local crafts here and explore the streets on foot.

In fact the streets do seem like a walker's dream no traffic no crowds and clean lanes. Just follow your instincts and you will have covered the entire town on foot. If you can pull yourself away from the charm of the carved havelies then the other place than you can see are Gadsisar lake, Ludarva, Aakal and the royal centophs at Bada Bagh. For a closer look at the sand dunes, get somebody to

Spicy Galore

take you for a Camel ride on the dunes and gear yourself up for an unforgetable experience of watching the sunset over the desert. This lonely area comes alive at the time of the desert festival every spring. Some more desert life awaits you at Bikaner. This city lies on the northern point of the triangle of the desert cities. A city that goes back over 500 years when it was founded by one of the Princes of Jodhpur clan. One rather interesting element about the history of these desert cities is that they are located on the major trade routes that connected Central Asia and North India with the Gujarat Ports.

This is true of Bikaner as well as like most of the other cities of the desert region, Bikaner has been able to keep its medival flavour alive. Water has been limited here so the customary water palaces and pleasure gardens are missing. The Ganga Golden Jubilee museum here has a vast collection of rare exhibits covering almost every period of Indian history. When in Bikaner don't miss the famous temple of Karni Mata at Deshnok, it is a beautiful temple where the humble rats are also venerated, Gajner for lovers of wildlife, and Kolayat, an ancient pilgrimage centre. Visitors will love the camel wool products of this region. Carpets, Durries, carved wooden furniture, stone carving and block printing are popular items to pick up from here. Other desert crafts like leather work, basket weaving and pottery are intresting.