Category Archives: Soul of Rajasthan

Soak yourself in the upcoming festivities of Navratri in Rajasthan!

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Navratri is a festival devoted to the worship of Goddess Durga. The word ‘Navratri’ literally means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit; Nav – Nine and Ratri – nights. And hence the merriment takes place for 9 days. All through the nine nights and ten days, various forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

This year, Navratri is commencing from October 1st and will end on 10th. On the 11th day Dusshera will be observed to celebrate the victory over evil.

durga-maa-photo1Image via Google

Each of the 9 days starts with first seeking blessings from the goddess and then moving on to celebration. The state is lit up during this time with everybody gushing with energy throughout. People get dressed in colorful attires and participate in Garba folk dance and Dandiya-Raas in which people match their steps to the rhythm of music and dance using dandiya (wooden sticks) with their partners.

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Navratri festival does bring people closer to each other and soak everyone in its joyous colors! This festival is especially popular among tourists because it gives them an opportunity to get closer to the rich culture of Rajasthan.

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So, now that the festival is this close, get ready to participate this year in the enthusiastic and vibrant festival of Navratri!

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Jodhpur’s “Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF)” is here to spark up the moods!

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On chilling October evenings, when the sun is setting and the sky is filled with orange and reddish hues, you hear light music passing by your ears and the wind embracing your skin gently.  Everybody wrapped in shawls and sweaters, occupying their place on the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, and listening to the enthralling music of Rajasthani Folk musicians. This is exactly how the setting of Jodhpur’s Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) is, which is conducted every year in and around Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort.

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Image via Google

Jodhpur RIFF is among the world’s top 25 music concerts which soak you totally into Rajasthani culture. This year, the fest is being conducted from 13th to 17th October. The event goes on from day to night where talented performers showcase their area of expertise and enthrall the spectators. From Rajasthani folk music to traditional dances, from circus acts to plays, everything keeps people engaged throughout.

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Image via Google

The Festival should not to be missed by anyone because this can only be experienced once in a year. The schedule for this year’s RIFF is as below:

Date Event(s) Time Venue
13-Oct Children’s Folk Morning 9.30 AM to 2.00 PM Veer Durgadas Memorial Park,

Jodhpur

Opening Night – Variety City Concert 8.30 PM to 10.00 PM
14-Oct 1)      Jodhpur RIFF DAWNS with the Meghwal of Marwar 5.30 AM to 7.30 AM Jaswant Thada (outside

Mehrangarh Fort)

2)      Kahaniyan Kahan hai? 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM Chokelao Bagh (Mehrangarh

Fort)

3)      Living Legends I 5.45 PM to 7.15 PM Lift Terrace

(Mehrangarh Fort)

4)      MOODY RIFF 7.45 PM onwards Old Zenana Courtyard

(Mehrangarh Fort)

5)      Desert Lounge (all acoustic, traditional – from Rajasthan) 11.30pm onwards Rao Jodha Park (Mehrangarh

Fort)

15-Oct 1)      RIFF DAWNS with Bhaga Khan Manganiyar 5.30 AM to 7.30 AM Jaswant Thada (outside

Mehrangarh Fort)

2)      Where do we go from here? An interaction with the next generation of Langa and Manganiyar musicians and their teachers. In Residence II – a series of interactive sessions with our custodians of culture 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM Chokelao Bagh (Mehrangarh

Fort)

3)      Living Legends II 5.45 PM to 7.15 PM Lift Terrace

(Mehrangarh Fort)

4)      STRINGS and BEATS 7.45 PM onwards Old Zenana Courtyard (Mehrangarh Fort)
5)      CLUB MEHRAN 11.30 PM onwards Venue to be confirmed
16-Oct 1)      RIFF DAWNS with Smita Bellur 5.30 AM to 7.30 AM Jaswant Thada (outside Mehrangarh Fort)
2)      Winds of the Thar – The aero-phonic instruments of Rajasthan In Residence III – a series of interactive sessions with our custodians of culture 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM Chokelao Bagh (Mehrangarh Fort)
3)      MOONRISE SPECIAL 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm Jaswant Thada (outside Mehrangarh Fort)
4)      INSIGHTS 7.30 PM onwards Old Zenana Courtyard (in Mehrangarh Fort)
5)      RIFF Rustle at Club Mehran with Ben Walsh and a pick of Rajasthani and international artists from the festival 11.30 PM onwards Old Zenana Courtyard (in Mehrangarh Fort)
17-Oct RIFF DAWNS with Jasleen Kaur Monga and Gurmat sangeet 5.30 AM to 7.30 AM Jaswant Thada (outside Mehrangarh Fort)

For more information, please visit http://www.jodhpurriff.org/index.php

All you need to know about Pushkar Camel Fair of Rajasthan

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Pushkar Camel Fair is a unique event. The fair is basically a market for animal trading but over the years it has turned into a cultural extravaganza. At Pushkar Fair, you not only get to see cattle and animal trading but witness the true colors of Rajasthan. Folk performances, markets for everything Rajasthani and delicious food add to the spectacle.

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What to Expect at Pushkar Camel Fair

Expect lots of fun and amazement! As the name suggests, you will see thousands of camels at the fair area. The camels are beautifully decorated. They are brought here not only for trading but also for entertainment of the tourists. A camel ride is not to be missed. Camel decoration contests and races are held at the fair. Besides camels, you can enjoy horse-riding too.

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If you have an adventurous streak, taking a hot-air balloon ride over the bustling terrain has to be in your list. Seeing all the activities from top is amazing and you can take a chopper ride too.

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Musical performances by folk artists from all over Rajasthan are the major draws. Live dance and singing performances by talented performers make the time special. Besides music, you will also see acrobatics and comic performances at Pushkar Fair.

The famous longest-moustache competition manages to attract a lot of people every year. Besides witnessing the games, you can also participate in some of them like matka race, turban tying and kite flying.

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Shopping is yet another attraction of this week-long fair. You can but Rajasthai prints and other art and crafts to take back with you. You will also see that decoration items for camels, cattle and women are sold side by side at the fair.

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When it comes to eating, there is no food item that you can’t get here. From spicy street food to traditional food of Rajasthan, everything lures you.

Now the most important part, taking back memories! Carry a camera and keep clicking because the sights you will see here are unique to the place. It is important to enjoy the moments but the pictures will be with you whenever you want to refresh your memory.

 

The Beauty of Pushkar City

When you are at Pushkar Fair, you are not limited to enjoying just the fair but it is also a great time to see the holy Pushkar city at its best. There are very few Lord Brahma temples in the world and Pushkar has the most well-known of them all. When in Pushkar, you should visit the temple. Besides visiting the temple, taking a dip in the holy Pushkar Sarovar nearby is also part of the ritual.

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To add to the experience, do not miss out on seeing the holy city glittering in the moonlight.

 

Pushkar Fair Programme Details

Pushkar Camel Fair will begin on 8th November this year and will conclude on 14th November on the occasion of Kartik Purnima.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
10 am Nagada Vadan & Pooja & Flag Hoisting at Mela Ground
10:30 am Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
10:30 am Mandana Competion,Camel Decoration Vyayam Pradarshan at Mela Ground
11:30 am Football Match with foreigners at Mela Ground
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00 pm Inaugration of Shilgram Handicrafts Bazar
5:00 pm Deepdan, Rangoli, Maha Arti & Pushkar Abhishek at Pushkar Sarovar
6:30 pm Local Folk Performance at Dadha Area
7:30 pm Advaita Live at Mela Ground
9:30 pm Odissi dance by Tejaswani Roy

 

Wednesday, 9th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
7:00 am Heritage walk at Pushkar Circuit
10:00 am Langri Taang with foreigners at Mela Ground
10:30 am Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
10:30 am Satolia Match at Mela Ground
11:00 am Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar (Open till 8 PM)
11:00 am Camel Decoration Contest at Mela Ground
12:00 pm Camel Dance Contest at Mela Ground
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00pm Sunset Safari at the Dunes
6:30 pm Local Folk Performance at Dadha Area
7:30 pm Voice of Pushkar
9:30 pm Folk Entertainment

 

Thursday, 10th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
10:30 am Kabbadi at Mela ground
10:30 am Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
11:00 am Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar (Open till 8 PM)
11:30 am Horse Dance Contest at Mela Ground
1:00 pm Panchayat Samiti Rural Sports at Mela Ground (Rassa Kashi, Volleyball, Kabaddi
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00 pm Sunset Safari at the Dunes
6:30 pm Local Folk Performance at Dadha Area
7:30 pm Prem Joshua Live at Mela Ground
9:30 pm Voice of Pushkar – To be continued

 

Friday, 11th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
7:00 am Yoga at Mela Ground
9:30 am Spiritual Walk from Gurudwara to Mela Ground
10:30 am  Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
11:00 am Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar (Open till 8 PM)
11:30 am Pushkar ki Patang – Kite flying competition & contest
1:00 pm Inter Panchayat Samiti Rural Sports at Mela Ground
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00 pm Sunset Safari at the Dunes
7:30 pm Live Entertainment at Mela Ground
9:30 pm Best of Rajasthan Live at Mela Ground

 

Saturday, 12th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
9:00 am  “Lagaan” style cricket match at Mela Ground
10:30 am Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
11:00 am Shilpgram Handicrafts Bazaar (Open till 8 PM)
11:00 am Moustache Competition at Mela Ground
11:30 am Turban Tying & Tilak Contest
11:30 am Kite Flying at Mela Ground
4:30 pm  Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00 pm Sunset Safari at the Dunes
7:30 pm Live Entertainment at Mela Ground
9:30 pm Indian dance performances by foreigners

 

Sunday, 13th November 2016

6:00 am Harmony Marathon from Ajmer Sharif to Brahma Temple
6:00 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
10:30 am Matka Race at Mela ground
10:30 am Adventure Activites at Adventure Zone (Till 5:30 PM)
11:00 am Horse & Camel Competition
11:30 am Musical Chair Race
1:00 pm Exhibition Kabaddi Match
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:00 pm Sunset Safari at the Dunes
6:00 pm Indian Groom & Bride Contest at Mela Ground
8:00 pm Roots of Pushkar at Mela Ground

 

Monday, 14th November 2016

6:30 am Hot Air Balloon Flights
9:00 am Mega Cultural Event & Closing Ceremony
9:00 am Camel Race, Matka Race, Tug of War, Group Dance,Kala Jattha & other Local Performances
4:30 pm Hot Air Balloon Flights
5:45 pm Maha Arti at Pushkar Sarovar
8:00 pm Fireworks at the High Level Bridge

 

How to Reach Pushkar Camel Fair

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Pushkar has no airport and the nearest airport is the Sanganer International Airport at Jaipur. From Jaipur you can reach Pushkar by road or by train in 2 hours.

Pushkar is well connected by train and by road from many other cities of Rajasthan so reaching here is easy.

With all this information at your hands so early, there is no way that you should miss this beautiful event!

Rajasthali Emporium- Best Place To Shop In Jaipur

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Rajasthan is a home for arts and artisans. Whenever you travel here, you won’t be able to leave empty handed. The artistic outputs will definitely spellbind you. One such place that brings together everything under one roof for all shopping enthusiasts is Rajasthali which is located on M.I. Road, Jaipur. This is the Rajasthan Government’s sole handicraft emporium which provides a platform to small artisans from various parts of the colorful state to showcase their craftsmanship.

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Handcrafted products such as hand-woven/ vegetable dyed/ hand-block printed fabric, furniture, blue pottery, terracotta pottery, paintings, silver and lac jewellery,  etc. among many other traditional products from various parts of the desert state are put forward for the customers to take benefits of. Some of the iconic styles have even reached the international markets where they are being largely appreciated.

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In fact, recently, a Bangladeshi fashion designer and former international model, B.B. Russell opened her brand outlet of products created and sourced from Rajasthan in the showroom here. Ms. Russell who has been working in Rajasthan with local artisans and craft persons for the past couple of years has displayed the creative apparel and innovative accessories in the 240 square feet outlet of the first floor of Rajasthali.

Rajasthali

The talents are called upon from the interiors of the state and are given a stage to promulgate their artistic attributes. They belong to different regions and carry out various unique techniques belonging to their region. For example: Kotadoriya sarees from Kota, Akola print tasser sarees from Udaipur.

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Anyone coming to Jaipur must buy Rajasthani crafts & textiles from here as this is where they get authentic stuff which is high in quality at really competitive prices. Moreover, you don’t have to wander hither and thither in search of stuff as you will find them all under one roof.

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Hope your quest for shopping gets satisfied here and you take back beautiful handcrafted memories along with you.

14 Monsoon Destinations Of Rajasthan You Must Visit

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No other province awaits rains like the desert state of Rajasthan. The first shower of monsoon is like a breath of relief and a full stop to the constant endurance of blazing heat. After a long scorching summer, a monsoon vacation is a must and to make it even more relaxing and refreshing, exploring the beauty of Rajasthan should be on the top of your bucket list. And to know why, take a look at some of the amazing and some hidden destinations of this state which become way more attractive with every shower.

  1. Udaipur

Known as the Venice of East, the rains can bring the romance alive in this city of lakes. The view of clouds, the smell of rain, the greenery and royalty of Taj Lake Palace, City Palace, Sajjangarh Fort aka Monsoon Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Jag Mandir and their surroundings will make you fall in love all over again.

RTB - Udaipur

  1. Bhainsrorgarh

Who doesn’t love the view of lush green forests and river in monsoon? The heritage boutique hotel of Bhainsrorgarh situated on a cliff on the banks of Chambal River will give you the time of your life. Sightseeing during rains, visit to the Badoli Temple, capturing the beauty of the river and enjoy the moments of relaxation while dining on a cliff is monsoon bliss 😉

bhainsrorgarh

Image Credit: www.bhainsrorgarh.com

  1. Mount Abu

Visiting a hill station during monsoon can be your first best decision and choosing Mount Abu for the same would be your second best. It is a lethal combination of rains, amazing weather for trek, mountains, waterfalls, flora and fauna, and getting breath taking views from Dilwara Jain Temple and Nakki Lake.

Boat race competition being held at the Nakki Lake in the Summer Festival in Mount Abu.

  1. Keoladeo

Monsoon is the best time of the year to come and enjoy the natural beauty of Keoladeo National Park aka Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary since more than 350 avian species are available for bird watching. The Bharatpur Forest Lodge can be your stop to sit, feel the rain and enjoy the melodious chirping all around.

Keoladeo Sanctuary

  1. Narlai

Midway between Jodhpur and Udaipur, Narlai can be your next destination. Old havelis, jeep safari for spotting deer, panthers, chital, leopards, and trekking are some of the major attractions for this time of the year.

  1. Bundi

Special for receiving greatest amount of rainfall, Bundi is also famous for the Hadoti Palace, the step wells, Nawal Sagar Lake, and beautifully carved havelis; this less explored travel destination has its own story to tell via the rains.

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  1. Kumbhalgarh

The rains and cool breeze would be welcoming and soothing for you to visit Kumbhalgarh fort or go out in the wild on a jeep safari in Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary. This is the right weather for you to watch the real beauty of the flora and fauna that comes out with the rain.

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  1. Mahansar

If you are into mythology, Mahansar is the right destination for you where the sone-chandi ki dukan portray gold leaf paintings of Ramayan and life of Krishna, and to enjoy the best of it you need to take a break from burning summers and visit the place during monsoon. The greenery accompanied with cool temperature will leave you amazed.

Sone Chandi Ki dukan

Image Credit: www.imagesofrajasthan.com

  1. Pushkar

The lakes, the wildlife, the scenic beauty and desert camping are only a few of the major attractions in Pushkar. The city comes to life during monsoons as completely different shades of Pushkar are visible in the midst of monsoon showers.

Pushkar Lake

  1. Kuchaman

One of the hidden destinations of Rajasthan, Kuchaman has a lot in store for you especially during monsoons. The cool and refreshing weather is perfect to visit and praise the beauty of Kuchaman Fort, the cliffs, Sheesh Mahal, Meera Mahal, and Jal Mahal.

Kuchaman Fort and otel India November 2009

Image Credit: www.flickr.com

  1. Mandawa

Another unexplored place of Rajasthan is Mandawa. The rains are a perfect time to enjoy the old havelis, paintings and open air art gallery in the Mandawa Palace.

MAndawa

  1. Ranakpur

Known for its spectacular marble Jain temple and few other temples like the sun temple, Ranakpur is ideal when admired in monsoon season. The fall in temperature makes it easier to wander and enjoy the incredible architecture.

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  1. Jaipur

Last yet not the least – capital city, the Pink City. Witness the Teej festival which marks the advent of monsoon along with the awe inspiring sites of Jal Mahal, Albert Hall museum, step wells, Hawa Mahal and the temples in Jaipur especially during the rains because it’s the best time of the year to enjoy the marvelous beauty of the city.

jal Mahal Jaipur

And you cannot skip the delicious cuisine of Rajasthan while going around the state and enjoying the major attractions, can you?

 

 

Monsoon brings an end to the safari season in wildlife sanctuaries

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With the monsoon season approaching, comes a disappointing news for all safari lovers, photographers  and travelers. The season for safari in wildlife sanctuary will be closing on 30th June 2016 and is expected to remain closed till 30th September 2016. The safaris and reserves of Rajasthan include Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Keolado National Park, Darrah Sanctuary, Sajjangarh Santuary, Kumbalgarh Sanctuary, Desert national Park, Mount Abu Sanctuary, SitaMata Sanctuary and Tal Chapper Sanctuary.

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There are various safety reasons due to which the safaris in the sanctuaries of Rajasthan  remains closed during this time. One of them being heavy rainfall due to which the tracks lose its shape and the water collects which may shoot up the chances of accidents.  peacock

 

The other reason is that this is the breeding season for many animals. It is optimal for the survival of the young in terms of factors such as ambient temperature, water and food availability and also behavioral changes in many animals. Related interests and behaviors are expressed and accepted during this period.

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Also, the growth in flora and fauna hikes up vegetation covers which spreads over the roads and tracks increasing the chances of attacks by wild animals and also the poisonous plants that grow alongside that may harm the visitors. Hence, for your safety, it will remain closed this season.

Grand Old Tigress Machali at RAnthambhore National Park

But , hey, don’t be disappointed. Rajasthan provides a wide scape for tourism. Those who want to travel must not cancel their plans due to this reason. Rajasthan welcomes you all with open hearts and wide arms. It’s a state that offers immense opportunities of exploring various cities, heritage sites, and culture . It’s the perfect time to  explore all that while the sanctuaries remains closed.

For more details about the places you can discover in Rajasthan, please wait until the next blog comes up!

Khamma Ghani! 🙂

Ranthambore Tigers Get Their Numbers

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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.

Tiger Ranthambhore

After the oldest tigress in the country – Machli celebrated its 20th birthday last week, this week the authorities have decided to assign numbers to the tigers for their easy identification. Ranthambore National Park is said to be the first park in the country to begin the tradition of assigning numbers to the tigers on the basis of photographs in the year 2009.

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Tiger Tourism

The first time numbers from T -1 to T – 45 were allotted in 2009 and later in 2013 from T – 46 to T -75. As some new tigers have not been spotted from a couple of days now and even the adult tigers would now be defining a particular territory to themselves, the authorities have taken a step to assign them numbers from T- 76 to T – 91 for their easy sighting and tracking.