If Rajasthan is synonymous with forts and palaces, it is also synonymous with fairs and festivals. Few things can match the effervescence, vigor and brightness of traditional fair like the world famous Pushkar. The picturesque lake of Pushkar is surrounded by hills on three sides and sand dunes on the fourth-a perfect site for the annual religious and cattle fair, held in the month of October-November. Pushkar is a sacred place for Hindus and has a staggering 400 temples, of which the most important is dedicated to Lord Brahma. According to legend, for five days in a year, all the gods visit Pushkar and bless the devout-hence the unbelievable number of devotees who flock to the lake to wash away their sins.
The Sariska Tiger Reserve is a rare mingling of natural history and the historical past. This dry, deciduous Reserve located in the undulating plateaus and wide valleys of the Aravali hills, is home to the 10th century Neeklanth temple, medieval Kankwari fort and rims of 32 Hindu temples of the 6th to 13th century which are of archaeological importance. An eighteen feet high, mutilated Jain idol stands prominently among the ruins.
Its location had always been Kumbhalgarh's greatest advantage. Because it was virtually inaccessible in the 15th century, Rana Kumbha of Mewar built this great defensive fortress on a 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) high hill overlooking the approaches from Ajmer and Marwar. Today, precisely because it is within easy reach of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Pushkar-yet off the well trodden tourist routes-Kumbhalgarh is an attractive destination.
Deep in the desert, against a background of stony hills lies the large sprawling haveli (palace) of Samode which stands apart in serene splendor amid rugged hills. To reach the haveli one has to first pass through the quaint little village of Samode. Small havelis and village houses are set on either side of a stone paved road that curves gently up the hill and, entering through a high arched gateway, one is finally inside the building which gleams a pale yellow in the sunlight.
Desert National Park
Spread over 3000 square kilometers of the Great Thar Desert, near the medieval city of Jaisalmer, the Desert National Park comprises undulating sand dunes, fixed dunes and compact salt-lake bottoms. While the sparse desert shrubs provide food and shelter to the fauna, it is a harsh land nonetheless even for the most hardy.