Rajasthan is a northern Indian state bordering Pakistan. Its palaces and forts are reminders of the many kingdoms that historically vied for the region. In its capital, Jaipur (the "Pink City"), are the 18th-century City Palace and Hawa Mahal, a former cloister for royal women, fronted by a 5-story pink-sandstone screen. Amer Fort, atop a nearby hill, was built by a Rajput prince in the early 1600s.
Other forts include massive Chittogarh, occupied from the 7th to 16th centuries. Mehrangarh Fort has imposing walls overlooking Jodhpur, the “Blue City” in the Thar Desert, which covers much of Rajasthan. Udaipur is home to the monumental granite-and-marble City Palace, on the banks of scenic Lake Pichola. Around Mount Abu are dozens of shrines and temples, notably 5 ornate, marble Dilwara Jain temples. Nature sanctuaries include Ranthambhore National Park, a reserve for Bengal tigers; Keoladeo National Park, renowned for its diverse migratory bird population; and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, home to leopards and wolves.
Hindi is the primary language and is prevalent all over the state.
Oct–May is the most popular time to visit. Rajasthan is semi-arid to arid. Apr–Jun is very hot, before the peak monsoon rains of Jul–Aug. The winter (Dec–Feb) has warm days and cool evenings. Holi (Mar) is the spring festival of colors, when street revelers get covered in bright powder. The day after, Gangaur (Mar), held in honor of the Hindu goddess of fertility, features street parades and dancing. The Pushkar Camel Fair (Oct/Nov) is followed by the Kartik Purnima festival, with pilgrims bathing in Pushkar’s sacred waters.
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