Royal fantasy

Rajasthan, the vibrant destination that showcases royalty and heritage of the maharajas of India, has a myriad of faces that no one is much aware of. There are lot of offbeat attractions and experiences in the state that not many have explored yet. So try to look beyond the imposing palaces and ancient forts, and unearth the hidden stories of the villages and towns.

Watch a polo match
The origin of Polo, also known as the ‘The Sport of Kings’, dates back to the 5th century BC if not earlier. Polo is also associated with Rajasthan for centuries, where the Maharajas and their teams showcased their prowess in this field. Today, in Rajasthan, polo signifies tradition. However, as much as being a sport of the players, polo is a wonderful spectator sport, which draws international attention. Even if you are not in Rajasthan during the main season (November to February) it is possible to watch the teams train at various polo grounds across the state. You can even watch a practice session and see how each polo pony is carefully selected for quick bursts of speed, stamina, agility and  maneuverability.

Relish Laal Maas
Laal maas is just not a delicacy, but a treat of the royals! This traditional Rajasthani lamb curry is made with yoghurt, garlic and lots of dry red chillies. It tastes exotic and has a unique flavour of pure ghee. Usually served on special occasions, this spicy dish is best served with rice and bajra roti. Be it Jaisalmer, Jodhpur or Jaipur, all the cities have some brilliant restaurants where you can savour this delight in true Rajasthani ambience.

Stay at a palace
Home to myriad grand palaces and ancient forts belonging to kings from the bygone era, many of these forts and palaces have been renovated and converted into heritage hotels. One among them is the Srinivas, recently opened private residence of Maharaj Karanvijay Singh of Jodhpur. Located about 45 minutes from the Jaipur Airport, what’s unique about this stay is that each room has been designed as per the likings of the person who occupied it from the royal family. The residence also features a large formal dining space used to host royalty, delegates, national and international sporting fraternity and friends. The interiors are warm showcasing antique furniture, old family photographs, Arabic carpets.

Leopard spotting
Jawai Hills, a part of the Aravali foothills, are home to leopards and other wild animals. Nestled in this desert bushland is the Bera village. Wild and remote, what makes this place unique is that Bera’s leopards roam free even as the villagers go about their chores without fear of confrontation with the animals. There are over 300 solitary hills strewn across the region. In many of these structures, the entrance is a low-hanging cave — often with leopards and their young living in it. Bera has 64 leopards, according to the villagers’ count. They have even given each leopard a name to help keep track of them.

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