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Regal splendourTRAVEL/TOURSregalsplendourRemarkable Rajasthantales to tellHistory brought to life innext year's EuropeanCapital of CulturethisissueRajasthan's forts, palacesand people have longattracted travellers from ourshores. Oliver Everettexplains how the state'sfascinating history isinterwoven with thatof Britain and why thismakes it such acompelling destinationWhy is Rajasthan so veryappealing to the Britishtraveller? It is a combination ofits fascinating history, amazing buildingsand remarkable people. And there isundoubtedly a certain resonance withBritain: a long history that has involvedmany wars; defence against externaland internal threats; a great variety ofroyal rulers who have been brave,determined, honourable, romantic andeccentric; and buildings and collectionsthat vividly reflect this rich and colourfulbackground -palaces, forts, and ofcourse nearby, the crowning romanticicon, the Taj Mahal.After India's independence in 1947,Rajasthan (Raja meaning 'royal ruler')was eventually formed from a number ofRajput (meaning 'sons of kings') princelystates, which had been held in highrespect by the British during their longrule in India. Rajasthan's royal rulers hadnot joined the mutiny against British rulein 1857 and as a result, the BritishEmpire in India let them have a lot ofautonomy. Many of Rajasthan'sMaharajas were very pro-British andoften sent their sons to British schoolsand universities, and their palaces oftenincluded European embellishments.Udaipur, with its huge and beautifulCity Palace, its lake and lake palace,became in 1568 the capital ofRajasthan's most senior royal family andprincely state, Mewar, when MaharanaUdai Singh moved the capital fromChittaurgarh with its impressive fort. Thelatter had been the Mewar royal family'sbase since the 8th century.Jodhpur was made the capital of theMarwar kingdom in 1459 by Rao (royalruler) Jodha of the Rathore clan's royalfamily. Jodha's Meherangarh Fort, builton a steep escarpment, contains one ofthe best preserved and presented