Author: Tripti Pandey
Publisher: Guidebook Company
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9622170889
The Indian State of Rajasthan, just south of Delhi, shares its western border with Pakistan. The state as we know it today, came into being in the wake of Indian independence when 21 princely state of the former Rajputana, and the British enclave of Ajmer-Mewara, were merged. Its area of over 342,000 square kilometers (132,000 square miles) presents intriguing contrasts and immense variety.
The Thar Desert stretching to the horizon in all directions, and the Aravali Range with its numerous fortresses on its ridges, are the two prominent features of this land. The Thar Desert extends from the Sahara to the Great Gobi deserts. It moves from west to northeast while the Aravali Hills cut across it from northeast to southwest and west. The colour that nature denied to western Rajasthan has been provided by its bright and lively people.
Jaipur is the centre for these crafts; cutting and polishing precious stones, particularly emeralds, is the main industry of this town. Jaipur gems have found their way to the international market and account for a trade involving millions of dollars. Hand-printed and embroidered textiles are other important export items. Traditional and tribal silver jewellery cater for the ethnic taste. But buying these art objects is an art in itself and distinguishing the original from the copy requires knowledge and skill. In Rajasthan, tourists can live like maharajas, for a price. The palace hotels give a taste of the luxurious life of the privileged of yesteryears.