Looking for a glimpse of the majestic legacy of the old kings of India? You're unlikely to be disappointed by Rajasthan. Located in the north west of the country, the state is the largest in independent India, and bursting at the seams with rich cultural heritage.
From the gemstones for which its capital city, Jaipur is famous, to the fearsome tigers that inhabit its nature reserves, the region offers plenty to delight newcomers to India and seasoned travellers alike.
Rajasthan translates as "Land of the Kings", and many aspects of the region's contemporary culture derived from the days of the independent Rajput kings and princes. Each with their own elaborate palaces and dedicated entourages, these monarchs were known for their fighting prowess and taste for luxury.
Today, inhabitants of the state and visiting tourists enjoy rich cooking, impressive architecture and fascinating traditional music and dance, all dating from the days of the royal courts.
Like every region of India, Rajasthan has a history of trade and handicrafts that is as diverse as its geography. From the desert in the north west to the hills in the south, craftsmen and women are constantly at work, farming, weaving, dyeing, quarrying, carving and working with gemstones.
In particular, Rajasthanis are famous for their colourful block prints and tie dye designs, in addition to the mirror-work and embroidery with which they decorate textiles and clothing. A must-visit destination for those interested in traditional crafts and fashion, the region provides a fascinating insight into India's vibrant history. Just make sure you watch out for those tigers...
Images: Creative Commons Attributed to Christopher and Arian Zwegersvia via Flicker