in sanskrit 'chitra' means 'picture' and 'katha' means 'story'. and thus the name literally means 'a pictorial story'. rajasthan, a land of chivalrous warriors, legendary kings, beautiful maidens and rich traditions has always been famous for its inspiring folktales. come and stay with us in our extended home to bite a story, share the sun, smell the fresh sand and also to borrow some vibrant colours for your memory lane.
unseen places To Visit
just 90kms away from jaipur is bhangarh - a ruined town in the alwar district of the state of rajasthan, india, most famous for its historical ruins. the place is said to be haunted. archaeological survey of india (asi) has put up a signboard by the main gate stating (among others): "entering the borders of bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited." the reason for this may be that there can be wild animals and it could be unsafe because there is no artificial lighting. for the more adventurous ones, legend has it - "no one entering this town after sunset has ever returned back." many stories can be heard on why and how the settlement was abandoned by the people overnight and the town now lays bare. bhangarh was established in 1573 (vs 1631) and is at the edge of the sariska tiger reserve.
Chand Baori - Abhaneri:
abhaneri is a village about 95 kms from jaipur on the jaipur-agra road. a detour is well merited for its amazing step wells or 'baoris' and harshat mata temple. according to a legend, the village is so called because the goddess harshat mata who is shown portrayed in a joyous mood is believed to spread brightness or "abha" all around. the village's original name was abha nagri, and its name today is abhaneri.

it is believed that the celebrated king raja chand established the village. on the other hand it is felt that the mythological raja chand could be king bhoja, who ruled over the gurjar kingdom in the ninth century ad. the ruins of the temple also speak of the 10th century architectural and sculptural styles. there is a huge tank named "chand baori", opposite to the temple fortified on all four sides with bastions for defence. even though abhaneri is now in ruins, the place has a distinct reminiscence about itself. it is best approached by road - buses that ply between jaipur and agra.
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tonk and the persian artTonk and the persian art:
located, 96 kms away from jaipur. this is a quiet town which was ruled by tribes of 'pathans' from afghanistan. the focal point of tonk is the suneri kothi, the golden bungalow. a fairly ordinary monument from outside, it has stunningly rich ornamental interiors. there are also some interesting building that accommodated the british office. tonk is also famous for its leather and felt industry and one can pick up a good bargain from the markets. the nawab of tonk was an avid book lover and built a sizable library of arabic and persian manuscripts. arabic and persian research institute are also located here.
sanganersanganer is located 16 kms from jaipur. while it is known for exquisite jain temples, sanganer is an important centre for crafts and hand-printed textiles that is internationally famous.the most beautiful temple in sanganer is the ancient shri digamber jain temple. the temple has fine carvings as those of the magnificent dilwara temples of mount abu. built in various phases with sky-high shikharas (spires), the temple represents an old style of architecture. the last phase was probably built in the 10th century. the beautiful nij-mandir (inner temple) is a stone shrine with three pinnacles. in the centre is an idol of parshwanath with 7 serpent hoods. all around it, are carvings of lotuses, creepers and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks. but the main idol is that of adinath, installed in the shrine behind this.

the town is most famous for its hand made paper and mostly screen-printed fabric. the fabric is popular for small floral designs. a wide variety of material for apparels, furnishing and curtaining is available. some of the traditional designs were produced in the patronage of the royal family. it is a beautiful sight to see brightly colour fabric drying out in the sun near the river. sawai jai singh ii set up a paper business in sanganer on the outskirts of jaipur. it is said that in the 16th century, the ruler of amber, raja man singh, brought kagzis to sanganer (situated on the bank of saraswati river, where abundant clear water was available). the town emerged as one of the biggest paper making centres in northern india. in between, however the industry did get a setback, but after independence, the khadi and village industries commission (kvic) included the handmade paper in its agenda for promotion of crafts.

it is famous for kagazi mohulla (handmade paper) and block printing and is the world's largest centre of hand-made paper. sanganer is blessed with water and open spaces, essential for papermaking. from here the kagzis enjoyed patronage of the royal court of sawai man singh and his successors. today there are about 10 hand-made paper industries in sanganer, all owned by kagzis. of these the largest is salim kagzi's handmade paper and board industries. the airport of jaipur is also located in sanganer.
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bagru is located 30 kms away from jaipur on the ajmer road and is well known for its bagru prints. this technique simulates a wooden block on which the required design is first carved, then the carved block is used for transferring the motif in the desired colour on the fabric. this process is most effective on ethnic floral patterns and for printing in vegetable dyes in traditional bagru prints.
samodethe fort is an old fortified residence of the nathawat family (hailing from chomu) that served as the prime ministers of the jaipur royal court is located some 40km from jaipur and 264 km from delhi in the range of aravali. this magnificent fort is as charming and romantic in itself, and exhibits grandeur, good taste, class and elegance. the way to the fort's main entrance is through the inside of the village, which can be covered from the highway by a camel safari, with the locals welcoming the guests with smiles and thrilling expressions. the inside of the fort reflects expressions of the medieval architecture that is renovated a bit for the oriental formality. the open courtyards in the centre has separate wings on the sides that extends to 43 spacious rooms & suites having private balconies and views. the walls are in warm colours to highlight the intricate marble work, the antiques and the colourful art with traditional artefacts. the durbar hall of samode palace is one of the most beautifully painted chambers with glass & minakari work and the same goes for the private restricted spaces- meant for the "zannanis", women of the family.
sariskaTthis park is situated 200 km from delhi and 107 kms from jaipur. although larger than ranthambor, it is less commercialised and has less tigers but a similar topography. it covers an area of 800 sq km in total, with a core area of approximately 500 sq km. the northern aravali hills dominate the skyline with their mixture of sharp cliffs and long narrow valleys. the area was declared a sanctuary in 1955 and became a national park in 1979.

the landscape of sariska comprises of hills and narrow valleys of the aravali hill range. the topography of sariska supports scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses. the broad range of wildlife here is a wonderful example of ecological adoption and tolerance, for the climate here is variable as well as erratic.

it is located in the contemporary alwar district and is the legacy of the maharajas of alwar. pavilions and temples within sariska are ruins that hint at past riches and glory. the nearby kankwadi fort has a long and turbulent history.

in morning and evening, wildlife in sariska heads towards the many water holes, which litter the park, thus providing the guests with their best chance of viewing game. at some of these watering holes it is possible to book hides which are situated in prime spots for wildlife viewing.
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Ranthambhor National Park
ranthambhor national parkranthambhor national park, before a princely game conserve is the scene where the celebrated indian tiger is best seen. ranthambhor tiger reserve lies on the junction of aravali and vindhyas just 14 kms from sawai madhopur in eastern rajasthan. it sprawls over a varying and undulating landscape. the scenery changes dramatically from gentle and steep slopes of the vindhyas and sharp and conical hills of the aravali. a tenth century fort also blends amicably with the background. pure sands of dhok (anogeissus pendula) interspersed with grasslands at the plateaus, meadows in valleys and luxuriant foliage around the canals make the jungle. three big lakes – padam talab (meaning lake), malik talab and raj bagh – are similar turquoises studded in the vast forest that abounds with aquatic vegetation including duckweeds, lilies and lotus.

a significant geological feature within the park is the 'great boundary fault' where the vindhaya plateau meets the aravali range. the rivers chambal in the south and the banas in the north bound the national park. the park is dotted with steep rocky hills and the dominating architecture of ranthambhor fort (built in the 10th century), adds to its landscape. the rugged park terrain alternates between dry deciduous forest, open grassy meadow, dotted by several lakes and rivers that are only made passable by rough roads built and maintained by the forest service.

the tiger is not the only attraction at ranthambhor; although it is the one park resident that people come to see. a variety of birds including owlets, the ubiquitous langur (monkey), leopard, caracal, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, marsh crocodiles, wild boar, bears and various species of deer are the other attractions.
kauralilocated at 182 kms southwest of jaipur, it was founded in 1348 and is best known for its krishna temples. the fort, which was constructed over different period, is about 600 years old. the fort was the residence for the royal family until 1950 and is now occupied by monkeys and geese. the geese were used in the early days as warning system against any intruders. they still seem to be doing their duty. the bhawar vilas palace, which is owned by the descendents of the royal family and resembles a large manor, is a hotel now. the rooms are comfortable and good meals are available. karauli is best connected by bus or taxi from jaipur.