Rajasthan Tours – Fairs & Festivals of North India

Travel to Rajasthan and be awed by the splendid beauty of its landscape and culture. Some of the most recommended Rajasthan travel destinations are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Bikaner and Bharatpur. It is always proclaimed that Rajasthan is a traveler’s seventh heaven especially for those travelers who love and appreciate legacy. Rajasthan doesn’t only offer sightseeing of forts and palaces but also colorful and vibrant fairs and festivals in which an outsider is always welcomed with honor. From its people with their vibrant clothes to the gorgeous sand dunes of the Great Thar Desert, Rajasthan is a place with sights that may seem ethereal and fresh to one’s eyes. This destination reveals and unravels its history and heritage through its various art-forms like music, dances, story-telling and even puppetry. You can shop for beautiful ethnic arts and crafts in various Rajasthani towns. To stay in Rajasthan is as much a pleasure as traveling around the colorful locations.

The majestic heritage structures serve as palace hotels today as they make all the difference between ordinary events to an extraordinary experience. During the discovery of Rajasthan, the tourists can explore the land of the shimmering sand by enjoying a ride on a camel’s back in the Thar Desert. Rajasthan is a vibrant state with signs of royalty everywhere. For instance at the Pushkar valley that is one of the most fascinating Hindu pilgrimages a huge number of tourists from all over the world come to witness the elaborate occasion of the holy bath in the Pushkar Lake. This is just one of the many such events that one can enjoy with the Rajasthani locals as part of different colorful festivals of the state. Rajasthan is also often called a shopper’s paradise with beautiful goods found at low prices. Famous for textiles, semi-precious stones and eye-catching handicrafts items like wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, blue pottery are very inviting to shoppers. Known for its traditional, colourful art, tie and dye prints, the block prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, Zari embroidery are promising export products from Rajasthan.

Endowed with natural beautiful habitats and a splendid history, tourism is a growing industry in Rajasthan that is welcomed by locals gracefully. The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and forts amidst deserts of Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer are sites amongst the preferred destinations. All these important tourist cities are connected by road, rail and air.

Rajasthan, though a desert land by topography is one of the most colorful regions across the world because of its vibrant fairs and festivals. Here is a list of the popular festivals of Rajasthan.

Festivals of Rajasthan:

Camel Festival – Every year starts with the Camel festival at Bikaner. The entire town turns colorful with bright colors and vibrant with lively music. One will be fortunate to see camels decorated in the most striking colors race each other, camel dances and various other events.

Desert Festival – This popular festival of Jaisalmer happens during the full moon in February. The desert livens up with a range of Rajasthani dances like Gangaur, Ghoomer and many others. The highlights are the turban tying competition and the Mr. Desert contest after which the festival concludes with a sound and light show.

Elephant Festival – The Elephant Festival takes place at Jaipur. These mighty animals take the center stage and gait majestically parading their colorfully decorated trunks and tusks followed by folk dancers. This is the occasion when Ganpathi, the elephant god is worshipped.

Gangaur spring festival – Rajasthan’s popular festival, the spring festival of Gangaur is celebrated in March/April. This festival of women is celebrated for 18 days for good fortune for their husbands. A grand procession is taken out of the Jaipur City Palace and Goddess Gauri is carried in a colorful chariot led by decorated animals.

Mewar Festival – The Mewar Festival of Udaipur welcomes spring, with a beautiful display of Rajasthani culture through songs, dances, processions and displays.

Urs Ajmer Sharif – In memory of Khwaja Moinuddin Christi, this festival is held as per the lunar calendar. As he was the helper of the unprivileged this festival is celebrated at Ajmer as one of the biggest Muslim festivals in India.

Marwar Festival – Originally known as the Maand Festival is a centered around the dreamy lifestyle of Rajasthani rulers, the festival recreates the royal charm and graceful dances of the desert. It is held during the full moon in October for two days.

Pushkar Fair – Celebrated at Pushkar (Snake Mountain) which is on the edge of the desert. The town clings to the small but beautiful Pushkar Lake. During the fair, Rajasthani tribals, Indian pilgrims and even filmmakers from around the world unite here.

Witnessing these few of the many festivals in Rajasthan, this place of color and vibrancy one needs no reason to celebrate.

Sacred Land of the Heart – Spirituality of the Soul’s History

I can only imagine the tremendous value of the land so far as both the people of antiquity and the Indigenous are concerned. I have to concur. The Land, for me also, has tremendous power and significance about it. Land is sacred to the heart. Our histories are indelibly attached to it.

I took the opportunity recently to re-trace some of my personal heritage. I have found that cherishing the land is a big part of cherishing my heritage–it’s about cherishing the very parts that have ‘become me.’
Re-tracing my heritage “trails” involved both old land and new land; reflecting over times significant in the past as well as foreseeing the significance of events–or certainly landmarks–of the future.

Watching the land is amazing. How it changes. A place I went back to was the land of my grandmother’s–I stayed with her for a few months, now over twenty years ago. She has since passed away long ago and the block of units we lived in has long been swept away. The whole area looks vastly different. I also visited my favourite university cafĂ© and found the menu had changed–no more cheap and ‘to die for’ food there! And whilst these things had changed, the land had not. I’m thankful to God for that fact!

What of the New Land?

A time of change is not just sad, it’s a happy time too as we gain anticipation of what the new time–a new season–might bring. New routines, new surroundings–a totally fresh environment. Watching the land gives way also to respecting the land. It’s vital that we respect it; not simply physically–but spiritually too. To cherish the land’s role in our lives, and let the memories live on; this is what I mean.

The land is inherently part of our heart. It is sacred just as our hearts are. The testimony of our memories gives the land this treasured legacy as both the means to and manifestation of our heart. The Land is the context of life. It is God’s landscape for meaning.

The History of Sarasota Modern Design

In an earlier – we like to think simpler – time, Sarasota was a mere little town on the water. The glorious climate, lush sub-tropical foliage, access to water, the Gulf and the Bay, were all attractions that made the area compelling, and still do. But back in the late 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s getting here was more difficult and time-consuming. Nonetheless, the draw was compelling and an increasing number of people of reasonable wealth and progressive outlook began to search for a place to spend winters and retirement.

These people were looking for a place that would provide shelter and comfort, but also embody a spirit of the times. The world was witnessing an emergence from the Depression and a new optimism was growing. They wanted a fresh vision, something new and original. And there was a small group of talented, energetic and artistic thinkers who had also found Sarasota and were welcoming them with their new ideas.

Among these, (I will focus this mostly on Paul Rudolf and his group) was a young architect who was starting his career. He was bright and creative, but young and inexperienced. He found employment with another architect and builder, Ralph Twitchell. Twitchell provided the young designer the guidance, experience and mentoring that served him well for many years. Rudolf became the creative force in the office, while Twitchell had the marketing, construction and office administration facilities already in place.

In the later 30’s and early 40’s these two started to put Sarasota on the national map of places of architectural interest. Their houses and buildings became published in the national press.

One of their notable contributions was a spirit of experimentation and innovation. Some of the houses are still standing and provide a great lesson in accomplishment of spacial modulation, respect of sunlight – both access to daylight and acknowledgment of the harshness of the midday sun and heat, and the use of natural ventilation. These were the days after all, before residential air conditioning.

One of my favorite houses, as an example, is the Umbrella House. While the name still sticks, the “umbrella” sadly is no longer in place. Located on Lido Key, it is really a modest house, of simple means, but great result. The exterior is paneled in vertical slats of cypress with outlines of white-painted wood trim. The street facade is a two-story exercise in restraint. It is solid on the left and right sides, with tall windows on each end, and a series of elegantly tall glass panels in the center, punctuated by the entry door.

Once you enter you are awed by the large central volume of space which wraps around you. The stair to the upper level and balcony overhead is immediately on your left, but your view is compelled forward through the house and out to the terrace, pool and pavilion beyond. The far wall of the central living space is all vertical glass panels and a series of glass doors opening out.

What is really clever and the main concept of the house is a free-standing “roof” structure that stands over the house and provides a visual and conceptual framework under which the house sits – the “umbrella”. Upon this framework a series of rafters and horizontal boards used to provide dappled shade and a marvelous sense of enclosure and protection. The original wood has since been lost to age and moisture, but one’s imagination can re-construct the framework and give one the feeling of what was a dramatic gesture and surely welcome relief from the harsher aspects of the elements, shading the terrace and especially the roof of the house, dramatically reducing the heat onto the structure.

The rest of the interior of the house is modest by today’s standards, but provides a serviceable and comfortable habitation. A master suite is at one end on the first floor, with the kitchen/dining area at the other. Upstairs are two matching bedrooms and baths, with some ingenious detailing, such as the cantilevered dressers with extend into the upper levels of the living room.

The developments that Rudolf embodied, continued as the 50’s progressed; they could be summarized by an enthusiasm for trying new things. The Second World War had brought new materials and technologies and Rudolf and others were anxious to try their hand at creating new forms and methods. Their goals were to capture the light, make open and airy living spaces, having flowing access to the outdoors, using new materials – plywood and plastics, using tried and true materials in new ways – concrete and the handsome local lime block.

Of course, Paul Rudolf was led to other commissions as his career and talent became well known. Many residential projects were built here, and quite a few remain. He designed two high schools in the area, one of which we have now sadly lost. And he has a few commercial projects still standing as well.

During this time he also received commissions for the US embassy in Amman, Jordan as well as speaking engagements in South America for the State Department. His career soon propelled him to head the department of architecture at Yale University, not only teaching and heading the school, but also designing its landmark brutalist building that was an icon for its era, matriculating if you will, not only from Sarasota, but from the style and milieu that he was seminal in helping create.

While the Sarasota School is now considered a point of time, now long ago, the legacy is a living one. We can admire the remaining examples of that original core group, and also honor the continuum of modern design by architects and designers now practicing in Sarasota. There are certainly some notable and remarkable talents still at work in our (now not so little) town. One doesn’t need to travel far to see some interesting and “edgy” designs that still proclaim a unique and personal vision of contemporary design. Stark, planar, angular, strong, colorful and daring are words that evoke some of these more successful projects that are found in our landscape and enrich our community.

Variety is the spice of life, and our stew is nicely seasoned here in Sarasota with designs modern in the past and contemporary in the present.