Rajasthan boasts a rich history making it arguably one of the most vibrant and diverse states in India. Exploring this extensive region takes you on an adventure spanning thousands of years of monumental palaces, beautiful art and feudal battles.

The name Rajasthan derives from ‘The Abode of the Rajas’ – sons of princes – demonstrating the opulence that became second nature to the area during the era of the Rajput Kingdoms. Renowned as the Golden Age, beginning in the 9th C, the Rajputs set about growing and developing their land to make it one of the most prosperous states in India. The 16th C saw the rise of the Mughal Empire, after many brutal battles the Mughal rulers took over Rajasthan, bringing with them Islam. Under Akbar the Great, Rajasthan gained power as well as a new cultural richness – as patron of the arts the Mughal Arts that we know of today flourished under Akbar’s rule. Uniting with the Rajputs, a unique mixing of Hindu and Muslim culture emerged during this period. Symbols of these rich heritages working beside each other are the Hill Forts of Rajasthan; six overwhelming buildings, now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Our specialist guides will take you on a private Royal Grandeur Tour of the City Palace, designed by Maharaja Jai Singh; discover the intricate Hindu architecture filled inside with stunning Islamic frescos and design. The Jantar Mantar observatory accompanies the City Palace. Jai Singh meticulously measured time by the sun’s shadow and its annual progress through the zodiac in order to predict the future. Astrology was of huge importance to the Rajput rulers and still plays an important role in marriages and life throughout the state; our guide can introduce you to a local astrologer to experience first-hand the magical science.

Alongside Hinduism and Islam, Jainism was, and still is, an important religion within Rajasthan. You will encounter Jainism at the impressive Ranakpur temples, constructed in the 15th C, it is one of the most important temples of Jain culture. We will guide you through the stunning carvings throughout the temples; famed for their intricacy, they demonstrate the refined skill of Rajasthani craftsmen over 600 years ago. The Chaumukha temple is the most important; a masterpiece of architecture, it is renowned throughout the world for its superior style, with 24 pillared halls and 80 domes supported by 400 columns. Surrounded by this awe-inspiring setting, you can learn first-hand about Jainism, experiencing its culture and practices, by joining the Jain pilgrims for lunch.

The 18th C saw the decline of the Mughal Empire, replaced by the Maratha’s, yet their rule was short-lived as the British began to arrive towards the end of the century. Under British rule Rajasthan’s dominance receded as Calcutta (now Kolkata) became the central seat from which Britain chose to rule, yet Rajasthan remained an affluent state. A new period of architectural style was developed, named the Indo-Saracenic school, which saw the fusing of Victorian and Islamic elements. From this emerged the grand Albert Hall and Rambagh Palace.

It is of course impossible to condense Rajasthan’s immense history into a couple of paragraphs. Whatever your interest, our specialist guiding team will help you in discovering this inspiring region – immersing you in its rich culture and extensive history.

Author: Katy Landles @katylandles_art.

An introduction to historical Rajasthan

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