Rajasthan wants to see “twice as many” Frenchmen.

“Rajasthan is a state and its cities are pearls”argued Dr. Punita Singh, in early October in Paris.

This situation is real an extraordinary concentration of cultural, historical and religious diversity. Until the 1970s, the country was a collection of small kingdoms that were individually incorporated into the Indian Union.

Powerful maharajas controlled this largest region in India. It was they who left behind so many forts, palaces and temples, each more luxurious than the last. Even today the turbans worn by men and the colorful saris worn by women contribute to this beautiful picture.

The cities described by Dr. Punita Singh as “beads“, numbering at least three, and probably at least six: Jaipur, nicknamed “The Rose” because of the color of the main monuments its old city, with its two million inhabitants, is the capital of Rajasthan.

It has a subway. However, the city and its fort were designed following the principles laid down in the Hindu architectural treatise, Shilpa Shastra. And on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, in 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh II painted the entire city pink.

There are also Udaipur “the white one” dominated by the Maharana palace (City Palace) planted in the middle of Lake Pichola.

Then there is Jodhpur, “blue city”, surrounded by a 10 km long fortress and penetrated by seven gates. This city, once located on the Silk Road, earned its nickname because of its colorful old town facade. Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, Jodhpur is located at the gateway to the Thar Desert, whose steppes stretch endlessly across vast areas of Rajasthan.

We can add Jaisalmer, the crumbling city of luxury caravans. It may have fallen, but its splendor has not disappeared at all. The havelis, which were the homes of spice, date, opium and indigo traders during the caravan trade, are among the most beautiful.

We can also add Pushkar, the holy city of Hinduism (400 temples and shrines around a sacred lake) is also located at the gate of the desert. And even Dausa, another ancient city named after the Sanskrit name Dhau-sa which means “Beautiful like the sky”, that’s it!

Serena Hoyles

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