Rajasthan, India: the name evokes colorful images of delicious traditional cuisine, the Thar desert, camels, royals, music gharanas, Panihari style of singing, folk culture and above all – “Padharo Mhare Des” – the legendary Rajasthani folk song inviting guests to come and experience Rajasthan!

Rajasthan palace

Rajasthan is truly an amalgamation of all this and much more. As someone who has lived her entire childhood here, it is like déjà vu when I write about my very own state. Here are some of the amazing things this state and its people stand for :-

• Rajasthan is the “land” of the “royals” as the name depicts – “Raja” + “sthan”. Over the centuries, it has nurtured the brave Rajputs – the warrior clan whose tales of courage form part of our folklore. To this day, Rajasthanis are chivalrous and believe in working hard

• Rajasthanis have a rich cultural heritage which can be seen very well in the folk dances, the splendid royal palaces and the traditional fairs. In fact, the Pushkar Camel fair held every year in Pushkar draws in huge crowds and curiosity with an astonishing 50,000 camels participating this year itself!

• Containing the Thar Desert, this is also one of the hottest places in India, but amidst the desert Mount Abu stands like a jewel – the only hill station of the state. And this is enjoyed tremendously by the locals and tourists alike!

• Rajasthanis are religious and God fearing in general with the various religious festivals celebrated with full zest and vigor

• Mustache is considered to be a symbol of pride for the men along with colorful turbans that adorn the head

• Rajasthanis are among the most hospitable people in India with an infectious smile and helping attitude

• The world famous fabric printings like the Block print, Tie and Dye, the Bandhej etc are all done laboriously by hand, giving them a finishing touch that far exceed those done by machines

• Horse Polo is the most popular game here, mostly played by the royals

• The Family forms the fulcrum along which the lives of the people revolve. Rajasthanis are strictly private with their internal affairs and adore their children

• Rajasthani women, mostly dressed in their traditional attire of ghaghra choli, are shy and do not take to talking to complete strangers easily

• Elegant and fearless in their own way, the Rajasthanis are full of tolerance and respect for others – unless you rub them the wrong way – until then it is – “Padharo Mhare Des”!!

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About the author

An Indian expat in the Netherlands, Arwa Lokhandwala is a freelance writer, writing on travel, culture and expat related issues. A voracious reader, a curious traveler, and an amateur photographer, she has featured in a number of online publications including the Lonely Planet. She loves people, colors, festivals, and cultures. Read about her expat tales and travel adventures on her blog - Orangesplaash.