Category Archives: Shekhawati

Let your soul surge high with Taalbelia- a Music Festival in Mandawa!

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The deep cultural roots of Rajasthan have traveled musically across the globe, transforming various traditions and cultures with its nomadic vibe.  Taalbelia- a unique musical festival has come up in the land of Shekhawati to let you experience this vibe and a rich confluence of music styles in a boutique environment. Check out the video-

 

In the heart of Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, lays a beautiful town Mandawa. Known for its magnificent forts and beautifully painted havelis, this quaint town provides travelers with a sense of discovery at every step. Taalbelia’ scheduled to be held from 26th to 29th January, 2017 translates to a 4-day round the clock residential musical festival. The boutique festival, with an intimate gathering will leave you feeling supercharged with an intellectual infusion of visual art, adventure, royal hospitality and the most amazing musical performances.

The festival will have two major sections to delight different tastes of the guests. There’ll be various workshops and gourmet fiesta for the connoisseurs!

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In the Pro Life work shop you can stand behind the console, jam with the DJs or play the ‘Morchang’ in the middle of line ups.

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Make the best of being among the royals, explore the royal stables and go horse riding. Or get set for an adrenalin rush as you go dirt biking and sand surfing. Taalbelia’s exquisite workshops have it all.

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The Gourmet Fiesta offers to experience the magical, toothsome flavors of Rajasthan and adjacent borders. In the royal kitchens of Rajasthan, food is a serious business and rose to the level of an art. The Shekhawati region has an array of fine culinary delights. Taalbelia will be home to food-lovers who wish to indulge in unique cuisines and authentic Shekhawati delicacies.

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4 Days. 3 Stages. More than 30 Artists!!

So charge yourself up to soak in the warm rays of the Sun, enjoy the sand beneath your feet and lose yourself at an enchanting destination on a cold winter day in January. Enjoy a magical journey where the music, art, culture and more is celebrated with fervor.

Explore, experience and enjoy this journey of Taalbelia in Rajasthan with the Castle Mandawa and Desert Resort Mandawa.

Tickets @ http://taalbelia.com/index/pages/accomodation

Images: https://www.facebook.com/taalbeliafestival

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Travel to Shekhawati- the Land of Conversing Frescoes and Beautiful Havelis.

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Be it the tempting ker-sangri, gatta, bajre ki roti or the conversing frescoes in once alive havelis, the realm of Shekhawati echos of the immensely rich and endless past. The sinking sun shedding a soft glow over the golden and spirited sand is simply mesmerizing.

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One sight enlivens the still but eventful legacy of Shekhawati and holds you spellbound. Such is the magic of this region. Shekhawati is a semi arid dream scape of dazzling fields, fluttering fabrics and open-air picture galleries. A short skip from Jaipur, the region is crisscrossed by narrow near-country roads that lead to half-forgotten villages and wholly hidden havelis. Each stop on the hop-along highways offers secret treasures (some slowly sinking in the sand) lacquered in rich and varied hues.

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Shekhawati is also the home to various small fortresses, minor castles, mosques, wells (baolis) and also a deer sanctuary. Ideally the region should be traversed on a Horse Safari or a Camel Safari to enjoy the semi desert formation and these well preserved painted Havelis. Being the northern most portion of Rajasthan it is common to find the locals as mostly Rajasthanis and Marwaris. The populace is genial and open and any visitor is welcomed with open arms and a small tablet of opium (Rajasthani tradition).

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There are many tourist spots within the region and stay at one of the Palace turned Hotels would be memorable. The palaces, most of them, have now been turned into luxury heritage hotels complete with all royal facilities and services.

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Even though Shekhawati region is easily accessible from Delhi and Jaipur, still this treasure seems to miss the eye of the domestic tourist.

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Explore the bygone era of Rajput rule in Shekhawati and soak in the dreamy and fantastic illustrations of Shekhawati merchants’ legends depicted on wall paintings. Also, witnesses the various cultural performances and participate in the myriad of festivals to experience the best of Shekhawati 🙂

 

Craft Trails in Rajasthan

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Craft Trails in Rajasthan

India’s largest state Rajasthan has an exceptionally rich heritage. The grand monuments are the testimony to that. The ancient art-forms have also been kept alive and thriving here. The state offers everything from little mementos to precious jewellery. We are taking you on a craft-trail through the lanes of Rajasthan today-

1.Blue Pottery

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The fragile Blue Pottery from Jaipur is popular world over. This art form is of Turkish origin and Mughals brought it to India. It has been kept alive in Rajasthan so the state has to take the credit. As the name suggests, the Blue Pottery items come in various shades of blue. You will also see brown and yellow colors in it.
Alwar and Bikaner also have their unique styles of pottery.

 

2.Leather Products

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The leather Jootis belong to all of Rajasthan but the ones from Jaipur and Jodhpur are more prominent. In Rajasthan the Jootis are made mostly with camel leather. The designs have changed as per the fashion trends so you get both traditional and modern styles.
Besides Jootis, bags, pouches, saddles and other leather products are also available in the state.

 

3.Block Printing/Tie and Dye

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There are so many distinct prints from different areas of the state. The classy block-printing is done in Jaipur, Bagru, Barmer and Pali. All the cities have their own unique way of making block prints.Tie and dye is also a very beautiful print seen on Rajasthani fabrics. Dots like print are called ‘chunri’ and leheriya is the print that has long waves printed on fabrics.
Mirror work, gota-patti, appliqué work and heavy embroideries are other popular styles from Rajasthan.

 

4.Terracotta

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The main centre for terracotta is Molela village near Udaipur. Terracotta products are made using the local clay in Molela and other regions. Terracotta plaques depicting ceremonial occasions are popular among art-aficionados. You can find sculptures, decorative items, tiles and even jewellery made of terracotta.

 

5.Woodcraft

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Sculptures, furniture and other wooden items from the state are sure to give a royal touch to any setting. The wood of Acacia plant is used in making these most of the times. There are two reasons for this- Acacia tree is found in plenty in Rajasthan and the finish of products made of this wood is much better and appealing. The intricately carved furniture from Kishangarh and Shekhawati-style of Jodhpur are especially famous.

 

6.Gems

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Rajasthan is one of the main centres for precious and semi-precious stones in India. Garnet, Ruby, Lapis, Emerald, Topaz, Agate, Amethyst and Carnelian are some of the stones that are found mainly in the state. The stones are used to make unmatched jewellery here and are exported too.

 

7.Jewellery

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The state is rich in so many art forms and jewellery is no exception. Thewa jewellery, kundan, Meenakari (enamel work) and silver jewellery from Rajasthan have made the state the hub of jewellery shopping.
Rajasthan is also well-known for its Lac bangles that come in every color you can imagine.

 

8.Stone Art

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Rajasthan is the land of pristine white marbles so it’s no wonder that the marble artwork of the state is quite famous. Perfectly carved marble statues from Jaipur need no introduction. Besides marble other stones are also used to make sculptures and other artifacts.

 

9.Puppets

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When you are in Rajasthan, you will frequently come across street-vendors selling beautiful puppets. These are made with cloth-stuffing. The head is made of wood usually. Faces are made with just paint. This makes these puppets cheap and must buy souvenirs.

 

10.Paintings

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Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Kishangarh are the most well-known for paintings. Murals, miniature paintings, portraits are some of the styles popular in the state. The paintings are made using precious stones, conch shells, precious metals, minerals and vegetable dyes. The paintings mostly depict scenes from Indian mythology.

 

11.Crafts of Metals

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Jodhpur, Jaipur and Alwar are the prominent centres for brass and silver work. Decorative pieces like vases and figures of animals &humans are mostly made using these metals.

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Top 10 Weekend Getaways From Jaipur

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  1. ALSISAR

The entire Shekhawati region has mesmerized millions of tourists and has been aptly dubbed as the ‘Open Art Gallery’ of Rajasthan. The region, which is approximately 200 kms from Jaipur is replete with palaces, minor castles, wells and also a deer sanctuary. As the region is said to be a mini desert, we advice to you travel on a horse or a camel to enjoy the semi desert feel and watch for the well preserved wall painted havelis.

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  1. BHANGARH

How about hiking on a blissful and adventurous break at Bhangarh and discovers the secrets of the Haunted Ruins of Rajasthan along with heritage sceneries?
Flanked among three Aravali Mountains, 52 km. away from Jaipur, Bhangarh is situated in Alwar district of Rajasthan and is known to be India’s most haunted place.
The remains of Bhangarh Fort are informative enough to take you on a mesmerizing journey, of the reminiscence from the past. Entry to the place is closed after sunset due to paranormal activities reported inside. It’s just not the place, but the route also gives whimsical experience.

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  1. BUNDI

With a majority of blue houses, Bundi, loacted 219.7 km away from Jaipur via NH 12, is surrounded by the Aravali Hills. Lazy and narrow lanes, Lakes, around 60 step wells (Baories), temples and mosque dominate the town. Not many knew this fact that Jodhpur- the blue city and Bundi have a strong affinity to the color blue. Get to the top of Bundi Fort to get a glimpse of the beautiful Blue City. A picturesque Nawal Sagar man made lake in the heart of the town, add more beauty to the place, especially during sunset when it soaks the reflection of the two-storied fortified complex ‘Garh Palace’. Garh Palace is host to ‘Chitrashala’ where the walls and ceilings are embellished with miniature paintings. Bundi miniature paintings depicted on the walls are still in its original form.

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  1. DEEG PALACE, BHARATPUR

Relatively less explored in Eastern Rajasthan, Deeg Water Palace is an awe-inspiring visual masterpiece, 192 km from Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Built in 1772, Deeg palace was a luxurious summer resort for the rulers of Bharatpur State. It is open 9 am to 5 pm except on Fridays.
Stay the night at Bharatpur, just 32 km away from here !

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  1. JODHPUR

Rambling between the mighty Mehrangarh fort and Umaid Bhawan, the sun kissed city of Jodhpur is situated 337 km away from Jaipur. Founded by Rao Jodha in 1459, Jodhpur is dotted with soaring forts and palaces shimmering in sandstone while the narrow lanes lead to an alluring world of antiques and handicrafts. The blue of houses renders an alluring “Blue City” especially to be seen at sunrise and sunset. The other places to visit include Sheesh Mahal, and Osiyan Temple that are some of the most imposing architectural works of ancient times and the Osiyan sand dunes will take you away from all the hustle bustle. Jodhpur Sweets, Gatta, Chakke ki sabzi and Mirchibada are not be missed !

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  1. MOUNT ABU

Mount Abu is the only hill station in the dry arid lands of Rajasthan, which can be reached through a 7 hour drive from the capital city of Jaipur. This hill station provides a great tourist destination owing to its picturesque land. Some of the main attractions of the city are Nakki Lake, Dilwara Temple, Mt. Abu Wildlife Sanctuary. Capture a perfect sunset from the Sunset Point in Mt. Abu J

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  1. NAWALGARH

Situated 115 km from Jaipur, Nawalgarh is better known as the ‘Open Air Art Gallery’. It is a small town where the vibrant streets depict the true blend of architecture smoothly fusing the Hindu, Mughal, Persian and British facets together. As you walk down this “Open Air Art Gallery” you will be amazed to see how the painted havelis and frescoes have captured the culture,customs and royal lifestyle of the Shekhawatis. The Roop Niwas Kothi , Murarka Haveli, Bhagton Ki Choti Haveli are some architectural gems which illustrate an impeccable mélange of Rajput and European architecture.

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  1. PUSHKAR

Situated 14 km (8.7 mi) northwest of Ajmer, Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India and is also one of the five pilgrimage sites for the Hindu. The town has hundreds of temples, including 14th-century Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, a temple dedicated to Lord Brahma- creator of the world. People from all over the world visit Pushkar especially for Pushkar Fair, the largest cattle fair of the country. Set on Pushkar Lake, Pushkar is a sacred Hindu site with 52 ghats (stone staircases) where pilgrims bathe. You can also drive to the Dargah in Ajmer !

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  1. RANTHAMBORE

Once a hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur and now a Project Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore National Park or Ranthambhore is one of the largest national parks in northern India, covering an area of 392 km². It is situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 160 km southeast of Jaipur. Ranthambore gives a unique flavor of nature, history and wildlife and houses a large number of Bengal tigers that can be easily observed hunting and taking care of their young ones during the jungle safari.

The destination pulls the attention of myriad wildlife lovers and photographers every year. The legendary Machli or T-16, is probably the oldest and world’s most photographed Tigress alive who also has a postal stamp on her.

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  1. SHAHPURA

65 kms. Away from Jaipur city, Shahpura, offers a life that is unhurried, a beautiful town of friendly people un-spoilt by the creepy fingers by modernity. The real charm lies in visiting its quaint village and experiencing a feel of authentic rural Rajasthan with all its charming eccentricity. Exquisite and discreet, the 300 years old impressive Shahpura Haveli is a tribute to the glorious past.

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Hidden Gems of Rajasthan

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Happy World Tourism Day

Happy World Tourism Day

With a populace of over a billion, and several hundred languages and dialects, India floods your senses with a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds- both historical and contemporary. Your journey will take you by sea, air, and land through metropolitan and rural areas of this picturesque country.  Today is the World Tourism Day and we are going to share with you some unearthed treasures of Rajasthan firsthand.

Marvel at the magnificent and ancient structures of Royal Rajasthan which would amaze you with their stupendous legend, heritage and architecture.

Bhangarh tops the list…

India, with its rich and long history, is full of mysteries. Perhaps none is as puzzling as what happened hundreds of years ago at a royal city in Rajasthan, now under excavation. At the edge of the Sariska forest, 47 kms from Alwar in Rajasthan lays the town of Bhangarh whose haunted status is attracting scores of tourists. Bhangarh is known for its ruins, and it’s interesting to note that entry to this “Ghost town” is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. That might be more legend than fact, but Bhangarh is still a charming ruin to visit. Even today, a walk to the palace through the remains of what once used to be a bustling town is a fragrant affair with the aroma of kevda wafting in from a nearby grove. Large banyan trees and several temples dot the landscape. The beautifully carved temples of Gopinath, Shiva (Someshwar), Mangla Devi, Keshava Rai, resplendent cenotaphs and dancers’ mansion have survived the passage of time and are a must-see for visitors.

These days, Bhangarh is run by the government of India as a tourist site, attracting a primarily domestic crowd. Many visitors have heard about the myth, but most come simply to explore the ruins, which are pretty interesting whether or not you believe in ghosts.

Shekhawati

Shekhawati came into light since last two decades only; earlier this beautiful place was not much in the very common touring routes of Rajasthan. Shekhawati is simply beautiful. Every street, house and wall has the stamp of an artist’s imagination in paint. Wherever you cast an eye, frescoes smile back. The plethora of these murals comes rather as a surprise in a land which is traditionally known as ‘warrior’s turf’ and also an ‘impoverished part of an arid region’. You just have to visit Shekhawati to believe what a riot color and imagination can create together, the Shekhawati which is Rajasthan’s very own Open Air Art Gallery.

Today Shekhawati is fully prepared to welcome the guests coming from any corner of world by providing all the comforts and facilities of modern world. The dedication of the Shekhawatis made the famous saying true i;e “Padharo Mhare Desh” means “Oh guest, you are welcome to my land”.

Kumbhalgarh

Nuzzled among the cluster of thirteen mountain peaks, in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh fort is recognized as an abode of massive fortification and the homeland of the great warrior and king of Mewar; Maharana Pratap. Fortified with 33 kms of walls, Kumbhalgarh fort holds the peculiarity of having the second longest incessant wall in the world, passing all tests of time. Recently Kumbhalgarh Fort has been honored with the UNESCO’s world Heritage Site title.

Every evening the fort stands soaring to share its regal past and recuperating the pride with thundering music and magnitude of colorful lights at the Light and Sound Show on stunning backdrop.

Chand Baori Stepwell

Chand Baori is one of the deepest and largest step wells in India. It was built by Raja Chandra of the Chauhan dynasty who ruled over Abhanagri during 8th-9th century AD.  Logically, it is man’s answer to the perennial water shortage in the area. What is astonishing is not man’s quest for water; rather, the high degree of precision and engineering skill displayed by the architect and the other workers in the general design and concept in an age when sophisticated machines and computers were unknown and unheard of. To top it off is the fact that this was not a showpiece but a utilitarian well used by the village folks for their daily needs and before proceeding to the nearby Harshshat Mata Temple.

The step well is square in shape with a strong wall enclosing the entire structure. It has over 3,500 symmetrically laid out steps on three sides of the structure which drop down 13 levels, to a depth of over 100 feet. There may be more steps below the water level. On the fourth side, the one you encounter the moment you enter the step well, there are pavilions built one on top of the other. These pavilions have carved out places housing beautiful sculptures and religious carvings of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga. The pillars holding up the pavilions are tall, slender and intricately carved. Strong railings enclosing the steps and the pavilion prevent you from descending to the pavilion or to the water level. The overall visual effect is that of an upturned pyramid.

We know that you must be already lost in your imaginations and head tripping these incredible hidden gems of Rajasthan.  Then wait no more and do something “Hatke” (off the beat) by planning an incredible visit to these fascinating unfathomed destinations of Rajasthan.

 

 

Rajasthan gets Third Tiger Reserve

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Royal Rajasthan, Roaring Rajasthan!

More of the big cats will be glorifying the timeless heritage of Rajasthan. Rajasthan will home a third tiger reserve in the Mukundra Hills, as notified by the Govt. of Rajasthan.

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Covering the four districts of Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar.Its reserve area will spread over 759 sq km. Nearly 417 sq km have been earmarked as the core tiger habitat, while 342.82 sq km has been notified as the buffer zone where human interference is prohibited.

The other two tiger reserves of Ranthambore and Sariska have a core area nearly thrice this size.

Mukundra Hills are also connected with the Ranthambore National Park, located in the state’s Sawai Madhopur district.

Moreover, the core area of the Mukundra reserve currently has six villages, two of which are uninhabited. Eventually all these villages will have to be relocated funded by the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority). The sanctuary currently has wolves, sloth bear, chinkaras and leopards!
Officials added that at a later stage, tigers will be relocated from Ranthambore reserve so as to provide optimum space for the majestic dwellings.

The objective was to link this to Ranthambore so as to let the tigers that stray from the park come and breed here. It was the next best forest after Ranthambore for rehabilitation of tigers.

 

 

Celebration of immortal love- Faag Utsav!!

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For the locale folks of the desert state, Rajasthan, the festival of Holi is a whimsical event which takes on an altogether special meaning and hue, colour and paint notwithstanding.

During the Hindu month of Phagun, Rajasthanis celebrate Holi by singing special songs called “Faag”, which celebrate the triumph of good over evil and the onset of spring.

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The tradition of celebrating faag season has its own significance in the rural society which lasts till holi. There are reportedly different types of faags, for instance Krishna faag, which is voiced as a verse to Lord Krishna’s romps during the festival of Holi.

Apparently faags are eminently celebrated all over the India, especially in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Mathura and Rajasthan according to their traditions.

In Jaipur, except Janmashtami, Holi is celebrated grandly in Govind Dev ji Temple of Jaipur. During the festival, Faag, Raas and special Jhankis start from one month before holi festival.

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Instead of color or gulal powders, flowers are used to play Holi here. The celebration shows the re-enactment of Lathmar Holi of Braj and Muslim artists pay homage to the immortal love of Radha and Krishna.

The history of Faag Utsav is growing since 300 years and the raison d’être for using flowers instead of color stanches from the belief that the use of the color hurts the idol of Krishna. The colorful affair is eventually marked by many cultural exuberant processions, like dancers wearing colorful dresses and painting their bodies in anticipation of a performance before the public.

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The legends of Radha and Krishna are showcased through vibrant folk songs & dances of Holi at the temple for more than a week during the faag festival.

At the temple, the greatest artist of the world, Krishna, witnesses the art of numerous performers which are performed as offering to Krishna. The celebration of Faag utsav certainly broadens the meaning of Holi.