Possibly the most romantic state in India, Rajasthan, famous for its striking desert landscape and colourful festivals, is steeped in tales of chivalry, honour, warriors and royalty. Its legendary cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer are resplendent with stunning forts that bear silent witness to the bravery and might of the Rajput warriors. Opulent palaces of breathtaking grandeur and whimsical charm pay tribute to its regal past and abound with treasures of artistic skills long forgotten.
From the home of the Taj Mahal at Agra in the east, to the Hindu religious stronghold of Varanasi in the west, Uttar Pradesh is characterised by some of the most important historic, religious and cultural centres in the country. Spanning across the Gangetic plain with the Ganges and the Yamuna Rivers flowing through it, this state borders the mighty Himalayas in the North. Though it has been slow to advance economically, it remains a vital part of India's heritage and contemporary culture.
The small sleepy town of Khajuraho was once the religious capital of the mighty Chandela dynasty, which built 85 magnificent temples here during their reign which lasted until the end of the 10th century. 22 of these highly erotic sandstone temples remain, in homage to the most prolific period of Hindu temple sculpture. The importance of eroticism in these temples is still a mystery.
The dominant features of South India are its tropical climate with lush-green tropical vegetation in the coastal areas, as well as its architecture, cuisine, culture, languages and lifestyle. In spite of repeated exposure to foreign influences, these elements have, at their core, remained essentially Dravidian.